The Christmas season isn't only the time for giving, but it's also the time to get out of a relationship. According to a recent study of Facebook status updates
, researchers found that many couples break up right before Dec. 25. So if you're one of those people who are thinking of calling it quits but don't have the stomach for breaking hearts? Bradley Laborman is the man for the job.
As founder and head dumper for iDump4u.com
, Bradley has pinch-ended over 200 relationships since September 2009 with his pay-per-call service. Most of the videos end up posted (and anonymized) for your viewing/cringing pleasure on his site.
For a mere $10, he can get rid of your significant other so you don't have to. What started as a joke on a radio show has now turned into a bona fide business for this Iowa native and recent Big Apple transplant. He's even got a book in the works about what works and what doesn't in a relationship, which seems to cannibalize his service a little, if you ask us.
Lemondrop recently caught up with Bradley and asked him why he decided to start the business, how he became a "relationship expert," and why people even hire him in the first place.
Lemondrop: How did professional breaking up go from a joke to an actual business?
Breaking up with people for others isn't something I invented; it was something that's been around for a while. But I thought, Why don't I break up with somebody and edit it out and put it up on YouTube?
And I did that, and it got extremely popular. Then I had people coming to me and saying, "How much do you charge for this service?" I didn't even think of charging for it, but then I thought, OK.
So I put up some prices, and people started contacting me and wanted to buy it. Of course, we get a lot of prank people applying for the service, but there are some serious, legitimate people who I think I've seriously helped out. It's turned into something where I know I've done something good for relationships.Well, certainly. It's not an easy thing for most people to do. How do you psyche yourself up to potentially break someone's heart?
I look at the situation, and the reason the person is getting dumped, and I just prepare for what I have to say to them. And I go into the phone call saying, "I'm going to be as nice as possible to this person, and I'm going to be straightforward and tell them exactly what needs to happen." Nine times out of 10, that isn't what happens. A lot of times people say I'm mean in the recordings, but I'm not trying to be mean. I'm just trying to be blunt and straightforward.
I do have a lot of calls where the person on the other line is upset or the person says, "Oh OK, whatever. I guess we're broken up" and just hang up. I don't put calls up if not long enough or if it's of someone just crying. But it happens. The guys cry, too. I'm not there to exploit people's pain. I'm there to demonstrate different types of relationships and explain why relationships don't work.
Do you ever feel bad or guilty for what you're doing?
I try to stay detached from it. But I've been approached at parties by people who know what I do, and they say "I have a girlfriend and it's not working out, and I want to let her down easy. So how should I do it?" And it's beneficial to both sides. If you're not really into the relationship with someone and what's keeping you from ending it is the actual ending it,
all you're doing is wasting his time. So while you're waiting two months to get up the guts to break up with someone, you've just wasting two months of that person's time.
Would you be OK with someone breaking up with YOU this way?
I'd been in a relationship for a couple of years, and after the second time we broke up, I realized, "Oh, look what I did. I could have been with somebody else by now. I could have moved on and a lot of things could have changed." I even turned down job opportunities because I was trying to make the relationship work when there wasn't any reason for it to.
When someone cheats on you, or you're not happy with the other person, or in situations when you shouldn't be in the relationship and you're just waiting it out... it's like you go into cruise control. And you're that way for so long, that years go by. And then one day you realize, "Whoa, what am I doing?" I'm just trying to help people out.
But, yeah, sometimes people don't deserve it -- some people don't deserve to be broke up on my website. A lot of times when I put those recordings up, I'm not highlighting the girl or guy getting dumped, I'm highlighting the person who has the nerve to use my service to break up with someone who they should break up with in person. That's
what I'm pointing out.
Do you pick and choose whose breakup cases you take on?
Well someone contacted me the other day and said, "My girlfriend cheated on me, but she broke it off with the guy. But the guy's not paying attention. Would you call him
and tell him it's over?" I said, "Dude I'm not going to get involved with this because the guy has nothing to do with your relationship -- it's you and the girl." And then he said, "Well, I guess I'll break up with her
. Will you break up with her for me?" And at that point, I said, "It just seems you're looking for an excuse to use my service. You should just break up with her on your own." And I walked him through the process. If I lose money on the deal, then I lose money on the deal.
People really want to use the site that badly?
I get a lot of fake people. I get a lot of people who just want to play a prank on their friends, or people who don't like their friend's girlfriend or boyfriend and try to initiate the breakup. And I get some where the girls just want to use iDump4u on some guy they went on two dates with. I'm not going to break up with someone who's been on two dates with you.
You mentioned a relationship you had that didn't work out. Has doing this affected your personal life?
I'm a little bit smarter now, and I'm little bit cautious about using the word "relationship" in general. I don't think it's made me more cynical, but I think it's made me more cautious. So many times people throw out the "love" word too fast, and they throw out the "dating" word too fast or the "relationship" word too fast. I think it's a lot easier if people were just "seeing each other" and be able to see each other.
The moment you get into a "relationship" with somebody, if that person does something to disappoint you, then you're breaking up with that person... And I think it's important for people to learn about each other and get to know one another before they even jump into the relationship level of actually being in a relationship. In the early stages of dating, you have a tendency to make stuff up to make the other person like you... Then what happens is you get into a relationship with that person, and then you're stuck. My advice is just be completely honest with the person from the beginning and let the person like you for who you are.
Would it be fair to say that you've learned a lot from the failed relationships of others?
In college, I was always the guy that everyone went to when they wanted to ask a girl out for the first time. And now it's weird because I'm on the other end of the spectrum. I think it's because I observe a lot. I take what I've learned from my own relationships and take what I've learned from other peoples' relationships and I see patterns.
But I've realized that a lot of times a relationship problem isn't necessarily a problem. A lot of girls like to say that the guys always end up being a--holes. But in reality the common factor is the girl choosing the guys, not the guys she chose. So maybe the problem isn't that the guys end up being a-holes, the problem is how she's choosing. I want to help people to take more of the responsibility in their relationship.
So the whole process has turned you into a bit of an expert.
I don't really like to say I'm an expert. I'm currently not in a relationship now, which always makes people turn around and say "Well, he doesn't even know what he's talking about because he's not in a relationship right now." It's like saying, "Well if you take food from a skinny chef, and the food is good as you say he is, then wouldn't he be fat?"
It's a matter of, I pay attention to stuff, and I observe stuff. And I'm able to see a lot about people and their relationships when I help them break up. If they're coming to me, I see that there's a problem with a relationship. I try to help people see it, too. It's strange, but sometimes it's the best way to be straightforward.