We’ve all heard it before: decent people do not, ever, break up through text. It’s taboo. It’s rude. The dumpee is entitled to a face-to-face encounter where tears may or may not be shed, where there is an opportunity to talk about it a.k.a. beg the dumper to not do the dumping.
Breaking up is one of the hardest things to do simply because once it’s out there, it can turn a whole world upside down. Suddenly, you are no longer loved. Suddenly, the closest person to you wants distance, maybe permanently. Suddenly, you are now just friends, or in most cases, strangers. It’s a sensitive move and the results can be volatile. It’s an action expressing discontent and unhappiness. It’s a desire for an end. The reasons behind a breakup can be as varied as the couples themselves. While I understand why face-to-face breakups are preferred, I believe that text breakups are not only acceptable, but sometimes necessary.
I was in a relationship once, and everything was going well. We were in love. Until I realized he never really loved me. He was emotionally abusive. He would humiliate me in public and demean me in private. He would shame me about my body. He would blame me for everything that went wrong and never apologize. He demanded all of my time and energy, but he never paid attention to my needs. This was my first relationship. Due to my naivety, I believed that a relationship meant love and love meant getting hurt. Love meant taking it all: the good and the bad, especially the bad. Love meant soldiering through tough times, even if the tough times came often, because the rainbow at the end would make it worth it. Most times, there was no rainbow to speak of.
I took this maltreatment everyday and swore it was because of love. Until one day during the holidays while I was back in my home town, he screamed at me mercilessly over the phone. The friends who were with him told me he wasn’t drunk at all, meaning he made being drunk an excuse to treat me that way. This was my wake-up call. Two days later, I dumped him over text. Let me tell you why.
Earlier in the relationship he would treat me so bad that I would decide to break up with him. I would decide that I’ve had enough. I firm up my resolve before I go see him. “This is it,” I say. “This is the day all this stops.” But every time, when we are finally within arm’s reach, he pulls me back in his arms, tells me that he loves me, and I feel my resolve dissolve. Suddenly I am okay, I am willing to let it all go –again– and try, again. This cycle repeated itself over the course of almost a year that we were together.
This dysfunctional relationship was taking over my life. Sometimes it made me too sad to go to class. I rarely spent time with my friends. My decisions were affected by what he would think and my schedules revolved around his.
It needed to end, yet every time I tried, I couldn’t. Breaking up with him in person was too difficult because every time I tried, I was manipulated into taking him back. I had to do it through text because it absolutely needed to end.
At first I was self-conscious about what other people would think of me had they known that I broke up with him through text, given all the negative press the subject has been getting. They would think I am rude. They would think I am an indecent person; a cruel person for doing that to a person I once loved.
Let’s talk about decency. It is not me who owes the other any decency here. I have been a decent person throughout our entire relationship. It is not me who has a decency debt. I had to do what I did to gain some decency for myself. I had to do it for me because otherwise, I could have been stuck in that abusive relationship for God knows how much longer. For a long time, I have stuck by and even made excuses for his lack of decency when dealing with me. It’s about time I stood up for myself and said “No more.”
I had to do the breakup this way because I was afraid of what he would do to me or say to me in the way he does when he is angry. He was capable of hurting me even from a distance and I would hate to imagine what he could do when he is near. I was protecting myself from more damage that could have been done had I done it in person.
Breaking up over text is acceptable and in some cases necessary. Don’t let the unpopularity and perceived distastefulness of the method keep you from freeing yourself from a person who isn’t good for you. You’ll thank yourself.