Why discover where a relationship went wrong?
PUBLISHED: 03:00 10 April 2012
How many times have you come to the end of a relationship and found yourself questioning what went wrong? In my case: never.
I always know what went wrong and often I can pinpoint it to a blinding moment of horrible realisation: a dreadful epiphany from which there is no return.
It might be the moment you realise they’re not joking when they say they like waistcoats as everyday wear. It might be the moment you realise the bottle under their bed isn’t cider, it’s urine. It might be the moment you realise they will never, ever stop whistling the theme tune to The Sweeney in the shower.
In every case, there has been a moment. An exact time, calculable to the second, when the relationship died and I started mentally assessing how many boxes I’d need to move out.
But I accept that I am not like normal people.
Normal people could probably overlook a jaunty waistcoat, a fermenting bottle of long-forgotten urine and tuneless renditions of a TV series that I’m too young to remember. I salute these people who I like to call ‘my ex-boyfriends’ wives’.
For those that need answers, however, there is help at hand.
Wot Went Wrong is a new website which aims to help people discover why their relationship ended by offering them ‘feedback forms’ they can send to their ex.
On the forms, you can ask a number of questions, add your own details and offer your former partner ratings, such as how attractive you found them, how romantic they were and how satisfying you found your relationship.
You could, of course, just phone them up, email them or stand outside their house screaming into the lonely, dark night, but then you wouldn’t be able to benefit from other people’s online analysis of what went wrong.
And we all know how legendarily thoughtful and kind anonymous keyboard warriors on the internet are: read some of the comments under my columns at eveningnews24, especially the ones from the bloke who thinks I should not only be sacked, but should think long and hard about whether journalism is the career for me.
The aforementioned Australian website hopes to bring closure to the lovelorn, although the very last thing I’d need if I was in the throes of heartache would be a list of all my shortcomings shared with a worldwide audience. Call me repressed.
It all goes to show, though, that other cultures are far more open about relationship break-ups: in Japan, firms offer employees ‘heartache leave’, a benefit available to both the dumped and the dumper.
At Hime and Company, the policy is laid out: “People may take sick leave yet not for heartache, although people would find it harder to be at work in such a situation, making simple mistakes, doing strange things.”
Frankly, if I took the day off work simply because I was worried about the possibility of making simple mistakes or doing strange things, I’d never make it to the office at all.
Then again, one should never look a gift horse in the mouth, and if the idea catches on globally, I’ll be the first in line to claim some retrospective heartache leave for all those occasions I’ve dumped someone and not received a single day off in recompense.
Hime and Company does make it clear, however, that heartache leave is strictly monitored and stipulates that only one bust-up is allowed per year.
Additionally, you only get one day off work if you’re in your early 20s, two days if you’re in your mid to late 20s and a full three days off if you’re over 30.
In Japan, it’s far too inefficient to be upset for more than two-thirds of the working week.
The implication is, of course, that ending a relationship in your early 20s is as emotionally scarring as taking an old jumper to a charity shop.
A few years later and the pain is 100 per cent worse: like taking an old jumper you quite liked to a charity shop.
By the time you get to 30 and beyond, breaking up will involve wearing old jumpers from charity shops after you’ve been bled dry by a ruthless ex who needs ‘to find out who the real me is’ by stealing the lion’s share of your possessions.
Two days off would have been really handy when I broke up with my last boyfriend; I needed that long just to empty the joint account, load up a van with our nicest furniture and cream off the best books and DVDs before he returned home from telling his mother that I’d turned out to be just as disappointing as she always said I was.
Instead, I went to the office, even though he was staking out the car park and refusing to talk to me about the custody of the Habitat rug, other than to suggest where I might like to stick it (for the record and due to the high-quality pile: medically impossible).
In the midst of an emotional breakdown, I find it comforting to be close to several vending machines, a staff canteen and an endless supply of colleagues to bore rigid about my personal problems, secure in the knowledge that they can’t escape.
If I filled in one of those forms for an ex, I’d be asking where my Godfather box set went. And asking for access weekends to see the rug.