Note: The site mentioned below is no longer live, but the stories have since been collected in the book, Relationship Obits: The Final Resting Place for Love Gone Wrong
Four decades since that 1966 Motown song wondered, “What becomes of the brokenhearted?,” Kathleen Horan has finally given us the answer: relationshipobit.com. At this new, online resting place for good loves gone bad, anyone can document the lifespan of a soured relationship, complete with cause of death.
Horan, a WNYC reporter in the South Slope, first came up with this method of memorializing exes while writing her father’s obituary in 2006, just two weeks after she and her long-term boyfriend broke up.
She decided to write an obit for her relationship, too, and realized others might like the same chance to give dead relationships a ceremonious ending — if not for clarity, then as an experiment in reverse social-networking.
“At least with death there’s this prescribed way to deal with the grief,” says Horan. “But in a breakup you feel like you should go underground… eat a lot of ice cream, hook up with someone, and it should be over. The experience is often so raw, but on the outside it appears clichéd, like a breakup song.”
Ultimately, people will be able to post their chosen breakup song and photos alongside their obits. But even without these features, people are finding catharsis though poignant, outrageous odes to relationships that have cashed in their chips.
To officially launch the site, Horan is throwing a “Wake for Love” tomorrow night at the Brecht Forum in the far West Village, where there will be a cocktail called The Breakup; food prepared by a recently brokenhearted caterer; WFMU DJ Rex Doane spinning “heart-wrenching” breakup songs; and hilarious exit interviews of failed relationship “survivors” taken at the Prospect Park Farmers’ Market. Even for the attached, it sounds like way more fun than celebrating love — or lamenting its loss — come Feb. 14.
Says Horan, “Valentine’s Day needed a kick in the shins anyway.”