Thursday, October 4, 2012

Breaking Up By Text Message

Here's a sociological question: is it socially acceptable to break up by a text message? Occasionally I hear students comment on a relationship ending with a text message. I'm far removed from breaking up in the first place. If I break up at this point in my life, it's called a divorce. But let's talk about how people end relationships. Is it something that is supposed to happen face-to-face? People break up by phone calls, right? Is there a difference between breaking up with a phone call and breaking up with a text message? A text message sure seems cold and impersonal, but it makes sense if we keep in mind that breaking up is hard to do. Well, with due respect to Neil Sedaka, breaking up is much easier if we do it by text message, isn't it?

What are the rules about using a text message to break up? Is there any follow up required? Does the break up "stick"? Or, like the old Stylistics song says, it is just another case of "break up to make up" (gotta love any song that has a Wikipedia page).

Breaking up can get ugly fast. Many a Lifetime movie has been made about a break up gone bad. Is there such a thing as a good break up? Let's cut to the chase, people. How do we break up these days, and what do the techniques for breaking up tell us about relationship norms? How do people react to a break up by text message? Finally, generally speaking, what insights about our culture can we make if it is acceptable practice to break up with a text message?