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Actually It's You, Not Us: A Toast To Breakups

For Valentine’s Day, we’re celebrating the doomed relationships that shaped us, in all their messy glory. Because love is just as much about heartbreak as it is about romance.

by Lindsay Schrupp and Zing Tsjeng
Feb 11 2019, 2:31pm

Illustration by Lia Kantrowitz

Read all the stories from our Love Bites series here.

Two years ago, we looked at Valentine’s Day as an opportunity to interrogate love as a sickness. In doing so, we examined the many symptoms of love while asking fundamental questions—What role do pheromones play in human attraction? How does BDSM affect the brain? Why does love hurt so much?—about the consequences of romance, relationships, and the weaknesses of the human heart.

This year, we’re not getting hung up on the many ailments of love; instead, we’re focusing on one of the great equalizers of relationships—the presence of which is felt by every couple, even if never fully realized: the breakup. The out-of-nowhere-life-altering breakups, the at first gut-wrenching and subsequently chill breakups, the somewhat humbling and the deeply, deeply humiliating breakups: We’re here to examine the breakups that punctuate our relationships as well as the ones that eventually come to define them.

We’ll dig into the nitty gritty of our awkward and bizarrely heartbreaking splits, including the ins and outs of breakup sex and the beauty of the post breakup glow-up. But we’re not here to watch anyone make the same mistakes, so we’ll explore the art of covering up relationship tattoos, as well as the etiquette of estrangement on social media—because the ineptitude for common decency may not be exclusive to Instagram, but it is insufferable.

For continued inspiration we’ll revisit some of the breakups in film and pop culture that helped to shape the way we perceive separations and endings. We’ll also take a look back at the breakups that got away, or the relationships that were never really believable in the first place and probably should never have lasted a week more than a week. (You’ve seen You’ve Got Mail, right?)

Over the course of our Love Bites series this week, you’ll find a starter kit for breakups as we explore the power of ethical unbinding spells, the nuances of breakups apps, and the brilliant craft of staging a perfect breakup.

So take the plunge with us. We’re doing the damn thing. You’re cordially invited to skip straight to the end with us because love is fine, but breakups are forever.