Tell her about it, don't text her
July 28, 2009
It was over. But I’m not sure if it ever really began.
I got the bad news from my friend Robert. Joaquin sent him a text message Sunday morning, and told him it was time to break up.
To say it hit Robert out of nowhere is an understatement. Because Robert’s married to Sara. And he’s faithful. And he’s heterosexual. And he’s never met a Joaquin, let alone dated one.
As Robert and I joked back and forth, we couldn’t figure out what was less gentlemanly — breaking up via text message, doing it at an ungodly hour (he told me the text arrived at 4:45 a.m.) or not being 1,500 percent sure he texted the correct number.
We sought the proper response, usually starting with, “You know what would be funny?” Followups include a newspaper ad saying, “If your boyfriend’s name is Joaquin, call him. Trust me.” Robert considered texting back, “I’m pregnant, and it’s yours.” I suggested, “I used to be a dude.”
If we were five years younger, Robert and I might have put action to such words. But we’re adults, and we stopped after the laughs. We stopped because some girl has no idea she’s been dumped. We never met her, but decided to care about her feelings because Joaquin — the guy who should have — didn’t.
The exponential revolution of communications amazes me every day, and I could fill columns for the rest of the week with examples. But it’s also made love a more complicated battlefield as doing what’s right battles to the death against doing what’s convenient.
I’ve been the carnage. I was broken up with via e-mail. She apologized later, but the damage was done. The sting of rejection was bad, but it was overwhelmed by resentment. So instead of dealing with how I could make myself a better man for the girl who’s right for me, I wasted a lot of time feeling angry and slighted.
But sometimes, even face-to-face doesn’t work out. I was dating a girl we’ll call Julie, and we both knew things weren’t all that serious. I met a girl I thought could really turn into something, and decided I had to do the right thing and break things off with Julie first.
Anyway, we met for lunch, caught up on everything, and I prepared for the possibility of a sobbing girl when I mentioned Kasey.
But she didn’t cry. Her eyes lit up, and she told me about Dustin. And we both confided how much we weren’t looking forward to breaking the news. A few hours later, I actually confirmed the breakup via e-mail: “Hey Julie ... we broke up, right? That seemed a little too easy.”
Are there times when it’s acceptable to court via e-mail or text? Sure. But it’s the in-person things that matter most — how one person hugs tighter than anybody else, or can say everything with a silent stare. Maybe I’m old-fashioned, but closure deserves that same respect.
But maybe I’m wrong, and Joaquin will survive the battlefield. He’ll find somebody he’ll want to spend the rest of his life with. And he’ll propose ... perhaps by text message.
I hope he gets the right number next time. Because Robert’s already taken.
Kevin Wilson is a columnist for Freedom New Mexico. He can be contacted at 763-3431, ext. 313, or by e-mail: email@example.com