The trite answer is, of course, that the worst breakup is always the one happening to you, right now. But that's boring, so let's see if we can categorise (hey, scientist here, it's what we do) the ways two people can make each others live miserable.
- The I-cannot-believe-you-did-that breakup
I put this first, because I think this may be the easiest one to get over, at least for the wronged party. In the I-cannot-believe-you-did-that breakup your ex cheated on you with your sibling, ate your canary, or destroyed your favourite CD. It is clear that you cannot bear to be with that asshole anymore, and screaming and violence might ensue until he or she is finally out of your sight. Then, the ritualistic destruction of property will begin - in short, your anger will help you somewhat over the pain of separation. On the other hand, you will have to deal with some self-loathing, but then do not all of lives confections bear the acrid sting of cyanide?
Ahem, moving on:
- The one-sided-it's-not-you-it's-me breakup
That one is right awful, especially for the breakee, although it can be painful for the breaker as well. For the breakee (breakupee?) it is a bolt out of the blue sky. There you were, admiring the pink clouds in the purple sky through the rose glasses of love, when the aforementioned bolt hits you right between the eyes like a metapher carried too far. Why? What did you do wrong? How did you not see this coming?
The breaker (breakupper?) has no easy job either. For you it's clear that it is not working, the magic is gone, but your trice-damned-partner (what were you thinking?) is making puppy-dog-eyes at you, and swearing his undying love. Jeez, why is it always you that has to be the asshole? And where is that bloody bolt?
Alright, the breakees lot may be slightly harder, but then, it is always better to be the hammer.
- The we-both-knew-it-was-coming-but-wanted-to-suffer-a-bit-longer breakup.
You know, there is something to be said for short and painful, especially when compared with drawn-out and excruciating. Anyway, you both were doing nothing but fighting and detesting each other. But for whatever reason, none of you had the guts to do something about it, so you festered like a broken arrowhead in the intestines of a Thracian cataphract (don't ask me where that came from). So when you do break up, it might actually come as a relief. Still, there was a reason you tried so long and so hard to stay together, and in the end you both suffered twice as much pain as you had to, and it was all for nothing.
- The we-love-each-other-but-cannot-be-together breakup
This breakup does not suffer from or cause bad feelings. If there is anything that suffers besides you both, it's the breakup itself, and it suffers from an abundance of good feelings, which may be why it feels so awful.
You both love each other, but for whatever reason you cannot stay together. Maybe it is outside influences, and you had to discover painfully that love does indeed not "conquer all". Maybe both of you have quite different ideas of what you want to get out of the relationship, and it has been impossible to reconcile them. Anyway, the breakup will be long, tearful and hurtful, and you can't even hide behind anger. On the other hand, you don't have to hide behind anger, and perhaps, in a few years (decades) you can look back with fondness at the time you two had together. Then again, maybe you have just lost the love of your life. Bummer you.
So, you are asking while basking gleefully in the sacrastic sorrow seeping from my pen of pain, which one is the worst?
The one I am going through of course, right now.