Why We Broke Up…

ANNA SHEINMAN asks Tab readers why their relationships at Cambridge ended. Here's what they told her...

The Why We Broke Up Project, created by Daniel Handler, (better known to us as Lemony Snicket) to accompany his new book of the same name is a space for anyone and everyone to explain, anonymously, why it all went tits up.

From mother’s birthday parties to silver lamé bikinis (there’s a great selection on the Guardian here), and from heartfelt to deeply cutting – they are varied and totally compelling.

I wondered if at Cambridge the answers would be any different, have a certain flavour perhaps. And so I asked: why did you break up? And here’s what you told me:


Your first came first, your feelings for your ex-girlfriend second, the fact that I had fallen for you really, really hard, didn’t even get a look in.

We broke up because you put your work schedule before me.

You were charming, erudite, gorgeous, caring, my parents loved you, but the sex was… well, my friends refer to you as ‘30-second-Sam’.

We broke up because you joked that you’d send your mother with me to buy your engagement ring to make sure it was expensive enough. It wasn’t funny.

You were at LSE, I was here, my work load made seeing each other difficult, and since we were both in first year, that wasn’t going to change any time soon. I guess you were the one that got away, but you have a new girlfriend, who is not just lovely but beautiful (I take that as a personal compliment!) and you and I are friends, so I guess I’m happy for you.

You were not a Cantab. This wasn’t the problem. The problem was you didn’t really grasp the concept of cliché. It was excruciating.

It was too difficult keeping it a secret and I wasn’t willing to share what was going on with the rest of college.

I couldn’t fix you.

You were a bit chubs, and I don’t do fatties.

We worked better as friends. I found you attractive when we talked but not when we kissed and I’m pretty sure the feeling was mutual.

We broke up because I thought I’d found someone better. I was wrong. I’ll always be sorry.

We broke up because it turned out you had simply memorised three interesting topics of conversation.

We were just sleeping together, and you found a nice girl who took you seriously. Good for you.

We broke up because you got with someone in front of me in Life.

We broke up because I was going to Cambridge, and you were going to Oxford. Given that on our ensuing gap years I went backpacking, and your Daddy paid for you to go skiing, I think the distance was more philosophical than geographical.

We broke up because you slept with your flatmate.

We broke up because you told me you didn’t believe in marrying for love and in today’s world marrying for money was the only realistic option.

I compromised who I was for you – I loved you too much and you didn’t deserve it.

We broke up because you told me that your mother “worked hard for her money” so didn’t deserve to be paying the amount of tax that she did.

We broke up because I couldn’t go for five minutes without receiving countless texts and missed calls asking if I was with other girls.

We broke up because you loved your mother more than me.

The sex just didn’t work. We got on well, albeit drunkenly. In hindsight, this was probably the issue.

We broke up because I was waiting for hidden depth. Then I realised you were just as empty as the first 7 months suggested. So I stopped waiting.

You look too much like a child. You’re a lovely boy, you just look like you’re 12 years old.

We broke up because of so many reasons. Too many to list.

We broke up because you were a bit too… how can I put this… racist?


Feeling inspired? Share your break-up reasons in the comment box below.

  • True story

    We broke up because I wanted to have sex with you.

  • Butterfield

    We broke up because I was banging my secretary on the side. She was increbidle.

    • true pedant

      think SHE dumped YOU because you're a cambridge student who can't spell "incredible"

    • Is it me

      or does "increbidle" sound like a good word?

  • Good Son

    "We broke up because you loved your mother more than me."

    Damn straight.

  • Guest

    We broke up because you became too obsessed with your own self image, and didn't care about anyone but yourself.

    • Jules?

  • Woolf

    We broke up because you wouldn't finger me

  • Cos

    you grabbed my breasts in front of your mum and asked her what she thought of them.

    • Mother

      I didn't like them…

  • Trenton

    Because I only got into LSE. You are therefore too elitist for me.

  • We broke up because

    You bought me a book called "Why We Broke Up".


    How sad that the majority of these make it oh so obvious that these relationships were just drunken gettings-with – you know what I mean? Cambridge is a vacuous pit relationship-wise. Everyone's too scared or too oppressed to get involved proper deep and instead we just have all these dull, lifeless sordid Cindies drunk-pash routines. I think, anyway.

    • Wut


Get the best of The Tab on our app.

So long as anti-Semitism is dismissed, Cambridge cannot endorse the NUS

It’s not right that the voices of thousands of Jewish students across the country are playing second fiddle.

Do we really hate each other?

Are the haters really gonna hate hate hate?

The Cambridge Easter Term Bucket List

Finding the fun in the joyless.

Justin Timberlake has just released the obligatory ‘song of the summer’

You’re going to really hate this in a few months

Oxford University will not expel Rhodes Must Fall founder

42,000 people called for his bursary to be revoked

, Assistant Editor

All the things you learn about life from your bang average comprehensive

Lunchtime detentions were a rite of passage

, Assistant Editor

Snapchatting your trip to the polling station is silly, self-absorbed and insignificant

It’s a day about something bigger, and you somehow managed to make it about yourself

, Argument Editor

‘What’s the weather like up there?’ and other things tall people are fed up of hearing

You’re right actually, it is starting to rain

, Soton Opinion Editor of The Tab

Stop saying Kent is ‘racist’

There is something more complicated at play