Remember the episode of Sex and the City when Burger broke up with Carrie via a Post-it note? It was the late 90s. She was hurt. How could someone be so insensitive and cowardly? I remember asking myself at the time, and in times since, what is proper break up protocol? When does the break up need to happen face-to-face? When does a phone call suffice? Is a text ever appropriate? What are the rules?
A few months ago I signed up for a matchmaking service. (In all my dating experience, I had never tried using a matchmaker.) I was matched with a really nice guy within the first month. We talked on the phone often. We went out on two dates. The dates were very nice. He treated me very well.
I went on a post-Thanksgiving trip to Seattle and thought through my feelings a bit. I had internally questioned our chemistry from the beginning. I worried about a lack of initial spark. I did not miss him while I was gone. (I wanted to, but did not.) I was not inspired to buy him a souvenir. (Somehow, I thought if I was in to him I would have.) What tipped the scale of my emotion was the text message I received as I traveled back to Cincinnati. He let me know he wanted to get together to give me the Christmas presents he had for me. I did not want to get together. I did not want to exchange presents. I felt pressured.
The slow steady questions that had be percolating in my mind began to surface. I did not want to see him and speak with him face-to-face. I did not want to have a long phone conversation laden with drama and guilt. We had gone on two dates and I did not want to continue dating him. What kind of closure is needed after two dates? That might seem cold, but I wanted to end it.
So I broke up with him via text (a 2012 version of a Post-it, I guess). The text message was short and simple. Direct. I let him know I did not want to continue dating. I wished him well, and shared my hope that he finds someone who can love him the way he wants to be loved. I said I was not that person. He returned my text and requested to meet. I declined. He said he thought people that used our match maker were supposed to want relationships. I thought, but did not write, I do want a relationship, just not with you. Isn’t that my right?
So I am left having broken up with someone via text message. I don’t question my decision to break up. Do I question my method of doing it? Probably. Maybe I should have looked him in the eye? Maybe we should have talked it through? I am not sure what that would have accomplished. I am happy with the outcome. Back in the day, I thought Burger got it all wrong. Now I cut him a bit of slack. Confrontation is tough. Relationships are complex. The rules of breaking up are not a clear cut as I would like. My hope is that my next date will be with “the one” and I won’t have to break up with anyone via text or any other means ever again.