The Museum of Broken Relationships, based in Zagreb, Croatia, is popping up at Toronto’s Harbourfront Centre as part of The Brave: Secret Lives, Second Chances arts festival, running July 11 to 21. With its displays of objects from former lovers, the museum is a testament to the heartache that comes with ending a relationship. Is there a section on ghosting? You’ll have to visit to find out. But it did get us wondering how people break up today. Here, a handful of people passing through Pearson International Airport reveal how their last relationship ended.
23, Hairstylist, Calgary
“I met him on Tinder. I was only seeing him for a month. He was staying over at my house. He handed me his phone to watch a video, and me being me, I closed out of it and went in to his messages. He had three girls on Do Not Disturb [stopping calls and notifications from appearing on your phone, hiding incoming calls or messages]. I pretended that everything was okay. There’s a fair in Cochrane that’s probably 25 minutes from Calgary. I drove him out to Cochrane and was like, ‘You should stop into the bank in case they only take cash’ and I left him there. Blocked his number, never heard from him again.”
25, Computer technician, Oakville, Ont.
“It was our two-year anniversary. I was in Cuba. I called my girlfriend to say happy anniversary. As soon as I came back, I found out she was with my manager at that time. I saw them together. I told her what I saw. She said to me that since I was going to be moving to Toronto, she couldn’t do a long-distance relationship. It just kind of went like that. I was like, there’s a car. There’s weekends. There’s time. But some people just don’t want to deal with long-distance relationships. They want to be near each other all the time.”
27, Graphic designer, Toronto
“We were dating for almost five years. I knew him from high school. I ended it and it was messy. We lived together. He moved out on Valentine’s Day. I ended it because of poor communication. After five years, if you can’t communicate, what are you doing? One night I was just like, ‘I don’t think I can do this any more.’ The classic line. Initially, he was very understanding. The next day, not understanding at all. It was very emotional. We don’t talk any more. He messaged me on my birthday and wished me happy birthday. I said, ‘Thank you’ and that’s it. I’m not a terrible person. We just can’t talk right now.”
25, Sales, Wisconsin Rapids, Wisc.
“I met him through work. I met him in a corn field. We dated for seven months. We broke up in April. He’s very lazy. He just didn’t want to put anything in to the relationship. I tried to have a conversation with him about it. I said, ‘Is there a reason why I’m not good enough?’ And he just told me that the relationship was toxic. We argued and we bickered. He was very objective about it. He wouldn’t show any emotion. I called him a couple of weeks after we broke up just to say hello and he pretty much told me he never thinks about us. It’s fine. But it’s weird. We were very close.”
“My last relationship was 15 years long. We had three children together. We broke up because there was too much jealousy, too much fighting. She was too controlling. She wanted to be the boss of the house. We’d fight for hours the last four months of our relationship. We broke up eight days ago. Our last conversation, she told me, ‘Don’t come here no more.’ That’s why I’m leaving and going back home to the Dominican Republic for two months. I need to take a break. Thankfully, the kids are still doing good.”
25, Commercial truck driver, Los Angeles
“We met in L.A. at an audition for K-Pop [a singing group]. We dated for six years. She started being more distant. I tried to keep the relationship going, but the spark wasn’t there. So I had to end it. This was about 14 months ago. I took her to a restaurant and told her after the meal that this is not working out. She was hurt. She was crying. I told her, ‘I’ve been trying to meet you half way but you won’t meet me half way.’ I loved her, but the emotional distance was too much for me. She would only call me when she needed me. I cried after I broke up with her. I told her we can still be friends. But she completely blocked me.”
21, Tennis coach, Toronto
“I met him in high school. We dated for about two years. It was a fun relationship. But then we both went to different schools so we broke up. I went to Texas and he went to Miami. He ended things. I wanted to stay with him and he wanted to go and party in Miami. We were just hanging out talking about what the future was going to be and he said he didn’t know if he could stay in a relationship if I was in Texas and he was in Miami. We had a big blow out. We were screaming and yelling at each other. It’s been about a year and a half now. We really haven’t talked to each other since then.”
22, Student, Toronto
“We were both on the track-and-field team together at Columbia. We were good friends. We both have Celiac disease, so it was a cool bonding thing for us. We dated for about a year and a half. Graduation was coming. I’m doing graduate school in the U.K. and he’s staying in New York. It just wasn’t worth it to do a long-distance relationship. It dawned on me that we’d be better off as friends. He’s a great guy, but I thought he didn’t have a lot of experience putting himself in other people’s shoes. In that sense, he was just a little immature. I felt like I was continuously trying to go out of my way for him. I told him in May, ‘This isn’t healthy, I can’t do this.’ His reaction was, ‘I’m really sad that you feel this way, but I really don’t know what to do.’ I just got nothing from him. It was sad. But I have no hard feelings. And we’re still friends.”
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