'When Liz arrived, Damien wasn't himself': In defence of breaking up with someone via text.

Breaking up is hard to do.

I’ve had my fair share of breakups, and if you’ve had more than one relationship, then you’ve been through it too.

Breakups are awful whether you are doing the breaking up or being broken up with, and I believe they are hard enough without feeling like you have a social responsibility to break up in person.

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I want to tell you Liz’s story:

Liz had been single for ages and had lost hope, until she met Damien*. She couldn’t believe her luck. They went on five dates and she was imagining their future.

Liz was excited about their sixth date and spent extra time getting ready. When she met Damien, he wasn’t himself and it didn’t take her long to find out why.

Damien told Liz that she was a lovely person but he couldn’t see a future together. Liz felt blindsided. A lovely night full of potential quickly turned to disaster.

She was upset and didn’t want to break down and cry in front of Damien. She couldn’t help thinking it was a complete waste of time getting ready, only to be dumped and have her mascara run.

Of course, Damien thought he was doing the decent thing following popular dating advice that you should break up in person.

I am sure you’ve heard this advice yourself, but as a relationship expert I am going to tell you something different:

It isn’t always the best idea to break up in person and you don’t have to.

It all depends on how long you have been together.

Of course, if you are married, living together or have been in a relationship for a long time then, it’s respectful and the right thing to do to break up in person.

But if you have only been dating for a short time or gone on a few dates, the good news is that you don’t have to always do it in person.

For Liz and Damien, the ‘in person’ break up was not the best way of doing it. Imagine how she felt, expecting a fun date and a bright future only to be dumped.

Liz told me she would have preferred Damien to break up with her via a text message. This would have given her time to be upset, to cry and process the information rather than feel blindsided. In fact, it would have been kinder.


A recent study found 25 per cent of people would rather ghost than break up in person. Why? Because it’s much easier to avoid that awkward conversation.

It’s hard to explain why you don’t want to date someone, and many people will ghost to avoid it.

The problem with ghosting is it’s heartless and cruel for the person on the receiving end. To just be ignored can seriously knock their confidence, causing doubt about the type of person they should be dating and making dating more difficult in the future.

Mamamia Out Loud discuss the best kind of break up text. Post continues below audio.

That simple text or email is a much better way of doing it. You can also give them the option of calling you after they have processed the rejection, just to give them closure.

Here is how to do it, and I promise its simple:

‘It was good to meet you (or I enjoyed getting to know you) but, unfortunately, I don’t feel enough chemistry to take things any further. I am happy to have a quick chat if you like? But if not, I wish you luck and happiness in the future.’

A simple text says everything.

I recommend you:

1. Don’t blame anyone or use a false reason. ‘It’s not you, it’s me’ doesn’t help. Don’t say things like ‘I’m not ready or emotionally available’ or, ‘You deserve better’. How often has someone said this and then married the next person they date?

2. Don’t argue or justify your reasons for the breakup.

3. Give the person a clear message that isn’t open to misinterpretation or gives the impression that you could change your mind.

4. Make a clean break – don’t try to be friends straight away.

5. If you are on the receiving end of the breakup, accept the decision and don’t argue it. If someone doesn’t want to be with you, it’s that simple. There is no point, and it will just make you feel more rejected if you try to talk them into changing their mind.

6. Remember that you are not a failure just because you are not a good fit for someone else. Don’t let the rejection define you.

The person you choose to be in a relationship with will have the biggest impact on you and your life so it’s important to choose well.

Chemistry is an undefined mystery and simply isn’t personal – so don’t take it that way.

*Name has been changed.

Debbie Rivers an internationally accredited relationship coach and matchmaker working with singles and couples with a passion for enabling people to create and maintain healthy relationships. 

Feature image: Getty.