BING. Ding. The sound of a text message arriving on your smartphone has the potential to cause instant excitement, or instant stress, especially if it's from a love interest and you've assigned it a sound. But may I suggest a lovely bell sound for the current amore and more like a fire alarm for the ex?
Yes, if it's a text from your ex, prepare yourself to be assaulted in a way that was never possible when we just had a landline or had to have break-up fights in person.
"Smart" communication has much to blame for people's ability to scream into the distance with remarkable effect. Just look at social media and its "haters" and "trolls".
There's a comforting anonymity about text messages that allows an unedited and, often, obscene outpouring, with the satisfaction of knowing you have vented and it's been heard or, more correctly, read.
But ask yourself if a text is really the place to talk about your ex's faults, including personal hygiene, sexual fetishes, self-delusion, chronic PMT or grumpy man syndrome, and to what effect? If you're hoping to win him or her back the answer is no.
Ditto if you don't want these thoughts recorded for posterity. A text message is like a letter, it can be forever retained.
Declarations of ill-fated love also sit awkwardly. "I am so lonely/unhappy/sad emoticon without U, won't U come back" isn't the romantic declaration that might be intended. (Have you heard of champagne, roses, or crawling on your knees?)
The best way to read a text from an ex is often, perhaps, not at all - what will you learn after months or years of recriminations? Have a friend read it first and translate any salient information or pass it to a therapist.
To comfort those who have received a poisonous ex-text, know that you are not alone.
Here, a selection of tragic post-coital communication:
- "Sorry this is out of the blue and a little random but I just had a sex dream about you."
- "I am going to cook her a lovely dinner and then break up with her." "Whoops, wrong person!"
- "How am I supposed to forget you when every time I go outside I see things that remind me of you like garbage bins and dog s***."
- "You are emotionally stunted but it's not your fault. Many women are."
- "Thinking of you naked." "Ignore last text. Not meant for you."
- "What if I get you that ring and reverse my vasectomy."
With thanks to readers, buzzfeed.com, smosh.com and twitter.com.