The Time I was Dumped on Facebook: Breaking Up in the Digital World


By popular demand from the comments on Starting to Date in the Digital World, I have decided to share a personal experience:

When I first created my Facebook profile the option of “In a relationship with…” had not yet been invented. So call me old fashioned, but when the option was created, I didn’t feel the need to list my high school boyfriend on my profile, since everyone knew we had been dating since the days of AOL.

When we started college I often visited him and he introduced me to all his new friends as his girlfriend. Things couldn’t be better, until I noticed that he had an interest in a certain female friend that he claimed was just a friend, and of course I believed him since we had been together on and off since middle school and had always been honest. He became defensive when I inquired about photos on his Webshots account (before the fbook photo era), saying I was “overreacting,” when I really just wanted to know who his new friend was. I was in for a HUGE surprise.

One night, only days after we had last seen each other, my boyfriend was suddenly “In a Relationship with…THE GIRL FROM THE PICTURES?” Now, before the Newsfeed era, you had to go “out of your way” (how inconvenient) to find out what a friend changed on their profile. So, you can imagine how shocked I was when I went to write on his wall only to be distracted by the sudden change in relationship status.

Thinking it MUST BE a joke I called him only to get voice mail and texted him to no avail. An HOUR later he came online and said, “I didn’t want you to find out this way. But I can’t talk now, talk to you soon.” And that was it, for 2 months until intoxicated face-to-face communication provided no way out for either of us.

Over two years later, wounds have now healed and we’re remained good friends, but it is still mind boggling that a relationship of 6 years could end with such insincerity. Call me old fashioned (again) but I believe some things are sacred and should be handled appropriately. I just don’t think cutting ties over the Internet, especially with someone that you will see again, is the right way to go about things. Oddly enough, my entire dorm was shocked by the news that “Sarah on the 3rd floor got dumped on Facebook.” I got cards, desserts, and even made friendships that will last a lifetime.

What I really want to know is how this behavior translates from the virtual world into the real world? I’m under the impression that my case is not unlike many others who have split due to declared relationship statuses, photos, or hear-say online. Even celebs like Carrie Underwood have admitted to breaking up via text. Text? What’s next, Twitter in 140 characters? Is it possible to successfully handle difficult interpersonal and professional issue via the web?

Although the Internet has completely changed the communication world, I still believe that breaking up digitally, and especially on Facebook, is NOT OKAY. (Although it provides for a great conversation piece) Break-ups are never easy, but broadcasting it online is completely humiliating and provides an enormous amount of emotional trauma that I really could have done without. Think before you dump your unsuspecting girlfriend online.

Images from Flickr

Sarah Hutton


13 Responses to “The Time I was Dumped on Facebook: Breaking Up in the Digital World”

  1. 1 sarahhutton

    Haven’t vented about the time this happened to you? Let it out. ASL would love to hear it :)

    • 2 cm little

      hi sarah
      i’m really sorry to hear about your experience but was shocked to find its almost identical to mine.
      It just happened to me 3.5 weeks ago so am still heartbroken and down about it.
      My boyfriend of 6 months went abroad to his own country as he wasnt well and couldnt get diagnosed properly so wished to see his own doctor.He ended up staying there for 7 weeks so we were apart for all that time but still in contact via skype,email, text and phone.I had noticed this one girl on his fb page quite a lot,posting comments and “liking” everything he said or did.I asked him who it was and he said she was only 19 and a family member (his nephews cousin) so i let it go.Anyway the night before he was due back i noticed his relationship status changed from “in a relationship” to “in a relationship with ..her name”.Like you I thought it was a joke and he was trying to make me jealous because i had questioned him about her but no.The next day he wrote on fb that he didnt want to come back.He said his friend had his fb password and changed his status but that he had wanted to tel me face to face.But he said it was true,he had “fallen in love” with this other girl in the space of a couple of weeks,well thats what he said.During this time he had still been in contact with me telling me how he missed me and couldnt wait to see me.How can someone change their mind so quickly?I thought he was lovely but am finding it difficult to accept his deceipt.

  2. Oh, Sarah!

    That is awful and very immature on the part of your then “boyfriend.” How could he not tell you before? I must admit that as exiting as it may be, I have never been dumped via Facebook.

    My ex-boyfriend, however has asked me to tell him if I am in a relationship before posting it on facebook, since he feels it would be rather painful to find out that way.

    Maybe facebook, the bearer of all truths, should write a book on facebook etiquette and hence make online and offline life much easier for us lesser mortals who have to deal with all the impications of having the virtual space compliment/complicate our real lives.


  3. Hey Sarah,

    I couldn’t agree with you more — breaking up online or via text is ridiculously tacky! I would love to post your story on my blog If you’re interested, check out the site and contact me to let me know you’re up for it.

    Either way, thanks for sharing your story.


  4. 5 sarahhutton


    Feel free to post on your site as long as you link back to ASL. Just checked out your blog, great stuff, but I can’t find your personal contact info. Hope you see this reply!

  5. 6 Jessica


    This story is an oldie, but never fails to make me laugh, just a little. I’ll never forget that day freshman year when i got a call from you telling me what had happened. I was SO surprised, especially like you said being new to the rules of the facebook relationship. Anyway, what an idiot. Love youuuuuuu


  6. Unfortunately I have to confess that I am currently considering dumping via Facebook as it appears to be the only way of actually getting through to the brainless idiot!! Due to the online society we live in some men (like mine for example) still fail to realise that stupid things he posts or his “female friends” post on his page are not only visable by me but also by all his other friends and makes me look a complete fool.
    I think a good tip is to behave online as you would in public, as feelings can still be hurt even in the virtual world.
    But luckily for him I have far more respect than to dump via Facebook, although in an angry 10 minutes this morning I really did feel like it.

  7. 8 angryed

    My (ex) girlfriend dumped me on Facebook this summer- after a 2 and a half year relationship! What is hilarious is that she is a thirtysomething. Age does not equal maturity, I guess.

    Should I be as immature and have someone hack her Facebook page?

  8. I work for the Tyra Banks show and we are actually doing a show regarding issues of being broken up with via facebook. I would love to speak to any one who is interested. Feel free to contact me ASAP at Hope we can help!!

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