People get super worked up over stories about managing interpersonal relationships like business transactions on Twitter. That’s why I’m convinced that writer Haili Blassingame knew exactly what she was doing when she published an essay with the New York Time‘s Modern Love column.
The essay is basically about Blassingame realizing she didn’t want to be in a settled relationship, but rather to pursue “solo polyamory.”
She doesn’t do an amazing job of explaining it, but it basically describes someone who wants to date a lot of people and be committed to none. Fancy new name for an ancient type of living. The thing that really caught people’s attention was her opening paragraphs about sending her boyfriend a break-up letter full of bullet points.
The most screenshot section reads:
Well, I broke up with my boyfriend of five years during quarantine, but not because we had fallen out of love.
I sent him an email with the subject line, “My Terms,” and proceeded to outline why I wanted to be single. In an effort to impose order on my decision, I included subheadings like “Why I Need This,” “What This Change Means For You” and “What We’ll Say To the Outside World,” followed by a trail of bullet points.
Under the subheading, “What This Doesn’t Mean,” I wrote: “That I don’t love you anymore.”
Well, they’ve been together for five years, he probably knows what she’s like. People just being introduced to Blassingame, however, were horrified by the calculation and seeming coldness of an email like that.
The responses range from judgmental stuff about Blassingame’s refusal to be in a relationship, to people mocking the transactional tone of her message to someone she dated for five years:
Ultimately, it only really matters what her ex thinks, and she does say he told her the email made him sad:
After I sent Malcolm my breakup email, he and I spoke on the phone.
“I have to be honest,” he said, “I was a little sad when I read it.”
“Why?” I asked.
“It just seemed more final in an email.”
“You know, we can change the terms whenever we want,” I said.
“You’re still my best friend,” I said.
He made a joke about being friend-zoned, then said, “Yeah, you’re my best friend too.”
Wait until he gets the friend break up email.