I just read an article in Newsweek, Breakup 2.0, about the use of technology in dumping your significant other. It starts off with, “Remember the 2003 episode of Sex and the City in which the girls were shocked that Carrie’s beau Berger broke up with her via a Post-it note?” Yes, I do. “But seven years later, it just seems so…2003.”
2003? The first time I used email to break up with a boyfriend was in 1995. Maybe electronic dumping wasn’t adopted by the masses until the dawn of Facebook in 2004, but now there really are many options for breaking it off. Facebook, Twitter, texting, email, voicemail, blogs. (side note: do you wonder how long it will take before the F and the T in Facebook and Twitter are replaced with small letters?) So many easy ways to end a relationship without having to communicate face to face.
As for the guy in 1995, I regret breaking up with him through email. It was cowardly of me. But we were living in different states, and I had met someone new. And I wanted to end one relationship so that I could begin another without overlapping. The least I could have done was call. But I sent an email instead. I’m a jackass.
At least I was a jackass in 1995. In 2010, this seems like a perfectly reasonable thing to do. I commence my non-relationships all the time through email and texting. Especially when the “relationship” (lets use that term loosely, shall we, since most dates only get one, possibly two chances before I cut them loose) started through OKCupid or some other online dating site.
The last guy I was seriously dating I broke up with face to face. On New Years Eve. I am the biggest jackass on the planet. He is a fabulous guy. He will make a terrific husband and will be the best dad ever. And I wanted desperately to make it work. That brings me to the reason why I started telling you about this article.
Rebecca got angrier and angrier because she couldn’t engage him in an actual conversation about what had gone wrong.
Nothing went wrong! There is nothing wrong with him. He did everything right. But try as I might, my heart just wasn’t in it. I spent all of Christmas holiday with him and his amazing family, trying to convince my heart to see the light. But I couldn’t. I felt like a complete failure. And at the absolute last moment, I ended it because there was nothing more I could do. I had to cut him loose so that he could find true love. Because sadly, I wasn’t it.
Rebecca, wanting to find out what had gone wrong, is barking up the wrong tree. Relationships are not like employment. Leaving a job, it is helpful to let HR know why you are leaving so that changes can be made in management, or the team, or procedures. But leaving a relationship has nothing to do with logical thought. There is nothing that you can learn from asking the question, “What went wrong” because in all likeliness, nothing went wrong. You just weren’t a match. A relationship is two-sided, and if one side suddenly finds themselves no longer interested, it doesn’t really matter why.
There is nothing I could have said to answer that question that would have made it better. He doesn’t need to change. Neither does the guy I left in 1995. They needed to find someone who could love them for who they are, not who they could become. And I wasn’t that person, as much as I wanted to be.
And I’ve been punishing myself for the last four and a half years. I suppose it is time to stop.