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Date Knight: Breaking up is hard to do… in public

As the staff’s resident relationship guru—who’s carved out a space on the web with an award-winning site called Naked With Socks On—I’ve been tapped by JET’s EIC to offer up dating advice and perspective each week for our readers. Five days out of the week I’m slaving behind a desk as JET’s Managing Editor, so I look forward to exploring the sights and sounds of Chicago with my wife as part of our weekly outings. I am Anslem Samuel Rocque and this is Date Knight.


I don’t claim to be perfect and I’ve had my fair share of ups and downs on my way to finding my “one.” In fact, before I was able to commit to the woman that would become my wife I had to first break up with her. It’s not something that either of us hides. It’s part of our story and was a necessary step in our individual growth to become the people that we both needed.

However, when I was recounting the story of how my wife and I broke up to make up to a co-worker the other day she stopped me mid-sentence. “Wait, you broke up with her at a restaurant?”

Until that moment I had never given much thought to the location of where my B-bomb was delivered. Delivering such news over the phone is never a good idea and since I didn’t want her to troop all the way to my house in Brooklyn just to have her trek back to the Bronx by her lonesome, a middle ground seemed fair game. It just happened to be a restaurant in Midtown Manhattan.

Hindsight is 20/20 and perhaps a place filled with sharp objects and drinks wasn’t the best location for a breakup. But aside from that, I never thought about the potential public spectacle that could come from the exchange. Tears, yelling, physical boundaries crossed… and embarrassment on both sides. Thankfully, none of the above worse case scenarios transpired and we had a calm—albeit emotional—discussion that remained civil even if in that moment (and the months that followed) she disliked me for it.

Perhaps I realized my error(s) in judgment and that’s whey when I decided I was ready to make a commitment to her that I returned to the proverbial scene of the crime. Several months later I invited the woman that would be my wife out to dinner at the same restaurant I had broken her up with previously. It wasn’t to publicly embarrass her but to right a wrong. As fate would have it, time had healed wounds and allowed us both the space to grow so that the prospect of a committed relationship could not only be on the menu but accepted with open arms.

As hard as it is to believe, the events of that night were the first steps towards us making it to the altar. With that in mind I wouldn’t change a thing, but based on that conversation with my co-worker it made me more cognizant about when and where a breakup should happen. By definition romantic relationships are private affairs and their demise should be handled as such—in private.

Where do you stand, should breakups happen in private or public settings? What’s the worse breakup you’ve ever had?

Share your thoughts in the comments section.