Breaking up is hard to do; so these guys do it for you

Pulling the plug on a relationship that’s run its course isn’t exactly everyone’s cup of tea.

“Maybe they’re shy, they totally can’t deal with conflict, and they’re forcing themselves to stay in a relationship that is making them unhappy,” says 28-year-old Mackenzie Keast of Toronto.

That’s where he believes his Breakup Shop can be of service: for a small fee, you can order a breakup Snapchat, text message, email or phone call. If you’re feeling generous, you could even spring for a “breakup text + bouquet” package. That will set you back almost $50.

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If you’re wondering, “Is this for real?” You’re not the only one.

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“Sometimes the people will text back, ‘Is this a prank, is this a joke?'” Keast admits.

He assures us it isn’t. The public just needs to be more informed.

“We’re new, we have to continue to educate the public that we’re real and if you get a call from the Breakup Shop, you’re being broken up with.”

The start-up has apparently delivered just over 60 break-ups in about two weeks. That averages to roughly four a day.

The majority of the orders are for $10 personalized break-up texts, which will deliver within three days. If you want to put a rush on it, it’ll cost you double. Oh and there’s a 100 word-maximum, so hold the novels.

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If you’re of the mindframe that breakups should be done in person and are a little shocked that a service like this even exists — well, you’re probably “old,” according to Keast.

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“All the flack we’re getting is from old people, frankly,” he says. “‘They don’t understand the reality of 21st century dating.”

“The differences between previous generations and our generation – We’re starting families later, we’re getting married later, we’re focused on our careers. We’re very busy people. And we date a lot. So part of that means we have to break up a lot.”

READ MORE: By the numbers: The rise of Canada’s online dating scene

One of Keast’s latest break-ups is what actually inspired the project. He was “ghosted” (that’s when someone suddenly stops taking your calls and texts, and simply disappears out of your life), which seems to have become more common among young people.

It made him realize that “there are all these services that help people get into relationships but nothing that actually helps people get out of relationships.”

So he and his 27-year-old Vancouver-based brother, Evan, developed this relationship-ender. They hope to soon expand their two-person team of “heartbreakers,” as they call themselves, and hire people in major markets around the world.

“We want to be able to deliver break-ups in localized languages and make sure…our heartbreakers understand the local cultural nuances when it comes to break-ups.”

They’ve already received 2,000 applications. Their ideal candidate, though, will have a background in psychology, or possibly even couples’ counselling to deliver truly “exceptional” service.

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The two may find that hard to find. When we asked Dr. Andrea Bonior, a psychologist at Georgetown University in the U.S., what she thought of the service, she said it was “troubling,” not to mention “disrespectful and inconsiderate of the person who is on the receiving end.”

“If we are going to engage in relationships with other human beings sometimes there are tough conversations that have to happen,” she says.

She’s also not buying the argument that someone is “too shy or busy” to break up with their partner themselves.

“Sometimes you have to buck up, you have to be an adult and you have to do something that’s awkward or difficult.”

“You owe it to be respectful to the other person.”

If the thought of an in-person breakup is too much for you to bear, at the very least, Bonior adds, “shoot for a phone call.”

A recent survey of teens agrees with her.

For Teens, Telling Someone in Person Is by Far the Most Socially Acceptable Way to Break Up

Still, Keast insists breaking up “doesn’t have to be such a big deal.”

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“I really dislike when people call our service cowardly, I dislike when people call our customers cowardly.”

“It’s a good thing at the end of the day because it means you’re one step closer [to being with someone] who could be a long-term partner for you.”

“It’s helping two people improve their lives.”

He would like to eventually offer in-person break-ups through the site.

“We would show up, kind of on their behalf, similar to almost serving legal documents to someone. We would be there to serve them a break-up…and help them move on.”

READ MORE: A sexologist’s advice for how to improve your relationship

For those considering a breakup but not sure whether to pull the plug, sex and relationship expert Dr. Jess O’Reilly recently gave Global News this advice:

If you both want to save a relationship and you’re willing to invest time to formally work on it, you can likely revive the connection.

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However, there are some challenges that are particularly difficult to overcome:

  • If you recall/reimagine positive relationship memories as overwhelmingly negative, it can be challenging to get back on track.
  • If you or your partner has withdrawn from the relationship for a prolonged period of time (e.g. you avoid engaging in conflict, you avoid physical intimacy, you avoid being a part of your partner’s triumphs and struggles), it can be difficult to save the relationship.
  • If you often feel disgusted by your partner’s behaviour, it’s time to seek professional help.

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