Latest Excerpt, from How to Slowly and Painfully Kill Your Relationship: A User’s Manual
Spring paints the back of your throat like a disease. It’s damp and tumultuous and always bright. The people around you are cheery and lighthearted for no reason other than the fact that they can walk outside without bulky down overpriced coats, as though shedding clothing will somehow mask the emptiness of their lives.
Vanessa springs out of the shower like a child who’s ingested too much sugar. You find her enthusiasm for life laudable and infecting and cute.
Say: “Who put the frosting on your cake today? You finally land a gig or something?”
She stops, but only for a second. From behind the counter, she pulls an already-vased bouquet of particolored roses. She gives them an obscene amount of attention.
“You certainly didn’t. You know, you used to be romantic. You don’t do anything anymore.”
“Where did those come from?”
But she pretends not to hear you. She says instead that she’d just like, every now and then, if she came home to lit candles or a nice bottle of wine or flowers for Christ’s sake.
Instead of promising increased romantic gestures, do the following:
- Describe in detail the natural progression of relationships, including the devolution of the very gestures she describes, such as the two-dozen roses scattered throughout the living room in wine bottles for your first Valentine’s Day, the homemade four-course meal with personalized Italian-restaurant-style menus for Christmas, the surprise hot air balloon ride on her birthday.
- For reference, highlight your uncle George and his wife Vivian, who have been married for thirty-plus years and exhibit no discernible outward traces of affection, though you’ve never wanted to become your uncle George, though together, after eating a meal at their house, you and Vanessa both joked at the loveless, stoic manner in which they went about serving dinner.
- Say, “Don’t you think?” once, and then, when she looks away, twice more.
 Bradley Breakup Fact #28: Spoiling your partner’s good moods is crucial to any breakup: after all, anyone can kick Vanessa when she’s down. Turning the good into bad will be infinitely more noticeable than turning bad into worse. “Toolkit” this. In good times, make it your modus operandi.