TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: To End a Romance, Just Press 'Send'

To End a Romance, Just Press 'Send'

Monty Solomon (
Mon, 23 Apr 2007 00:11:38 -0400

To end a romance, just press 'send'
Instant messaging altering the way we love

By Don Aucoin, Globe Staff | April 22, 2007

It was the middle of a workday two weeks ago, and Larry was deep into
a meeting when a text-message began scrolling across his cellphone
screen. He glanced at it and thought: "You can't be serious."

It was no joke. His girlfriend was breaking up with him ... again.
And she was doing it by e-mail ... again.

For the sixth time in eight months, she had ended their relationship
electronically rather than face-to-face. He had sensed trouble -- he
had been opening his e-mail with trepidation for weeks -- so the
previous day he had suggested that they meet in person to talk things
over. But she nixed that, instead choosing to send the latest in what
Larry had begun to consider part of a virtual genre: "the goodbye

Understandably, he'd like to say his own goodbye to that genre.
"E-mail is horrible," says Larry, 36, an Air Force sergeant from New
Hampshire who asked that his last name not be used. "You just get to
the point where you hate it. You can't have dialogue. You don't have
that person in front of you. You just have that black-and-white text.
It's a very cold way of communicating."

Cold, maybe. Popular, for sure. The use of e-mail and
instant-messaging to end intimate relationships is gaining popularity
because instantaneous communication makes it easy -- some say too easy
-- to just call the whole thing off. Want to avoid one of those
squirmy, awkward breakup scenes? Want to control the dialogue while
removing facial expressions, vocal inflections, and body language from
the equation? A solution is as near as your keyboard or cellphone.

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