Reporter's Notebook

What Was Your Most Memorable Breakup?
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Readers respond to the question with dramatic personal stories and the lessons they learned. To submit your own breakup story, email hello@theatlantic.com. (And if you’d like to include a song that most resonates with that relationship, please do.)

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When His Drug Addiction Drags You Down

This woman’s experience is similar to the reader who discovered her boyfriend’s sex addiction and string of affairs while checking his email:

Hi, here’s my submission to the breakup story thread. I’ve also attached a song [that most resonates with the relationship].

Tyler and I had decided to move in together after two weeks of dating. At this point, he had already told me he loved me, retrieved his belongings that were being withheld by his crack-addicted roommate in East Oakland, and showed up at my doorstep the next day with a queen-sized mattress and a Maine Coon cat named Mona. As a 20-year-old living in San Francisco, somehow this all made sense.

It was only after he had developed a drug addiction and couldn’t hold down a job that things started to get complicated.

These two entries for our ongoing reader series are bookends of sorts—one at the end of a long marriage and the other just before one. This first reader has a grim anecdote, which she frames as “the final breakup”:

My husband was dying from Lewy Body disease—think Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s combined. (Robin Williams made the right decision when given the same diagnosis.) He was in a nursing home. As he lay stretched out on the hospital bed, I gently caressed his forehead and forearm. His last words to me before death: “Stop petting me like a fucking dog.”

This next reader goes into much greater detail over her “pre-emptive divorce” to a manipulative Mormon fiancé:

I had a breakup of my own in that city two summers ago, but it wasn’t anything as dramatic as this one:

At 15, I went to do a year-long exchange program in Argentina for my junior year of high school. I ended up in a stiflingly strict home in the suburbs, where I wasn’t allowed to go out much. My one reprieve was a part-time job in the center of Buenos Aires working as a teaching assistant at a private English language academy. It was there that I met B.

She was one of the other teaching assistants, having done a year at U Michigan. We became friends, but she was 23, so my schoolboy crush seemed like a non-starter. But something did start (a story for another time), and it was every bit as wonderful as you would imagine a 15-year-old boy to deem an ongoing romantic relationship with a 23-year-old woman.

The only trouble was that the whole thing was shrouded in secrecy. I could only see her on the two days each week when I went to my job, and I couldn’t tell ANYONE.