Alison Taylor on relationships: I was dumped by text message

 

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The Independent Online

Is it acceptable to dump somebody by text message? I'd like to say I'm asking for a friend but, alas, it was me on the receiving end of, not one, but four speech bubbles of doom a couple of weeks ago, and I have to admit: it burnt.

I sat agape for a while, reading and re-reading – Burn! Burn! – before doing what any modern woman should do when trying to assess exactly how outraged she should feel: I googled it.

Guess what? It's not unusual at all; in fact, it is very usual indeed (though I have yet to decide whether that should make me feel better or worse).

Spark Networks, which owns several dating websites, commissioned a study of 1,500 singles aged 21-to-50 and discovered that 59 per cent thought it was quite normal to break up a 'casual relationship' with a text; while 24 per cent think a text break-up is fair play even if the relationship was serious. Hmmm.

So then you're scratching your head thinking, what constitutes casual? A hip grind at Visage nightclub when your two main loves were Taboo lemonade and your Nokia 3410, maybe; but three months, a weekend away, meeting each other's friends and listening to somebody bore on about their work on a daily basis? Surely that should get you more than a text for the final act?

A male friend of mine, who dared to dump his ex by SMS some years ago, agrees. There are rules, he tells me. Or there should be. "Text dumping before sex or parent meeting is a yes. Anything after that, and really it is time to get a table in the back of your local Starbucks and talk it out," he explains, citing his own mistake with the girl "who got a bit aggro when she'd had a drink" from whom he received a right hook after text-dumping her. They were in sixth form at the time, though, so I can't help but think the foolery of youth has something to do with it. But in your thirties?

Well, yeah, actually. Because when it comes to relationships now, the smartphone rules (us). In a way, you could say it's the tech version of the circle of life: relationships are born by phone and they die by phone. Unfortunately, so does another little piece of your soul when you press send.

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