We all know that being crazy in love will make us do some pretty out-there stuff, and that women often take breakups harder than men, but sex and dating writer Jennifer Wright has some good news for you: You're not alone. Even historical figures embarrassed themselves in the throes of heartbreak. Some of the past's most illustrious figures have gone to lengths that will make you feel not so bad about sending your ex a million Friday night texts, making the perfect mix CD that will bring you two back together, or just aimlessly scrolling through his or her Instagram account.
Yup, on almost every bad, post-breakup behavior you can think of, history has you beat.
In It Ended Badly: 13 of the Worst Breakups in History , Wright, the funniest history buff you'll ever meet, recounts stories of famous relationships that have gone south in a big way. Wright notes, "heartbreak has the potential to make everyone a worse version of themselves." And, with "half a million people [suffering] a breakup every day," that's a lot of people acting their worst.
Thanks goodness, as Wright observes, "heartbreak is almost never the defining moment of one's life." Instead, breakups just cause us to act in embarrassing, ill-advised, and hilarious ways. If we don't learn from the past, we're doomed to repeat it, right? In the name of not repeating history's breakup blunders, here are six things people from yesteryear did when they were totally lovesick.
1. Replace Their Ex With A Clone ... Kind Of
When maximum evil Roman emperor Nero murdered his wife, Poppaea, in a fit of rage, he "grieved the end of their relationship by murdering her son," murdering all his closest employees and acquaintances, and castrating "a slave named Sporus who seemingly resembled Poppaea, to the very vague extent that a prepubescent boy can resemble ancient Rome's answer to Christina Hendricks ... and marrying him." Um, yikes?
2. Have A Zero-Tolerance Policy For Cheating
Eleanor of Aquitaine, wife of Henry II, was a boss. "Not even Rihanna is as edgy and daring as Eleanor was nine hundred years ago." As a twentysomething, Eleanor rode in the Second Crusade "dressed as [an Amazon] ... bare-breasted." She was unwilling to put up with any fooling around by her husband, so she snuck through a hedge maze to the residence of his mistress, Rosamund, and poisoned her.
3. Give Weird Breakup Gifts.
Like pubic hair. "A bloodstained hunk of pubic hair." Or at least that's what Caroline Lamb, the ex of writer Lord Byron, did. I bet you're feeling OK about that sentimental mix CD you made now.
4. Imprison Their Friends In Ice Castles
Imprisoning in ice castle is a move that could only have been masterminded by Russian empress Anna Ivanovna, who was so bummed by the death of her husband that she "wanted to punish people who were happy in love and make a mockery of the concept of weddings." Ivanovna constructed "a massive ice palace eighty feet long and thirty-three feet high" with a furnished bridal suite. That's where she placed Prince Mikhail and his wife Avdotya Ivanovna, who, fortunately, Wright reports, survived.
5. Trash Their Exes' Bodies
And speaking of pubic hair (OK, I just wanted to use that transition), philosopher, painter, writer, and all-around uber-talent John Ruskin was so disturbed by his wife, Effie Gray's, hirsute bod that he refused to consecrate the marriage. Dude had issues: When Gray "[tried] to initiate ... physical intimacy, in the hopes of producing children, Ruskin told her that if she was not 'very wicked,' she was 'at least insane.'"
6. Seek Alternative Sexual Outlets
When celebrated artist Oskar Kokoschka's beau Alma Mahler ended their relationship, Kokoschka wrote to a doll maker, provided his ex's dimensions and said:
Please make it possible that my sense of touch will be able to take pleasure in those parts where the layers of fat and muscle suddenly give way to a sinuous covering of skin.
In other words: The artist wanted to get freaky with that doll. And, by all accounts he did. She was his date at all the happening parties of the day, and, because his friends must have understood that he had a serious case of the post-breakup blues, no one raised an eye.
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