Dumping by Phone: Heinous or Non?

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Snoooopy and I got into it over whether it is wrong to dump by phone. Personally, I think it is a pretty awful thing to do unless there are no other options (and this is rarely the case). Mainly, because the Dumper has control of the situation (and a sense of relief in acting on a descision), he or she should think more of the other person’s pain than their own. I feel it shows respect to the Dumpee to tell them in person. Plus, an unexpected (and distressing) phone conversation puts the Dumpee at a disadvantage.

For the record, I have been the Dumpee three times and the Dumper once.

Well I don’t think it’s automatically a terrible way to do things. It depends. Personally, I’ve always done it in person except in one long distance relationship where that wasn’t possible.
I don’t think there is a nice way to break up though. There definitely are worse ways so just don’t do it in a way that publicly embarrasses the dumpee, well, unless he/she deserves it. :wink:
Many people want to avoid emotional confrontations and this is understandable. I really believe it’s stupid to get hung up on how it’s done unless there’s undeserved pain/humilation involved.

Oh my goodness, the visual I got from the OP title was of a telephone placed in close proximity to the toilet for use during…ummm…uhhh…

I vote for heinous!!

I agree with the OP. Breaking up by phone is an easy way out. If you don’t have to see the pain on the Dumpee’s face then its easier to deal with. Unless there is no other option, dumping someone should be a face to face ordeal. No doubt about it. Anyone who prefers to break up by phone is really cold, or a coward…IMHO.

I also agree that dumping by phone is generally rude and disrespectful, though of course there are exceptions and extenuating circumstances which may make it the preferred alternative in certain situations.

My wife’s best friend is going through a breakup right now, and has been trying to get “permission” to dump her boyfriend by phone. My wife reasonably reminds her how much she hated it when her previous boyfriends dumped her by phone. Essentially, treat the other person with the same courtesy you’d want to be shown.

There’s a more compelling reason, too. When somebody calls you and says, “It isn’t working,” it doesn’t seem really permanent. You desperately want to see them and talk to them one more time, hoping to salvage the relationship. If you never get to see them face to face, it can take longer to accept that things are really over. But if that person sits you down over a cup of coffee and says we’re through, lets you have your say, and then walks away forever, yeah, it hurts more in the short term, but really there’s no escaping the permanence of the conclusion. In that way, you can look at breaking up in person as a favor, because it lets your ex get on with their life more rapidly. (Usually, anyway. Stalker types have to be broken up with in a criminal proceeding.)

Heinous. Definitely. You should have the courage to say it to the other person’s face.

That said, there are worse ways:

  1. E-mail
  2. Having someone else tell you for them
  3. :shudder: Answering machine

I have been dumped by phone, by email (by Snooooopy no less, although I think that decision was fairly mutual and the email followed a couple of days of tense in person discussions, so maybe it’s not fair to call it a dumping), and I’ve been just plain old abandoned completely in a couple of long distance relationships.

The most recent one, (email with Snooooopy) was definitely the most civil one I have experienced, however if we hadn’t been discussing the serious stuff for several days prior, it would have shot into the top 3 bad ones. The one before that my fiance, who also happened to be my boss, dumped me out of the blue on a Wednesday night by phone, knowing that I had to report to him at work the next morning. That was absolutely, bar none, the shittiest breakup ever. For a gazillion reasons. He made a decision, informed me of it, and then put me in a place where I had to defer to his wishes for a full, professional day. It’s been over a year, but I don’t think I’ll ever stop being a little angry over it. The man had no balls. If I didn’t still need him for a reference for job searches, I would never speak to him again. Unfortunately I have to be civil. He still wants to be friends. Right.

The abandonments have been the toughest on me psychologically. In both cases they were guys who decided to join the military after we had been dating for a while. We agreed to do the long distance thing, but after a while the letters and phone calls slowed down and stopped. While I know now that back then we were all too young to be making the commitments we were, having no official end to those relationships puts me on edge with guys now, it’s taken a long time to learn not to be clingy, because I feel like I never know when they’re going to disappear.

I guess it depends on the situation, but I think in general it should be done in person if at all possible. If you’re blindsiding the person you are supposed to have cared about, you definitely should have the guts to face them. Cowering behind a telephone is cruel.

It depends on the circumstances. Local vs. LDR, long term vs. short term, among other factors.

My most recent relationship was a LDR, and in that case breaking up over the phone made sense, since I think I would have been pissed if I had traveled to see him and then had him break the news. That split was also pretty mutual; although I didn’t initiate it, I had been having doubts about whether I wanted to continue. We had only been dating for a few months, so it hadn’t gotten real serious yet, so the phone thing didn’t bother me.

The previous relationship, however, was a different story. He waited until 2 weeks before I was going to come home from my first year at Smith, broke up with me over the phone, and when I called him back to say I thought we should do it in person–this relationship was several years in duration and we almost got married, so I thought it was appropriate–then he revealed that he had started seeing someone else. That, IMO, was a really chickenshit way to go about it. He even admitted he wouldn’t have had the guts to break up in person. But that relationship was also screwed up in a lot of other ways, so a healthy breakup would have been totally out of character.

Cold? Fair enough. I certainly can be a cold motherfucker.

The phone has some advantages, especially in the case where the other party is going to get weepy, want hugs, maybe try a seduction and generally have a physical reaction. That’s a rough one to deal with in real life without blowing up, but is a case where the phone is justifiable.

Unless it’s an LDR, I think dumping via phone is unacceptable. But it’s a damn sight better than dumping by not returning phone calls, which is what happened to me a few months ago.

Was it a long term relationship? (1 year or more) If so, then you should break up face to face. Ending a relationship is never easy. Someone has to be “the bad guy”. One of these days another will come along. The time in between can be rough though. :frowning:

I’ve been dumped by phone. If there’s a bright side to speak of at all, it’s that I was able to hang up the phone and slink off to my room to be miserable and not have him or anyone else see me in the state I was in.

It did, however, make for an uncomfortable moment when I first ran into him the next day (“Gee, the last time I saw you, we were still a couple!”).

We hadn’t been together long. I probably would have hated him for breaking up that way if we’d been together longer. As it is, we still get along very well.

There is no easy, fair way to break up. There is no way to let the other person down gently, to save their feelings. It doesn’t matter, really. In fact the colder they are, maybe the easier it is for the other guy to get over em. Which is the most humane thing after all.

You know, Hellokitty, you’re not the only one who wandered in here with that thought.

I also thought it was something about wether it’s rude to be ‘doing business’ on the toilet while chatting with someone on the cordless…

We’ll now return you to your reality programming after these pre-conceived notions.

Picture this scenario:

I am young, around 16 years old. It is a Sunday morning. The night before, a girlfriend of mine (no, not in that way, though, boy, would it have made a lot of people happy if it was) had come over, and we had a “Harrison Ford” marathon, watching all three Star Wars movies as well as all three Indiana Jones movies. Between the two of us we finished off one case and three 2-litre bottles of Mountain Dew. At 7:45 that Sunday morning the movies ended and our tenuous hold on consciousness was released. Sleep, glorious sleep.

At 8:45 that self-same morning, the phone rang. I reach over in the ultimate state of sleep-grog and answer with something vageuly resembling “hhhhhhl?”

It is the voice of my boyfriend. “Oh, great, you’re up.”

“Mmmm. Whuyawan?”

“Well I just think we need to talk.”


“Yeah. About us…”


“…Us, or the lack thereof.”

“Mmm. Dunyet?”

“Great to hear you’re taking it so well. It’s just that <name of other girl he was seeing behind my back, apparently> is pregnant, and I can’t really in good faith date you and her. I am a man of faith and all.”

“Mmm. K. Dunyet?”

“Yeah. We can still be friends though. I had fun.”

“K. Ni.” click

When I “came to” hours later I realised I’d actually been dumped.

By a gorgeous Italian boy who told me his life’s aspiration was to become a minister.


Man of faith indeed. :slight_smile:

So in other words, I think it’s crap. Even in a LDR, if the LDR is serious, I think it’s better to have it happen in person. More sense of closure.

Why be dumping someone? It’s usually a lie anyway. Because most of the time you see them again. Of course, some people get emotionally low & have to dump on someone & they are using the ones doing that dumping.

Takes courage to do it in person though.

I’m sorry, what?

In this context, “dumping” is a synonym for “breaking up.”

You think those methods are bad? Try this one on for size:

I’m in a very long term relationship- about 6 1/2 years. Things have been rocky from time to time, but generally I’m satisfied with the relationship.

She decides that she needs to go off to do human rights work in Croatia. I’m still in Minnesota. One day, I’m awakened by the sound of my fax machine at 1:30 in the morning. She’s sending me a fax. The note that she’s written announces that our relationship is over, because she wants to begin dating one of her co-workers.

That’s just cold. Not even a phone call. Just the fax, ma’am.

You think that’s bad, how about my colleague here who dumped his girlfriend by SMS! (In case SMS hasn’t caught on in the States, cell phones here can send and receive short text messages. So she was dumped by email over a mobile phone) Ouch! The thing is, is that they had a communication breakdown (typing on a phone pad is tough, so you sometimes cut corners) and he had to do it AGAIN!

Sheesh, weasle way to go. In person is best.