Breaking up with your significant other a few days before Christmas may just be one of the worst ways to get in the holiday spirit.
But that's exactly the situation Bella Acton found herself in. That, and she had plane tickets to London she purchased to visit her now ex-boyfriend's family for the holidays. Obviously, she'd no longer need them.
"I started thinking about all these other things I had that I didn't want anymore," Acton told A Plus, referring to the gifts and objects she'd collected throughout her past relationship."They were all perfectly nice, but I knew I wouldn't want them anymore. I mean, who would want to wear jewelry around your neck from your ex?"
Wouldn't it be great if there was a place to sell the remnants of a failed relationship and help yourself heal in the process?
Like so many other great ideas, the thought of offloading literal breakup baggage started off as a joke.
"Everyone laughed," Acton said. "I then investigated the world of breakups and found there wasn't really anything out there. The things I found were either really mean, bitter, and evil or a big soft and pointless group hug. There was nothing with attitude, cheekiness, and something built around definitive action."
So, she created it herself. Her website Never Liked It Anyway became a place where people could sell the things that reminded them of their exes. Within each listing, sellers can share the item they're selling, why they're getting rid of it, and how they plan to use the money to "bounce back."
"We also make them list the 'real world price' and the 'breakup price' just for fun! Sometimes there's some very big discrepancies! We make sure there are no names and try to keep the attitude positive and light," Acton said.
You might be surprised by the valuable things people acquire during a relationship that they no longer need once it's over. And the reasons they bought them in the first place. "We had one girl selling a Harley-Davidson. She'd bought a matching one to ride off into the sunset with him," Acton said. "They very soon broke up and then she was left with a Harley she had no idea how to ride, so she sold it!"
People sell all kinds of things on the site from a DVD collection with over 140 films, to an $18,000 diamond ring, to a used body pillow. Oh, and there's a ton of wedding dresses for sale. One woman's failed engagement is another woman's dream come true.
"There are so many positive comments and feedback from our people to our sellers," Acton said. "Normally, when people buy things, they send the seller a word of encouragement, which I love to hear."
There’s plenty of other places to sell the stuff you don’t want anymore, but what makes "Never Liked It Anyway" special is its sense of community.
"I think we help because we remind people they're not alone. Whenever you're down, it helps to remind people that they're not the only ones going through turmoil," Acton said. "We also try to focus on the future and the 'bouncing back' part of a breakup rather than encourage people to be negative, bitter or revenge-orientated."
When you're going through a painful breakup, it can be hard to think that anyone else understands what you're going through. Never Like It Anyway helps to bring people feeling that pain together.
There's a "Tell It" section of the site where people post their personal breakup stories. Other community members are encouraged to give advice in the comments. These kind words may not cure a broken heart, but they can help to treat the pain.
Acton and her team have some treatment plans of their own. They've curated a "Bounce Back Box" with products to help make moving on go a little smoother as well as a "Bounce Back Stack," which is a card deck filled with challenges to "get you back to fabulous." That includes things like "go to a life drawing class" or "host a pickling party." The team also maintains a blog focused on relationships.
"We really want this to grow into the number one place to beat the breakup blues and bounce back to your best self. We also want to break all the old-school cliches around breakups — ice-cream, Kleenex, pajamas, Bridget Jones," Acton said.