Can I break up with someone over chat?
February 23, 2014 3:49 PM Subscribe
I need help with the logistics of breaking up with someone. I have been seeing this person for about a year. It started out as a casual thing and he asked to be exclusive (I am female). I have cautioned all along that I am not ready for something serious (just out of a years-long relationship), and to be honest, although I have enjoyed my time with him, there are a number of deal-breakers that make it time for me to move on for both our sakes. We haven’t had any fights or anything. I just feel like it’s time. I need to find out if there is anything approaching a consensus on how to actually go about this though, because, as always, there are complications.
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (69 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
The problem is…how to do it? I know everyone says to do it in person, and I am not trying to shy away from that, but: We live about an hour apart by public transportation (neither of us has a car). When we meet, it is with the intention of spending at least the night and often several nights together. My place is no good because I have housemates and there is no privacy, plus I don’t want to invite him over (again, suggesting time together) to dump him. His place—I would travel there with him expecting me to stay, and then dump him and leave—and then his housemates are all, where did she go? and he has to deal with telling them he just got dumped, or has to lie.
Public seems kind of awful and again, would imply a nice date together that would actually be a meeting for the express purpose of dumping. I know people say if you can’t possibly do it in person but the second choice is the phone—but we both loathe the phone, never ever use it, and half the time he doesn’t know where his is.
However, we do chat online most days, off and on throughout the day. We have had fairly serious conversations over chat in the past. Yes, I could say “We need to talk,” and set up an in-person meeting, but that would be tantamount to saying “I am breaking up with you” anyway because we simply don’t have “we need to talk” level conversations. I keep hearing that breaking up over chat is horrible, but in this case, it seems to me it would be the kindest thing, to simply cut to the chase there and break up with him there and offer to talk with him about it further over the phone or in person.
I am not trying to avoid an in-person conversation or run away from this; I just can’t figure out how to arrange the in-person conversation without telegraphing what is coming anyway, and that seems even crueler, to draw it out like that. He really likes me, he has no idea this is coming, he is emotionally stable and is going to be sad and miss me but it is not going to be the end of his world or anything. We have both known all along that this has an expiration date.
Tl;dr: I truly want to do this in the most compassionate way possible. It just seems that in-person breaking up involves either setting him up to expect a nice few days together and then dropping something horrible on him instead, or using language to arrange a meeting that says I'm breaking up with you anyway, thereby making him wait until we can meet up in person for me to--what, reinforce it? Is my idea therefore of delivering the initial news via chat a horrible one? If so, what would be the better alternative?