Break up Etiquette

Updated on June 04, 2018
J.A. asks from Mount Laurel, NJ
10 answers

We are taking our daughter on a senior trip overseas. She asked if her BF could come. We said yes but he would have to pay for his own airfare. We would cover everything else. They just broke up and the ticket is not refundable. Should she offer to pay half or does she have any responsibility to pay anything?

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answers from Washington DC on


HE paid for his ticket. Most airlines offer credits to other flights within a specified period of time (usually one year).

I don't know how long ago this was planned.
I don't know WHO broke up with whom.
However, I would recommend YOU stay out of it.

3 moms found this helpful

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answers from Norfolk on

I wouldn't have taken a boyfriend on a family trip - they've only been dating 6 months - but that's water under the bridge now.
His only responsibility was buying the ticket - he didn't buy travelers insurance and he could have bought a refundable ticket.
I'd say this was one learning experience he'll never forget.
You/your daughter don't owe him anything.
You are too involved in your daughters relationships.

Don't step anywhere.
Stay out of it.
And anyone your daughter dates - it's HER relationship - not yours.
Get a hobby, take up bowling, meet boyfriends and smile as they come and go.
There will be - and should be - MANY before and/if she finds someone she wants to be with the rest of her life.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Boston on

I think it depends. Did she break up with him, and he never saw it coming? Then it might be a nice gesture for her (absolutely not you) to pay half. Was it entirely his decision? Then this is on him.

Who bought the ticket? Did you do it? Or did he? If you bought it and there was a choice (by you) for a non-refundable ticket, or if there was optional trip insurance that you declined, there might be some incentive or rationale for something, but assuming he's an adult (he's 19) and he went into this arrangement with his eyes open wide, despite the obvious awkwardness of traveling on the dime of the parents of someone he'd only been dating for a few months, this is on him. Surely he realizes he would have had an amazing deal with you footing the bill, and it is a small price to pay to "eat" the cost of the ticket.

They are 19. They are adults. This is a life lesson in entering in contractual arrangements and not planning for contingencies. A couple of high school seniors who think that dating for a few months is a lifelong commitment and an option for him to have hotel, meals, taxis, tour fees, and whatever else covered by her parents are extremely naive. They are going off into the world, right? College or jobs or both? Time to wake up and realize they are adults and responsible for their decisions.

I think you might have had a little more foresight about allowing him to come along to begin with, given how short this relationship was and how likely it was that they would break up anyway but at least be likely to go their separate ways after graduation. For me, the point of a senior trip as a grad gift would have been for my graduate to spend time with his parents as his last vacation with our family, and not to share that with a friend. But maybe that's me.

I think he might be able to exchange that ticket, for a penalty fee, for another ticket elsewhere or at another time. It's up to him to figure it out if the transaction is in his name and on his credit card.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Portland on

Is this the same boyfriend that she broke up with 6 months ago? (the one you wanted to contact)

I think you said they split up amicably. I could see if she dumped him just before going how that would suck for the boyfriend and then he might feel like he was out the price of a ticket etc. but if it's been 6 months etc. no, I don't think so. I don't think it's her responsibility.

If I recall, breakups at that age, often resulted in being inconvenienced and each side had to help out their own adult kid if necessary. It's part of growing up and learning.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Miami on

I think a lot depends on him and her and how they feel. Was it an ugly breakup? If it wasn't, is there a possibility that he could still go and they could "just be friends"? Would he consider still going but not hanging with you all?

I do think that it's something that you and your daughter should talk about. If he simply cannot hang with you all, then there is probably nothing that you should be doing. He will need to figure that out.

That being said, lots of airlines will change the flight for a fee. I missed an overseas flight and they didn't make me eat my ticket. It cost me $250 to get a new one. I was flexible with the new departure date, and that helped a lot. Perhaps one of the boy's parents could go with them with enough lead time.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Pittsburgh on

He cannot get a refund, but some major airlines will give him credit towards a future flight when he cancels his ticket as long as he cancels with enough advance notice. So no, I don't think she needs to offer because if he is proactive, he might not lose that money. If he mentions it to her, she should tell him to talk to the airline to find out what his options are. As long as he doesn't wait until the last minute, he might have more options than he thinks - but he is an adult, and he needs to make the effort to figure this out by calling the airline himself and then deciding what he wants to do in advance of the planned trip.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

You mentioned earlier that they are both 19. This will be the first of many adult lessons about money. I think you should stay out of it - if anything, he can ask his parents for money. You did not force him to agree to come!!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

he can probably get the airline to apply at least some of the airfare cost to a different trip. his choice, isn't it?

i mean, if she jilted him and broke his heart and flattened him, maybe it would be nice for her to pay half.

but this is a situation that young adults have to learn to negotiate. if i were you i'd butt out.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Portland on

Sounds like he's paid for the ticket. If so, he decides what to do with it. Unless your daughter was the one who broke up with him. Perhaps she told him he couldn't.go. I don't have enough information to have an idea of what would be best in your situation.

I know your question is about the airline ticket. I see reasons to not get into this situation. As you've learned, relationships at this age are rarely stable.

Rarely does anyone stay with their first serious boyfriend/girlfriend. Dating is to learn about themselves and relationships. I wouldn't agree to include a boyfriend unless they had been comfortably dating, without fights, for at least 6 months, were both mature, had spent enough time with me that I believed all of us would have a good time and trip was such that if vacation was not going well, I could separate them. The trip would be local, in the USA.

When vacationing overseas there is no way out if trip isn't working. Their breakup indicates to me, that they don't have a stable relationship. What would you do if the breakup happened while on vacation.

Life especially while on vacation in a foreign land, is stressful. Not everyone is able to make adjustments to different culture and the time difference. I was always a bit tired and confused. Fortunately, their break up happened at home.

I've experienced that teens spend very little time with families. It's likely she would spend most of her time focused on her boyfriend. Being together 24-7 is stressful. How will your daughter and boyfriend handle that stress? Fight or sulk? Trips have too much closeness. As an adult, I went on vacation with a male friend. Both of us were unhappy and broke up when we got home.

Have you taken an overseas trip before? I have and the transition took a lot of energy to adjust to the time difference and the different culture; to always be on the go wanting to see as much as I could.

Whether or not to help with airline ticket depends on what you told him about his responsibility for the ticket and how the break up happened. Most breakups involve both people. No one person is at fault. If that's your daughter's breakup, I would expect my daughter to pay half. Not you. Your daughter.l

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Philadelphia on

I appreciate the input. I would ask a little more understanding. The reason I am asking is Because I am trying to learn here before I overstep. This is my first child and her 1st “serious” BF and we are all learning.

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