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Are Break-Up Emails Appropriate?

Respect means not breaking up a serious intimate relationship by email.

I was asked if, on a scale of one to ten, with ten being the worst, how appropriate is it to break up with someone via email? My initial reaction was that I couldn’t believe that question was being asked.

To me, common sense and courtesy would dictate the apparent answer. 10. Email is not meant to be used to hide from necessary face-to-face communication. That is unless you are a chicken (or worse).

Not All Communication Should Be Email

Email is an effective communication tool, but it is unique to each user what is okay or appropriate. In this particular situation of ditching someone via email that you’ve had a personal and most likely intimate relationship with is the epitome of heartless.

What about if you’ve only had a date or two? Well, I guess you could be in a better position to get away with being a cad, but even in that case, a phone call would be more respectful.

The longer and more intimate the relationship is, the more terrible of a person you are to think that announcing a breakup via email is acceptable. Doing so via text is even worse – cad with a capital C.

Here are my thoughts about ebreakups.

Just off the top of my head…

  • If you are on the receiving end of a “Dear John” email, the positive spin can be to be glad you found out about the complete lack of character and respect reflected by the person you thought cared about you. Then, use this situation to confidently find someone who will not mock your feelings with this type of behavior.
  • If you are the one sending a “Dear John” email, know that by doing so, it will be clear you are void of any intestinal fortitude and integrity. Your selfish lack of concern for the other person’s feelings is apparent — and appalling.
  • While email is fast and easy, there are times, like breaking up with someone, where you need to do what is right and have that challenging discussion in person or at the very least on the phone. That is what mature, responsible adults do.
  • Emotionally stable and secure individuals do not treat those they supposedly care for or cared about in this manner. So even if your feelings have changed, you owe the other side a personal face-to-face, or if you cannot muster that much courage, at least a phone call.
  • Being on the receiving end of a breakup email indicates that the other person did not value your relationship as much as you do. It happens to everyone, and most likely, you had inklings something was up. To be told via email solidifies you need to move on to someone who can better respect your feelings.

Of course, my point of view doesn’t apply to online-only “relationships” where electronic communications have been the sole point of contact. Nor where one’s safety would be jeopardized when meeting in person with someone you believe is not emotionally stable. (I have to put that in writing to avoid just some of the nasty emails I know will come my way.)

Be a Human, Human Being

Before sending any emotional and sensitive email in nature, pause for a moment and ask yourself how you would like to be treated. For example, would you prefer that news of that kind be provided to you in an email, or would you prefer a more personal approach?

Treat others as you would have them treat you.

As with many things in life, making the right choices for a situation requires that we sometimes acknowledge that the right thing to do is often the most difficult. So man up and just do it. (Girl up just doesn’t sound right, but this goes for you girls too.)

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