Breaking up is hard to do, as the old Neil Sedaka song goes.
But arguably there is no more inauspicious way of ending a relationship than by text message (with the exception of, perhaps, the infamous dumping by Post It note on ‘Sex and the City’).
Amid ‘Love Island’ star Amber Gill’s claims that boyfriend Greg O’Shea broke up with her via text message, a leading relationships expert has spoken to Yahoo UK about whether it’s ever acceptable to break up with someone by text.
“A good break up is one of the most unique exercises in kindness and consideration you can have in life so treat it as gift,” Nichi Hodgson tells us.
“Nobody with even half a soul enjoys a break-up.
She adds: “Whether you're ending a 10-year tryst or a three-month fling, whether it was you, them, an affair was involved, or you simply don't fill one another with joy anymore, the only way you can make the situation even remotely redeeming is to do it with the utmost kindness.”
Judging by that logic, you likely won’t be surprised to hear a text message ending does not qualify – Hodgson says she would never endorse breaking up via text.
The important exception is in certain exceptional circumstances “if they've done something truly heinous”, such as physical violence towards you.
In that case, it is important to take measures to protect yours
“If they have done something terrible, block their number but make a point of writing it down somewhere safe first (email it to yourself, for example, just in case things escalate and you need to hand it over to the authorities),” she advises.
In all other circumstances, break-up texts are firmly off the cards.
Instead, Hodgson has shared her five key ways to make sure you break up with someone in a kind and respectable way.
How to break up with someone
1 Prepare – but don’t read off a script
It can be hard to find the words to break up with someone, and it’s important to plan what you’re going to say before you face the gut-wrenching conversation, says Hodgson. However, a pre-written script is the wrong way to go: “A rehearsed speech sounds contrived and if you're not breaking up with them because they've done something terrible, even more cruel, they'll wonder how long you've been sitting on these feelings for,” she says.
2 Make sure you’re breaking up for the right reasons
Hodgson advises you consults the Buddhist mantra: is it true? is it kind? is it necessary?
“Maybe you did really hate the way they blew their nose but is it really the reason you've decided to break up with them ? Don't hit out at petty things,” she suggests.
3 Meet somewhere appropriate
The criteria for a break-up venue is simple: somewhere neutral (so not of one your houses) and relatively private (so a park is better than a cafe, because people are less likely to overhear you).
4 Go in sober
While it might be tempting to go in with some Dutch courage, break-ups should be conducted sober. Getting drunk beforehand “only increase[s] the chance you do or say something you regret.”
5 Don’t go back
It can be hard to go through with a break-up, particularly if the other person is upset and cannot accept what is happening. But stick to your guns, advises Hodgson.
“Don't let someone talk you round into a make-up. That's manipulative and a sign they don't respect your boundaries,” she says.
6 Seek support afterwards
Even if you are the one doing the breaking up, the end of a relationship is always tough, Hodgson says – so seek support afterwards. “Do arrange to meet a friend afterwards or plan an activity,” she says. “Break-ups, whatever the circumstances, are generally deeply unpleasant and it could be better to have company / something pleasant to go on to.”
For help, support and further information about dealing with domestic violence experienced by yourself or someone you know, contact the National Domestic Violence Freephone Helpline on 0808 2000 247 or visit their website.