As we’ve previously discussed, I get broken up with almost constantly thanks to my excellent personality and unparalleled charm. (JK, it’s because men are addicted to fumbling the baddest bitches with the biggest hearts—a truly tragic epidemic of our time.) Throughout this extensive history of heartbreak, I’ve been dumped pretty much every which way from Sunday—by text, by phone, face to face, and, of course, straight-up ghosted. Which is why I can tell you with complete confidence as an experienced professional in the field of romantic failure that of these options, I would take the breakup text any day. I’m being so serious.
It’s no secret that conventional dating etiquette tends to rank ending a relationship over text near the bottom of the breakup method hierarchy, just above ghosting and Post-It Note. It’s considered cowardly, cruel, immature, and deserving of public scorn—just ask a certain former NSYNC star, whose alleged two-word breakup text to one Princess of Pop is currently making headlines twenty years after the fact. Ending things in person, meanwhile, is generally hailed as the most noble way to do the deed—The Right Thing To Do if you want to maintain any illusion of passing for a decent human being.
But personally, I have always been a strong defender of the oft-maligned act of terminating a relationship via text. Mind you, I’m not saying that a text message is a good way to break up with someone—unpopular truth: there is no good way to do that, just bad ways and worse ones. And doing it over text is, IMO, one of the lesser evils when it comes to letting a former partner know that they’re now single.
Why? Because if I am going to receive emotionally devastating news, I would rather not have to sit there and try to hold it together while a person who used to love me does me the supposed honor of telling me to my face why they don’t anymore. Frankly, that seems like kind of a rude, borderline sadistic thing to subject another person to—especially one you supposedly care(d) for in an intimate way! Like, I don’t know about you, but I’d actually rather *not* watch you break my heart right in front of me, thanks?
Moreover, I would argue that—while dumping someone in person is usually considered the best way to break the news that your ’ship has sailed because something something face-to-face communication is the healthiest way to blah blah—the immediacy of that context can actually make it a lot harder for some people (me!) to process and express our (likely complicated and intense) feelings about the situation because we’re trying to save face in front of the person who’s, you know, emotionally annihilating us.
In fact, I’d even go as far as to suggest that in some cases, especially breakups that go down in a public setting, the person ending the relationship chooses to do it IRL for that reason—to minimize the other person’s reaction under the guise of doing the noble thing.
Meanwhile, not only does a text message breakup give the heartbroken party the privacy to feel whatever messy feelings they need to feel about it, but it also buys them the time and space to process those feelings and express them the way they want to. Unlike an in-person conversation (or even a phone call), a text message does not demand an immediate response. There have been times when I’ve been dumped in person and later thought of things I would have wanted to say and now I can’t because we already broke up! Or, more accurately, now I’m gonna end up drunk texting it to you two months later from the bathroom floor of the club I’m crying in (and will later get kicked out of because, fun fact, it turns out there really is no crying in the club!). If that breakup had just been a text in the first place, I would have had the mental and emotional distance to process and respond in a more appropriate way. You know, maybe.
Also! Having a reason to be mad at someone can be very helpful when you are in the throes of heartbreak. If you “do the right thing” by breaking up with me to my stupid face, you are now denying me my right to be pissed at you and go on a talk show and tell the world what a huge jerk you are for dumping me over a 27-second phone call! Or, you know, calling my mom and telling her what a huge jerk you are—and you know she will never forgive you for this. If you are going to break my heart, I think the very least you could do is leave me with an excuse to be petty and collect extra sympathy points from the group chat, TYVM.
But don’t get me wrong, this isn’t all for my benefit. There are practical advantages here for you as the break-upper as well. One thing many men have made the fatal error of overlooking until it’s too late is the fact that I am The Most Dramatic Woman Alive. To be fair, that’s because I actively try to hide it from them so they think I’m cool and “chill” and won’t break up with me. But once they inevitably break up with me anyway, best believe I will immediately abandon any attempt to win the IDGAF war. In fact, I’m not even in the war. I’ll dodge the draft, dishonorably discharge myself and melt the fuck down before your very eyes. And yes, there will be tears. Violent ones. I will cry harder than you knew was physically possible. I will sob till I’m out of breath like a literal fucking toddler. Not because I want to! I actually don’t want you to see that, and I know damn well *you* don’t want to see that. So why not do us both a favor and handle this thing over iMessage, hm?
And look, I know what you’re thinking: Okay Kayla, maybe a text is a sufficient way to end whatever short-lived flings make up the bulk of your tragic excuse for a love life, but surely you don’t think that’s an acceptable way to end a long-term relationship?
Wrong! I do think that! I hope to someday get divorced over text! Or fax! Carrier pigeon! Hard launch our split on Instagram and let me find out that way! Anything, anything other than making me physically sit there and watch as you rip my beating heart out of my chest and crush it yet again.
So anyway, if my next ex is reading this, please, I beg of you, just grow the hell up and break up with me over text like an adult.
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