Breaking Up Is Hard to Do Except in China

Chinese women outsource the dirty work of ending relationships. Damn. That's smart.
Courtesy of Company

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.

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Photo Courtesy of Company

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