The Museum Of Broken Relationships

 

Grateful…

 

…is how I felt after visiting the Museum of Broken Relationships in Zagreb.

The museum, which started as a traveling exhibition but now finds its home in Croatia’s capital city, is an offer of a new beginning for the broken-hearted. Whether a relationship ended by love lost, death or even cultural circumstance, the museum asks contributors to submit those material reminders they wish to expel to clean the relationship slate.

Submissions are displayed from all over the world and range from the deeply sad to the cringe worthy to the hilarious. Combined in one exhibit, there are obvious patterns that the devastated can find solace in, and perhaps even discover inspiration for overcoming similar grief.

Every single one of then made me grateful for the love I have had over the years, making the pain of my own early breakups be almost entirely forgotten.

That is, until I saw (and related to) one of the exhibits….

Rubber shoes – Manila, Phillipines

It is said to never give anyone a pair of shoes as a Christmas present because then the shoes would make the person you gave them to walk away from you. A few months after Christmas 2004, we call it quits. Superstitions? I don’t believe in superstitions. I just walked away. Today, I’m still walking, but without the shoes.

Museum in Croatia

 

In the summer of 1994, I gave my boyfriend of one year a pair of Doc Marten boots for his birthday. He said “thank you”, and then ended it immediately afterwards. His classy choice of how to break up with me? He ignored me completely. He didn’t answer my phone calls, nothing. Just an abrupt and painful severance.

Jerk.

Thankfully, there were others that were hugely entertaining, or at least reminded me that I didn’t have it so bad.

Fake breasts – 3 year relationship – Belgrade, Serbia

So, after three years together, my husband bought fake, sculpted female breasts which were, of course, larger than mine and that was the time of our biggest relationship crisis. He made me wear them during sex because they turned him on. I was disappointed and because of those sculpted, fake breasts, I left him for good.

A stupid frisbee – 2 years and 2 month relationship – Belgrade, Serbia

Description: A stupid frisbee, bought in a thrift store, was my ex-boyfriend’s brilliant idea as a second anniversary gift. The moral was obviously that he should be smacked with it in the middle of his face the next time he gets such a fantastic idea. Since the relationship is now preceded by the word “ex”, the frisbee remains in the museum as a nice memory and expelled negative energy. Feel free to borrow it if you like. P.S. Darling, should you ever get a ridiculous idea to walk into a cultural institution like a museum for the first time in your life, you will remember me. At least have a good laugh (the only thing you could do on your own).

A key bottle opener – 5 month relationship – Ljubljana, Slovenia

You talked to me of love, gave me small gifts every day; this is just one of them. The key to the heart. You turned my head; you just did not want to sleep with me. I realized how much you loved me only after you died of AIDS.

 

 

And of course, there were some interesting, politically charged submissions.

Newsweek magazine with President Obama on the cover – 2 year relationship – Bloomington, Indiana, USA

I really wanted it to work out.

A wardrobe (small table top) – 15 year relationship – Kilkenny, Ireland

Shortly after birth, in a misguided if well-intentional way, I was baptised a Christian by my parents. It took me 15 years to be able to break that forced relationship.

On the way out, I asked Pete if there were any which resonated with him.

He struggled with his answer, claiming to not remember much of any former heartbreak. After a few minutes, he came up with something.

“A tent, like the one I opened to find my girlfriend sleeping with someone else.”

Thankfully, our individual stories, along with many others in the museum, ended with happiness. Yes, we’ve all had our hearts broken at one time or another, but more often then not, we were better off anyways. And at least in our case, the best was yet to come…

A wisp of hair – Less than 2 month relationship – Skopje, Macedonia

Well, a relationship very short, but mentally so tough and “crazy” that it brought me to a moment of complete madness…and I cut my hair and I lived without it for a long time and no one loved me…and I was happy.

 

For a review of this museum from a couple of single fellas perspectives, check out these posts on Go See Write and Wandering Earl

62 Comments... Read them below or add one of your own
  • November 28 2011

    Wow, that actually got me thinking about a couple of broken relationships. Sounds like a place, where you can get closure huh.
    Roy Marvelous recently posted..Turkey Day In Turkey & Pilgrims On The Beach

    • November 29 2011

      That’s a really nice take on it, Roy. I think I would have been mopey and anxious to get out of there, but it really could be therapeutic.
      Katrina recently posted..Hot and Sweet Diversions in Cork

      • November 30 2011

        So many of the stories ended in…”and now I am with my new spouse with X number of kids and am soooo happy”, that sort of thing. It can be taken as a very positive thing seeing the good from the bad, and like you said Roy, a great place to get closure.

  • November 28 2011

    Fascinating museum. It’s funny what people collect to display to the public.
    JoAnna recently posted..How to Stay Healthy When You Travel

    • November 30 2011

      I can think of no better place then a public museum to display those fake boobs! 🙂

  • November 28 2011

    Rather timely post, my wife and I just parted ways yesterday.

    • November 30 2011

      Hi Chris, I’m SO sorry to hear that. I hope you are getting the support you need to get through it…

      • November 30 2011

        I am, and am doing quite well. I think there are going to be many positive aspects that emerge from this. It may also speed up my “escape-from-Canada/the cubicle” plan.

        • November 30 2011

          Good to hear! Sometimes (unfortunately), it takes a big event to make the “plan” happen. At least, it did for us. As long as you can see the positives in what happened, then you’re on the right track! 🙂

          • November 30 2011

            Yes, I am aware of the event that spurred you on. This is my second big (emotionally) event in just over a year, I’m thinking the escape gods are trying to tell me something.

  • November 28 2011

    how on earth did I miss this when I was in Zagreb? This museum alone is enough to make me want to go back immediately!
    DTravelsRound recently posted..I am thankful for …

    • November 30 2011

      There are MANY reasons to spend lots of time in Zagreb (our next post is titled “WHEN we return…”) We really loved it there.

  • I was so surprised the first time I heard about this. But I do really like the concept and hope to visit someday.

  • November 29 2011

    Our heart can be broken quite easily nowadays, but we can find so much more from the lessons we learn from it.

    • November 30 2011

      Exactly! It may be hard to see that at the time, but the lessons are there.

  • November 29 2011

    This place sounds fascinating. What a concept for a museum!
    Claire recently posted..This Spring, the Ultimate Journey Begins

  • November 29 2011

    now this is a place i will have to go see for myself. its a really cool idea
    Zablon Mukuba recently posted..Volunteering abroad and Universities

  • November 29 2011

    I’ve read the other two posts on this museum that you mentioned at the end, and it’s interesting to see the items that overlap! I love the idea of this museum, though, and definitely want to visit it someday!
    Amanda recently posted..The Best of Oahu, Hawaii – In Photos

    • November 30 2011

      Some of the items really stand out from the others. I could have made this post 10X longer with all of the items that moved me!

  • November 29 2011

    I can imagine those fake breasts would be quite insulting. Sounds like a fascinating place though.
    Bodlagz recently posted..Pattaya Long Boat Races 2011

  • November 29 2011

    This place sounds fantastic and definitely sets itself apart from most attractions.

    It will be places like this or statues like the “World’s Largest Squirting Clam” that all of a sudden become motivators for visiting a certain city or place.

    Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to go add Zagreb to the list…
    Sarah recently posted..The Time With the Tips on Sleeping at the Airport

    • November 30 2011

      There are many, many reasons to visit Zagreb (but I will admit that we made a bee-line for this place when we go there!)

  • November 29 2011

    I think such a museum would be too painful for me right now. So many fresh wounds still festering without the benefit of someone to stand beside me and remind me, “that’s all in the past now” with a reassuring hug.

    So glad you were able to experience it together!
    Kirsten recently posted..Finding Heaven in Seefeld in Tirol, Austria

    • November 30 2011

      Aw Kirsten, I’d go with you!!! A lot of the stories did end quite positively, with people referring to the much better relationships that they are in now. I actually think that the overall feeling out of it is one of “hope”…

      • November 30 2011

        I’m really glad to hear that! That, might make me like it. After all, if we don’t keep hope that something better is around the corner … what’s the point of anything?

  • November 29 2011

    This is kind of weird, right?! I sometimes look at art and think… hm, that is okay- but museum worthy… and this is totally questionable in my opinion!
    jade recently posted..Where Seals Go To Get Down

    • November 30 2011

      Maybe….but it did win the 2010 award for “Most Innovative Museum in Europe!” Can’t deny that!

  • November 29 2011

    Wow, when I read the title I didn’t know what to expect. It sounds like a great museum and I would have at least two thinks I would donate them…

    I will definitely visit it when I visit Zagreb! Sounds like a place where you can finish with a broken relationship!
    Sebastian recently posted..Photo of the Week: Alexander Nevsky Cathedral in Sofia, Bulgaria

    • November 30 2011

      It can be a great place to find some closure, that is for sure. I think it is very “hopeful” overall.

  • November 29 2011

    This popped up in #TTOT a few weeks back. So happy you wrote something on it! Those sculpted breast are ridiculous, but the key is heartbreaking. What a wild idea for an exhibition. I really want to see more.
    Bobbi Lee Hitchon recently posted..Which one are you: Winter sun or winter wonderland?

    • November 30 2011

      Those breasts do take the cake!! There were a few, long, heartbreaking stories of being separated by war. And of course, a discarded teddy bear section – haha! A very interesting museum and well worth a visit.

  • November 30 2011

    That is such a weird museum. Really interesting though!
    Hogga recently posted..Stereotyping Canadians vs. Americans

  • November 30 2011

    What a fascinating museum!

  • November 30 2011

    What a museum! Quite fascinating and unique.
    Thanks for sharing:)
    Arti recently posted..Celebrating 2 Years of Togetherness with a Heartfelt Thank You…

  • November 30 2011

    Wow those are so sad and touching. Would love to visit the museum and see it for myself.
    Claire recently posted..Inca Trail Day Two

  • November 30 2011

    What a cool place! Pete – ouch…out camping?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pq5HYe0T-fI

    LOL…glad you guys are awesome!

    • November 30 2011

      Nice video Brian. Touching. 🙂

  • Deidre
    November 30 2011

    Might be the fact that 3 years ago, to this day, I ended a 17 year “relationship”…but, the story made me think of the “trinkets” I have stowed away.

    • November 30 2011

      It might be time to purge some trinkets? xo

      • Deidre
        November 30 2011

        I think I am ready to do that; just as soon as I get home?

        • November 30 2011

          Good for you! How many sleeps left? 🙂

  • November 30 2011

    I’ve been wanting to visit Croatia to meet this Croatian chat mate of mine. Will definitely pass by this museum once the plan pushes through 😀
    Micamyx|Senyorita recently posted..A Crazy, Sexy and Fun Travel Week with Alex!

  • November 30 2011

    Now, that is an original theme for a museum – I’d never heard of it before. Reading these stories makes me feel grateful too because I’m in a happy relationship. But I guess I wouldn’t be where I am if I hadn’t gone through a bunch of broken relationships before 🙂
    Emanuele recently posted..Understanding the impact of aperture on photos

    • November 30 2011

      Ain’t that the truth. I guess I should thank my ex who took the Doc Martens and ran! Haha

  • December 1 2011

    This definitely takes the cake for weirdest museum I’ve ever heard about!

    • December 2 2011

      It is odd, but very innovative!

  • Wow, what a quirky but remarkable museum and in Croatia! Such a wonderful find. Would’ve never guessed. Sounds like a lot of these stories are great turning points in peoples’ lives, though.
    Christine | Grrrl Traveler recently posted..Top 5 Reasons to Visit Laos

    • December 2 2011

      Some were just completely sad, but so many of them had a more positive note at the end. I think they needed that, or everyone would come away pretty bummed out!

  • I read about this museum when I was planning a trip to Croatia with my now ex boyfriend. It seems like such an interesting concept. If I were to contribute anything to the museum it would be a six pack of beer – cause it was his alcoholism which tore us apart.
    Jade Johnston – OurOyster.com recently posted..Guinness and Jameson – The Flavours of Dublin

    • December 4 2011

      Ouch…well, onto better things, right? There’s always a silver lining… 🙂

  • December 6 2011

    Wow. Just wow! But the fake sculpted breasts? More than a little creepy.
    Carolyn recently posted..Cranberry Pecan Biscotti (Low Carb and Gluten Free)

    • December 7 2011

      No kidding, right? Guy sounds like a real winner.

  • December 12 2011

    I second the fact that the sculpted breasts really weirded me out. Thanks for sharing guys, we made it to Zagreb but missed this gem!!

  • December 15 2011

    I want to submit to this museum! It sounds amazing.
    Rease recently posted..One tequila, two tequila, three tequila, peanuts!

    • December 15 2011

      If you check out their website, they tell you how to submit something! 🙂

  • December 16 2011

    Really want to go now! Hopefully it will not create some sort of weird tension between Adela and I…
    Cole @ Four Jandals recently posted..A Guide to Visiting Jasper

    • December 17 2011

      Haha! Maybe attend if separately if that’s a worry… 🙂

  • January 4 2012

    Wow. Sculpted fake breasts. To wear.. during sex. That is just too amazing for words.
    Laurence recently posted..Spain vs. Portugal: the hottest holiday spot

    • January 5 2012

      Isn’t it? I’d like to meet the guy just to see what he’s like. Or, maybe not. 🙂

  • May 7 2012

    Very interesting museum, I love the idea behind it because while every piece may seem random. It is that randomness that allows a deep connection to resonate with your own personal experience.

    • May 8 2012

      Very good point Cornelius, I’m sure there is something that almost everyone could resonate with at some point in their life, which is what makes it such a unique place!

  • August 26 2013

    I visited this museum just the other day… it was fascinating… possibly one of the most interesting I’ve ever been to… I spent over an hour in their just getting to grips with all the stories… some quite heart wrenching stuff among some of the funnier tales 🙂

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