As Rene Descartes once said, breaking up is a grand pisser and a half. But sometimes it just has to be done. Either you’ve drifted apart, or you’ve met someone new, or the court order was renegotiated to 100 yards. While circumstances differ—and do they!— you probably want to formulate some sort of exit strategy, so when the end does come, you won’t be caught in a violent, sectarian mess that teeters on the brink of a bloody civil war.
So here are some tips to minimize the sloppy, disgusting mess that is the aftermath of a once-glorious but sadly-faded relationship, the obvious parallels to old war heroes, the network of historical New England lighthouses, and the career of Robin Williams best left unstated.
Force Your Partner’s Hand: Sometimes, when you want to break up, force the other person to do it. This is a time-honored trick dating back to the Garden of Eden, when Adam kept making casual remarks about how lovely the apples on that tree looked but gosh darn it, there just wasn’t anyone around who loved him enough to risk chomping down on that tasty, forbidden fruit.
Often, the best thing to do is to set your significant other up with one of your friends. For a twofur, make it that friend who “forgot” to return that hundred bucks you lent him. Then you’ll have a good excuse to ditch both the heartless nag and the freeloader at the same time, or at least extract a promise to come over and play the Wii whenever you feel like it.
Another good tactic is to move the goalposts, and by “goalposts” I mean “become a completely different person since the time you put out on the first date.” For most individuals, this actually happens as a matter of course, and usually ends up in a mutual severing of ties or a mid-life crisis, whichever comes first.
Men and women are different! Both genders approach the breakup differently. Saying the wrong thing at the wrong time—which, of course, for your purposes, is the right thing at the right time!—will give you casus belli to skedaddle in time to make those dinner reservations with that blonde clerk down at the gift shop in the hospital.
For women, you may want to take a small, insignificant detail that never bothered you before and blow it completely out of proportion, making it the functional equivalent of knifing Ron Goldman or Hiroshima. (Please note that this is above and beyond the normal things you should blow completely out of proportion on a regular, daily basis.) Here are some good sample ending starters:
“Why do you always have to open the car door?!”
“I want to be the one to flip on the light switch. Is that too much to ask?”
“I guess I’ll never be the one who chooses which mechanic to go to.”
“If you ever sleep with my mother again, we’re through.”
“I love you.”
For men, you only need a well-timed statement to set off the slow, elaborate descent into the inevitable:
“Would you stop talking like that?”
“Cosmetic surgery isn’t that expensive.”
“Would you stop talking?”
“The Holocaust never happened.”
“I think your sister’s pretty.”
Different individuals react different to such drastic changes. Some people simply take it in stride and assume that the world is full of change and they adapt. These people are called “men.” Everyone else will use this as a basis to never let their partner do anything ever again for any reason until they transform themselves to the exact same thing they were when they first met, including but not limited to their income, personality, and wardrobe.
Call in the cleaners. Don’t be selfish with your entrance into the single world. Recently trashed individuals are vulnerable and irrational, and this is the time they need to have meaningless, soulless sex. And emotional support, as well. I guess.
The rebound is a tried-and-true method of getting over an ex, and it’s one of the few romantic transactions that have the ability to be mutually beneficial to all parties involved. The ditched, or ditchee, needs a brief respite from relationships and romance, and just needs a friend to talk to and, if drunk enough, take advantage of. And there are plenty of individuals out there perfectly willing to be taken advantage of without all the fuss and feathers of romance, relationships, or last names.
Broken relationships can leave a fairly damaging mess—it interferes with existing friendships, it creates immense amounts of ill will, there is plenty of secondary collateral damage to other parties, and it makes holiday dinners and weddings somewhat uncomfortable. The important thing to remember is that it will all end up being better in the long run if you both can’t simply get along. Unless there was a gifting of jewelry, in which case the guys are screwed.