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Being Broken Up With Via Text Message as Someone With Autism

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In a digital age it seems like more and more individuals in relationships are being broken up with via text message. There are countless websites that talk about when it’s OK to break up with someone via text message, often saying when it’s a relationship that hasn’t lasted long and/or a very negative relationship. The general consensus is that it’s the cowardly thing to do. I wanted to share my perspective of being broken up with three times digitally as someone on the autism spectrum.

As a professional speaker who has two books and publications online, living in this digital age, one of the first things people find out about me is that I’m on the autism spectrum. The majority of the time I don’t get the opportunity to disclose my diagnosis because it’s brought up by a date/girlfriend within the first few dates. When this conversation comes up one of the first things I mention, like clockwork, is the need for open and honest conversations to avoid misunderstandings. It wasn’t always my line of thinking, but today it’s something I truly believe.

After almost a decade of dating, these situations have happened to me three times in total in relationships…

The first time I was broken up with was via Facebook message after a year-and-a-half relationship.

The second time I was broken up with was by text message after a four-and-a-half month relationship. I was “ghosted” shortly thereafter when trying to reconcile. I later asked to meet in person to discuss but that interaction was rejected.

The third time I was broken up with via text message was almost a year into our relationship. Even though we got back together later, it was still a difficult thing to swallow. Months later, the second time around she would break up with me in person, a type of closure and common courtesy I believe is important.

Sadly, each of these times I dealt with anxiety and sensory overload. These are things I had to deal with earlier in my adolescence, and sometimes face today to a lesser degree. There was no closure and the majority of the messages were only a paragraph long.

I get worried that based on the path we are heading down, many of my mentees who have disabilities may soon face breakups via blog posts, Google hangouts or by being ignored completely (AKA ghosting).

Rejection happens to all of us at one point or another, whether in our personal or professional lives. The trouble I face is when people on the spectrum such as myself feel confused and upset when a situation is not explained. This is something I hope no one, whether on the spectrum or not will ever have to face.

Getty image by Antonio Guillem.

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Originally published: February 21, 2018
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