Breaking up is never easy. But breaking up in public? Brutal.
These AskReddit users recall the times they witnessed the most embarrassing public breakups, and one reluctant marriage acceptance, ever.
1. Tears of Joy? No? Awkward.
“I work at a fine dining restaurant and we always have proposals. One night, the guy at my table sneaks away to tell me he’s planning on proposing during dessert. He was really nice and super excited, so I decided to throw in some celebratory drinks and a framed picture free of charge to make the moment memorable for the couple. So I’m standing around the corner from the table holding two champagne flutes, chocolate covered strawberries on a plate covered in rose petals, and a digital camera to take the picture for the frame. As I come around the corner with all my gifts, I realize they are both bawling. I’m still thinking they are tears of joy, so I start snapping some pictures, completely oblivious. It wasn’t until I asked if I could see her ring and she DECLINED (which never happens) that I recognized how mortified both of their faces were. I walked away super fast after I realized I just made a failed marriage proposal 10 times more awkward by forcing them to celebrate it.”
“Once at my Italian restaurant, a man and woman came in and sat, looking pretty pissed at each other. Very nice looking, business attire, mid forties. They had menus and their waitress asked them a few times but all they got was one glass of merlot, and they sat and talked for hours. I was the closing waitress, so I was there for the whole ordeal. I got a bit busy, and when I looked back over, the woman was gone, and the man was sitting there alone, and just looked so freaking empty it was incredible. I went by to check on him since I sent the other girl home, and he just looks up and asks if he can borrow a phone. Twenty minutes later a car pulls up and he leaves and I never saw either of them again. But it was hands down a totally heartbreaking end for the man.”
3. Guilt: One Way to Get a “Yes”
“I worked at an Italian restaurant in college. One afternoon, this guy lets us know that he’s going to propose to his GF later that night. He has flowers and balloons delivered. He kept on saying he wanted a lot of people to witness it and asked for the staff to gather around and video the proposal. So there are 10 of us standing there, staring at them, holding balloons. He pops the question. She just sits there. She doesn’t smile AT ALL. She looks around at all of us, and quietly says “yes.” The guy freaks out and starts crying and laughing and started hugging the waitstaff. This chick was clearly not into it, the guy probably knew and so he made her feel so uncomfortable that she felt like she had to say yes. Yikes.”
4. Free Cake
“I saw a failed marriage proposal. It was so awkward cause the guy had a cake made and everything. He said he didn’t want it anymore and left the cake. So I’m like sitting in the back eating a cake that says “Julie, Marry me?” with a bunch of other servers. It was delish.”
5. Not-So-Amusing Amusement Park
“I was at the amusement park with some friends. They have a little girl, so we were in line for a kiddie ride. There was a couple right behind us, and you could hear the mom arguing with the dad about never including her in anything and how she wasn’t wanted in his life, she wasn’t important to him, etc. He was trying to hush her which only pissed her off more. They weren’t loud or anything and I doubt anyone outside of the people right in front of them (me) and behind them could overhear. Anyway, she ends up saying, “Don’t tell me to shut up. Don’t tell me anything. Don’t ever talk to me again. I’m leaving.” And she left.
I didn’t ride with my friends and their kid, but I stayed behind to take photos/video of them. Looking at the pics/video is pretty heartbreaking. You see all these happy people and then there’s the dad and his son. The son is plenty happy because he was too young to realize the significance of the fight, but the dad is sitting there holding back tears, flashing a sad smile to his son whenever he turned to look at him and going right back to depressed when his son turned away.”
6. Cat Fight
“Not quite a break-up, but I had a table of two women, and one of them apparently told the other that she had been sleeping with her boyfriend. I was about 30 feet away, I just heard yelling, the one being cheated on ran outside crying to smoke, then came back inside yelling about what a stupid whore the other was. It was 30 minutes ’til close, they were literally the only guests we had, so they weren’t bothering any other tables, so my manager didn’t have to intervene or anything. Cooks were coming out of the kitchen to watch after I told them what was going on. My own personal Maury Povich show. It was EXTREMELY awkward delivering the check, though.”
7. Old People
“I was a waiter at a retirement home. One day a couple that had been married for 30 or 40 years divorced overnight. Next day, the man was in the dining room, talking and flirting with the other ladies while his “ex” was nowhere to be seen. The next day they were together again. They acted like they were still married and nothing had happened. Old people are fuckin’ weird.”
8. Soften the Blow
“My current SO very early on in our relationship was having second thoughts but I didn’t know. He invited me to lunch and I show up excited to see him. He buys me a shot and orders us margaritas. I was stoked to see him in such a happy mood. Turns out he was trying to maybe lessen the effects of the breakup? I’m not sure. Very bad move. He starts giving me the break up talk and I’m sitting there dumbfounded because it came out of nowhere. I burst into tears and am being pretty loud in speaking back to him, I’m sure the whole restaurant noticed. I tried to keep my composure but I just couldn’t. I ended up storming out attempting to hide my tear ridden face. My SO followed me and we fought more outside at the corner of the restaurant. So very awkward.”
“This couple was arguing – very loudly at that – about their problems in the relationship. Well one thing led to another and then a woman screams out: “Oh yeah? WELL I FUCKED YOUR DAD!” The poor guy didn’t even know what to say. He was so dumbfounded that he just sat there while she stormed out.”
10. Public Dumping
“I have been unexpectedly broken up with in public. From my point of view, my then boyfriend and I were just grabbing drinks between the time I got off of work and he had to go into work. We went to a bar we frequented often, so we knew the majority of the staff and many of the regulars. I was completely blindsided when he broke up with me on their incredibly crowded outdoor patio. People were literally only a few feet away from me in each direction and no doubt some were able to overhear what was going on. I was so hurt, but I was even more embarrassed. Trying to act cool when you get your heart broken in public is not easy. At one point our waitress was heading over to check up on us, and I made accidental eye contact with her (I say accidental because I didn’t want anyone to see that I was crying and had just lifted my head for a moment). The look on her face said it all and she immediately turned around and pretended like she wasn’t just about to walk over to us. I can imagine it was pretty awkward for her, especially because she knew who both of us were.”
11. Dinner and a Show
“My husband and I were out to eat at an awesome sushi bar on a weekend. It is packed and we were sitting at the u-shaped sushi bar. Most people at the bar there eat omakase style (you don’t order, just tell the chef what you don’t like and he just gives you sushi and small plates until you say stop, its a social thing and you are interacting with the chef a lot so he knows what direction to go next). Next to us is a couple in their early 50s or so, no rings. The guy calmly tells the woman right after they sit down that he’s been cheating on her and she can deal with it or not, he doesn’t care. She understandably gets upset, but is trying not to make a scene, so she asks them to leave so they can talk in private. He says “no” and just keeps hoovering down sushi. She is crying and asks the usual questions: what did I do wrong, what do they have/do that I don’t, do you even are about me, etc. He answers her in great sexual detail why all of these other women are better than her in bed, critiques her BJ technique, tells her he doesn’t like her haircut, just awful things, in between talking to the chef about his food. By this point the both of them are oblivious to the fact that the 25 other people at the bar can all hear them and are super uncomfortable. I gather that he drove them there and she doesn’t have a phone. I put my phone on the bar and wordlessly offer it to her to call someone to come get her. She starts bawling harder and says that she can’t call anyone because they live hours away and came to the city for a romantic getaway. He shrugs and they go back to arguing. This goes on for about 45 mins. He ate all her food too. When he is finally done, they pay and leave. The chef apologizes to all of us for that and pours a sake shot on the house for us. It was the most awkward dinner ever. I have no idea why the dude picked that moment to tell her this. Just before he started, they had asked us what we were having and seemed to be fine with each other.”