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I had the slightly soul destroying realisation today that I have more tinder matches than Facebook friends. I was sheltering from torrential downpour under a broken umbrella on London Bridge, gazing out into the murky depth of the Thames, for the sake of the story let’s say that a busker was playing the violin nearby and the whole scene was in black and white. In this terribly bleak setting I realised that this was me, the epitome of the millennial tragedy (whatever that means). Violinist play your tune.

I briefly considered throwing my phone into the river and starting a new life in the mountains of Wales, going off grid, rejecting all things Wifi and living a simple existence herding sheep. Instead I called my friend, who, when I confessed, offered very little solace apart from a slightly dejected ‘oh no’. Both of us have just been through break ups. Well, she’s been through a break up whereas I’ve just found an excuse to eat a whole cheesecake at a time and get back on tinder (cue today’s bleak realisation). We’re housemates and the timing has made it clearer than ever that there is a vast scale of break ups, from the ‘were we even together?’ to the ‘lying on the bathroom floor, screaming adele lyrics at your new cat’. Just like the art world, there is a broad and colourful spectrum of dumping and being dumped. So, in an attempt to keep myself away from both cheesecake and tinder I’ve decided to chronicle, categorize and order some of the many situations caught under the vast broken umbrella of ‘break up’.

  1. Someone didn’t see it coming

There are two sides to every story and it’s just unfortunate when it turns out that someone wasn’t on the same page, or even reading the same book. I think there is a tendency for the pity to be placed with the break up-ee, but from my experience both are pretty awful. For the break up-ee there is the shock, the horror, hit by a train of rejection. Hours spent asking why? what did you do wrong? Wasn’t it all going so well? The answer for the break up-er is a solid no, no it really wasn’t. But then they have the responsibility, they are the bad guy which seems kind of unfair considering (assuming they’re not a sadist) they were probably unhappy in some aspect of the relationship. To use a questionable analogy, it’s a bit like kicking a puppy. On the one hand the puppy has been kicked, which hurts for a while, and it probably doesn’t quite understand what it’s done to deserve the kicking but it’ll get over it at some point, puppies are fickle like that. On the other hand the kicker has to deal with the guilt of having kicked a puppy, it’s their responsibility to make amends to the puppy, the burden of having kicked the puppy is on their shoulders and even if the puppy did do something to deserve being kicked it’s still not a great feeling. Also, don’t kick puppies.

  1. The ‘Break’

“Let’s just put a pin in it”, “let’s call it an open book”, “let’s leave it for now”. I may be a cynic, but I call bullshit on the break. I have never seen it work. It seems to be the half-arsed break up, the one where you’re not entirely sure, or don’t quite have the heart to kick the puppy so take your shoe off. I am currently on two breaks, one of them has been going on for four years and I think it’s highly unlikely that that book will ever be picked up again or the grenade detonated at this point. It could of course work, sometimes people do just need some time apart to figure out where their heads at, but these people are saints and might not actually exist.

  1. The ‘Did We Even Break Up?’

For that matter were you even together? There’s no definite moment of ending, no final argument, no closure, it’s just a gradual drifting of two parties until one day you look at your phone and realise you haven’t spoken for a month. Your friends ask, ‘whatever happened to that guy?’ and the only reasonable response is a shrug, because to be honest you don’t even know whatever happened to that guy. He could be breeding llamas, or training to be an interpretive dancer (or, you know, doing something normal). The youths inform me there’s this newfangled thing called ‘ghosting’ which seems pretty vindictive. Nonetheless it’s a disheartening break up, with retrospect you can see that it never really became a relationship, at least not one serious to warrant an actual definitive break up, not even a text. It’s simply that one day you wake up and realise that you are 100% single, as opposed to somewhere in between.

  1. The Explosive

This is Tarentino of break ups: it’s loud, it’s angry, it’s throwing things across bedrooms, it’s Samuel L Jackson quoting the Bible while brandishing a gun. Maybe someone cheated, maybe someone revealed they support UKIP, maybe someone or both of you were just being a dick. Despite this, the explosive break up, to my mind, is surprisingly probably the best of the break ups. It’s a real break up, you shout, you cry, you go and get drunk, call them, cry again, remember that you hate them and spend the foreseeable future driving your friends mad by constantly raging against them. It’s a baptism of fire but, I think, quite cleansing. You have had the film-style authentic break up, you’ve had your vent, you’ve had the closure and all probably with a very valid, legitimate reason. Now you can continue with your life.

  1. The Mutual

The unicorn of break ups: it’s a phrase often thrown bitterly across pub tables after a few pints of beer, a defiant attempt to define your newly single life. But, if they do exist, they seem to be the most practical sort. There’s a certain logic to the mutual break up. Maybe it’s distance, circumstance or one of the endless reasons that life provides for you to call quits. You might assume they’re the least tragic, I’m not sure if this is true. The mutual break up seems to imply an ending on good terms, the kind of ending when you decide to stay friends, promise to go for a coffee at some point and generally accept that there is no reason to have hard feelings. But there’s something vaguely annoying about walking away from something with the lingering feeling of ‘I can’t even hate them, damnit’. It is of course all very reasonable and humane, but neither reason nor humanity shall keep me from my cheesecakes.

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