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David Eddie

My 29-year-old girlfriend broke up via text. What do I do? Add to ...

The question

My girlfriend of 14 months recently broke up with me – via text. On Saturday, we were saying I love you, by Monday she texted that it was over. I was stunned by the 180 and by the delivery. She said she had doubts about a long-term future (as did I, but we got along great, so I was open and patient). Let me give you some facts. There’s an age difference. She’s 29, I’m 51. She’s not great at communication, hated to talk on the phone and preferred to text when we weren’t together. She used the L word first, about six months in. And she was the first woman I’ve had such feelings for in years. We’re bound to see each other around: We live close by and frequent the same places. But I’m left with so many questions, not to mention feeling hurt and betrayed, that I’m not sure how I should handle it.

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The answer

Hmmm … for starters, I perceive a possible generational/technological aspect to your problem.

You say she’s “not great at communication” because she’d rather text than talk on the phone. But you can bet a 29-year-old doesn’t see it that way. She’s probably texting her friends right now: “OMG he was so NG @ communication, never wanted 2 text, only 2 yak on phone LOL.”

That’s how everyone under 30 “rolls” these days, bro. My kids (two teens and a tween) only text me, and seem puzzled, confused and nonplussed when I use my phone to call them, old school-style.

Breaking up by text is pretty cold, I’ll agree. But who knows: Maybe that’s how all the kids are doing it now, and it doesn’t seem that way to them, any more. Perhaps you’re lucky you didn’t find out via Twitter that you’re breaking up, by her simply “unfollowing” you.

Now, as to the rest of it, as often happens, I feel I’m missing some key piece of information here. So you were exchanging sweet nothings and tender avowals of love Saturday night then she broke up with you Monday?

So … what happened Sunday?

Guess I’ll never know, but let me say: those Sundays can be rough. They can be a real relationship killer, especially for one that’s teetering. I’d love to see statistics on how many relationships break up on a Sunday.

Beware the Ides of Sunday, young lovers! You wake up, go for a walk, read the paper, have breakfast – and there’s still all this time to kill. Maybe as the sun tilted in the sky she got what my friends and I used to call “Sunday Jones,” heebie-jeebies that the weekend, humanity’s temporary sanctuary from life’s knife fight, was coming to an end, and she had to face another week.

Anyway, obviously I’m speculating wildly. Suffice to say: Whatever you did that Sunday, make a note of it and don’t do it again.

As to how to handle it from here – well, it’s always the same, whether you’re 21, 51 or 91: with dignity, humility and gratitude. Look her in the eye and say: “I’m sorry it didn’t work out. I wish it could have, but I’ll always be grateful for the times we had and will treasure the good memories.”

And walk away. Manly! Menschy. And it’ll have a two-pronged effect, I believe: 1) It’ll make you feel strong and better about yourself, 2) She may find it attractive.

You may be full of hurt feelings and rage and questions, but believe me when you’ve been freshly dumped is not a good time to be whiny, rage-y and cross-examining her. She broke up with you so you would no longer have the right to that type of thing.

Maybe, down the line, when you’re friends or back together, you can ask what you did wrong. For the next little while your best look is to be a pillar of stoicism and rock of independence.

I’m not saying you have a shot, but if you do, your best tactic for now is to extinguish all hope. Like Seinfeld’s George Costanza:

George: “I don’t want hope. Hope is killing me. My dream is to become hopeless. When you’re hopeless, you don’t care, and when you don’t care, that indifference makes you attractive.”

Jerry: “Oh, so hopelessness is the key.”

George: “It’s my only hope.”

What am I supposed to do now?

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