Skip to content
Aerial shot of guy on stairs texting

How to break up with someone over text without being a total savage

Breaking up over text is often frowned upon, but there are some instances where it’s a perfectly valid way to end a relationship. Plus, telling someone it’s over via text is way better than simply ghosting them (which, let’s face it, is pretty rude). 

 

In an effort to fulfil a childhood dream of becoming ghost-busters, here are some top tips from those with experience of breaking up over text – both dumpees and dumpers –  for how to break up with someone over text, including knowing when it’s OK to end a relationship via text, what the best breakup texts will include, and how not to be a jerk once it’s over.

 

When is it OK to break up in a text?

When it comes to breakups, it’s better if you can to do it face-to-face or over the phone, though this isn’t always possible or the best solution. Here are some instances when breaking up via text may be better:

 

1. If it’s a casual relationship

If you haven’t been on many dates, or you’ve just been out for a drink every now and again, breaking up over text can be ok. As Jack, 20, vividly remembers: “The first time I was dumped was via text after one date – I was 13 and they ended things because I didn’t put ‘love you’ at the end of my texts. I thought it was ridiculous as I was obviously not in love after one date, and they thought it was ridiculous that I didn’t love them after one date. They thought Star Wars was stupid, so it was never going to work anyway.” (Jack insists that he has since moved on and is in no way hung up on it. He swears.)

 

2. If you’re not going to see them for a while

If you’re stuck at home or you’re apart for a long time, then stringing them along until you next see them can be pretty cruel and a waste of everyone’s time. 

 

3. If it’s too stressful 

If the thought of breaking up with someone in person is stressing you out to the point where it’s all feeling like a bit too much, then breaking up via text is perfectly reasonable. This gives you time to collect your thoughts and plan what to say.

 

4. If you’re considering ghosting

Unless you’re a little old lady from the Victorian era or you’re a friendly guy named Casper, you shouldn’t be ghosting anyone. It’s rude, it makes you look bad, and a bit like life in quarantine, no one knows what’s going on. It literally takes like 5 minutes just to let them know you’re not dead, and that you just don’t want to go out with them anymore.  Remember, breaking up via text is a delicate matter.  Chances are, we’ve all been on the other end of a message like this, so when breaking up via text, put your empathetic slippers on and tread carefully. 

The best breakup texts are respectful

The best breakup texts are ones that are respectful and have had at least some thought put into them.

How to break up with someone over text

Knowing how to break up with someone through text fully depends on how long the relationship has lasted, as Matt, 19, so wisely put it: “The breakup text I would send to someone I just went on one date with would be very different to the text I’d send a girlfriend of two years. I’d definitely try to at least call her if meeting in person wasn’t possible”. 

 

For the best breakup texts, keep these three things in mind:

 

Keep it short and sweet

No one wants an essay detailing all the reasons why you don’t want to date them. Be upbeat, friendly, and stick to the point. Something like - ‘Hi Katie, I hope you’re well. Thanks for meeting me on Thursday. I enjoyed debating who has been the best Spiderman with you (definitely Tobey Maguire) but if I’m honest, I don’t feel there was a romantic connection between us. Always awkward being the person to say this but didn’t want to ghost you!’ – this way you are polite and respectful but make it clear that you don’t want anything more.

 

Re-read the text before sending

Autocorrect can be ducking annoying at the best of times but if you’re on the receiving end of a breakup text that has lots of spelling errors, it may look like the other person just doesn’t really care, and this can hurt. Make sure to double check the text before sending it!

 

Avoid clichés

Saying ‘it’s not you, it’s me’ is almost as bad as spelling mistakes – it just feels a bit like a cop-out text with zero thought put into it. The best breakup texts are ones that are respectful and have had at least some thought put into them.

 

How not to be a jerk after breaking up via text

 

No matter how well the text is written and thought about, the other person still may have questions about how it’s come to this. Particularly if the relationship has been more than just a couple of dates, carrying on the conversation to explain your thoughts and feelings may help you both get closure. 

 

Apparently, there are ways to break up via text without being a jerk. Who knew?