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Don’t dump me that way

Posted on Monday, February 21, 2011 in Advice, dating, Honesty, Men, Relationships, Women

I had just sat down with The Kid for dinner when my cellphone rang. I never answer the phone when I’m dining — that’s what voice mail is for — so I ignored it. Then it rang again. And again. And again.

Then I started to worry; what happened?

I looked at the missed calls — it was Mia. So I called her back.

“What’s wrong?”

All I heard were heavy sobs and a lot of nose-blowing.

“Mia, you OK, honey?”


“What about Rex? Is he OK?”

“He, he, he dumped me!”

“He what?!?”

“He dumped me, on, on, on ..”            

“On what?”

“The phone. He dumped me by phone!”

I nearly dropped my phone. Mia and Rex have been seeing each other for years. I knew they had their troubles recently but, what couple doesn’t? Regardless — you don’t dump your long-time sweetie by phone. Or do you?

I was as horrified as everyone else when Britney Spears sent Kevin Federline packing by text a few years back, setting the stage for millions of  texting dumpers. But that was just the beginning; now people are breaking up by Facebook (since when is his status
) and Twitter (are 140 characters enough?)

What’s the proper etiquette on how to kiss someone goodbye forever? Can texting “We R through” or “U R history” or something pithy like that ever be the right thing to do?

Sure, according to a Male Call column yesterday that gives ground rules for modern-day breakups.

Texting is OK  if you’re been dating less than a week. You’re not even worthy of that if it’s only been a date (although neither seem much like a relationship and therefore not much of a breakup, right?) Still, that leaves a lot of people— the ones who no doubt felt some sort of a “connection” —  wondering, what happened?

OK, well, maybe no one owes you anything after one or two dates — unless your date said, “Let’s make plans again soon” when he/she knew there was no way in hell that was happening. Still, people do that; that’s just messed up.

So, how do you handle breakups? Here’s what else Male Call says:

  • Marriage of longer than two days: Weeks or months of couples therapy is appropriate, which will serve to remind you both of all the reasons you shouldn’t be together any longer.
  • LTR, featuring living together and commingling of assets: Face-to-face talk, especially revolving around who gets the elk antler coffee table (him) and who gets the friends (her).
  • Six months: Still merits a face-to-face encounter, preferably at her place. If things go south, at least she’ll be smashing her ceramic unicorn collection instead of your pristine set of NFL snow globes.
  • One to three months: This is phone-call territory. No need for detailed explanations — get in, get out, nobody gets hurt. Oh, sorry. That’s just a saying. And don’t leave the news on her voice mail. Unless she’s really hard to get hold of and you’ve tried, like, two times already.
  • One week: Sit outside her house and text her from your car.
  • One date: Think fondly of your time together as you dial another girl’s number.

I’m not sure I agree that you can break up by phone after one to three months; a lot would depend on whether you were seeing each other the traditional Friday-Saturday nights or if you were screwing each other silly seven days a week and twice on Sundays. That might require some face time. Otherwise you’re going to send a lot of nice women to Ben & Jerry’s needlessly.

Actually, I think once you’re actually exchanged bodily fluids — and it wasn’t a mutually agreed upon one-night stand — then you owe someone a call.

  • How do you breakup with someone?
  • Do you have your own guidelines?
  • What’s the worst way anyone’s ever dumped you?
  • Ever regret the way you’ve dumped someone?
  • Is it OK to text, Facebook  or Twitter a goodbye?

Bring on the comments

  1. T
    Twitter: tsquest

    Eesh. By phone? That’s cold.

    And some people are just too scared of the emotional reaction.

    (Now feeling bad for breaking up with my last bf by voice mail…. and TRUST me, he was hard to get a hold of.)

  2. Steve says:

    Now there is, you don’t even have to get up the nerve to risk a conversation. You can go straight to voice mail.

  3. The Observer says:

    I’ve done it by phone several times before–she was on another coast or many hours drive away. I prefer the in-person event. The physical aspects of the realization of discontinued compatibility need to be witnessed in person to move the breakup to the next stage. I get a sick feeling in my stomach just thinking of the pain and discomfort of ending a relationship. Each person needs to determine how they feel and the mechanism–I don’t believe there are actually rules that govern this type of thing. There’s no manual or protocol page in intimate human relations–but there is gain and loss in anything that humans do. I apologize again to any woman/girl that I dumped–and the girls that dumped me, screw you! :0

  4. Chopper Papa
    Twitter: chopperpapa

    All I have to say is that karma is a beotch….dump somebody in a trashy, sleezy way and it’s sure to come back around. I say always go out with style. If the ‘L’ word was ever uttered or even perceived then face to face is the only way to go. If it wasn’t a cheating, lying, or stealing the face to face is probably the way to go. It if was FWB, or anything not mentioned above then phone is fine.

    Go out with style, you never can tell with frequent flier miles may kick in…jus sayin.

    Texting and any form of social media is for cowards and loosers.

  5. Steve says:

    I agree that breaking up with someone over text, email, social media is cowardly. I disagree that breaking up with someone over the phone isn’t cowardly.

  6. Kat Wilder says:

    T — Voice mail? Bad girl! Please have Gentleman Jack smack your butt … 😉

    Steve — No!!! Really? WTF???

    TO — LOL! Yes, well, I’m sure all those girls are realizing the grave mistake they made …

    Chopper Papa — yes, of course. The L word should be a deciding factor. Although, a girlfriend was dating someone for a year before the L word reared its head. If they had broken up at month 9, a face-to-face still would have been the way to go.

  7. Janet
    Twitter: youshouldknowca

    Oh GAWD (hands over eyes) this is a dandy that hasn’t been simplified by new technology. But my Drama Queen reaction aside, I’m with you on decency. Facebook and Twitter? Tacky at best, could border on cruel depending on the circumstances. I say play it forward- even if it’s a long distance thing and you can’t imagine ever seeing said person again, you might. How will your break up choice influence how you feel at a later encounter? I think kindness and grace are good guides. Hold your head high, take a deep breath, and as Chopper Papa says, think of karma.

  8. Dualmom says:

    Kat, new reader here and how ironic that the very day I end a three month relationship via text I stumble upon your blog. New follower now and looking forward to reading more!


  9. Kat Wilder says:

    Dualmom — Welcome! Now that you’re among family — yes, it takes a village! — why did you dump via text instead of phone, face to face, or your buff tough-guy cousin Vinnie?

  10. William Belle
    Twitter: wqbelle

    65% of respondents said they had been asked out via text message and 49 percent through a Facebook message. And how personal is this digital communication? 43% of women and 27% of men reported at least one instance of getting dumped via text. Getting dumped by text; now how personal is that? I look down at my Blackberry and read, “It’s not you; it’s me.” Hmmm, how do I text “B.S.”?
    Sex in the digital age

  11. Aleya Bamdad says:

    A bit late here because I was away earlier in the week, but I think that anything over a month gets a phone call. If you’ve gone out once a week for 4 weeks in a row, that was time well spent- unless something really bad happened on the date. Personally I hate texting to begin with so if you feel like you have to text to break up with someone, in my eyes it’s the ultimate way of saying ‘I hate you and you’re not worth my time.’