Everyone goes through a bad breakup at some point, but so much critical attention is given to the plight of the dumpee in film, TV, and all the books you read. What about the person who ends the relationship? The narrative is that they’re the a-holes who broke the sympathetic do-gooder protagonist’s heart, but what if it’s more complicated than that? What if it’s not just being dumped for a shallow reason like “he loved me too much“? Here are 7 stages dumpers go through after the dust settles on the breakup.
- They’ll check all the socials. Just because you’re blindsided by the information as the person who got dumped, rest assured the other party will be just as keen to see what you’re up to. You’ll both obsessively check each other’s Instagram and Facebook accounts to check that you haven’t missed anything while simultaneously hoping that you have. It’s a tough Schrodinger’s post; checking that something isn’t there until it is. No matter how heartbroken you are, the dumper’s Insta handle will always lurk on your stories after your breakup. You’ll know this because, of course, you will be checking theirs. I know.
- They’ll ask friends about you. It might be shared friends that you used to hang out with, his friends, or even your friends, if he’s feeling particularly shameless. But either way, even if word doesn’t get back to you directly, know that he will be asking. Did you smile in satisfaction at that? Good.
- They’ll overthink how it went. While it may not seem like it, they won’t just break your heart and move on without a second thought. Well, some might. But you know what I mean, it takes two people to break up and both sides of the party have things to reflect on no matter how it goes down. You might find yourself thinking about how you chose your friends over your boyfriend and how that aspect of things breaking down might be your fault.
- They’ll reread old messages. That’s right. They miss you too in a strange way. In a way that doesn’t necessarily mean that they were wrong to break up with you, but they will look back and think about what might have been. That’s natural, so don’t be worrying that you’re the only one that’s hurting. I wouldn’t stress, though – we all know you’re the wittier texter.
- They will inevitably rebound. I know you don’t want to hear it but it’s the truth. We don’t have to linger on it but it’s worth knowing it so that you don’t feel guilty when you feel ready to move on. The dumper will, and they will start mentally and emotionally preparing for that eventuality immediately after the breakup. Don’t be alarmed if they move on before you, though. Think about it, they’ve probably been thinking about breaking things off a good while before the breakup itself if they knew they were unhappy. That means that they will be ready to move on first, so remember that if you’re feeling pressure to recover on a certain timeline or timeframe. Take your time.
- They’ll experience regret. No matter how assured the person who dumps you is of their decision, there will always be a small panic. The last-minute regret. The “what am I doing, what if no one else will love me?” stage. Don’t listen to that voice in your head. We all have it and that’s okay. But regret exists to trap us and tether us to the past — a past that doesn’t serve us and isn’t really what we want. No matter how much we might think so. Regret can give us perspective but it isn’t the stone-cold truth. It’s capricious, tied to a sense of loss and fear for the future and your own vulnerability. Regret rarely remembers the good stuff that could still happen or the bad things in the relationship that ended.
- They’ll feel Relief. It’s the opposite of the panic just before the decision, it’s the relief after having made that jump. No matter how much you might hate your ex in the moment for making you feel terrible, remember that it’s always for a reason. Other than cheating, the breakup betrays something greater, an underlying issue that isn’t being addressed. Needs that aren’t being, or cannot be, met. The long-term future is what you’re aiming for. Try to mitigate your present pain in that knowledge. Everything happens for a reason. With time, you will feel that way too.
So there you are. Maybe we aren’t so different from dumpers after all. Sometimes you’re dumped, sometimes you have to take that leap of faith and demand something more. Whether you want to believe it or not, that does take courage, and it is an action that in the long term respects both parties. So sit and eat your ice cream to a week of FRIENDS reruns, but know that the dumper is probably doing the same. And that’s okay. That’s healthy.