The Art of the Break-up
Welcome to the age of the unanswered text! These days, it's far more common to be ghosted than to actually have a respectable break-up. What does that mean for most of us? Confusion, wine and tears.
Yes, the old saying still rings true: "Breaking up is hard to do."
Whether it happens in person, over phone or by text, the bottom line is someone is going to get hurt. Unless you are a real asshole, you don't actually want the other person to feel pain, so you may find yourself developing a plan to let them down as easily as possible. Now apply that idea to 2017: The age of hiding behind our computer/phone screens to avoid our fear of letting someone down. Of course, it’s easier to type it out rather than express your feelings face-to-face. At least if we break up by text, we don't have to watch the person's face drop when we break the news that we're about to make like a bad check and bounce out of the relationship. Disaster avoided, right?
Well, I hate to break it to you, but the letdown is still there and cannot be avoided.
Now, I've had my fair share of break-ups throughout the years. Some I've handled respectably, and some I handled like Britney Spears circa 2006 when she dumped K-Fed via text. Pretty shitty. I never got over how I handled my break-up over text. To this day, I still beat myself up for running away scared like a child.
At the time, I saw no other way to handle the situation. Deep down, I knew I made the right decision by ending things, but on the surface, I could very easily have been persuaded into staying in a relationship I knew wasn't right. I knew if I saw the hurt in his eyes, I would want to make it better, and I would put my true feelings on the back burner at the risk of disappointing someone I cared about.
If there is one thing our generation needs to learn, it is this: You cannot run from feelings. They will hunt you down and find you. And when you do take a chance on someone who doesn't pan out, you have to end the relationship in a respectable fashion – not just for them, but for yourself. Ghosting a person after more than one date will only leave you feeling like a coward, and that's because you are acting like a coward.
The act of ghosting is only setting you up for the occasional 2 a.m. text from that person, trying to get some sort of idea of what went wrong. If you can pull yourself together long enough to end things face to face, you will actually have a better chance of a clean break. Meaning, the other person will know exactly where they stand without question. Really, that's all anyone wants at the end of the day.
If you find yourself questioning a future with the person you are dating, you should be honest about that as soon as the feeling occurs. You deserve to be happy and the person you are seeing deserves honesty. I'm not saying the other person will always take such abrupt news well initially, but eventually he or she should be able to look back and say, "Yeah, that sucked, but at least they were honest and upfront with me."
No one likes to feel vulnerable, which is exactly why we all take off running as soon as we start to catch "the feels." It's the potential of facing rejection that really freaks us out. So, if you are going to make someone face their fear of rejection, be a dime and handle it well. Be honest and direct. If there is no chance of a reconciliation, say so. You will do the other person a favor by eliminating the "what if" scenarios.
I know that times are changing faster than Taylor Swift can reinvent herself, but I feel like no matter what changes in the world, respect should stay the same. Pay it forward. Always be fair – you never know when the tables will turn. You may find yourself getting dumped and I can bet you would much rather have a mature explanation than a string of text messages.
Michele is a former St. Louis Rams Cheerleader living in St. Louis. Follow Michele from the sidelines of the NFL to the sidelines of the modern dating world.