Blame it on moving.
One day, just before my husband and I hit the road — and left Idaho in our rearview mirror — I joked with him, “Finally, we’re breaking up with Idaho.”
Then I got to thinking about breaking up, and the idioms people use in Chinese to talk about it. Sure, I’m happily married, but I’ve had my share of breakups on the road to my own “double happiness” (including two other guys in China before John) and chances are, so have you — perhaps even at the moment you read this.
Here are some of my favorite Chinese idioms to use when talking about breaking up.
一刀两断 [yìdāo liǎngduàn]
(To make a clean break)
When you cut yourself away from someone entirely and start anew, this is the idiom you want to turn you.
She decided not to return her former boyfriend’s phone calls, she made a clean break with him.
tā juédìng bùhuí qián nánpéngyou de diànhuà, gēn tā yìdāo liǎngduàn.
各奔东西 [gèbēn dōngxī]/分道扬镳 [fēndào yángbiāo]/劳燕分飞 [láoyàn fēnfēi]
(To go in separate directions)
Three different idioms, but pretty much the same meeting — to go your own ways. It could be a matter of life choices (maybe one of you decided to go halfway across the world to study and it destroyed your relationship in the process) or even just that the two of you are just completely on different wavelengths which led to the breakup.
Steve doesn’t live with his girlfriend, he moved out to another house; they used to be in love but now they’ve already gone in separate directions.
Steve bù gēn nǚpéngyou zhù zài yìqǐ, tā yǐ bān dào lìng yí dòng fángzi qùle; tāmen céngjīng xiāng’ài, dàn xiànzài yǐjing gèbēn dōngxī/fēndào yángbiāo/láoyàn fēnfēi.
不欢而散 [bùhuān ‘érsàn]
(To break up badly)
Awful breakup? This one’s for you.
Xiao Wang cried for an entire afternoon because she broke up horribly with her boyfriend.
xiǎo wáng kūle yígè xiàwǔ, yīnwèi gēn nánpéngyou bùhuān ‘érsànle.
What are your favorite idioms for talking about breaking up in Chinese?