Dear Wayne and Wanda,
I dated this guy exclusively for more than seven months until last week when he broke up with me -- by email! We hadn't used the L word yet and I hadn't met his kids, but I felt things were on track. I'm furious. Is this how people are breaking up these days?
-- No words
One word: Tacky. Or another: Coward. OK, one more: Rude!
A quickie escape is typically OK only after a quickie relationship. Using electronic media to cut things off with someone you just met is different from ending a multi-month involvement by email. When you've spent months with someone, bonded and shared experiences, a termination conversation is in order. It might be uncomfortable, but it's respectful. It allows the other to ask questions, gain understanding and process the finality.
And yes, I'm going to say it -- it provides closure. Closure matters to most of us. We need to feel something is resolved before moving on.
It's true today that many relationships begin and evolve online. We browse dating sites for mates, flirt via text and converse in online chats.
Sometimes we go days without actually speaking to a love interest on the phone or in person. Better yet, having time to plot the perfect chat or text response allows us to be more clever, cutesy or come-hither than we could manage in-person on the spot.
Yes, email is easy. No one likes awkward, messy breakup conversations that might include shouting, begging or tears. However, it's part of the process. When you ask someone else to trust you with their emotions, you owe them a decent ending. It's like resigning from a job. You put in your notice -- you don't just fail to show up.
Hopefully, if you talk to this guy again, you use some choice words like "tacky," "coward" and "rude" -- words he will remember the next time he decides he's done, so he doesn't just use cyberspace to do his dirty work.
Wanda, I fully agree that anyone in a serious adult relationship should be a serious adult about ending things.
Which is a perfect segue for me to share something that's been on my mind for a while. I know we've been offering advice to the love-struck and lovelorn for years. We've shared hundreds of columns and thousands of words while making the world a happier place. We've developed a pretty special he-said-she-said vibe. But this isn't working out ... I'm taking my talents to Glamour magazine!
Just kidding, of course.
It doesn't matter if the L word is uttered or not. When you're in an exclusive relationship with someone, you owe them a breakup conversation in person or on the phone if things come to an end. Anything else is a shameless copout. Don't worry about issuing a scolding next time you run into him. I'm guessing this guy can barely look himself in the mirror each day if this is how he treats the people in his life.
But No Words, I'm also confident that you and No Backbone weren't on the same page for most of the relationship. If you've been seriously dating someone for more than a few months, they'll typically trust you enough to meet their friends and family. You dated seven months and you never once met his kids? Either his kids aren't very important to him or you aren't. I'm guessing it's you.
Sister, the writing was practically on the Facebook wall -- the guy wasn't into you, whether you were truly unaware or intentionally oblivious. This doesn't excuse his weak-sauce breakup, but it certainly explains it. If you don't want to have endings like this, you shouldn't invest in someone who clearly isn't in for the long haul.
• Wanda is a wise person who has loved, lost and been to therapy. Wayne is a wise guy who has no use for therapy. Send them your questions and thoughts at email@example.com.
She is mad that after 7 months he calls it off by email