Wednesday, October 17, 2012

How to Survive being the Dumper

Breakups are bad, nasty, and most of the time messy. But breakups are part of our natural process of finding the One. The difference between being dumped and being the dumper is like being fired versus quitting. The first one feels worse because you had no choice in the matter even if it was a crappy job. But this small difference is significant for how a Dumpee recovers in comparison to the Dumper. So yes it is harder being the Dumpee but it is also hard on the Dumper. This post is for the Dumper...

The Fundamental Difference Between the Two
1. Rejection - After a break-up this ugly head will rear high with a Dumpee. Even if the Dumpee is really self confident and self assured. Being left is not easily brushed off. 
      How does a dumper deal with it? - This will usually come up during encounters after the break-up or as I like to call them 'closure sessions'. Be sympathetic of questions such as 'why don't you love me?' 'what's wrong with me?' and the such. Even if you give a fair and kind response you must realize that your words won't completely satisfy the person. Rejection can't be fixed by words from the dumper. Only time and space will heal the dumpee. 

2. Surprise - This element will vary from break-up to break-up but for some Dumpees they are completely caught off guard. Dealing with a sudden break-up can cause a person to experience shock like symptoms analogous to if someone just died. Anxiety, extreme emotions, numbness, depression, inability to perform everyday activities, and so on and so on can be felt in some cases. 
      How does a dumper deal with it? - A dumper needs to give a shock victim plenty of space to process the emotions. Call in reinforcements - aka all his/her friends for support. You will need to be there for the person eventually, but not in the initial stages of recovery. Be understanding and respectful. And let the person have plenty of time to come to level state and then have a follow-up talk. 

3. Acceptance - The Dumpee will not always be okay with the decision that was made. And yes a person that is dumped will have to go through the stages (denial, anger, depression, bargaining, resignation, and acceptance). The Dumper usually has gone through the stages before the break-up....hence the break-up!
     How does a dumper deal with it? - Be understanding that a Dumpee will need the time to accept the break-up. Be available when you are needed by the Dumpee and give space when that is needed as well. Don't expect a person to recover in a certain amount of time. 

The Cardinal Rules for a Dumper

There should be rules and so here they are....
1. Let the Dumpee do the 'virtual' break-up aka Facebook. They didn't have control of the real break-up and the ability to call it in one sphere may be good and therapeutic for them
2. If you dated the Dumpee for more than a year, said 'I love you', and or met their parents give them respect 
3. Allow the Dumpee to be the one telling everyone that the relationship is over 
4. Don't trash talk your Dumpee around town
5. If your relationship fulfills number 2 then don't make a new relationship public for at least a few months (even if the person was the reason for the break-up) you can be with the person but don't make it official out of respect for the last one
6. Avoid areas around town where you can run into the Dumpee for the first few months
7. Don't agree to a 'closure session' until at least a week after the break-up
8. Don't hook-up with a Dumpee when you know you don't want to be with them anymore
9. If a potential suitor for the Dumpee, months or years later, comes asking you about your ex...have only nice things to say about the person!!!
10. Most importantly you know what it's like to be dumped so do what you would want your Dumper to do to you...haha

A Dumper's Bill of Rights
Heck yes you are entitled to something! And here you go

1. Your reason for breaking up is legitimate! Even if all your friends don't agree. Because at the end of the day it is you who is in the relationship and NOT them
2. You are allowed to feel any and all emotions because break-ups are bad even if you were the one who called it
3. Don't let anyone make you feel that you are a bad person. A bad person would stay with someone when they know they aren't happy with the relationship/person
4. Forgive yourself. Yes, Dumpers will feel guilt. So, eventually allow yourself to be okay with making the decision
5. Protect yourself. Give yourself time to heal and move on from the last relationship. Learn from the mistakes and remember what was good about the relationship

Break-ups suck but they are better than a divorce. That's what my mom always tells me when I have a break-up. And it is so important to remember. You are one step closer to finding the happiness you always wanted.



  1. Great post, its nice to have such a nice set of rules, in the end. Especially the whole learning from past mistakes thing. You have to give yourself time, I often haven't, and that was always a huge mistake.

    1. Thank you Dan! Yeah it is so important because dumpees know about taking plenty of time to recover and same rule goes for dumpers!

  2. I always used to struggle to do the dumping, even though I was desperate to leave. I know now it is much better to be honest. She may be upset now, but it is better than stringing her along trying to convince yourself it's all ok.

    Some great advice, as always.

    1. yes so very true!! And in the long run the person will be mad that they were strung along for longer than was necessary

  3. Great post. Love your mom's saying. It is so true. Better get things right before getting to the altar :)

    1. Thanks :) Yeah moms are great treasure troves. YES, especially given the high rates of divorces in our society :(

  4. so, if you didn't date for over a year, say i love you, or meet the parents they don't deserve respect?

    1. Good catch I meant to say EXTRA respect. Because any of those qualifies being in a serious relationship and so the break-up should be treated like a serious matter.