This article originally appeared on VICE Germany.
Dumping someone is never easy. There's no nice way to tell another human you were once very close with that, in an ideal future, you'd like to never set eyes on them again. This is where Peter Treichl comes in. After spending years running a dating agency, the Austrian saw a gap in the market. 'People go to dating agencies, so why not break-up agencies?' Treichl thought to himself.
From there, he expanded his dating business, The Partner Group, to include a service where you can pay him to break-up face-to-face with your partner for you. The two arms of his company now work in tandem: after Treichl does the dumping, he points the target – now a potential client – to his dating service.
Treichl doesn't feel guilty about injecting himself into such a sensitive moment with a stranger. "Lots of people dump their partners over WhatsApp or Facebook," he said. "At least my style has a little more decency." I asked Treichl to explain more about what it's like to be a professional dumper, and he told me about his "break-up box", elderly clients and how people go from shock to acceptance.
"The actual break-up is over pretty quickly. I turn up at their door, ring the bell and say something like, 'Hi, I'm here with a message from your wife: You're not together anymore.'
"When I go on to explain why, people usually get defensive – they often say that it can't be true. Mostly I go round in the morning, when people are already stressed. It's better that way, because they then have the rest of the day to get over it. I get there so early, people are often not even dressed when I turn up. This one time, the guy was still in his vest, with a shirt in hand. Behind him, a naked woman ran by shouting, 'Who's that?' My message hadn't come as a shock to him, as he'd already found someone new. His wife was well aware of all this – that's why she didn't want to be with him anymore.
"Some targets just laugh when I tell them, while others think there's a hidden camera somewhere. But eventually, they all realise that it's really happening."
"There are four break-up packages in total. The 'on the spot' package, for €365 (£322), is the most popular. Then there's the 'let's still be friends' package that costs the same, and the 'yellow card' package, which is just a warning that the next time they fuck up, it's over.
"Finally, there's the luxury break-up – that costs €2,000 (£1,764) and it's unlimited, depending on what you want to do. People can be very inventive, especially when they’re annoyed. One client turned their break-up with his wife into a three-week journey of separation."
THE BREAK-UP BOX
"I give everyone I dump my breakup box. It contains prosecco, chocolate, a packet of tissues and a voucher for my dating agency, which I run alongside the break-up agency – because, as I tell my targets, 'Nobody should be alone.' I was a matchmaker for 20 years before I started breaking people up.
"At first, I was told that it was wrong for a matchmaker to start a break-up business, but it’s a complete concept – nobody wants to be alone, but nobody wants to be in an unhappy relationship, either. And I'm just the messenger."
A YEAR'S SUBSCRIPTION
"The busiest time of the year is during the Christmas period; just after the holidays is when the most splits happen. You spend too much time together so you argue a lot, expectations aren't met and that causes a lot of stress. I once had seven dumpings in three days.
"I'll occasionally get asked to kick someone out of a friendship group, just because one member of the group has decided to get rid of them. I don't do those out of principle. Another client that I turned down was a 23-year-old playboy who wanted to arrange a year's subscription from me. He said that he met two or three girls a month and it was becoming difficult to break-up with them all. He told me that it was easier on his conscience to get someone else to do it.
"Sometimes people call me at 1AM because they're so upset. A client once called me and asked me to do it immediately. He'd been on a boat in the North Sea for two months, and when he came home he learned that his wife had been cheating on him."
"Not all of my clients are young. My oldest was 76, and his wife, who I had to ditch, was 74. The man got in touch because she didn't talk to him anymore, and he couldn't stand it. She would just say, 'That's fine, darling' to everything he said. They didn't communicate anymore. When I came to the house, he shouted: 'Darling, the match-breaker is here!' She came up to me and I gave her the break-up box and said, 'Greetings from your husband.'
"She didn't deserve to to be alone, so, as I always do, I gave her a voucher for my dating service. As I turned to leave, I heard her say, 'Darling, I think we need to talk.' Everything was fine in the end – they stayed together.
"I've had lots of cases where couples have simply stopped communicating with each other. They often can't bring themselves to say that they're in love with someone else. That's why 80 percent of my targets are eventually happy that it's over. In my first ever case, the target popped open the bottle of prosecco after I dumped her, and celebrated with me. She already had another partner lined up."
"It's more common in America to subcontract your break-ups to a third party. There's a storage company over there that will take care of the whole thing for you: they’ll send an email to your partner telling them where they can pick up the container full of their stuff. I see that as the next step for us, too. It's just an extension of modern life – everything is convenient these days, so why not break-ups?"