What Was Your Most Memorable Breakup?

Editor’s Note: This article previously appeared in a different format as part of The Atlantic’s Notes section, retired in 2021.

That’s the question a reader recently posed in TAD, the nickname for a discussion group launched and moderated by a handful of Atlantic readers and former members of the Horde. Here’s Lizzou:

I’ll start. I had just finished uni, dating a boyfriend of three months. I’m living in NoVA and he’s back home in WI. He calls me late one night, drunk and crying: “My mom says I’m too young to be in a relationship and she doesn’t like Italians...” (He was almost 22 years old.)

My reaction:
1. Tell that b*tch of a mother you have that I’m f*cking Sicilian, not Italian. And, are we living in the 19th century or something?
2. Can you call me back when you’re not drunk so we can have an adult good-bye conversation?

He never called me back. I was fine; he didn’t break my heart or anything, but I was just soooo pissed off at how he broke with me. Now I think it’s hilarious.

Anywho, it spurred me to get a teaching job, sell my car to finance airfare and student loan payments for a year, and move to Slovakia three weeks later. Best decision ever.

She got reassurance from another reader: “You dodged a bullet—and avoided an Annie Hall family dinner!” Like so:

Speaking of New Yorkers:

My most memorable breakup was when I was living in NY and dating a lawyer. I moved in with him and two months later discover he had a wife and two kids. That was fun.

Still mourn that apartment.

This story is pretty bleak:

I was very young, 20 or 21. I had been living with a guy for about six months. We were relatively happy but I was changing. Growing up. He could feel it. He asked me to marry him. I waited for him to go to work. Packed my stuff. Wrote a note on scrap paper and hung it up with a refrigerator magnet:

“Sorry. I love you but this isn’t a forever thing.”

I drove to my girlfriend’s and crashed on her couch until I could find a place. He tried to find me but I avoided him. I didn’t want to let him suck me back in. I was cold about it, but I felt like I had to be in order to escape. I never talked to him again.

This next reader can’t really relate to memorable breakups:

I never had much heartbreak. My relationships tended to end naturally and I had relatively few before meeting my wife. Growing up I wasn’t much of a relationship guy—mostly sex and hooking up.

I broke up with someone we’ll name Stacy. She wanted something more and I wasn’t providing, it hurt because she was one woman I could roll with. We would get high, relax, chill, and just enjoy each other’s existence. Idk what happened to her; she deleted her FB after college.

I had a one night stand with a French woman. We f*cked each other’s brains out. Then she never texted me back. This actually inspired me to work out more and find a new job. I kept thinking I had to prove myself to her, but idk why I let one woman I f*cked once have this effect on me. We’re friends on FB and she seems to be happy with her Italian bf, so ah well.

Or as Bob Dylan would say, “Don’t think twice, it’s all right”:

Have a memorable breakup to share? Drop me an email.