Can You Say “Thank You, Next” Over Text? The Pros and Cons of Dumping Via DM
A short text seems like a harsh way to tell someone you don’t want to keep seeing them anymore.
But with so many different styles of relationships, the more casual way we date right now and the pivotal role that technology plays in the dating world, maybe a break-up text isn’t actually so bad.
Personally, I’ve only ever been broken up with via text when the relationship hasn’t been that serious. Although it’s always a bit of a sting — because ultimately, it’s a form of rejection — I’ve actually really appreciated the honesty.
In my opinion, a text can actually be a great way to end things with someone in an honest and respectful way, without having to create an unnecessarily intense IRL experience. Like, if I’d only been seeing someone for a few weeks or had been on a few dates with them, I wouldn’t want them to break up with me in public or even in person.
Because despite any break up being a little disappointing, I appreciate the opportunity to get upset about it by myself. Plus, a text is a clear, digestible way to acknowledge that things aren’t going anywhere. In person, sometimes our emotions or desires can get the better of us, which is always confusing.
My friend Jack agrees. He has a text template, that he sends to people when he’s not feeling it anymore. But he only sends it to people he’s been dating for less than three months.
“I only ever break up with someone via text if it’s someone I’m ‘seeing’. Anything over three months, you can’t break up with someone over text — that’s just poor form.”
You might initially cringe at the idea of a text template (I know I did), but his explanation leaves food for thought.
“I’m not into ghosting, I think ghosting is really sh*t. You’ve got to say something. People deserve to know where they stand with you.”
His template reads: ‘hey (insert name here), you’re incredible and you’ve got so much to offer the world, but unfortunately you’re not right for me. I wish you all the best.’
“If I’m ending things with someone, period, I’m really not into them. I want to be honest, but I don’t want to be rude. The template is something I’ve carefully thought about, so it’s my way of being thought-out — and I add things depending on the person. The template is just the base of the message.”
The responses are as you’d expect. About half respond with sentiments like “thanks for letting me know, I appreciate the honesty” while the other half say something like “you’re such an asshole, f*** you”.
Honestly, I think both responses are valid.
But, Wouldn’t You Rather Know When Someone’s Not Into You?
“Absolutely,” an Instagram follower of mine, Amy, says.
Amy was broken up with via text, by someone she’d been seeing for a few months. He’d become increasingly distant and she could tell that maybe his feelings had changed.
“Things were amazing at the start. One of those instant physical connections, you know? We spent every day together for the first few weeks — which is never a good idea — but then, after that, we’d started seeing each other less. Nothing went “wrong”, but it just wasn’t as exciting all of a sudden.
“We kept seeing each other for a few months. I think we found comfort in each other and actually developed a really great friendship. I just don’t think it was meant to be, in a romantic sense. But yeah, I felt him pull away, and honestly, I was feeling a bit distant too. But after a few months of neither of us saying anything, I sent him a pretty upfront text asking what was up.”
He responded to her in an equally upfront way. He said: “I’ve really enjoyed our time together, but I don’t think I feel that romantic spark with you that I did at the beginning. Sorry for not being open sooner, I just didn’t know how to say it.”
They went on to have a long chat about it (over text), and ended things on an amicable note; agreeing to catch up for a drink in a month or so to check-in.
“I was so grateful that he was honest with me,” she says. “Like of course, it hurt a bit. Even though I wasn’t fully invested either, it always hurts when someone says that they’re not into you. But I’d so much rather that, than us just trying to be into each other for months to come.
“There are too many other babes out there in the world, for that.”
Are There Positives to a Break-Up Via Text?
My colleague Alana actually prefers them.
“It’s just the kind of communicator I am,” she says. “I think a break-up text is good, because it gives both people time to really think about what they want to say.”
As someone who has been broken up with via text, she’s speaking from experience on this.
“I’d been seeing this girl for a while but we weren’t official. We had the talk and decided to keep things casual — which I suggested because I’m afraid of commitment — and also suited her, as she’d just gotten out of a relationship.
“The next day she messaged me saying she’d had some time to think about it, and realised couldn’t keep doing a casual thing because she’s the relationship type and really liked me. She didn’t give me an ultimatum, which I was super appreciative of, but basically said she knew I didn’t want a relationship so we should end it.”
Alana was naturally a bit crushed, as they’d had an amazing afternoon together the day before, but she understood. And she preferred that it was over text than in real life.
“With a relationship like this, that was casual but pretty intense (seeing each other multiple times a week, hung out with each other’s friends at least once) it took a lot of the negative emotion out of a break-up,” she says.
“Plus, she didn’t have to organise a time to see me in person, wait a few days for that, only to break up with me!”
So, to Send or Not to Send?
Given these experiences, a text break-up is all about the individual situation. Clearly, there are scenarios where a break-up text is okay and sometimes even preferred.
If you’re in a serious, long-term relationship, the general consensus is absolutely not. Your partner definitely deserves a little more than some words in a little digital bubble.
However, if it’s more on the casual end, you’re not officially dating and haven’t made any sweeping promises — a text could actually be the way to go.
My take? Trust your gut. If a text feels wrong, give them a call or organise a time to meet up. If a text feels okay, perhaps simpler and a little less emotionally damaging, go with the text. Just make sure that you’re open, honest and respectful; either way.