His name was Ian Nitby* (it wasn’t) and he was the love of my life (he wasn’t). Actually, he was my 7th grade boyfriend. And yes, by boyfriend I do mean Hot Pocket-eating partner, three-time hand holder, one-time movie-taker, and occasional carrier of my books. It was the best two months of my life middle school the second half of that year (maybe, I guess).
As inconsequential as those two months were, when he broke up with me on the walk from biology to algebra, it was humiliating. I kept trying to interrupt him and give him more reasons why his decision to end our relationship made sense.
“Hey so I don’t think we should be boyfriend and girlfriend anym-“
“Right, yeah, totally, I mean … just soooo busy, right? I’ve got like … soccer practice … [trails off].”
“Um, no, it’s more lik-“
“Yeah me too! Totally! People are so judgmental when you’re in a relationship!”
“I mean I think I want to da-“
“Date other people! Yes – fly free! You can’t chain this bird down!”
And then the next date he started dating my friend Gina Karvine* and I wanted to hide in my locker. My faux enthusiasm about the end of our romance did not help things, but I told them I was totally, definitely, for sure fine with it. I really wasn’t, and it sucked.
This was without a doubt the most meaningless relationship I’ve ever had, and still, the breakup makes me want to eat lunch in the girls’ bathroom. It wasn’t a very nice thing of Ian to do, and while he has the best excuse in the world (being a male under age 25), 7th grade me wanted to like, totally die. My sisters could have all my gel pens, I didn’t even care anymore!
All this is why BreakupText horrifies me. This new app “streamlines” your breakup, so that you can move onward and upward without any face-to-face nonsense. “BreakupText makes it easier than ever to end things with your significant other. No more awkward conversations or phone calls. With BreakupText, you can end your relationship in just a few taps.”
There are a few holes in this plan: First of all, you can bet your bottom dollar that following your BreakupText, there will be “awkward conversations or phone calls.” They might go a little something like this:
BreakupText recipient: “What the hell was this text you just sent?”
BreakupText sender: “Uh I … thought it was pretty self-explanatory.”
R: “Well why would you send it!?”
S: “…Because I don’t think we should see each other anymore.”
R: “WHY NOT!? I’M COMING OVER!”
Please add about 15 uncomfortable pauses and stutters to the sender’s dialogue, and 500 or so explicit terms to the recipient’s.
The app lets you customize your breakup based on how serious it was and your reason, then creates thought-out excuses that you can edit to your liking or need. It’s clearly tongue in cheek: Anyone who uses the ad-hoc texts without giving them a once-over and a few changes before firing them off is in for a horrible surprise. Of course, there’s still going to be someone out there who does it, there’s just too much stupid in this world for that not to happen. And I’ll give it up to the creators, the “I was eaten by a bear” text is perhaps the best use of a multi-page message I’ve ever seen.
BreakupText itself isn’t supposed to be serious, but the problem is that people increasingly think ending a relationship via text message or app (ah yes, the Facebook breakup) is legitimate. According to a 2012 survey, 28 percent of college students have been dumped via technology, with text messaging as the most popular form of digital heartbreak. Seriously, we live in a world where Katy Perry – yes, she of the enormous boobs and outfits made of candy – was asked for a divorce via text message. If this crap is happening to her, what hope is there for the rest of us!?
The thought process is obvious: If something’s going to be painful, then taking out the human interaction and putting a cold, hard screen between you and this person must make it easier. But it’s just plain selfish, because it leaves the recipient hanging; you can’t ask questions, you can’t cry and get the obligatory “there, there” from your phone, there’s no one to yell at, should the situation call for it. At least Ian Nitby (so not his name) had the courage to breakup with me on that brief walk between classes and give me a chance to have my (completely insane) reaction.
Just suck it up, everybody. Some things are as holy as they are horrible, and breakups are one of them. Plus, you can kiss breakup sex goodbye if you go the digital route. Just saying.
*Names were obviously changed because I did not go to school with people who sound like characters from a Judy Blume novel.
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