How to Mastermind a Breakup

"Who is this emotionally stunted crybaby and why are we having dinner together?" Does this sound like your last evening on the town? You know what you have to do. It's time to put on your breakup shoes and head out the door. Be firm, be gentle, but most of all--be gone.

Pick a time in the very near future. If you don't, a time will pick you--and it's guaranteed to be bad. You don't want to have a huge argument and break up during a six-hour car trip. Miles and miles of angry silence. Not relaxing.

Verify, as best as you can, that the time is considerate to your future ex. There's nothing to be gained by destroying someone on their birthday or while they're in the middle of critical business.

Do the deed in person. If the relationship is advanced enough to require this level of planning, have the courage and consideration to do the dumping face to face.

Pick a comfortable, private spot. You don't want to be in an airport terminal. You don't know what's going to happen. You could spend a lot of time sitting around crying. Bring a box of tissues.

Lie. There's no reason to be completely honest if it will cause needless pain. Why say "Five more seconds of your inane commentary about J.Lo and I'll slap you on the forehead" when it's just as easy to say "We just aren't compatible." On the other hand, most people can spot a lie a mile away, so strike a balance between brutal honesty and emotional truth.

Have an escape. Schedule the breakup for one hour before an appointment that you have to keep. That way you can escape gracefully without causing undo trauma.

If you are engaged, you'll have to do the following post-breakup: (a) If invitations have already been sent, write a note to guests stating that the engagement has been broken. Do not include personal details, and keep it short. (b) If wedding invitations have not been sent out, notify people via word of mouth. (c) Return all engagement gifts. (d) Unless the engagement ring has been in the bride's family for generations, it should always go back to the man. Others say that if the man breaks it off, the woman can keep it, but if she breaks it off then she has to give it back.

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  • Don't backtrack. Once you've broken it off, don't relent. You'll regret it.
  • Retrieve any important belongings from your future ex before the breakup. You don't want your favorite leather jacket in hysterical enemy hands.
  • Burn a CD with a selection of classic breakup songs to play in that rare moment of weakness when you think you might just give your ex a call: "Achy Breaky Heart" (Billy Ray Cyrus), "Bed of Lies" (Matchbox 20), "Ex Factor" (Lauryn Hill), "Home Ain't Where His Heart Is Anymore" (Shania Twain), "Go Your Own Way" (Fleetwood Mac) and "Take Another Little Piece of My Heart" (Janis Joplin) among others.

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