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There’s nothing to ruin the magic of a brand-new apartment like getting dumped in it, as I recently discovered when a guy I’d been dating broke up with me in my living room just about two months after I’d moved in. I was somehow both unsurprised and blindsided — I’d suspected for a while the end was coming, but then again, for as long as I’d been bracing myself, nothing ever happened. Until, that night, it did.
We’d gone out to dinner in my neighborhood and then decided to go back to my place, which I’d cleaned for several hours in preparation of his arrival. We both sat on my months-old West Elm couch (which, at that point, was still holding the hopes of countless movie nights and makeouts with this guy). He drank a single bottle of beer; I had two. He never took off his shoes. And then he dumped me.
After he left, I sobbed for a solid seven minutes, staring at the spot on the couch where he’d been just been fidgeting with my ratty throw pillows as he told me he didn’t think it was a good idea for us to hang out anymore. I thought about fluffing out the cushion where his indentation still lingered, but it would’ve made the moment too real and final. In the course of an hour, my imitation mid-century sofa, my living room, and my entire apartment had all been desecrated by a blue-eyed boy who didn’t believe in monogamy as a sustainable institution.
Over the next few weeks, when I wasn’t blubbering on the phone to my friends and mother, I was wandering around my apartment, picturing him still sitting in that spot on the couch as I cried next to him. When I glanced at my front door, I saw him walking out of it and into the hallway; when I looked out the kitchen window, I remembered peering out of it to watch his car with one dim headlight driving away for the last time. My cozy little home had suddenly become a space haunted with memories of my breakup.
Now I was upset for two reasons: the breakup, yes, but also the way the breakup had ruined my own apartment for me. I started giving the matter some real thought: If one were to try to be as kind and understanding and compassionate and non-life-ruining as possible, what’s the actual best place to dump someone? And if I could’ve orchestrated my own dumping, where would it have been?
There are several considerations to take into account. It should be somewhere with easy access to a quick exit, allowing the dumped party to get out and move on. It should also be somewhere that’s maybe off the beaten path from your ex’s daily routine. You don’t want them to run into the spot where it happened on a daily basis — which means don’t do it in any of their usual hangouts, don’t do it in a spot that would force them to reroute their usual commute, and definitely don’t do it in their home. It’s bad enough having to walk by a park where your partner consciously uncoupled from you (note: I’ve been dumped in parks not once, but twice); now imagine having to exist in that space day after day after day.
I mentioned my musings to a friend, who offered her own go-to breakup spot: the subway. Get it over with, she said, and then get out: “Off at the next stop!” Here’s hoping there’s no inopportune “train traffic ahead” when that goes down.
One thing we both clearly agreed on is that allowing the dumped to make an easy exit is key. But to me, the answer was pretty obvious: The best location to dump someone shouldn’t involve MetroCards, and it isn’t at your soon-to-be ex’s home. It’s at yours.
After all that mulling, it suddenly came to me clearly. If you’re going to do the dirty deed of dumping someone, you should dirty your own home in the process. Just invite them over to your house and tell them you need to talk. Don’t pretend you’re going on a date, don’t offer them a drink. You can crack open a quietly celebratory beer once they leave. Congratulations — you managed to do it without giving in to the urge to just ghost.
The benefits are manifold. Your home is the one place your ex will most likely never go again, and therefore is perfectly suited for an unexpected, potentially traumatizing breakup. It’s private, saving them the added humiliation of being rejected in public. Sure, the dumped party will probably be doubly pissed that you dragged them over to your apartment only to break up with them, but the pros outweigh the cons, especially from their side of things. In the long run, it’s a whole lot better for them to form negative associations with your house than someplace they love — or, worse, someplace they’d once thought of as a sanctuary. The sting of a breakup eventually fades, but the unpleasant associations with a familiar place can linger.