The Teen Doctor

Answers to your questions about adolescents

My Boyfriend Broke Up With Me By Text

I want my boyfriend back.

Dear Dr. G.,

I am an 18 year old girl and I am going to college in 3 weeks. My boyfriend of 9 months is going to a different college but I hoped that we were going to continue our relationship. Well,guess what happened yesterday. My boyfriend who we can call Sam dumped me. As if that's not bad enough he dumped me by text. He just wrote " Let's take a break." Believe me, I know what "a break" means. He wants to be free to date and have sex with other girls in college

Ok-I understand that he will be a college freshman and wants to date but why did he break up with me in such a creepy way. Couldn't he have spoken to me in person? Isn't that what a decent human being does after 9 months of dating?

I have been asking my now ex to meet with me so that we can talk about the break-up but he is refusing to talk in person. He said that there is nothing to talk about. Did he ever have feelings for me? I feel so hurt and stupid. Dr. G. please help explain this situation to me. I like to understand what I can't change. By the way I want to be a psychologist.

A Baffled 18 Year Old

Dear Future Psychologist,

I am so sorry about this break-up. I am even sorrier that Sam broke up with you in such an impersonal manner. I must reassure you that his style of breaking up with you via text (UGH) is not necessarily related to his feelings about you during the relationship. Do NOT call yourself a fool. Please do not go there. That is counter-productive and will only lead you down a path of low self-esteem and more disappointment. You certainly do not need to be mired in bad feelings during this exciting time of your life.

Look-during this age of social media and communicating electronically it is not unusual to get break-up messages electronically. It's a shame but it is not at all unusual. Your boyfriend likely lacks the courage to look you in the eye and discuss his feelings. He, like a lot of other teens and adults these days,is probably more comfortable not having to deal with tough issues in person. I am sorry for him. I am sorry for you and I am sorry for everyone who has learned to deal with the tender feelings of others in this heartless way but convenient manner.

I suggest that you stop asking Sam to talk to you in person. Don't beg or grovel. Take your power back. Think about what you enjoyed about the relationship and what you learned from it and MOVE ON. You will meet plenty of potential partners in college. And, when you notice that they deliver heartfelt messages by text only see that as a red flag and get rid of the delivery men. You are entitled to an in person and real life relationship.

Good luck with love and your studies!

Dr. G.

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Barbara Greenberg, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist who specializes in the treatment of adolescents and their well-intentioned but exhausted parents.

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