Breaking Up In The Digital Age

What’s it like being dumped in the digital age? Read these tips on how to cope if you’re the dumpee.

There’s a classic Paul Simon song claiming there are 50 ways to leave a lover. These days, there are apparently 50 000, and very few of them are face-to-face. According to COSMO girls, an awful lot of relationships end by SMS. Emails require more than ‘Hi. I think we should stop seeing each other. Thanks. Bye’, so they tend to be more insightful (or more painful).

My personal pet hate is when it’s public, and you’re the last to know.

Case in point – social networking sites. A friend of a friend once discovered her husband was divorcing her from his Facebook status update. Of course, you CAN simply alter the feed settings so you’re not updated with people’s personal lives, but you don’t do that with people you’re (or at least think you are) close to. Digital communication allows us to be first class communicators, but in some cases, first class prats, too.


* Don’t mix your mediums. If he finished it by SMS don’t go and write him a rambling email. Or vice versa – if he wrote you an email, will an SMS really suffice? Hit reply and have your say, if you even need to answer at all.
* Answer in kind. No point laying it all out there if he only gave you a one-liner. A short dismissal calls for a short reply, if anything. A long one calls for…
* A rethink. If he has a lot to say but uses email or an SMS, something else needs to be said. Ask him. Meet him. Sort it out.
* It is VERY easy to misinterpret tone and intention on a digital medium. If you’re upset about something he said, check what he really meant before you react. But if you’re just upset about being dumped, SMS your friends instead, they’ll probably be better at helping you feel better.
* Angry reactions are a) hard to do authentically by email or SMS, and b) not necessarily appropriate. You can always scream underwater at the gym later.
* Remember that boys get as nervous as girls do, so if he emailed you, it might be because he’s trying to avoid a confrontation.
* If it’s over, it’s over. Try to keep your dignity, even if he didn’t have any to start with.

The song might be true, but there’s only one way to get over being dumped – deal with it.