How to survive the modern breakup
Breaking up is hard to do, particularly in the digital age when tweets have to be penned, Facebook relationship statuses changed and internet dating agencies rejoined. Here's how to practice good netiquette when you press the escape button on your relationship.
Can I break up with somebody by text/email?
Charlie Sheen was reportedly recently dumped by one of his Goddesses by text and Britney Spears apparently ended her marriage with Kevin Federline by SMS. 'Drive-by dumping', as it is known, is on the rise but, according to the Debrett's Etiquette Guide, it's the height of uncouth behaviour: "If it's very early days, then ending it by email or telephone is fine, but texting is one notch too heartless. Keep things simple and don't give too many reasons or you risk looking arrogant. Longer relationships deserve face-to-face attention and a decent explanation."
Hiding behind an SMS or email is weak and uncaring. Idiots out there, however, should consult idump4u.com.
When do I change my relationship status on Facebook?
The question is not when, rather why you even displayed your relationship status in the first place. "I just use it to keep in contact with friends in other countries." Hardly. Nonetheless, you need to change your status discreetly without it being announced to your entire community.
First things first: is it definitely over, or was it just a tempestuous squabble? Once you're absolutely sure that there is no going back, change your status and immediately afterwards go to your profile where it announces the changes, click edit and then delete. Otherwise, you could just change your privacy settings and remove your relationship status altogether -- at the very least you'll seem elusive.
'BACKSTAGE AT THE ELECTRIC PICNIC!!!'
At what point can I start publishing smug status reports and jealousy- inducing photographs?
Dumpees are fully entitled to engage in inflammatory look-what-you're-missing displays of liberation. However, it just exhibits bad manners and a lack of maturity if you publish a picture of you draped across a new love interest only a week later. Allow a moratorium of at least one month, after which you can pose, preen and peacock to your heart's content.
Should I defriend or unfollow my ex-lover?
The question is actually how often will you be on checking their Twitter page and poring over their Facebook photographs if you don't? Many of us develop a borderline obsessive compulsion to find out exactly what our ex-lovers are up to after we bid them adieu. Defriending or unfollowing them -- even temporarily -- allows breathing space. By the same token, the 'Ibiza 2011' photographs look rather tempting . . .
'U BROKEY MINE HEART'
Should I send a text apologising for the barrage of drunken texts I sent the night before?
There is nothing worse than waking up to an empty wallet, kebab wrapper and a sent items folder full of semi-literate demands for answers. The kneejerk reaction is to send a text explaining that you were tired and emotional. But remember that contact -- drunken or otherwise -- shows interest. A sober apology text will only serve to showcase your Jekyll & Hyde personality. Pick yourself up, dust yourself off and start all over again . . . after deleting all evidence.
'DEAR JOHN . . .'
Should I click send on the 3,000 word email missive that I penned at 5am?
No. Many of us are compelled to vent our spleen via lengthy email diatribes, usually after extended bouts of alcohol consumption. You want to tell him how he crushed your hopes, dreams and aspirations and why it was wholly unacceptable that he didn't buy you a Valentine's gift. Emails like this don't ask for closure, they beg for the door to be opened up again.
Don't click 'send'. Instead, consider it a cathartic writing exercise. If you still feel you need to send it in a month's time, then do so. However, I hasten to add that yours truly is still cringing about the time she emailed an ex-lover the words to TS Eliot's The Hollow Men . . .
WE HAVE A VOUCHER . . .
Is it ever okay to refuse a second date with someone who uses a coupon to pay for dinner?
Coupon culture has overtaken the capital but it is not acceptable to use a voucher on a first date, no matter how difficult you are finding it to make ends meet. She/he will automatically assume that you would peel an orange in your pocket and they will immediately have to contend with visions of you bringing a packed lunch to the cinema/ stealing toilet roll from nightclubs/siphoning your nephew's Trocaire box. It's just not sexy.
I'M STILL SMILEY-ING
What kind of emoticons and SMS abbreviations would you recommend when communicating with an ex by text?
One day you're typing 'XXX' and 'LYL' to your lover, the next you're typing 'GSOH' into the personal profile section of match.com.
Just remember that a break up means that mawkish abbreviations and provocative emoticons have to be avoided at the end of your texts. Avoid trigger finger and read messages twice before you send, or consider pioneering your own abbreviations such as 'YRML' (you ruined my life) and IWMLB (I want my laptop back).
Likewise, don't try to express your feelings through an emoticon -- it gives your ex-lover all the more reason to call you an emotional retard. Besides, none of the emoticons really encapsulate the feelings of being dumped.
The crying smiley will make you look pathetic; the devil smiley could be considered threatening and the smiley wearing the black wraparound shades might seem smug.