Heartbreakers are for hire in China, where a number of so-called breakup agencies have opened for business. Cropping up in the months since a Chinese rom-com called The Breakup Guruhit theaters in June, featuring a smarmy man who makes a living ending relationships, breakup agents act as go-betweens for clients who want to ditch unwanted lovers but don't have the time or guts to do it themselves.
Shanghai-based breakup agent Qi Linlin says she's broken off relationships over text, phone, e-mail, and even coffee. She rehearses several possible scenarios before the actual breakup and earns about $5 to $15 for each successful split. "I get a little nervous the first time I call," she says. "What if they blame me or yell at me?"
Mostly she ends relationships as a neutral third party, but a recent breakup required a different approach. One of her clients wanted to call it quits with a guy but worried he would put up a fight. Qi studied her client's writing style and began exchanging messages with the online flame. After a fiery back-and-forth, he eventually agreed never to contact his "girlfriend" again.
Photo Courtesy of Company