As the great Neil Sedaka sang, breakin' up is hard to do. And he's right. Whether you are the one breaking, or the one being broken to, it's a generally uncomfortable time for all. And in the age of online dating, where setting up a date each night is a legit possibility, that can mean needing to break up more often as well. So in the age of apps, do you always need to break up in person?
Despite how normal it might seem to slip away from your romance with a text, people don't love it. Michael Kaye, global communications manager at OKCupid, tells Bustle that in an OKCupid survey, 81% of respondents said it is not OK to breakup with someone over email or text. With that being said, women are more likely to break up with someone online than men.
But in truth, each breakup is as unique as the relationships themselves. Below, people share why online breakups are sometimes the way to go, and can be preferable, depending on the circumstance. General rules to live by? Be as clear as you can be. Even if it's a digital breakup, you're going to only want to do it once, you know?
1. Jared, 32
"It might sound weird, but in person it’s much easier to have empathy, and that empathy might go so far as to prevent you from hurting the person with the breakup. Which ultimately is not the right thing to do. That has definitely happened to me a few times, where I have stayed in something longer because I haven't just gone ahead and said it. Doing it online can help that process along."
2. Jude, 31
"In general I think actually saying things at all is better than ghosting, which is such a pattern these days. Especially in more casual relationships. When someone is breaking up with me, I would much rather something fast and straightforward, even if that means online. I’ve actually been pretty lucky to have dated people who’ve modeled good communication even during breakups, and over time I learned to copy what I had seen. Be kind, but be honest."
3. Devin, 27
"I think ghosting has become a more prominent option as the online dating game has grown. So a text message breakup may have seemed impersonal or cowardly years ago, but it now is considered a noble act since the other option is to stop responding and pretend you no longer exist [...] In this new landscape, one can avoid the painful, messy, and potentially dangerous experience of breaking up in person while also feeling like they did the right thing, so... why not?"
4. Stella, 25
"I’d much rather avoid having to awkwardly look someone in the eyes and be like 'this isn’t going anywhere' and then have to figure out whether we need to hug it out or shake hands afterwards. Plus, I'm a millennial, we love to text."
5. Stephen, 37
"I’d say that I wouldn’t want my [...] attraction to cloud my judgement about what’s best, and so it makes sense to communicate from a distance."
6. Rachel, 36
"I'm a firm believer that the degree of intimacy of the relationship should impact the degree of intimacy of the breakup. If we’ve gotten three drinks, I’d rather have a digital breakup. If it’s been awhile and things have gotten deeper, I would prefer someone to talk to me in person."
7. Steve, 23
"I’d also say that I communicate best through writing, not through speaking. So I’m doing us both a favor when I do it that way. Writing it out, you’re getting the best, most articulate version of me. I mean, if I get metaphoric about it, don’t you want more precision when it comes to [breaking up]? Or would you rather have it be a slow death and I fumble around trying to get my thoughts straight in person?"
8. George, 36
"I do it myself sometimes online, but I'm still on the fence as to whether or not it's better. I do think that once the breakup itself is over, 'breaking up' with their social media is also really important. The fastest way to let time heal is to cut the social media cord. If you don't have the willpower to ignore their feed, block them for your own sake."
9. Daiva, 29
"It is a hard call, and I do think it depends on the type of relationship you had as to whether or not you should do it in person. Another thing to think about is always safety and comfortability. If you are breaking up with someone who repeatedly stepped over your boundaries or the relationship had major difficulties, putting that space between you is really important and better all around."
At the end of the day, it's your call on how you communicate, after all. Honoring your boundaries and feelings when it comes to these things is always the best place to start.