Wellness

Why breaking up over text message might actually be a good move

Not only is the text breakup not as bad as we think, it should actually be encouraged (at least for short-term relationships).
texting (iStock/Getty Images)

According to research, over half of modern millennial relationships end via text (or social media and email), even though almost 75% of those surveyed in 2014 find that method annoying. Many consider it a slap in the face; you spend so much time and energy on a person (physically and emotionally), only to have that person remotely cut off all contact via that infamous little screen you keep in your pocket. Yet, for those text-dumpers surveyed, the majority said it made the breakup "less awkward".

So is the text breakup really so bad? Our phones are steadily enveloping our entire lives anyway, why does breaking up still remain a textual taboo? But if we examine the benefits of such an act, we may come to realize that not only is the text breakup not as bad as we think, it should actually be encouraged. (Please note the following pertains to relatively short-term relationships, ideally under 6 months. Anything over that may be considered illogical and unreasonable. Do not attempt divorce via text.)

It makes you pause

The instantaneousness of speaking in person can often cause hasty comments and knee-jerk responses that are never thought through well. Even when trying to end a relationship, the in-person approach can lead to a lot of things not going as you'd hoped; you can distort your reasoning or say something truly offensive you didn't actually mean. But when you're forced to type your statement and look at it before you send, you're forced to organize your thoughts clearly and express yourself fully so the receiver gets the message exactly how you intended.

It's permanent 

Verbally, things can be forgotten, misheard or misunderstood. You can instantly take things back or re-qualify what you mean with another statement. Textually, you're not afforded such a luxury. Knowing that the message is permanent, it becomes less of a comment and more of a statement, something you're obligated to stand behind and that the recipient can view essentially forever. Certainly, you could try to walk back a texted statement, but it's a lot harder than something impermanent, to both write and receive. So in short — it works.

You don't have to see them

Many view the in-person break up as kinder and simpler, but that's not always the case. Firstly, it's not like you just knock on your partner's door, say "We're through!" and leave. You often have to set up a dinner or coffee date, assume they don't expect anything and then awkwardly circle the drain a few times before finally getting to your point. God forbid you have this conversation in public, you'll have to use the quiet-but-stern argument tone and over-tip your waiter out of sympathy. Via text, you can get straight to the matter; there is nothing to distract you from the matter at hand.

There's no temptation

We've all been stuck in this rut; you intend to break up, but seeing them in person conjures up old comfortable habits and you end up falling into the routine of your relationship. Lest we forget the time-honoured tradition of "make up sex". But how is this healthy? You string along your partner — who has been put through the ringer and is now under the assumption everything is fine - and you cause dissonance with yourself, continuing a situation you know you're not happy with. By texting, you've effectively removed yourselves from this situation. To ensure the temptation won't follow you, there's a few methods you can employ. You can block them on social media, though if you don't want to be so harsh, you can unsubscribe from their notifications so they won't pop up in your feed and you can also limit what they see from you. Similarly, you can block their number and contact info on your phone or filter the messages they send you.

In short, the usual prevalent thought here is that texting is both impersonal and curt, but, then again, so is breaking up. Think of texting as the band aid method - breaking up unequivocally sucks, so quit prolonging it, pick up your phone and do it in the most rational, clear and efficient way possible.


RJ Skinner is an actor, writer and pro wrestler, so he rants and raves in various states of undress. Follow him on IG @rjcity and if you're feeling crafty, behold the Cynical Crafter.