Would you believe that half of all singles say they’ve been dumped via text message, email, or a status change on Facebook? 

Most people think an “e-split” is a crummy thing to do, especially if the only heads-up the dumpee gets is seeing that their significant other has changed their Facebook relationship status! But plenty of people do it - simply because sending the news electronically is a lot easier than delivering bad news face-to-face or even over the phone.

Psychologists say we’re getting in the habit of breaking bad news this way because it spares us the hardest part, which is either seeing or hearing someone’s reaction because when you break up in a text, you don’t have to see the other person cry, or hear them yell at you.

Sociologists say humans are hard-wired to communicate face-to-face. That’s because we rely on nonverbal cues to reassure us of our value and lovability. For example: A quick touch on the arm as you say goodbye sends the message: “I’m sorry our relationship didn’t work out, but I still respect you.” Anything less sends the message: “You don’t matter.”

So, what’s the proper breakup etiquette? 

Most relationship experts recommend the 3-date rule. In other words, if you’ve gone out fewer than 3 times, an electronic split’s okay. But if you date longer than that, you should break up in person or over the phone, with one exception: If the person you’re dealing with has a controlling personality, or a violent temper, email may be the safest way to call it quits.