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A Beginner's Guide to Breaking It Off: The Text

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Is there ever a nice way to bid adieu to an affair of the heart? Is the blow any less crushing because you have communicated it via a gift-wrapped box of (live) white doves, after an afternoon of champagne or during a shuddering orgasm? Probably not.

But there are many ways of delivering the fatal thud to the back of the head that so many relationships suffer. It's just about picking your moment - and your method.

Textual ditching gets a very bad press. When Frasier star Kelsey Grammer fluffed out his hair, primed his best texting finger and sent the SMS which would end his 15-year marriage, the papers and news outlets that still cared about him were up in arms. How could someone who so charmingly growled about tossed salad and scrambled eggs be so callous as to finish off all those years of wedded bliss with a robotic network message? While Grammer perhaps should have really thought that one over a bit longer, there's a lot to be said for euthanising your relationship via text.

For relatively short flings, it is perfectly acceptable, as long as you get the language right. When dumping anybody by any method, the one thing to remember - and that so many forget - is: DON'T BE AN ARSEHOLE. As cathartic as it may be to list all your soon-to-be ex's failings, it won't help anybody and acting like a piece of shit is bad karma.

What texting does is gives you the opportunity to get fairly straight to the point, remain emotionless, and more importantly, get to the end of the dumping without any interruptions, like tears, or screaming, or a wine glass in your face.

Some examples to avoid:

"I'm shagging someone else."
"You're ditched."
"The sex was totes abysmoid. Laterz."
"You smell like a caged animal, so I'm setting you free back into the wild."
"Don't you think I deserved that last Emmy for Frasier? Really?"

 Some better examples:

"I didn't really feel any spark."
"I feel we've lost momentum after not seeing each other much recently."
"I think I need some time by myself."
"I'm not sure we're right for each other."
"I think I'd rather just leave it there for now. Can we stay friends?"

It doesn't matter whether you don't mean it or are lying or hiding your true feelings. Who cares? That's not what this is about. You're done here.

Those who think texting is callous miss the point entirely - they probably deserve to be dumped. Texting that it's over is a kindness. You're sparing them the humiliation of a very public break-up. They can put any spin on it they like:

"Oh yeah, we ended it over text; it was no big deal. We weren't that serious."

Or, more likely:

"Can you believe the total BASTARD ended it by text? A few short lines? Some bullshit about there being no spark. No spark?! What am I? A fucking Roman candle?! I hope he gets eaten by sharks. I'm better off without him."

If you're seen as a bit of a coward, so be it; if you're merely ending a fling, there isn't much to be gained by drawing out the whole process over a miserable drink in a pub, where everyone else is having a good time. A text also helps the dumpee to react however they want: nobody wants to get angry or cry in front of someone they've had sex with only two or three times.

When a ditching text is appropriate:

- You've been dating a month or two and haven't been gelling particularly well.
- You've been going out for a few months, but seeing each other less and less - a 'dwindler'.
- The last time you saw each other was an utter shambles and you're both too ashamed to admit how dreadful it was.

When a ditching text is inappropriate:

- You're about to jet off on a romantic holiday together.
- They're waiting at the head of the altar.
- You've been together for five years.

Use your common sense. Would you be devastated if you got a Dear John text from them right now? Oh, you would? Oh. Well, send it anyway. Time is money.