No matter how bad a breakup feels (and it will feel bad unless the relationship itself was so bad that the breakup is a relief!), it’s probably only a five on the scale of 10 worst breakups.
So if you’re trying to reach the pinnacle of worst breakups, you will probably have to do a lot better than name calling and social media shaming. Here are some lessons from historical characters to help your breakup reach top level awkwardness and terror.
(Warning: Do these things only if you’re ready for the fallout. These people were professionals at making their breakups worse.)
1. Start sending some “gifts.”
Are you just sending your ex a whole bunch of weird texts? That’s nothing! You need to send actual objects. In the mail. Take a lesson from Caroline Lamb, who responded to her breakup with Lord Byron by chopping off a chunk of her pubic hair, sending it to him, and requesting that he send some of his back. He didn’t – but he did later send her a lock of his new girlfriend’s hair, which is awful. And that’s not all! Burning in effigies, theft, shouting matches, tell-alls and angry responses to tell-alls accompanied this gloriously horrific breakup. Such an inspiration.
2. That said, send lots of letters.
The fact that Morton Fullerton – a serial novelist seducer – broke up with Edith Wharton didn’t stop her from writing him hundreds of letters. He mostly declined to reply to them, possibly because their relationship only lasted a few months. But, look, Edith Wharton ended up writing some of the best novels you’ll ever read and living out her life on the French Riviera, so it wasn’t all for nothing. So, write those 2,000+ texts! You’re just practicing your craft.
3. Pretend your ex was a ghost.
Not like “if you see your ex at a party, don’t talk to them” or even “you could just stop replying to their texts and fade away into the ether.” I mean that, like Timothy Dexter, the 18th-century American millionaire, you could tell everyone that your still-alive partner was actually a ghost who wouldn’t stop haunting you. He did that with his very much alive wife, much to her displeasure. Timothy Dexter did sleep in a coffin and fake his death so he might have been a little insane, just saying.
4. Rebound with someone really unusual.
Oskar Kokoschka took his turn of the century breakup with Alma Mahler hard. We’ve probably all been in a place where we’ve felt like there isn’t another human being alive who can live up to our ex. However, Oskar took that feeling a little further by going to a local doll maker and commissioning a life-sized doll that looked exactly like his ex. He took it with him out on the town, and everyone was pretty nice about it, but he did eventually behead the doll at a party, so seemingly it didn’t work out all that well in the end for those two either. Can anyone say “creepy?” The funny part is that Oskar eventually married a nice lady who didn’t seem put off by his doll exploits. So ahead, make your way over to Build-A-Bear, you’ve got nothing to lose.
5. Makeup terrible rumors about your ex.
Okay, to be fair, basically all the terrible breakups feature someone doing this (Caroline Lamb accused Byron of everything you can imagine). However, Henry the VIII is a stand-out example. He claimed that he’d been “seduced by witchcraft/sortileges and charms” by his second wife, Anne Boleyn. She was later executed for a whole host of crimes, from adultery to praying for the king’s death, and there was a great public perception that she was a witch, despite not being one. Or, at least, not the kind of witch Henry VIII seemed to believe she was. Just think how much easier this smear campaign would have been if he had had the Internet. – C. Sky