This book contains a baker's dozen of a real doozy of breakups that will make yours seem sedate and normal by comparison. Think your ex gave you a bad turn, or that he/she's the worst person ever? They do not hold a candle to any of these nuts, sadists, and losers (For women, just keep telling yourself, "Hey, at least I was never one of Mailer's wives".) When you put your heart out there, there is always a risk of getting it smashed into pieces. And when that happens, we sometimes do some of the most stupid things like sending them e-mails we regret sending, or drunk dial them. For these people, those options were not available yet, so things sometimes took a ride on the crazy train. Sometimes this might be due to a lack of anything else to do. The author mentions several times that TV is not really such a bad thing as back then people (the rich ones) had too much time on their hands tended to wind up doing very weird things such as breed giants and have people dress up as chickens and pretend to lay eggs.
For those who have an image of ancient Rome being "civilized" will be in for a big surprise. This breakup story will be about Emperor Nero and Poppaea. Nero's mother was Agrippina the Younger, sister of Emperor Caligula and wife of Emperor Claudius (of the book and movie I, Claudius fame). Claudius was highly intelligent but managed to become Emperor by being seen as a fool, which is a good strategy for survival in ancient Rome. He was seen as a pretty good ruler who expanded the empire and then in 54CE, Agrippina poisoned him, not once, but twice, at the same dinner (first with mushrooms and then either with the feather he used to induce vomiting, which I like to believe because that is much more devious, or by a bowl of gruel she gave him to settle his stomach). In Rome, this was a rather normal thing. "The Roman punishment for patricide was to blindfold the offender...and toss him into a sack. An ape, a snake, a dog, and a rooster would also be put in the sack, and then it would be sewn up....then the bag would be thrown into a river...Even if you had some kind of Kumbaya moment where you were able to simultaneously charm an ape, a snake, a dog, and a rooster, you would drown anyway." At the arena, gladiators weren't the only ones to die. Spectators could find themselves tossed to the animals for fun. As the author of this book states: If the city-state had a motto, it would be ABSOLUTELY NO ONE HERE DIES OF NATURAL CAUSES. That is certainly true in this story. Agrippina arranges for Nero to marry Octavia, Claudius's daughter in order to solidify his claim as Emperor. In 58 CE, Nero began a love affair with Poppaea Sabina who "possessed every virtue but goodness". She was also quite beautiful (it is said that she resembles the actress Christina Hendricks) and wealthy.
Poppaea had already been married twice. Her first husband, Rufrius Crispinus had been commander of Emperor Claudius's Praetorian Guard, whom Agrippina had banished, then he was later killed by Nero when he had reached the ripe old age of sixty-six years old. Otho, her second husband, was a close friend of Nero's and was likely her lover while she had been married. Nero married Poppaea off to Otho thinking that he would have no interest in her. Instead, he fell in love with her and Nero was not allowed into their house. Some say that Poppaea returned his feelings, while others say she was using Nero's jealousy to have Otho banished so that she would be free to marry Nero and become Empress. Nero, however, was still married to the very popular Octavia and Agrippina did not like Poppaea. Do you see more dead bodies in the future? You would be right. This is Rome, which Nero would eventually burn (But not play the fiddle while it happened, but sing instead. Not quite the same is it?) The person in this story you should feel sorry for is the slave Sporus, whom Nero castrated and changed his name to Sabina, married him, and had him dress up like Poppaea. At that time, homosexuality was frowned upon in Rome and castration was illegal, even for slaves (though you could purchase a eunuch from another country). Things pretty much go downhill for everyone at this point. Keep in mind, unlike poor Sporus, we can always leave a bad relationship that is terrible for us.
The Borgia family, who lived in fifteenth-century Italy, really knew how to have fun. Pope Alexander VI (born Rodrigo Lanzol Borgia) was the party animal all men wish they could be. His sex parties at the papal palace were quite memorable and his children--Cesare, Lucrezia, Giovanni, and Gioffre--were in attendance. Their mother was the daughter of one of his mistresses. Lucrezia was an accomplished poet (Lord Byron would gush over her work), could read Greek and Latin, speak Italian, French, and Spanish at a time when women were pretty much never given an education. She also had great hair. At that time being Pope was more than what it is today. Then it meant you were the ruler of Rome, as Italy was not yet a country, but ruled by various people on certain pieces of land. In June of 1493, Alexander married Lucrezia off to Giovanni Sforza, whose family was rather influential and ruled Milan. Alexander insisted that the marriage is not consummated until November. This was not completely surprising as Lucrezia was thirteen at the time, which was considered a young bride at the time (Some noblewomen were married at that young age, but there was a criticism of the practice.) Some say that the real reason was that Alexander was looking for a better match for his daughter, now that he was Pope and Lucrezia really didn't like Giovanni who had a violent temper and would take her to live way out in the country. Giovanni was also suspected of spying on the Borgias, who were a paranoid lot, but as they say, sometimes they really are out to get you. So in 1497, Cesare planned on poisoning him but Giovanni found out, perhaps by Lucrezia herself, or maybe by himself.
This is when they decided for him to agree to an annulment on the grounds that he was impotent, even though he had illegitimate children and his first wife had died in childbirth. While the Borgias were okay with lying, Giovanni was not. Which is when the mudslinging about family incest going on began. It got really ugly. Giovanni's family, trying to knock some sense into him about the seriousness of what he was doing, threatened to withdraw family protection, which would most certainly lead to his death, not that he wasn't headed in that direction in the first place. Lucrezia had retired to a convent to avoid the whole mess and supposedly had an affair with a Spanish messenger named Perotto that left her pregnant. These were the Borgias though, so nothing was going to stop the annulment. She was examined by judges and declared "intacta". Giovanni attested to her virginity after being threatened that he prove his virility by having sex in front of the Borgia and Sforza family members. It takes a set of gold cojones to pull this off. Lucrezia had the baby, Giovanni, who had no mother listed, but Alexander first said he was Cesare's child then said it was his child, which just caused people to believe that the incest rumors were true, when they were likely just something Giovanni made up because he was ticked off at the situation he was in (like when you say crazy things during a divorce). Lucrezia later married a seventeen-year-old Neapolitan, Alfonso of Aragon, whom she actually did love. The Pope gave Lucrezia governorship over Spoleto and Foligno, which she did a really good job of. They had one child, Rodrigo. After Alfonso was no longer politically useful, Cesare and Alexander killed him off. Her third husband, Alfonso d'Este, Duke of Ferrara would be her last. But her fist husband was the one that caused her the most trouble, in that way we are all familiar with. She spent the rest of her life trying to avoid running into him again because she was rather ashamed of the way she had treated him.
If you could choose a place in time to visit I suggest Vienna at the turn of the twentieth century (I suggest reading The Little Book by Selden Edwards for a taste). "Vienna at the turn of the century was a liberated and bohemian place. Vienna then was what people from Iowa think Brooklyn is like today. (Brooklyn's not nearly that cool.)" A very beautiful and talented woman named Alma was married to the newly famous composer and director of the Vienna Court Opera, Gustav Mahler. Mahler told her she could not also be a composer because someone had to take care of the house. She came to resent him and his work and claimed that when he composed Kindertotenlieder (Songs on the Death of Children) in their home it caused the death of their daughter. While Mahler was away, she began having an affair with Walter Gropius, the architect who founded the Bauhaus School. This turned out to be a very good thing for her marriage. Gustav decided that she should pursue her career and she published five songs and three movements of Mahler's Incomplete Tenth Symphony are said to have been inspired by the affair and the reconciliation. Things were really going great until Gustav just up and died on her less than a year later.
She then started dating the famous, and very odd, artist Oskar Kokoschka. When he started out he was one of three people to be accepted into Vienna's Kunstgwerbeschule out of one hundred fifty-three applicants, where he immediately began creating corpse-like drawings of children. He also wrote a kid's book titled The Dreaming Youths that contained the poem: Little fish,/little fish red/with a triple-edged knife I'll cut you dead,/then with my fingers I'll tear you in two,/put an end to the silent circling you do. This freaked out a lot of people, though he and the artist Gustav Klimt (Whom Alma had also had an affair with. If you were famous and in Vienna at that time, you slept with Alma. Otherwise, you weren't worth knowing.) became friends. In 1909 after graduating he took a sensible teaching job, which is where he met Alma. At a dinner party (where he asked her to marry him after knowing her only three hours) she asked Oskar to paint her portrait. He said he painted her as the new Mona Lisa. Alma pointed out that she looked more like Lucrezia Borgia. That would not matter because Oskar would paint lots of paintings of her, the most famous being Bride of the Wind. Oskar soon became obsessively jealous and acting crazy. His mother was threatening to kill her if she saw Oskar again. Then there were Oskar's odd sexual tastes. The fact that he liked to wear her nightgowns didn't bother her too much. But when she would refuse to hit him during sex, he started talking about the most horrific images of a murder he was envisaging in his mind. When Oskar went off to fight in World War I, Alma went back to Walter Gropius, whom she married in 1915.
Some will say that Oskar's odd behavior was due to the head injury he received during the war, but really, he was a bit off his rocker, to begin with. On July 22, 1918, he wrote to a doll maker to inquire about making him a doll. He basically had the doll maker create a doll that kinda looked like Alma. The thing is, he did not keep this sex doll a secret like a normal person would. They went everywhere together: carriage rides, dinner parties at friends' houses (who acted like this was perfectly normal), the opera. He even hired a maid for the doll, who felt sorry for him and had sex with him. Oskar was made a professor at the Dresden Academy of Fine Arts and yes, they knew about the doll. Everyone knew about the doll. Alma, meanwhile, would have an affair with novelist Franz Werfel, who wrote The Song of Bernadette, and oddly enough stayed with him until she died. Oskar, well, Oskar would have a different ending to his life. One he probably did not expect.
Norman Mailer somehow managed to convince six women to marry him. Mailer is the author of such works as Armies of the Night, The Naked and the Dead, and The Executioner's Song. He won two Pulitzers and is adored by the intelligentsia. He was also known to hail police cars as though they were taxis and to beat up a sailor who supposedly questioned the heterosexuality of his dog. In 1960 he decided to run for mayor of New York City with a plan to reduce inner-city crime by hosting jousting matches. At his kick-off party, George Plimpton hosted it and lots of literary folks were there. Mailer's second wife, Adele Morales, a painter, said things started off normally. As Mailer grew drunker, fighting started. Mailer, it seemed was also on drugs at the time. Then Mailer started bragging about how he was the greatest writer to ever live, which is when Adele told him he was "no Dostoevsky" and dared him to come at her, shouting, "Aja toro, aja, come on you little faggot, where's your cojones, did your ugly whore of a mistress cut them off, you son of a bitch." Mailer responded by grabbing a penknife and stabbing her in the heart and then in the back. As she lay on the ground bleeding, someone tried to help her. Mailer told him, "Get away from her. Let the bitch die."
Adele eventually made it to the hospital where she told the doctors that she slipped on some glass, which the doctors didn't buy for a second and she ended up telling them the whole story. She still insisted that they "were perfectly happy together." Mailer showed up at the hospital in the morning claiming he had stabbed her to save her from cancer. Then he left to go appear on Mike Wallace to announce that he was running on the "Existential ticket". Adele decided not to press charges. The question then arose of whether Mailer should be institutionalized. After a psychological assessment, the magistrate Reuben Levy believed that he "could not distinguish fiction from reality" and sent him to Bellevue for observation. The medical examiner claimed he was having "an acute paranoid breakdown...and is both homicidal and suicidal. His admission to a hospital is urgently advised." Everyone seemed concerned about what would happen to Mailer. Adele, from that point forward, was forgotten. Because Mailer was Mailer, it seems as though he and his writing were more important than a woman and her life. And it falls on us as a society who let that happen. Oh, and Mailer, he pleaded guilty to an assault charge and walked on a suspended sentence, because, you know, he had to finish writing his sequel to An American Tragedy by Dreiser.
I could keep going on and on, but I will leave you to discover the rest of these stories for yourself, such as the amazing Eleanor of Aquitaine (who tried to take over the throne from her husband when he took a mistress) and Henry II, Henry the VIII and both Anne Boleyn and her cousin Catherine Howard and how each dealt with their breakups in drastically different fashions, Anna Ivanovna, who would rule Russia after her uncle Peter the Great (who refused to let her marry again after her husband died two months after their marriage) and was pretty determined to make everyone miserable. She hated love and marriage and despised Catholics and gets her wish to have her sadistic dream come true, Timothy Dexter, the luckiest guy to ever live, who claimed his living wife was a ghost, Charlotte Lamb and Lord Byron, where Charlotte becomes rather obsessed with a man, her former lover, who has ladies fall at his feet every day and sends him clippings of her pubic hair, John Ruskin and Effie Gray, where Effie marries a man that when he sees her on their wedding night refuses to have sex with her because her body horrifies him, poor Oscar Wilde and Lord Alfred Douglas, Edith Wharton and Morton Fullerton, the only man she ever had sex with, and Debbie Reynolds and Eddie Fisher and Elizabeth Taylor.
Jennifer Wright is an excellent and witty writer who really knows her stuff. She's like your best friend who shows up with a pint of ice cream and a pint of the alcoholic beverage of choice to sit on the couch with a box of Kleenex and slip in a weepy movie (maybe something from the BBC) to watch with you. She has guy friends too, so don't feel left out fellas, she'd be there for you too. The way she writes is just like she is delivering the best gossip. The best thing is, is that it is all true. Every unbelievable bit of it. After reading this book you will feel so much better about every breakup you have ever had because they really cannot be worse than these. Trust me. I've had my heart broken thousands of times and nothing comes close to these poor creatures (well, some of them do deserve it). So curl up and enjoy. Ice cream and alcohol are optional.
Note: There are lots of pictures (paintings) of the people involved (including the doll), but not one of Mailer, who does not deserve any more attention than he has already gotten.
I know there are people who handle romantic disappointment by talking calmly to their therapists, taking time to grieve quietly, and reemerging grateful for what they have learned. Sometimes I pretend to be one of those people, but in reality I am someone who handles breakups by taking Klonopin, sleeping for sixteen hours at a time, and writing long, honest, heartfelt e-mails to my ex. And then some texts to make sure my messages arrived. I have also been known to listlessly dump a pint of Ben and Jerry’s Cookie Dough ice cream into a pan to see if it will bake into a giant cookie rather than going to the store for more cookies. It will, by the way, so that’s not really embarrassing so much as it is a fun baking tip.
-Jennifer Wright (It Ended Badly: 13 of the Worst Breakups in History p 1-2)
Evolutionary biologists found that people experiencing heartbreak have brain scans that mirror those of cocaine addicts in withdrawal. We do not handle breakups well. Humans are unbelievably resilient creatures in the face of most of the world’s horrors. We are brave in battle, heroic in the face of disease, and really just terrific on the whole until someone breaks up with us. And then we absolutely implode.
-Jennifer Wright (I Ended Badly: 13 of the Worst Breakups in History p 2-3)
Honestly, I’m such a jerk about breakups. Even when things have gone wrong for completely understandable reasons and it’s clear that we’re incompatible, after someone breaks up with me, on some level I still want to think that it is because they have fundamental personality defects that make them unlovable or unable to love. Your ex is, as likely as not, not really a narcissist or a sociopath or emotionally disturbed or any of the other accusations that you’ve come up with to make yourself feel better about the relationship being over. Those are often just things we tell ourselves because feeling angry is more satisfying than feeling sad.
-Jennifer Wright (It Ended Badly: 13 of the Worst Breakups in History p 71)
I think you can find a partner who is absolutely untouched, or you can find a partner who has bedroom skills, but you can’t have both. You pick. (I would 100 percent choose the sex-stuff option, but I am not a sixteenth-century ruler of England).-Jennifer Wright on Henry the VIII’s marriage to Catherine Howard (It Ended Badly: 13 of the Worst Breakups in History p 74)
It’s always important to point out—as Julian Barnes does in England, England—that the past wasn’t just a giant costume party. People did not behave the same in the Middle Ages as they do today, no matter how trendy movie directors try to make that life seem. (Sixteenth-century aristocrats swore all the time and listened to the Sex Pistols! No, they did not. They mostly listened to the Ramones and some Blondie.) Concerns were fundamentally different than they are today. No one said their main life goal was “to be happy” of find “work-life balance”. Instead, simply surviving was a very real, daily concern for many people. Then there were the questions of how to live honorably and how to get into heaven when you die.
-Jennifer Wright (It Ended Badly: 13 of the Worst Breakups in History p 79)
I know I’ve said this before, but it is such a good thing we have television. Anyone who complains about people spending too much time watching reality shows and playing video games does not know what people with spare time got up to in a world without mindless amusements to keep them occupied. They made giants dress up as babies for their entertainment, that’s what they did.
-Jennifer Wright on Peter the Great of Russia (It Ended Badly: 13 of the Worst Breakups in History p 86)
I choose to believe that sometimes historians make up sad lies for no reason, because just as Anna hated marriage, historians hate happy stories that tie everything together with a fun ending.
-Jennifer Wright (It Ended Badly: 13 of the Worst Breakups in History p 95)
Pacts with the devil have been made many times. There is no other way to explain the popularity of the book Fifty Shades of Grey.
-Jennifer Wright (It Ended Badly: 13 of the Worst Breakups in History p 100)
He attempted to give a speech in French to an English-speaking audience without knowing how to speak French himself. He seemed to think that the entire French language was maybe just a series of primitive hand gestures.
-Jennifer Wright (It Ended Badly: 13 of the Worst Breakups in History p 101)
The book [A Pickle for the Knowing Ones by Lord Timothy Dexter, First in the East, First in the West, and the Greatest Philosopher in the Western World] details Timothy’s life in his own somewhat incoherent way. It was written entirely without punctuation. When it was pointed out that the greatest philosopher in the Western world would probably use at least some punctuation (since it was, thank God, no longer the sixteenth century), in the second edition (there were ultimately eight printings) Dexter added a page of punctuation at the end, so readers could insert the marks wherever they liked or, as he claimed, “I put in A Nuf here and they may pepper and salt it as they please.”
-Jennifer Wright (It Ended Badly: 13 of the Worst Breakups in History p 104-5)
Unless you are King Henry VIII, there may not be a way to get a real sense of “closure” about a relationship.
-Jennifer Wright (It Ended Badly: 13 of the Worst Breakups in History p 110)
I’m convinced that anyone who has never written stupid post-breakup letters to an ex-lover either is not fully human or has never actually experienced a bad breakup. We have all written or texted or e-mailed our former lovers something we regret. Sometimes correspondence revolves around an exchange of items. If your ex left her iphone behind as she fled, for instance, it would be polite to pack it up, maybe with a note that reads, “Here’s your iphone, you bloodsucking succubus.” Obviously, you should not write exactly that. If your ex is male, you should substitute incubus for succubus.
-Jennifer Wright (It Ended Badly: 13 of the Worst Breakups in History p 111)
You really shouldn’t kick people when they’re down, and you definitely shouldn’t kick them when they are down, prostrate and sobbing at your feet.
-Jennifer Wright (It Ended Badly: 13 of the Worst Breakups in History p 120)
Another fun tidbit (no pun intended): his second wife demanded an annulment after finding “malformation of the parts of generation, frigidity and impotence.” The biggest mystery is what is meant when people say their significant historical other was genitally malformed. Do you think he had a microphallus? I do. But we’ll never know. It’s going to be a mystery forever. In the future, if you accuse someone of being malformed in their genitals, please take pictures for historians.
-Jennifer Wright (It Ended Badly: 13 of the Worst Breakups in History p 152)
He has ruined my life, so I can’t help loving him—it is the only thing to do.
-Oscar Wilde quoted in Jennifer Wright (It Ended Badly: 13 of the Worst Breakups in History p 160)
Oscar Wilde, on the other hand, not only was a genuine literary genius but had the added distinction of not being a whiny brat. He was a brave champion against humorlessness, bullies, ugliness, and bad wallpaper. All the important stuff. But then, Wilde had a remarkable ability to see the world as he wanted it to be, filled with beautiful, imaginative, funny, loving people. I think that is the way everyone reading this book would like to see the world. And I am sorry that he was disappointed.
-Jennifer Wright (It Ended Badly: 13 of the Worst Breakups in History p 162)
What’s perpetually surprising to me is that a lively, emotionally complex woman who stole someone’s fiancé for fun, hung out in harems seemingly unperturbed, and wrote The Age of Innocence—one of the most heartbreaking romances of all time (read it right now if you haven’t!)—would have only one orgasm in her life with a man who left her immediately afterward.
-Jennifer Wright (It Ended Badly: 13 of the Worst Breakups in History p 166-7)
However, there was supposedly a history of what we would now better understand as clinical manic depression in his family. His father “just wouldn’t get out of bed” and committed himself to psychiatric care. Teddy was also an alcoholic, which may have been a result of or contributed to his intense unhappiness. At the time, he was thought to suffer from melancholia (depression). Edith and her family might not have noticed that at first because during the Victorian era if you weren’t somewhat melancholy, you were just a moron. Sorry.
-Jennifer Wright (It Ended Badly: 13 of the Worst Breakups in History p 169)
It hurts if someone you believe you love, whom you’ve slept with, won’t have contact with you afterwards. It does; I don’t care what era we’re in. What’s more, she had absolutely no one else she could talk to, given that the belief that good women didn’t discuss such matters was completely ingrained in her. It’s likely the only person she felt she could talk about sex with was the person with whom she’d had sex, who was not returning her letters. I cannot imagine a much more frustrating situation, especially for someone, who, as she said, usually had a very strong personality.
-Jennifer Wright (It Ended Badly: 13 of the Worst Breakups in History p 176-7)Your very happiness, you see, depends on how long. How long?...You have been silent for months and more than anything this is what you want to say: We were dating my whole life. And I don’t mean symbolically, as in I keep going for the same type of guy and this is a pattern that needs exploring. Like paisley. I was born, and he was born, and we fell in love. And now I just have a memory that won’t quit and some choice words for Carly Simon. Instead you just round up by a month and leave it at that.
-Sloane Crosley’s How Did You Get This Number quoted in Jennifer Wright (It Ended Badly: 13 of the Worst Breakups in History p 177-8)
But I have sometimes thought that a woman’s nature is like a great house full of rooms: there is the hall, through which everyone passes in going in and out; the drawing room, where one receives formal visits; the sitting-room, where the members of the family come and go as they list; but beyond that, far beyond, are other rooms, the handles of whose doors perhaps are never turned; no one knows the way to them, no one knows whither they lead; and in the innermost room, the holy of holies, the soul sits alone and waits for a footstep that never comes.
-Edith Wharton (“The Fulness of Life”)
Sometimes it seems as if men who are even a little bit intelligent and “literary” are able to get away with more than human beings should be allowed to get away with. If a female celebrity gets a weird tattoo or haircut or makes the ill-advised decision to turn forty-five, people decide she’s crazy, which, as Tina Fey says, is how people describe women they don’t want to sleep with anymore.
-Jennifer Wright (It Ended Badly: 13 of the Worst Breakups in History p 196)
Male writers, especially male writers during the 1960s, somehow tricked people into thinking that they were demigods because they had an understanding of language. Because they had a grasp on words, which (and I am stealing this from playwright Alan Bennett) they always pronounced in a way that sounded peculiarly Welsh. Language and words are important, and so are syllables and even punctuation (as we learned from Timothy Dexter). But being a very good writer is not going to cure Alzheimer’s.
-Jennifer Wright (It Ended Badly: 13 of the Worst Breakups in History p 207)
I think—and this is a sense I get from personal interaction—that women ought to apologize for their behavior in relationships a lot less and men should apologize a lot more. When my female friends’ relationships end, we go out for a drink, and about halfway through the evening their brains seem to be taken over by some sort of crazed-lunatic hallucinatory virus that causes them to say something like “The problem—the real reason I’m unlovable, basically—is that I can’t bake. Because his ex was a really great baker, so I have to take cooking classes tomorrow, while simultaneously losing ten pounds because I’m fat, fat, fat and disgusting.” Meanwhile, men often seem to externalize the blame for relationships ending. Whenever one of my male friends has a breakup, we go out for a drink, and at some point he will say, genuinely outraged, “How could she do that to me? I was so good to her!” And I could say, “Well, you refused to return her calls for a solid week, and there was that one time you slept with someone else. Remember that? And we agreed ‘that didn’t count’?” But I just nod and listen, because this venting is healing and could make him feel better. It is not for me to say, “Your reaction exemplifies something interesting to me about how people of different genders behave.”
-Jennifer Wright (It Ended Badly:13 of the Worst Breakups in History p 209-10)
Burton once referred to Taylor as his “eternal one-night stand”, which has a ring of truth to it, insofar as one-night stands are filled with passion, and also some amount of terror that the other person might turn out to be a serial killer. Everyone feels that way about one-night stands, right?
-Jennifer Wright (It Ended Badly: 13 of the Worst Breakups in History p 212)
Not every relationship that ends imparts a life lesson that makes us better people. You don’t always “learn something”. Relationships aren’t fortune cookies; they don’t always contain a cool little message for you to carry around after they’re done. Nor do they necessarily leave us better—more confident, more skilled, more interesting—than we were before the relationship ran its course….Still, love does move us in profound and real ways. It may not always take us to a better place, but the act of loving forces our lives into motion. Giving in to love means that your life will change….Loving and forming relationships with people rarely allows us to keep our lives exactly the same. Loving is powerful because it is the opposite of stasis….When people say that they’re “just hanging out” or “keeping things real casual”, I always think, Oh, you coward. Of, course, they’re right to be afraid because, as we have seen, you condemn yourself to a safe but static life. And that’s not enough. On their deathbeds, no one says, “Wow, what I regret most is making so many emotional connections with people.” We want to be moved. We crave it….If you had your heart broken because you tried to love, well, then you’re brave, too. You rejected keeping your life the way it was. You abandoned the comfort of stillness. You set off into uncharted territory. That’s very worthy of respect. If the love ended badly, that’s OK. We live longer now than most of the people in this book, and you’re likely not in danger of being beheaded anytime soon. You will have more chances. The world is full of many openhearted people and many opportunities. That may be impossible to think about when you’re heartbroken, because heartbreak is awful, but if you took a chance on love in the first place, you are a courageous soul. There will be a time when you go out and are brave again. Until then, take comfort. And as Caroline Lamb wrote, “Peace to the broken hearts.”
-Jennifer Wright (It Ended Badly: 13 of the Worst Breakups in History p 226-8)
Link to Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Ended-Badly-Thirteen-Breakups-History-ebook/dp/B00W1E132M/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1486387321&sr=1-1&keywords=it+ended+badly