In most of his previous relationships, Bradley Laborman has been the dumpee rather than the dumper. But the 35-year-old from Mount Pleasant, Iowa, has found a way to turn that ratio around - and make some cash doing it.
Last fall, Mr. Laborman launched IDUMP4U.com, an e-business through which strangers pay him $10 to break up with their significant others by phone. He posts some of the heart-wrenching, sleazy and just-plain-uncomfortable recordings of the calls on his YouTube channel.
While he's faced many accusations that his business is mean-spirited, Mr. Laborman said in a phone interview that he believes he's offering a useful public service.
Who are your clients?
I've had college kids, I've had older people. I think I had somebody who was at least 40 in a breakup situation. Surprisingly, it's a lot more female - a lot more females are dumping males.
What reasons do people give you for why they don't want to break up with their partners themselves?
It's fear. I had one guy who couldn't do it because every time he tried to do it, he'd end up having breakup sex with her and get back together. He didn't have the willpower to break up with her. I think a lot of them have tried a couple times to break up with the person, and it's just not getting through to them.
In one call you tell a woman, "Maybe this is a chance for you to look at yourself and make some changes." Are you a messenger for the dumper or an advocate for them?
I'm a little of column A and a little of column B. I have a minor in psychology. This is a way to say, "You know, you're getting broken up with for this reason. Maybe this is something you should change, because if you just keep doing it, people are just going to keep breaking up with you." I can't really be emotional towards one side or the other, but I'm not going to leave the person saying, "Hey, you're dumped and you're just going to have to do this again."
In one call, you tell a girl her boyfriend has been seeing someone else and she starts sobbing on the phone and you say, in this very serious tone, "All I'm supposed to do is call you up and dump you." How do you stick to the script when someone is bawling on the other end of the line?
It's not that easy. There have been times when I've had calls that I've sat on for about a week or two weeks and thought, "This is a really good call, but am I going to put this on the Web?"
Do you enjoy doing it?
I enjoy doing it in the fact that I'm actually making a difference. Maybe it's some sort of delusional thing that I think I'm making a difference.
Has there ever been a case where you've actually been on the phone with someone and thought, "I can't actually go through with this. This is too cruel?"
I've never actually stopped the recording because you never know what's going to happen.
I think an example is I was breaking up with this girl - it was a lesbian who was cheating on her boyfriend with another girl. But when the girl actually says, "I never actually had feelings for this girl, I'm just using this girl to get the guy back," that's when I'm like, "I'm glad I'm recording this." Because at first I feel sorry for her just a little bit - maybe she's confused or whatever - but then I just say, "This girl deserves this. This needs to be played because people need to hear this."
Have you ever been contacted by somebody who you think is in the wrong and you've just refused to do the call?
No, I've never had that situation. A lot of people are like, "Yeah, I'm cool, I'm going to break up with my girlfriend because I've been cheating on her with two other girls." They could be completely in the wrong, but as far as I'm concerned all I'm doing is highlighting the fact that they're a jackass.
Why did you decide to post the break-ups online?
It's therapeutic. Somebody knows a person like that. They'll say, "Oh my god, I know somebody like this," or "I would've broken up with a person like this a long time ago." It just gives people a chance to argue with each other. It's therapeutic because maybe, if anything, somebody is going, "I'm listening to this dump and I'm listening to a guy getting dumped, and I'm in that exact same situation right now .... Hey, maybe if I keep doing what I'm doing, I'm going to get broken up with." It's learning from experience. But it also makes your relationship seem better, too. I put it on there because if you think you're in a bad relationship right now, listen to some of these dumps and realize you could have it a lot worse off.
What method would you prefer that someone use to break up with you?
If somebody was going to break up with me, I'd prefer it face-to-face. I know that's so hypocritical because I run a website where I break up with people.