Look anywhere, and people will see others typing away on their phones. So it is probably no surprise that a growing number of break-ups are happening electronically.
KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV) -
Look anywhere and people will see others typing away on their phones. So it is probably no surprise that a growing number of break-ups are happening electronically.
A variety of surveys suggest that texting is a more popular break-up method than one might realize.
"It's happened to me twice," said Michelle Wilthite. "I was really mad, so then you just call them and you say, ‘Are you serious?'"
Counselor Susan Howard-Perry, who has a practice in the Northland, says she has heard about text break-ups more and more.
"Most people don't like confrontation," she said. "Let's face it. It makes us uncomfortable."
She says Wilthite's reaction is understandable.
"There's nothing there that helps you process the information," said Howard-Perry. "There's no way to question. There's no way to get feedback. Texting is not communication. It's simply passing information back and forth."
Body language, tone and inflection are all things that texts don't convey. What a text break-up does convey, says Howard-Perry, even after just a few dates, is a lack of respect.
"I think we are treating our relationships like they are disposable," she said. "Even if it was a short-lived relationship, someone still took the time to go to dinner with you, to have a conversation with you, to show an interest in you."
The most startling survey results come from a survey done by the electronic coupon site vouchercloud.net.
The company said it surveyed 2,712 of its users aged 18-30, and 56 percent of them said they had either been dumped or done the dumping via text, social media or email.
The top break-up medium according to that survey was texting - at 25 percent.
"I think that's kind of childish," said Martell Heflin. "It's immature."
"It's almost cowardly," said Delyn Stirewalt.
Stirewalt was arm-in-arm with his girlfriend, Bree Cannon, who weighed in with him.
"It's taking the easy way out," Cannon said.
What really raised their eyebrows was a technique Heflin says he has heard of plenty among friends: breaking up without a word by simply changing relationship status on social media.
The previously mentioned survey found 20 percent of the people questioned acknowledged being on either end of a break-up that way.
"That is so inappropriate," said Howard-Perry. "That is someone who's trying to be hurtful."
That survey offered no methodology or margin of error, but it's not the only one out there.
A university research study published in the journal Cyberpsychology questioned 105 college students, 21 male and 84 female, about breaking up via instant message, email, social networking site and text message. A third of those surveyed said they had been dumped via one of those electronic media.
A market research company, LAB42, surveyed 500 people 18 and older. Asking, "have you ever broken up via text, email or Facebook?" 33 percent said yes.
Asked if they would choose one of those methods, the number rose to 40 percent.
A 2013 survey conducted by the online dating sites Christian Mingle and JDate surveyed 1,500 people ages 21-50 about whether they would break up via text.
Almost a quarter, 24 percent, said yes in an exclusive relationship. The response grew to 59 percent in a casual relationship.
Autumn Wang would be in the remaining 41 percent.
"I guess if you're not even actually together," said Wang, "maybe at least a telephone call, a conversation about it, allowing the person to ask questions about it."
Howard-Perry says Wang is spot on. The key word is conversation.
"The bottom line is that, as human beings, we want to know why," said Howard-Perry. "For some of us, we will never get those answers, but if you can get some level of closure, then you're not carrying all that baggage to the next relationship."
And if someone can't figure out how to have that conversation, they might not do so well in any relationship, including friendships or the workplace, where communication is also important.
Howard-Perry says there are a few exceptions. If someone can't get another to call them back to have that conversation, sometimes a text is the only way.
"Because the person initiating the break-up at some point has to move on," she said.
In one case, she says, a written break-up can be better.
"If there is concern about a dangerous situation," said Howard-Perry, "then absolutely, it should be probably in writing so that you have some sort of documentation that you told this person to leave you alone."
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