Among the milestone scenes of my youth marked by TV there is an unforgettable one that all the girls fans of Sex and The City remember as the example of the most abject behavior a male can adopt: that in Berger that leaves Carrie with a post it.
I suddenly thought about it this morning when I read on IG that Ben Affleck and his now ex broke up over the phone and that he has stated that there is nothing strange about that. I let you imagine the comments below, which I could summarize as «Shame! Typical behavior of a selfish man who does not even take responsibility for his actions and who does not have the courage to say it to his face ». In short: As well as Berger, but in a digital version.
Yet I ask myself: leaving “at a distance”, without saying it to your face but using the telephone or a letter is it really so ignoble? Are we sure it’s better to see each other and leave in person?
I wouldn’t be so sure. And I know this because I have tried it on my skin.
A few years ago I was with a guy who lived in another city: things in the last couple of months were shaky and I knew he had doubts about the relationship, but I thought we were working to resolve. Yet one evening he came by train to spend the weekend together, and instead he left me. It all went very quickly: he entered the house and I saw in his face that something was wrong, the situation was resolved in a few minutes of conversation. What we could tell each other about the relationship we had told each other in the previous months, and, really, there was nothing more to add but goodbye. The problem was that by now he was there and too late to take a train to take him back to his city, but it was intolerable for me to think of spending even one more minute with him knowing it would be the last. In the end, I left him to sleep with me and went to a friend’s house: I remember perfectly the agony it was to hug him for the last time and leave, and then the anguish with which I returned to the empty house. next day. It was horrible, a pain that added to the enormous pain I was already feeling because of the breakup.
Did I appreciate that he came to tell me in person instead of over the phone? Yes. Am I happy that he did? Absolutely not.
Breaking up over the phone is certainly easier and for those who have to communicate this decision it seems almost a shortcut, a sort of easier way that saves a bit of shame and pain for the “leaving”. Yet sometimes, as in my case, it is on the contrary a gesture of humanity. We have been talking about it for months, there is nothing more to say: you save the agony of the last kiss, the last hug, seeing you go away knowing that you will never go back.
Each situation is unique and there are times when three days together would not be enough to explain to the other why we can no longer go on, let alone if one phone call is enough. But there are others in which, really, there is nothing more to say except “I can’t do it, I’m sorry. Do not hate me”. E being told it to your face maybe hurts more than reading it on a post it.