23/03/2011 07:57 GMT | Updated 22/05/2015 06:12 BST

Warning: This Text May Change Your Life. As Coleen Knows Only Too Well

When your mobile pings with an incoming message, most of us assume it will be something innocuous; last minute things to pick up from the supermarket, a friend rearranging a time to meet. The last thing expected is a brutal out-of-the blue message from your previously doting partner to say your relationship is essentially over.

If yesterday's reports are to be believed, this is exactly how Coleen Rooney found out about her husband's indiscretions with a prostitute, via a text message, whilst she was at her hairdressers – usually a place of safe haven, where women go to feel boosted with a bit of 'me time'.

That's the thing about messages (emails and Facebook notifications too), thanks to our fancy phones with inbuilt Wi-Fi, we can be simply anywhere when we receive them. When the news is bad or unsettling it feels like a total invasion of our own personal space, a threat to our sense of self.

Small mercies then that Mrs Rooney wasn't driving when Wayne texted her news of 'Juci Jeni's marriage-threatening allegations. Not only had he cheated on her whilst she was pregnant with their now nine-month-old son Kai but the whole world was going to read about his £1200 a night pre-arranged cheating whilst they ate their Sunday morning fry-ups. As far as confessions go, it doesn't get any worse than that.

To say Coleen would have felt shocked is an understatement, as it would appear that the husband and wife had spent the day together as normal, before he dealt the cowardly blow as soon as they were apart.

"Men do their best to avoid the face-to-face scenario," my friend Lee tries to rationalise, about why, like Wayne, some people choose to deliver heart-shattering news via an impersonal medium like SMS or email.

He adds: 'Most men are cowards. If you do a face-to-face you may change your mind. Plus while giving the bad news - a tearful lady is oh so powerful - you might end up convincing yourself that should give it another go or take back what you said.'

Despite it being easy to stereotype men like Wayne Rooney as disrespectful or cowardly, women are equally guilty of avoiding confrontation, especially if they feel humiliated.

Take fellow WAG Cheryl Cole, who's alleged to have to have told her cheating footballer husband Ashley Cole "Move out. It's over" in a blunt text message in February this year. The Girls Aloud and X Factor star was responding to fresh tabloid revelations of her husband's extra-marital romps.

Ami says: 'Now that I've been dumped by text once, I'd never do it to someone again" referring to her ex partner, who went on holiday only to return to text her the clichéd words 'I'm really sorry. It's not you, it's me.' She adds, "It felt spineless and sudden, there was no reasoning, everything was wonderful before he went to Spain. Now I'm really scared it could happen again. It puts a real dampener on potential new relationships.'

At work when she found out her relationship was suddenly over, Ami adds, 'No-one could believe that someone could be so cowardly as to not even tell me to my face. I'm guilty for text dumping in the past. I would never do it again, no matter the reason.'

In terms of humourous humiliation, or simply bad timing (perhaps a delayed message), one of the most famous SMS break-ups is that between Britney Spears and Kevin Federline. The pop singer, then aged 24, sent abrupt notification that she wanted a divorce via her phone. Her husband of two years just happened to be in the middle of filming a Canadian television show. The resulting footage capturing his facial expression garnered over a million hits on YouTube the following day.

Helen on the other hand is far more prosaic when talking about being on the receiving end of a relationship termination. Speaking about the 'it's over' message she received from her partner of two years, Tim, she recalls, 'It was fine, it meant I didn't need to go see him and pretend to be upset, just got the text and moved on. And it had an added bonus that I could tell everyone he dumped me by text... which immediately cast him as the bad guy and me as the saint.'

For Coleen, as the saga plays out in the worldwide press, we can make our own judgments about should she stay or go now

For Wayne, it looks really really bad. Coleen can perhaps take refuge in the knowledge that she's not the first to receive foundation-shocking news by text and nor will she be the last. Phil Collins famously faxed his wife - pre mobiles smaller than bricks - to tell her their marriage was over. Some people will always hide behind a screen when faced with difficult emotions.

Have you ever ended a relationship or been on the receiving end of a text like Coleen or Cheryl?
Have you been cheated on while pregnant?
Have you discovered about a partner's unfaithfulness via photos on the Facebook?
Can you ever forgive a partner for such a cowardly act?