Saturday, August 23, 2014

Breaking up by text

On life and love after 50:

Breaking up by text message: a classless act

Has dating after 50 become this calloused?

Pattie emailed, “I've been single for six years. With most of the men I've met, they would just not call after one or two dates. Some were honest and direct, and would tell me in person or by phone that they weren't feeling a connection. If I wasn't feeling a connection, I would be honest and tell them directly or in a phone call.

“In May, I met a man I liked, felt a connection, and, he said the same. After our dates, he would text, asking when we could meet again. He'd text to confirm arrangements. In two months, we talked on the phone two or three times. I found this curious, but suspended judgment to get to know him better, and to let things evolve.

“After our last date, he texted me the next morning to say he didn't think we had enough in common. I was disappointed because I found him interesting and fun to be with, but was more disappointed that he broke up in a text.

“Is texting how we communicate with one another now? I know it's easier than a phone call, but it doesn't feel right. Am I too old-fashioned?”

The invention of cell phones has been a mixed blessing. On the one hand, they have streamlined our lives, making us more efficient and able to have instant communications, updates, and information. Texting plays a big role in that.

On the other hand, cell phones are a curse. Texting is a large part of that curse. We all know how dangerous texting can be in a car. We all have experienced rude people in public places yacking away on their cell phones so loud everybody nearby can hear. And people can be so pre-occupied when using their cell phones that they walk into you on the sidewalk or in the aisle of the supermarket, oblivious that they are being so rude.

Is Pattie old-fashioned? I don’t think so. It’s nice that there are people like Pattie who feel that personal courtesy still matters when something as important as a breakup occurs.

Pattie’s former friend took the spineless way out. Why not a brief and courteous phone call instead of a text? It was just type a few words, hit send, and poof, relationship over. Move on.

Emily Post, the author of Etiquette, which is in its 18th edition, would have been horrified by modern-day cell phone etiquette.

I asked Greta, my life partner of 16 years, for her opinion about Pattie’s situation. She said, “They only dated a couple of months. He was a texting sort of guy. While getting that text was disappointing to her, she should not have been surprised that he broke up that way. She will be better off. It was ok how he did it.”

I disagree. I’m going to send Greta a text right now and tell her so. 

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