The rare situation when it *is* okay to break up via text message


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When it comes to dating, I am not someone who typically adheres to “rules.” I think the three-day rule, wherein you wait three days post-date before contacting the person, is totally passé and wack. I am always happy to send the first text message. And if you think a guideline from someone who’s an expert in…um…not my personal choices is going to stop be from having sex on the first date if I want to, you’re sadly mistaken. That said, there is one hard-and-fast rule that I absolutely adhere to (and also actively campaign for others to abide by). And that, my friends, is to never, under any circumstances, ever break up over text.

A breakup, IMHO, should always be a face-to-face affair. It’s uncomfortable, yes. But it shows that you respect the other person and the relationship itself enough to resign yourself to a few cringeworthy minutes. It’s totally appropriate to text your friends when you’re canceling plans. It’s not cool to text your S.O. when you’re canceling a relationship. And I’m not alone in my stance on this. “Breaking up via text can often leave the receiving partner feeling confused, abandoned, and with an overall lack of closure,” says therapist Daniel Olavarria, LCSW.

That said, it turns out my no-texting-while-heart-breaking rule does have two caveats. Yep, there are times when a text message break-up notice is not only of sound etiquette, but also expert recommended.

“Your method of communication during a breakup should always come second to your safety, so make the choice that is best for your particular situation.” —Daniel Olavarria, LCSW

“When deciding whether to text or not to text, let the depth and substance of your relationship, and your personal safety, be the guide,” Olavarria says. “If you have been on one or two dates with someone, a text message is perfectly suitable.” Basically, if what you’re exiting is a non-relationship, send that text. “Just make sure it’s friendly and direct,” he adds. There are, however, exceptions to the exception. If you’ve slept together, it would be nice to offer a bit more than a “I’m just not feeling a vibe!” text message.

The second caveat is, of course, your safety. If for whatever reason your partner is making you feel threatened or unsafe, a text message might be the best way to let them know that you’re done. “Your method of communication during a breakup should always come second to your safety, so make the choice that is best for your particular situation,” Olavarria says.

So sure, rules in relationships may be easy to bend. But if you’re going to be breaking up with someone, just don’t be a jerk. Face time (not FaceTime) is always better than a text message.

Texting or not, don’t ever wait till after the holidays to dump your S.O. Also, here’s how to end ghosting once and for all.

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