Monday, April 23, 2007

Is breaking up by e-mail acceptable?

The Boston Globe has an article about the trend of breaking up through a text message or email.

To end a romance, just press 'send'

The use of e-mail and instant-messaging to end intimate relationships is gaining popularity because instantaneous communication makes it easy -- some say too easy -- to just call the whole thing off. Want to avoid one of those squirmy, awkward breakup scenes? Want to control the dialogue while removing facial expressions, vocal inflections, and body language from the equation? A solution is as near as your keyboard or cellphone.

It would be nice if the article actually provided any evidence of it gaining popularity, but it only provides some annecdotes.

Also, is this really any different from breaking up by phone or by letter? Both of which has been common through the ages. I can't really see that's the case, and while the phone break-up might seem more personal, due to the fact that you hear the other person's voice, it's still done from a distance. And here we are not even considering the break-up on the answering machine.

I always get a little annoyed when newspapers bring stories about "problems" with new technology, which are only old "problems" transfered to a new media.

And as the article makes clear, there can be very good reasons for not wanting to break up in person.

Sometimes there is a legitimate reason for wanting to avoid personal contact. Tara, a 32-year-old woman who lives near Boston, says her ex-husband was intimidating and emotionally abusive during their marriage.

So when she wanted to end the marriage several years ago, she felt more comfortable doing so by sending a text message.

But again, who gets to decide what reasons are legitimate? If a relationship is not working, but the person who feel that way can't bring themselves to say it to the person's face, it's quite legitimate to do it by a different media.

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Anonymous Leslie Spitz-Edson said...

Much better to end the relationship by e-mail or text message than to let it drag on and on for lack of courage!

And I certainly agree with what you say about translating old problems to new technology.

April 24, 2007 1:17 PM  

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