IT’S NOT YOU: A Guide to Breaking Up Before Valentine’s Day

Are you looking to get out of your relationship before V-Day hits?  This guide is for you.  Here are 10 inspiring movie break-up scenes, and the tips you can learn from them.

Valentine’s Day is something you gotta do right, or not do at all.

Sure, you can buy flowers, get dressed up, book a fancy restaurant…

Or you can get out of it.  Get out now.

If you’re looking to bail from your current relationship, these 10 movie break-up scenes will help.


1. Crazy, Stupid, Love

The Plan: Move on quickly.
The Details: Immediately after breaking up with the boring Richard (Josh Groban), Hannah b-lines right to Jacob’s (Ryan Gosling) apartment for a night of passionate post-break-up romancing.  Don’t waste time wallowing or second guessing your decision – just rip off the band-aid and move along.


2. American Psycho

The Plan: If they start crying, have an excuse ready so you can bounce.
The Details: So you’re smart; you take your significant other to a public restaurant to cut the cord so that he/she won’t make a scene.  That’s classic, respectful, even dignified of you.  But what if they start crying and making a scene anyway?  Then it’s time to leave.  Patrick Bateman’s excuse? “I have to return some videotapes.”  Since this isn’t 2001, that excuse probably won’t hold water anymore, so try something like “I have to go charge my Tesla.”


3. The Social Network

The Plan: 1. Be direct, 2. Have a fire extinguisher handy.
The Details: When ending a relationship, you never want to mince words.  Vague phrases like “I think we need to slow down” might leave your soon-to-be former partner with hope.  You need to crush that hope.  Look at how Eduardo does it: “I am breaking up with you!”  Simple.  Direct.  To the point.  Although, there is a downside to this approach: it may cause your now-ex to express their anger and sadness in the form of lighting-everything-in-sight-on-fire.  So be prepared – have a fire extinguisher ready.  A bucket of water will also do.


4. Forgetting Sarah Marshall

The Plan: Catch your partner with their defenses down.
The Details: Sarah Marshall made a brilliant tactical decision when she broke up with Peter right after he exited the shower, wearing nothing but a towel.  It put her in a position of power (you can witness the devastating aftermath of the whole ordeal in this clip).  When burning your romantic bridge, it’s important to have the high ground, and one’s outfit (and your partner’s potential lack-there-of) has a lot to do with that.


5. Cruel Intentions

The Plan: Stick with the classic “It’s not you, it’s me.”
The Details: Use the most perfectly crafted break-up sentence ever conceived.  Is it a lie? Most of the time.  But it’s been around this long for a reason: it gets the job done.


6. The Holiday

The Plan: Don’t be afraid to get violent.
The Details: In this clip from The Holiday (seen at the beginning of the trailer), Cameron Diaz is going with the old school break-up trick of throwing her boyfriend’s belongings out the window.  That keeps her from literally sinking down to his (adulterous) level.  However, when the guy is just not getting the hint, sometimes you can’t help but get down off your high horse and do what needs to be done: punch him in the face.


7. Wet Hot American Summer

The Plan: Be honest.
The Details: Maybe your impending-ex is a perfectly nice person, and you don’t want to do the disservice of lying to them.  Look at the way Katie lays it out for Coop: “That’s where my priorities are right now. Sex. Specifically with Andy and not you.” It’s honest, open, and from the heart.  And if there is someone else out there who you think is a better match for you – like Paul Rudd, for example – you owe it to yourself to pursue that.  After all, you don’t want to spend your Valentine’s Day dinner bored by the person in front of you and dreaming of someone else.


8. Gone With The Wind

The Plan: 1. Be strong, 2. Make a memorable exit.
The Details: Say you’ve burned the bridge and ripped the band aid, but your former partner just isn’t willing to let bygones be bygones.  Stick to your guns – don’t give in to any begging, hysterics or other displays of emotion.  Just get out of there, and if at all possible, leave with style.  Has there every been a better break-up line in all of cinema than Rhett’s final dismissal of Scarlett’s pleadings?


9. (500) Days of Summer

The Plan: Ease their sorrow with pancakes.
The Details: Breakfast is a popular break-up meal because you get it over with early.  Plus, you can get some pancakes for yourself and your emotionally vulnerable previous-beloved to make them feel better.


10. Superstar

The Plan: If you need backup, assemble your crew.
The Details: Don’t feel ashamed if you can’t do this on your own.  Get your football team, cheer-leading squad or whoever else you rely on to come along and support you on your quest to cut this has-been romantic-partner from your life.


Bonus: Legally Blonde

Breakup Tip: Don’t be Reese Witherspoon.  Following Cruel Intentions and American Psycho, we had to complete the hat trick.  After all: no one gets dumped like Reese Witherspoon.