Please, for the love of God, just break up with me over text.

"I'd rather we talk in person."

This is the text message that made me feel like I was going to purge my heart out from my mouth. I had just gotten out of the shower and immediately checked my phone (15 minutes was the longest time I'd gone without looking at it in the last two days). 

I stared at that message for 20 minutes, standing in a towel with my wet hair dripping on my phone, blurring the screen. 

"I'd rather not," I replied. I watched the most anxiety-inducing widget (the three-dot typing bubble) appear and disappear for 10 minutes. 

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In one big paragraph, he explained how he didn’t want to continue seeing me and hoped that we could stay friends. 

Five years later, this moment still holds up as my favourite breakup (and there’s been A LOT since then). 

I won't go into too much detail because I’d prefer to not relive that day, but the message he sent was kind and thoughtful. He explained why he wanted to stop seeing me, he apologised and he allowed me to decide if I wanted to continue seeing him in a friendship capacity (I didn’t).


I do wonder what it would've been like in an alternate universe where I saw him in person to face the breakup front-on. Maybe we would’ve had a healthy conversation, maybe we would’ve started yelling at each other, maybe we would've sat in silence. What I am confident in is that I know it wouldn’t have been better than doing it over text.

Since then, I’ve gone through my (un)fair share of big heartbreaks that I WISH were done over text, including two particularly sad and awkward and confusing break-ups that went on for three hours. And they took place on my living room couch- tainting that spot forever. 

Being broken up with is such an overwhelming experience and I said things I honestly didn’t know I could say, words that definitely shouldn’t have left my diary or my therapy sessions and brought shame to women everywhere. 

For both breakups, I asked if there was anything I could change about myself that would make them want to stay with me, (something I know I would judge another person for doing). 

I got angry and told them they wasted my time (something I regret as neither of them said anything hurtful towards me). 

And when they left, I sent them both a long text the next day telling them everything I wanted to tell them in person but couldn’t. 

I've also been on the other side of a breakup where I felt like I had no choice but to do it face-to-face because that's the done thing. When really I just wanted to say, "we need to talk and I think we should do it over text." 


Breaking up over message allows you to sit with your thoughts and emotions and carefully craft something that says everything you want it to say in a kind way. That rarely happens in real life. The minute you see them approaching your heart races, you feel nauseous and all thought of what you’ve been rehearsing is out the window. 

The worst part of breaking up in real life? The time between sending the catchup text and actually seeing them feels like a century. 

I once got the “we need to talk” text five minutes before I was meant to present in front of 30 people for work. I blew it. I couldn’t remember my points, I was shaking and all I could do was try to convince myself I wasn't about to get dumped. 

All breakups are the same - horrible. 

But when they're done over text, everything is simpler. 

It also allows you time to deal with your initial emotions exactly the way you need to without feeling like you have to repress anything in front of the other person. 

Now, I refuse to allow real-life breakups to emotionally take over my entire life.

If you’re about to break up with me and are reading this, please, for the love of God, just do it over text.

If you want more culture opinions by Emily Vernem, you can follow her on Instagram @emilyvernem.

Feature image: Canva. 

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