The 11 Most Disastrous Types of Breakups

Almost all breakups are bad. Even if the long-term effect is dropping the dead weight of someone that’s not right for you, there’s still a feeling of rejection when someone says they prefer the company of others to your exclusive company (thanks, Nada Surf). However, some breakups cause a little bit more grief, whether you are the one doling out the pain or on the receiving end.

1. The first breakup

It’s true, your first heartbreak will stay with you. There will never be as many tear-stained diary pages as produced by your first breakup. However, once it’s all over, you’re more prepared for future incidents—you know you can get through this.

2. The beat-you-to-it breakup

On the plus side—you don’t have to date this person anymore! On the other hand—what!? THEY are breaking up with YOU? The breakup was clearly yours to win, but you waited too long! This kind of breakup may leave you so baffled that you engage in misguided ex-sex (to prove to yourself that they do, indeed, still want you), only to have them not talk to you again, continuing their winning streak. Just let it go. Remember, there is no winning in relationships—you win by not associating with assholes.

3. The interrogation breakup

Although I personally don’t think this is a good idea, some people feel the need to turn a breakup conversation into an endless barrage of questions, sometimes lasting longer than the actual relationship. When did you start feeling this way, why didn’t you tell me earlier, if you wanted to break up why did you do this nice thing for me two weeks ago? Then there are drawn-out, uncomfortable silences while answers are processed and new questions are formulated. Look, all of the relevant information has been conveyed: I don’t want to be with you anymore. Don’t turn this into an analysis session.

4. The breakup your parents will never get over

This breakup may or may not be bad, per se. But the aftermath from your parents is torture, whether you broke up with them or they broke up with you. It took my parents 10 years to get over my admittedly awesome high school boyfriend (who is now a doctor, of course). In the meantime I had to field questions about his well-being (sometimes before questions about my own) and hear audible sighs when whoever I was dating didn’t measure up.

5. The cheated-on breakup

Even though I essentially cried for 6 straight months after my experience, the cheated-on breakup is not the worst, to me. It’s definitely bad (crippling self-doubt, possible exposure to diseases, lingering trust issues), but there is one key advantage: clear good guy/bad guy division. You are in the right, your ex is in the wrong. If you can focus on that and write it off that they’re an asshole, this breakup can be easy. The real bruises to your ego come if you try to work things out and they still end things—you will feel crushed from the breakup and foolish for giving them another chance.

6. The down-in-flames breakup*

If this person is not going to be with you anymore, they are going to attempt to take every shred of your ego down with them. Suddenly, this person (who, up until recently, was kissing you) is telling you everything you are doing wrong with your life and why you are a terrible person, like they have become the utmost authority on your true self—after one month together. To your friends, you dismiss their vitriol with a “WTF?!” and maybe even gleefully share the craziness that is thankfully now in the past, but secretly, in your moments of doubt you wonder if they have a point.

7. The right-before-the-holiday breakup

The worst part about this is that it’s totally justified—you shouldn’t cringe through a holiday/birthday/wedding/whatever going through the romantic motions when you know it’s over. Still, your timing is terrible and now the holiday is totally going to suck for both of you. Especially when your friends ask what your plans are, or why your significant other isn’t there. Hope your presents are refundable!

8. The I-love-you-but-it’s-impossible breakup

I’ve been through two of these and they are pretty scarring. All the romantic movies tell you that you should be able to find a way, and if you care enough about each other you’ll make it work. But no, sometimes problems (distance, religion, plans for kids) cannot be overcome. Plus, you start to bargain: “Well, we still love each other, so no reason to break up RIGHT now” while the insurmountable issue constantly whispers to your brain that it won’t work. They are messy, bad, and make you feel like you have failed Disney by not trying hard enough.

9. The never-been-dumped breakup

In my experience, if someone has never been on the receiving end, they are really terrible at breaking up. They make everything more difficult than it should be and drag things out because they don’t understand how painful it is. You’re left feeling like one in a factory line of exes, each inflating the person’s ego.

10. The logistically complicated breakup

No matter how amicable, breakups are way worse when you have to see your ex on a regular basis, and God help you if it’s due to work or kids. Then there’s living together, where you have to do everything that sucks about moving, but with added tears and awkwardness (or even worse, when you have to keep living together). If only it were possible to send all exes to ExLand, where they could not be seen or heard from until you were over it.

11. The rebound breakup

Similar to beat-you-to-it, the entire purpose of this relationship was specifically to make you feel good. How are they going to tell you it’s not going to work out? You already knew this, you just needed some fun in the meantime! Now you feel double the failure, because the pain from the ex you cared about comes bubbling back up, plus a sense of defeat that you couldn’t even make your rebound stick around. If your ex is going to hear about the rebound-breakup, five times worse.


*(Note: there is a point at which this becomes abuse. If any breakup leaves you scared, please get help)

What did I miss? What was your worst breakup? Let us know in the comments!

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