Third-party breakups: the wave of the future?


Too chicken to break up with your beloved? Now, you can hire someone to do the dirty work for you.

We’ve all been heartbroken at some point or another. Most of us have been dumped, and whether the act is done with absolute care or total lack of ceremony, it still stings. But now there’s a whole new way to dump someone: by hiring a delegate.

Since we run a business that helps girls get over breakups, we receive emails from women of all ages across the country telling us horror stories of being broken up with via text, voicemail, facebook, and various other methods of passive aggression, and recently a young woman wrote in with her story of being ditched not by the guy himself – but by a friend he sent to deliver the news on his behalf… loudly... in public. And it’s just one example of the culture of cowardice that exists in the realm of relationships, particularly in the digital world in which we live.

Much to the horror of etiquette experts and, frankly, anyone with a pulse and a conscience, companies have begun popping up online offering breakup packages in which the buyer pays the “agent” to drop the bomb, so to speak, on the unsuspecting significant other and – in some cases – make the conversation available to the public. One site sells three levels of service: $10 for a “basic breakup,” $25 to break an engagement and $50 to inform someone of the desire for a divorce. The news is delivered over the phone and recorded for upload to the site’s homepage, where anyone with a computer can replay it – including the person who didn’t have the guts to make the call himself in the first place.

Another, perhaps less profit-minded, site offers free breakups via email, allowing users to cite their own reasons or choose from a menu of pre-written options ranging from hilarious (“I think you’re hotter when you’re tan”) to direct (“I caught you cheating”) to classic and lame (“I love you, I’m just not in love with you.”) A phone call, though? That’ll cost you. Again, the price depends on the kind of split -- $10 for a standard breakup, $20 to call off a wedding, and $40 when the wedding has already taken place but perhaps shouldn’t have. Yet another site offers flower arrangements that arrive broken, decomposed and/or decapitated altogether. Presumably, it’s not necessary to include a note.

Is this what it’s come to? Are we really a bunch of chickens? Third-party marriage proposals and weddings held via Skype may not be a trend just yet, but evidently, there’s a segment of the population that may think those are both great ideas. The digital age has undoubtedly changed the way we communicate – some argue for the better, while some say not so much. But when it comes to something as personal as ending a relationship, doing it by proxy sends a clear message: “It’s not you… it’s me. I’m a jerk.”