I had to end a fledgling relationship this week. I really didn't want to do it. Or at least, I wanted to do it by text. But after a brief discussion with a female pal, I was persuaded that I should pick up the phone. Calling isn't my normal style because I don't like it when girls shout at me. Plus, there are so many alternatives…
1) Face to face
Firstly, I should make clear that in a serious relationship, I would always conduct this nasty business in person. And maybe in a casual relationship too, if forced...
Pros: Instant right to reply for the dumpee.
Cons: You are vulnerable to the threat of tears and possible violence.
This very common tactic involves blanking your lover until they work out that it's over. At first, they will send lots of texts and mails. Eventually, they will give up.
Pros: You never have to officially dump them.
Cons: They will never know for sure why you stopped contacting them; they may even think you are dead.
The fastest, simplest and by far most popular method of ending a casual fling is to fire off a carefully-worded message. Almost everyone has received - or dished out - some form of electronic dumping. But killjoys deem it impolite.
Pros: Fits in perfectly with a fast-paced modern lifestyle.
Cons: The victim could receive the message at an unfortunate moment, such as during an important business meeting or while they’re having a really good time at Alton Towers.
I suppose this was considered the text dumping of its day. But now it seems slightly more classy and respectful. At least you're paying for a stamp.
Pros: Old-fashioned and somehow romantic. Your jilted lover can keep it forever as a memento of how much of a schmohawk you are.
Cons: You have to pay for a stamp.
The ’relationship status’ option on Facebook is the best way of keeping up-to-date with your friends' love lives... so why not your own too? Just change your status and your newly-dumped ex will receive the news straight to their Wall.
Pros: For you, it's painless. Just the simple click of a button.
Cons: Your ex will be furious and may retaliate by announcing to Facebook that you have a small willy.
This is similar to the letter but less comprehensive. It could be piece of paper through the letterbox or a Post-it note stuck to their box of Alpen. The key is the brevity.
Pros: Everyone likes receiving little notes, it’s fun.
Cons: You’d have to pick a strategic time to leave the note, otherwise you could get caught and end up in a face-to-face situation.
6) Via someone else
This only generally happens when you are under the age of 15. It happened to me once in my school lunch break while I was queuing up in Dixy Fried Chicken and it was brutal.
Pros: If they cry, you don't have to see it.
Cons: Not acceptable behaviour if you are an adult.
7) In public
At a Birmingham City football match last weekend, a fan proposed to his girlfriend on the pitch. So why not do the opposite and announce to the world your decision to end it? Maybe the announcer could do it when they read out the birthdays. Or you could request a shout-out on your lover’s favourite radio station.
Pros: This could be her 15 seconds of fame.
Cons: Live broadcasting is unpredictable and they may omit your dedication.
8) Don’t tell them
Tell your friends and family you've split up, chat people up in bars, go online dating, stop having sex - essentially, become single. Just don't tell your partner about it.
Pros: Awkward dumping conversation avoided.
Cons: There's a high chance they will eventually find out you have stopped going out with them and then bad things will happen.
9) Phone call
As for me, I opted against all these methods and called her. I semi-rehearsed what I was going to say; my main aim was to avoid clichés such as "it's not you, it's me" and not to panic and tell her I was gay. I bumbled through it awkwardly, using the phrase "I really like you but…" more than once (it was true though). And although she went a bit quiet, the conversation ended on fairly amicable terms. I didn't feel great, but I felt like slightly less of an arsehole than if I’d used the methods above.