Discuss: Should You “Schedule” Your Breakup?

Consider, if you will, two breakups:

Bachelor #1, a summer romance, invited me on to his parents’ motor boat. It was the day after we’d slept together for the first time and I thought we were having a lovely date. But this jerk puttered into the middle of Long Island Sound, stopped the boat’s engine, and then, as the boat was rocking back and forth in the waves, dumped me. Then he puttered the boat back to the marina, deposited me on a pier, and left, presumably to get in his car and drive himself home. Shocked doesn’t even begin to describe how I felt! ‘Did he REALLY take me on a boat in the middle of Long Island Sound just to break up with me? What a psycho!’ I said to myself, as I called someone to come pick me up.Bachelor #2 and I dated long-distance for eight months and had power struggles/arguments the whole time. One weekend I traveled to see him, schlepping my suitcase via train and taxi cab. We had sex and then bickered about something. We ordered takeout for dinner and bickered about something else. As the sushi arrived, Bachelor #2 told me hated our constant arguing and he broke up with me; he asked me to pack up my bags and leave. So, I did.

Is there a proper protocol to “planning” a breakup? Or should all breakups be just like Band Aids — rip it off quickly and painfully and it’s all over?

I think you should just get breakups over with—really, anything else makes you look like a liar. Getting dumped by Bachelor #1 would have been painful no matter what, but planning it ahead of time under the auspices of a motor boat ride just felt totally insincere. With Bachelor #2, I was pissed off that I’d paid money to travel to see him, and that we’d just had sex before he dumped me. But at least he made his feelings clear and got it over quickly.

Here’s a third breakup for you to consider: a “planned” breakup gone awry. I know a couple that “accidentally” ended their engagement a few weeks ago and I say “accidentally” because the dump-er had planned to wait until after the holidays to do it. But somehow, the dumpee figured out the dumper’s plan, flipped out, and ended the engagement first. What a mess!

Ending a relationship—especially an engagement—is unpleasant under any circumstances. But it’s got to be painful to discover your fiancé was faking his happiness on Christmas and New Year’s Eve. How humiliating for the dumpee, to know all those holiday presents and parties and pictures taken together had an expiration date! That’s how I felt with Bachelor #1—why did he even bother inviting me onto the boat as if we were having a date? Couldn’t he have just dumped me at a coffee shop, or even over the phone?

In the long run, even the best laid plans don’t assuage the pain of the person being dumped. So, really, what’s the point?