In today’s Washington Post there was an article about break-ups in the age of modern technology. As a divorce attorney, I’ve obviously been involved with many break-ups over the past 14 years, not including those in my personal life over the last 20 years. One thing is clear- technology has definitely made it easier for many to limit their communications and rein in their emotions by sticking to text and email versus an actual phone call or in person meeting.
Depending on how long you have been together, however, text or email won’t always cut it, and if you have stuff you need to exchange, there is no avoiding the in-person meeting. Whatever method you use, I strongly encourage people to try and keep it civil– short and sweet is often best. Also remember that not every email or text requires a response, and sometimes silence can say it all.
If you have to say something, just remember that things can go viral fast. While there is that old adage “hell hath no fury like a woman scorned,”men are quickly proving themselves to be hot heads too these days– if you disagree, I just have 2 words: revenge porn. To both sexes, my advice would be don’t say or do anything that would embarrass your mom.
The best thing to do is try to exit cleanly, with your dignity intact. Instead of telling someone all the reasons s/he is so lousy, try sticking to some oldies but goodies:
1. I have a lot on my plate right now, or I am just too busy to date right now. (Translation: you really aren’t going to rank as a priority in my life.)
2. I am not ready to commit to anyone right now. (Translation: you are NOT the one for me, and I want to keep my options open.)
3. There is just something missing, there isn’t that extra something here. (Translation: You are just not hot enough, nice enough or smart enough for me.)
4. I still have a lot of issues I need to work through. (Translation: I’m not over my past relationship(s) and being with you isn’t really helping me make any progress.)
5. This isn’t working for me.(Translation: I think I can be way happier with someone else.)
If you share custody of a child, you definitely have an added incentive to keep things civil. But let’s face it, if you don’t ever have to interact again, most people opt for zero contact. Don’t take it personally, it’s simply hard for people to maintain a friendly relationship with an ex, especially if the split wasn’t mutual or one person was completely blind-sided by the break-up.
No matter what the situation is, I recommend taking the the high road. It is a small world, and you never know who you will run into– especially with today’s social media connections.
By Regina A. DeMeo, Esq.