Breaking up is hard to do, so pay someone else

Want to break up with your lover but haven't got the guts? Enter Bernd Dressler, head of the "Separation Agency" in Germany, who will calmly and efficiently do the dirty work for you. For a fee.

"I knock on the door. I introduce myself and I say that my client no longer wishes to continue the affair," Dressler explained to AFP in an interview in his soulless and functional office in Berlin.

"It's very simple. It takes two minutes and it happens on the doorstep."

Even as Valentine's Day approaches, Dressler, a suave man in his 50s, is not the sort to get emotional. No tears. No hysterics. Just business.

"I'm just the messenger. It's not me breaking up the relationship. The person breaking it off is the person that hired me to do it."

The entrepreneur, originally in the insurance trade, has offered his unromantic services over the Internet for more than three years, taking his inspiration from a similar scheme in the United States.

"Dating agencies have been around for decades. I'm doing the same for break-ups," he said with a smile.

But giving your partner the boot is a serious business.

Dressler works only with clients who pay him in advance and sign a four-page contract detailing "three or four reasons" to finish the relationship.

"I can also show this to the person concerned to show them this is not a gag," he said.

Dressler offers four levels of break-up service.

With "let's be friends," - costing 29.95 euros (41 dollars), the bad news is communicated dryly over the phone.

"Leave me alone," for the same price, leaves the ditched lover in no doubt that Dressler's client does not want to hear from him or her again.

For another 10 euros, the unhappy Romeo - or Juliet - can opt for the "Break-up by letter" which, as the name implies, involves Dressler drafting a "Dear John" - or "Dear Jane" on the client's behalf.

- 'We live in a throw-away society' -

--------------------

Finally comes the deluxe service, the "personal break-up" (64.95 euros), which sees Dressler himself turning up unannounced on the doorstep.

Clients can even choose how they want the shattering news delivered: firmly or tenderly.

In Germany, where 57 percent of marriages end in divorce, the business of separation has flourished to the point where the country's first divorce fair is set to take place this year in the western city of Duesseldorf.

The fair is expected to draw specialist divorce lawyers, financial consultants, but also representatives of dating websites and even nutritionists.

As for Dressler, he believes there are worse jobs. "The woman who works next door to me is a bailiff. When she has to kick people out of their houses or take their furniture, that's much harder than what I do."

"Personally, I could never imagine hiring someone to announce on my behalf that I wanted to break up with them. But I'm from a different generation. I think the young people of today feel less responsible."

A typical client ranges in age from 18 to 35 and is predominantly female, he said.

"We live in a throw-away society. You drink a can of coke and you throw it away. You don't fancy your partner any more, you go out and find another one," he added, with a touch of sadness.

But Dressler is nothing if not an imaginative entrepreneur and he is already branching out. He has pioneered another website - www.verzeih-mir24.de - or "forgive me."

If you have committed some awful act or said something you regret, guess whom you can hire to go and say sorry in your place?

Discover more property articles at Homes and Property
Property search
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Portfolio Administrator

£14000 - £16000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company has become known a...

Recruitment Genius: Mechanical and Electrical Engineer - Midlands

£35000 - £38000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This leading provider of refrig...

Recruitment Genius: Sales / Account Manager

£22000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Sales / Account Manager is re...

Ashdown Group: Application Developer - C#.Net, ASP.Net - Cambridgeshire

Negotiable: Ashdown Group: Software Application Developer (C# & ASP.Net, SQL S...

Day In a Page

War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable
Living with Alzheimer's: What is it really like to be diagnosed with early-onset dementia?

What is it like to live with Alzheimer's?

Depicting early-onset Alzheimer's, the film 'Still Alice' had a profound effect on Joy Watson, who lives with the illness. She tells Kate Hilpern how she's coped with the diagnosis
The Internet of Things: Meet the British salesman who gave real-world items a virtual life

Setting in motion the Internet of Things

British salesman Kevin Ashton gave real-world items a virtual life
Election 2015: Latest polling reveals Tories and Labour on course to win the same number of seats - with the SNP holding the balance of power

Election 2015: A dead heat between Mr Bean and Dick Dastardly!

Lord Ashcroft reveals latest polling – and which character voters associate with each leader
Audiences queue up for 'true stories told live' as cult competition The Moth goes global

Cult competition The Moth goes global

The non-profit 'slam storytelling' competition was founded in 1997 by the novelist George Dawes Green and has seen Malcolm Gladwell, Salman Rushdie and Molly Ringwald all take their turn at the mic
Pakistani women come out fighting: A hard-hitting play focuses on female Muslim boxers

Pakistani women come out fighting

Hard-hitting new play 'No Guts, No Heart, No Glory' focuses on female Muslim boxers
Leonora Carrington transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star

Surreal deal: Leonora Carrington

The artist transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star
LGBT History Month: Pupils discuss topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage

Education: LGBT History Month

Pupils have been discussing topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage
11 best gel eyeliners

Go bold this season: 11 best gel eyeliners

Use an ink pot eyeliner to go bold on the eyes with this season's feline flicked winged liner
Cricket World Cup 2015: Tournament runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

Cricket World Cup runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

The tournament has reached its halfway mark and scores of 300 and amazing catches abound. One thing never changes, though – everyone loves beating England
Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Heptathlete ready to jump at first major title

Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Ready to jump at first major title

After her 2014 was ruined by injury, 21-year-old Briton is leading pentathlete going into this week’s European Indoors. Now she intends to turn form into gold
Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot