Breaking Up Is Hard To Do — But So Much Easier By IM

Broken Heart symbol
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My best-ever breakup happened on the Rue de Rivoli in Paris with my ex-beau, the bald American antique dealer ten years my senior, chasing me down that elegant street shouting. The worst might be the night I came home from Salt Lake City (depressing enough) and my then-husband grandly announced: “I’m leaving.”

At 10:00 pm on a Wednesday night? Leaving to go where? Oh, out of the marriage.

Now, as The Wall Street Journal so helpfully points out, with graphs and everything!, people are breaking up by instant message — 14 percent of those born after 1984, versus only three percent born before 1975.

Bloody little brutes!

Thirty percent of the younger crowd are fine dumping someone by telephone — versus 16 percent of the older folks. (The man who did that to me at 4:30 during my workday does have a special spot in hell.)

Less than half — 47 percent  — of young un’s will actually break up with someone face to face, versus the 74 percent of those of us willing to do it in the same room, maybe better prepared to handle whatever emotional mayhem may ensue.

An analysis of 10,000 Facebook breakups that offered this data also offered the following reasons:

30 to 32 percent for “other”; 25 to 28 percent “lost interest”, 18-22 percent because their partner cheated, 16 to 21 percent because of distance and only (well, whew!) 3 to 4 percent because their parents or friends disapproved of their partner.

Have you been dumped by email or IM or phone?

Better or worse than in person?

If you’re doing the dumping, will you man up enough to do it face to face?

6 thoughts on “Breaking Up Is Hard To Do — But So Much Easier By IM

  1. Lisa

    I think this reflects on one of the serious flaws that I’ve noticed with younger generations, they do not know how to function face-to-face. My students are brilliant at communicating with texts and Facebook, tweets and whatever else is out there. They even find ways of doing it in class. They are shocked at my refusal to text.But, as soon as you add an element of face-to-face communication they freeze. In my most recent theater appreciation class, that ended yesterday, the older students spoke all the time. One younger student, a communications major, spoke occasionally. The rest would probably have done better if they could text it in.

  2. Fascinating — if scary!

    I think you’re witnessing this serious sea change in how young people relate (or do not) to one another, and I think it’s going to have some really lousy repercussions for them as they move through life. Life is filled with both difficult and joyous face-to-face moments — trying to get a job, proposing, apologizing, saying tough things when needed.

    People unwilling or unable to deal with one another in the same room are truly socially disabled.

    Interesting, too, that you teach a theater appreciation class — as theater is so emotionally powerful and intimate because of that proximity.

  3. I know someone in Vietnam who just got engaged via test message. He is Cambodian, she is Vietnamese, and he texted her while in Laos (she was in Saigon). She is 29, he is 32. I asked how she responded and she said she texted back “Yes.” …..

    Another friend (also in Vietnam) had been dating her bf for three years, and he had recently gone to London for grad school. They are both 26. She found out they were broken up when he changed his FB status to “single.”

  4. Those are some interesting stats! But that’s so damn cowardly! I haven’t dumped anyone via phone or IM, and if I was going to dump someone, it would be in person. I haven’t been dumped via either of these means either, but if I were I think I would have to teach that boy a lesson 😀

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