Break ups, like death and thinking you might look good with bangs, are an unavoidable part of life. Break ups hurt. But, just like bangs, break ups get better with time (after an awkward, mid-length period). And luckily, authors have provided us with some truly exquisite break up lines from books for those 2am lapses of judgment when you're drunk texting your ex and you just really need a literary boost to help you twist that knife.
After all, we all know the tried and true stages of getting over a big breakup: crying, crying in the bath with wine, drunk Facebook stalking, donuts, excessive Tindering, hooking up with your ex at a mutual friend's birthday party, shopping montage, and reading. Because literature is nothing if not full of drastic people dumping each other. But, unlike the real people, fictional characters have authors to write them the perfect breakup lines. The rest of us have to make do with whatever garbage happens to come out of our mouths at the time. For example, a guy I was seeing once broke things off with the line, "I couldn't do this... not even if you were Shakira" (true story).
So if you're looking for a slightly classier breakup line to end things once and for all, here are a few promising options:
1. If I said I was madly in love with you, you'd know I was lying.
― Margaret Mitchell, Gone with the Wind
2. Take me or leave me; or, as is the usual order of things, both.
― Dorothy Parker, The Portable Dorothy Parker
3. …being in your presence for any length of time depresses the hell out of me and I don’t need this shit who needs this shit so I’m like out of here.
― Terry McMillan, How Stella Got Her Groove Back
4. Why did you despise me? Why did you betray your own heart...? I have not one word of comfort. You deserve this. You have killed yourself. Yes, you may kiss me, and cry; and wring out my kisses and tears: they'll blight you—they'll damn you. You loved me—what right had you to leave me?
― Emily Brontë, Wuthering Heights
5. That’s the trouble with caring about anybody, you begin to feel overprotective. Then you begin to feel crowded.
― John Updike, Rabbit Redux
6. For Beatrice, when we first met, I was lonely, and you were pretty. Now I am pretty lonely.
—Lemony Snicket, A Series of Unfortunate Events: The Slippery Slope
7. Do you think, because I am poor, obscure, plain and little, I am soulless and heartless? You think wrong!—I have as much soul as you,—and full as much heart! And if God had gifted me with some beauty and much wealth, I should have made it as hard for you to leave me, as it is now for me to leave you!
― Charlotte Brontë, Jane Eyre
8. She knew that he loved her above all else, more than anything in the world, but only for his own sake.
― Gabriel García Márquez, Love in the Time of Cholera
9. You should know I disagree with a lot of traditional advice. For instance, they say the best revenge is living well. I say it’s acid in the face—who will love them now?
― Mindy Kaling, Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?
10. People don't have any mercy. They tear you limb from limb, in the name of love. Then, when you're dead, when they've killed you by what they made you go through, they say you didn't have any character. They weep big, bitter tears―not for you. For themselves, because they've lost their toy.
― James Baldwin, Another Country
11. It would be a privilege to have my heart broken by you.
― John Green, The Fault in Our Stars
12. And that's when I know it's over. As soon as you start thinking about the beginning, it's the end.
― Junot Díaz, This Is How You Lose Her
13. Yes, I was infatuated with you: I am still. No one has ever heightened such a keen capacity of physical sensation in me. I cut you out because I couldn't stand being a passing fancy. Before I give my body, I must give my thoughts, my mind, my dreams. And you weren't having any of those.
― Sylvia Plath, The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath
14. You will always be fond of me. I represent to you all the sins you never had the courage to commit.
― Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray
15. You can't own a human being. You can't lose what you don't own. Suppose you did own him. Could you really love somebody who was absolutely nobody without you? You really want somebody like that? Somebody who falls apart when you walk out the door? You don't, do you? And neither does he. You're turning over your whole life to him. Your whole life, girl. And if it means so little to you that you can just give it away, hand it to him, then why should it mean any more to him? He can't value you more than you value yourself.
― Toni Morrison, Song of Solomon
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