I’ve had a love affair with dating apps as of late, being newly single and all. And one thing I’ve noticed this time around, which I found out the hard way, is that I occasionally have to break up with someone I’m not officially going out with. I firmly believe that before I’ve had The Talk with a new guy—basically a declaration that we’ve decided to be monogamous—each of us should assume that we’re dating other people.
Most recently, I had been hanging out with a younger dude who was attractive, well put-together and fun AF. But he was five years my junior and his immaturity— which I ignored because of said fun—was made obvious when I went on a date with a different, more established guy. We clicked immediately, so I decided to let the younger dude know what was up, so we could both move on. No harm done. Right? Wrong.
Perhaps I wouldn’t have had to go through the drama that ensued—having to talk it out on the phone, then rehashing in person (where he told me how much I’d regret my decision)— had I known about a recently-launched Canadian service, The Breakup Shop, which breaks up with the person you’re dating for you via a method of your choice: text, phone call, email, letter, or the classy “breakup text plus bouquet.” The cost? As little as $10.
The Breakup Shop was founded by Mackenzie and Evan Keast, two brothers who are currently handling all of the company’s business (though they are hiring). I recently spoke with Toronto-based Mackenzie, 28, about what exactly the service is—and what it’s really like to be a professional breaker-upper.
Where did this idea come from?
I dated a girl that I met over Tinder. We were seeing each other for a month and then she ghosted me. I realized that it’s pretty common for someone to feel like they don’t have to give you [an official] breakup, especially when you haven’t even had a formal talk about where you stand or if you’re exclusive. There are so many services that help people get together but none that help you break up. The Breakup Shop allows a third party to end things for you as easily as dating apps help you start something.
Who’s using The Breakup Shop?
Millennials are most accepting of using [our services]. We’re targeting the under-25 age group. So far there’s been a 60/40 split of men to women.
Why do you feel there’s such a demand for something like this?
We think it’s the growing acceptance of breakups. Younger people now get married later in life, so we’re dating more people, and we have to break up a lot—but it doesn’t have to be a sad or drawn-out experience. It’s simply a means to an end. Even Facebook has added tools to make it easier to go through a breakup.
Do you have hard limits of what you will and won’t do when it comes to ending a relationship? if someone wants to end their marriage, would you do that?
We don’t differentiate; people have asked if we do marriages, we’re not here to perform a divorce. But we will send the message to get the conversation rolling.
We’ve refused some breakups when it’s obviously a third party (someone who isn’t who they say they are) trying to ruin a couple’s relationship, and we’ve refused some people that have asked us to say nasty things. We won’t send anything that we think would cause undue emotional harm.
How have those being dumped taken the dreaded call?
It’s been a mix. There are people who are shocked and who think it’s a prank. Sometimes those hiring us get into explicit breakup details, but we don’t cast judgment. If they are sending a [personalized] message they’ll include detail in there, but we don’t ask any questions.
Walk me through a typical phone call. Dump me!
“Hi Jen, It’s Mackenzie from The Breakup Shop, I’m calling you on behalf of Evan. I regret to inform you that he’s decided to break up with you.” Then we try to get off the phone as quickly as possible. We remind them that our customer has ordered a breakup through us, that it wasn’t our choice, and we’re just the messenger. We tell them to direct any questions they may have to our client. We do the breakup and that’s it. If the customer that hired us wants to provide closure or follow up with their now-ex that will happen. But our job is done.
Does this job come with a heavy heart? It seems harsh.
We don’t think it’s heartless at all. We are simply a messenger. Breaking up doesn’t need to be hard and [it ultimately] helps you get closer to someone else who is right for you down the road. It’s a service. A business. Customers can be shy about ending things themselves, so this brings in a third party to get the job done.
Tell us in the comments: Would you use a breakup service?
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