I remember mulling over this very question for hours recently with my girlfriends, trying to find the best way to break up with my boyfriend of 8 months. It wasn’t that I didn’t love him or that he wasn’t a terrific guy, it was simply that the relationship had nowhere else to grow; it was a dead end and I needed to move on-- and fast. I remember my best friend saying, “Think of it as a band-aid, just rip it off and get it over with, and do it in person.” Stubborn as I always am, I kept arguing, ‘But why do I have to do it in person? Why can’t I just write him an email or a letter?’ Let’s face it, I knew deep down that I couldn’t, but I was a huge coward, especially since (gasp!) I had never ended a relationship in person. In the end, I followed my friends’ advice and did the deed face to face over coffee. Surprisingly, I won a few brownie points in his eyes.
But really, what is wrong with breaking up over email, especially if you are a blubbering fool who can only get her true feelings out on paper?? Since I am simply an ordinary human being with no dating expertise, I turned to Lucia, internationally acclaimed relationship expert and author of Lucia’s Lessons of Love, for advice. Her reaction was more or less similar to that of my friends-- “Are you crazy?”
She says hiding behind the Internet to end an emotional relationship is flat out wrong and that to do so, is “heartless, cold, and shows a lack of class” (uh oh!). Plus, you would hate to have it done to you, so why would you do it to someone else? Good point. Plus, there’s that darn karma (if you believe in that kind of thing. You know what they say, karma can be a b…)
She suggests that if you no longer wish to see that certain someone that you’ve dated only a few times, you should stop all contact with them. And, if they contact you, you should gently but firmly state that you don’t feel a connection, no chemistry, whatever you feel and make it clear that you don’t want to see them again.
If it’s someone you’ve been dating for a while, but aren’t exactly in a committed relationship, you can resort to the first excuse—the feelings aren’t there anymore, you don’t feel the connection, or it’s simply not working for you. He should get the hint and move on.
Finally, if you are in a committed relationship, like the 8-month relationship I was in, or, yes, even if it’s a mere 3-month relationship, you owe that person some face time. You need to meet with him in person and give him an explanation. This is the only way that he can absorb what you are saying yet have some time to air his feelings. It provides your former significant other the chance for closure, so that he can move on as you’ve already done. (Guys—if you’re reading this…the same rules apply!)
Still unconvinced? Well, take my friend’s advice think of it as a band-aid, the faster you rip it off, the less painful. Be prepared, however, for crying, begging, anger, and/or silence. These are normal side effects to the break up, and are part of the necessary medicine. Because one day down the road, you two will cross paths and he will greet you warmly, remembering that you took the time and effort to spoon-feed him reasons why you two would never have worked out. OK, maybe that’s a stretch, but it sounds good.
Bottom line: in the name of good karma or simply class, gather up your courage and face the bull head on. If I could do it, you most definitely can. Now, I have some emails to send to ex-boyfriends. I wonder if they’re talking to me….
The author of Lucia’s Lessons of Love and the host of “The Art of Love” on L.A. Talk Radio, Lucia has over one hundred national and international TV and radio credits including Dr. Phil, The Tyra Banks Show, E! Entertainment, 60 Minutes, and The CBS Early Show. Lucia has over twenty-five years of experience on the dating scene and offers a practical guide on dating for both sexes. She is internationally known as a dating and relationship expert and TV personality.