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Is It Okay to Break Up via Chat or Text? What to Do if You Get One?

How to end a relationship in the digital age.
by Arianne Merez
Jan 10, 2022
Photo/s: Shutterstock
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After scrubbing her feed clean of their couple photos, actress and TV host Kris Aquino shared to her 4.8 million Instagram followers screenshots of her text exchange with ex-fiance Mel Sarmiento to confirm that they had indeed broken up -- with a digital receipt.

The breakup, as high-profile as it may be, is a mirror of how the end of relationships come to public light in the age of social media--with screenshots as evidence, deleted couple photos, and statements asking for privacy after publicly sharing the heartbreak.

“I do love you, but I guess this is goodbye, for your life is of greatest importance given that you have Bimby and Josh to take care of,” Sarmiento ended his message in reference to Aquino's sons.

Sarmiento's last message may seem like a graceful way of parting with someone you loved and cared for, giving rise to the question: Is there a "proper" way to break up with someone?

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When it comes to heartbreak, there are no hard rules for breakups or on how to do it since if there was love shared, a breakup -- regardless of how and when it was done--would still hurt, said relationship coach Aileen Santos. 

"If you talk about rules, it means that someone is enforcing those rules but that's not the case with breakups. What people should understand though is that our actions have consequences," Santos told reportr.

If you're breaking up with someone and you want it to help you grow as a person, Santos advises being clear on what went wrong and why the relationship no longer fits your future plans.

"When we make any decision, especially since it's a relationship and there are two people involved, we must really understand why are we making that decision and communicate it with the other person," she added.

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Is it okay to break up via text message?

A person who chooses to break up via text message cannot be judged outright because the circumstances of each relationship are different from one another, said Santos.

"It might be because it's an LDR (long-distance relationship) or because right now of the lockdowns that's why they choose to do it via text but what's important is that you make your truth known meaning you tell the reason why the relationship is ending," she said.

What about 'ghosting'?

For those who are unfamiliar, the dating term ghosting means abruptly cutting off communication and contact with someone without any warning or explanation. But ghosting also happens in relationships, which Santos said is referred to as "relationship abandonment."

"When you are unable to end a relationship in a way that is considerate of the other person and at the same time is based on a clarity on why you are ending the relationship then it means that you haven't been able to achieve a sense of maturity that is needed in a relationship," she said.

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"If you want a happy and successful life, you'd want your relationships to be happy and successful as well, and doing these things do not contribute to that," she added.

How do I deal with a break-up message?

Receiving a break-up message is tough and for those who want to seek an explanation, Santos has these tips:

1. Believe their reason.

If someone breaks up with you and gives an explanation, believe them, said Santos so you can start the grieving process.

For those who were ghosted, however, it may be harder to move on according to Santos, who advises putting a limit on reaching out. 

"Pag nakatatlong message or tawag ka na tapos hindi pa rin nagre-respond, stop it. When they don't respond, that's their answer so take it as the answer," she said.

2. Grieve.

Santos said you need to grieve the breakup so you can move forward with your life. 

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Should you cut off your former partner from your life entirely? Santos said it's best to minimize exposure to memories first when you're still healing.

"Anything that would remind you of this person would trigger memories and it's hard enough to go through the grieving process," she said.

3. Accept.

Lastly, accept that the relationship was a part of your life instead of trying to deny that it happened. How do you know when you are healed? For Santos, it's when you look at that moment in your life and understand that it helped make you the person you are today.

"All relationships at some point were a moment that someone loved you and you loved them back. And the bad parts of the relationships? Those were the source of lessons," Santos said.

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