Tuesday, 15 March 2011

sorry? what's that? you're breaking up

Is breaking up by phone really so cowardly, dastardly, bastard-ly? I don’t think so. I think it’s efficient and kind. You decide what to say, write it down maybe, then dial, deliver and ‘do one’. No need to see a look of hurt, or worse still, relief, flit across the face of the one you once loved. No need for an awkward hug if they cry, and no danger of being suckered into sucking face as you lean in with a tissue. Do it by phone and everyone gets to keep their dignity. The finisher and the finished get to process what just took place without their victim or their temporary nemesis still in the same room. This will, sadly, rob me of hours of pleasure spent watching couples break up in public places, but perhaps I’ll learn to spot people breaking up by phone.

Sometimes the rejected will call back. Repeatedly. Switch off your phone. If you think they’ll come banging on your door, then be out, properly out - go somewhere. Don’t just try hiding - you end up behind your own sofa in the dark while some crazy-in-love person is banging your door so hard that the police may come. Oh, and make sure you’re not with your new lover when the old one turns up - that’s messy. Another tip re the calling back type is do not delete their number - you'll end up answering an unknown caller to find it’s them. You will probably be giggling at something else when they call and your joy will make them angry. You could re-save their number as Do Not Answer. It works for me.

Many people will be cool with a straight explanation on the phone, as we get older we should be, we’ve learned by now that things don’t always work out so why drag things out? Be nice, be honest and be somewhere else. But be careful too, if you’re not sure then don’t go burning bridges. Finishing by phone also offers some time out, time off the air, you can always call back to test the water, it may be less choppy after time apart. More so than if you finish face to face, when it’s too easy veer from the script in our head and deliver the tension driven diatribes and asinine accusations that so often characterise the traditional break up and cannot be taken back.

Finishing by phone is by no means the most cruel way to leave. I actually knew a guy who left to get a packet of cigarettes and came back 2 years later - it would have been kinder had he called, surely? And an otherwise lovely friend of mine favours a small aircraft with a banner attached to get the message across as her ideal clean break, a stunt best pulled at a family wedding or large public event apparently.

So, the rule for breaking up in general? Keep it clean and keep it kind. Here endeth the lesson, call me.


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