You can feel it coming. The time between texts is longer. There are more excuses for why you can’t hang out. Your women’s intuition is ringing alarm bells, or your male gut feeling is trying to tell you something. There is less eye contact, less intimacy, and you know what’s on the horizon. You’re about to be dumped. Fuck.
Does this sound familiar? Do you suspect your partner is about to pull the plug on you? As horrible as this is, it can sometimes be unavoidable, and you may as well go through the motions with the most dignity and class as possible. This is where I’m going to help you.
Take note that my advice is not for married couples, people with children, or people in decades long relationships, and for that matter it’s not for people whose relationships are going out with a traumatic bang like infidelity.That stuff is way messier and is above my pay grade as a… well I’m nothing really. I’ve been dumped before. Just listen.
What follows is the best course of action for the fizzle-out type endings of short term relationships. Been seeing that guy for eight months and you can feel him pulling away? Has that girl you’ve been semi-serious with for three months started to ghost on you? Then listen up. Here’s how you can take back control in what can feel like a very powerless situation. Trust me, I’ve been there. And I handled things all wrong. Then the next time I found myself in this conundrum, I did everything right. And it made a huge difference in the recovery process.
Steel yourself. This ain’t gonna be easy. If you were growing quite attached, this is gonna suck big time. But trust me, how you handle the actual social interaction of being broken up with will give you the ability to hold your head high afterwards, which is important when you’re otherwise feeling like a sack of shit.
Sometimes you can feel that the end is nigh, and that anticipation can be torture. It’s understandable that your partner is dreading doing this and can’t seem to pick his or her moment. Most people, assuming they aren’t sociopaths (I’ve dated a few, it happens) don’t want to hurt others, especially if nobody fucked up and the relationship has just run its course for one of the participants. In this scenario, feelings of affection usually remain (even if the romance has died), no there’s no ill-will. Try to remember this even though your heart might be going through the proverbial ringer. Intent is 9/10ths of the dump. Okay, I just made that up, but it works.
This is just good relationship advice overall, but it particularly applies when you can sense the other person is just being a chicken-shit and delaying making their move. Communicate. Ask the other person what is wrong. Tell them flat-out you’ve noticed a difference. Take no bullshit.
Force the conversation. Give particular examples of what has changed. Don’t let them tell you everything’s fine, unless of course they have some legitimate reason that they aren’t themselves lately, like an illness or other personal problem. If that’s the case, you should really more sensitive, asshole. Just kidding!
You’re 50% of the relationship and you deserve to know why the dynamic has shifted. If you’re feeling that something is wrong, you don’t have to sit around and say nothing for fear of looking needy or crazy. This is the problem for a lot of women – we’re dismissed as crazy by men every time we have a not-so-great feeling. We will deal with crap for way longer than we should because we’re afraid of the crazy label.
Chances are the dumper’s mind is made up and it’s just a matter of informing you of the decision. If the other person doesn’t respect you enough to tell you they want out, respect yourself enough to demand answers.
Take It Like A Champ
When the moment comes and the conversation begins (let’s assume this is in person), try to rein in any explosive emotions. Just as you strive to make a good first impression, the best way to get through this in tact is to make a good last impression.
Take a deep breath and try to calm your heart rate which is probably racing after they’ve said, “I think we should see other people.” Hear them out as much as possible. Let them give their reasons.
The most important thing to remember is that if someone sits you down calmly to break up with you, the decision is likely final and the issue is not up for debate. So do not debate. Do not argue. Do not beg. If you predicted that this was coming, then it means this was not a rash decision. Hold your head high and try to tell yourself that this is the right move. Because you don’t want to be with someone who doesn’t want to be with you. This is a classic case of fake it till you make it, because nobody feels this way when it’s happening.
Obviously you have things to say as well. It’s a conversation, not a monologue. This about you, too. What you say here is what’s going to leave the final impression in your partner’s mind. If there’s any hope of a future re-connection, this will also be the moment they point to if you behave like a lunatic.
Ask any questions you may have, as it’s important to get as much closure in this moment as you can. If they weren’t the perfect partner, use the opportunity to let them know the ways they wronged you or let you down. Try to keep anger to a minimum. Everyone knows that anger is just pain’s bodyguard.
I’m not saying show no emotion, but my advice for a relationship under six months or so is always the same – don’t let them see you cry. Not only does it make the moment even messier than it already is, but the power balance is in favour of the dumper, not the dumpee. Don’t add to the imbalance. It will only make you feel worse.
While you shouldn’t be putting too much thought into it, what you do when the breakup’s all said and done can effect the possibility of future reconciliation (i.e. act a fool, never be called again). More important than considering a future with the person who hurt you is that these tips will help you get the hell over it, and hopefully not even want a future with them. This is all assuming, of course, that you give a shit that you were dumped. If you don’t, move along and enjoy your life. But some people need a bit of help picking themselves up after something like this.
Temporarily opening the comms
Immediately after the dumping conversation, you are permitted one email. You have 48 hours to send it. Anything after that gives off the wrong vibe. It needs to be pretty fast. And it must be an email. Phone calls are too personal and texts are too instantaneous. An email suggests you’re okay with them opening it and responding whenever they get around to it. It also allows for expanded thoughts instead of a back and forth that could lead to arguing. An email implies less urgency and desperation on your part.
If you’re taken by surprise by the breakup (or at least the exact moment it was executed) you often don’t think of everything you wanted to say right then and there. The next day, you’ll usually wish you’d said this or that and be kicking yourself. Note that if all you want to do is call them a bitch or a bastard, don’t bother with this email. It would do more harm than good.
If you thought of a question or statement that you feel really needs to be put out there, go for it. A reasonable person will allow for one act of closure-seeking behaviour. Another important note – don’t ask to get together for the sake of closure. As much as you might want to try to see this person, you’ll be hurt when this invite is rejected, and I promise you this – if they agree to it, seeing them will only be a setback for you.
After your email, you’ll most likely get a response, as long as the person is relatively decent. Once you get the reponse, this is it. No more replies. No more contact. It’s time to fall off the face of the Earth as far as your ex is concerned. This can feel like going off a drug-cold turkey, and hey – science says it is! Bonus! You’re not crazy!
So now you’re off the grid. This means removing your ex from all social media, deleting text conversations, and at the very least hiding physical mementos from the relationship (I won’t suggest destroying things, because you may not always feel crappy about it).
The no contact rule is important because it allows you the space you’ll need to heal, and if you’re really upset at this stage it eliminates the likelihood you’re gonna go Glenn Close on your ex. Better to say and do nothing than to say or do something mental.
No contact also gives you back the sense of power that you lost when you were chucked. Feeling powerless is a huge part of what people complain about when they’re heartbroken, so this way you get to tell yourself you’ve chosen not to speak to him.
In the off chance there’s hope for the relationship down the road, your ex has to miss you. So this time spent flying under the radar is beneficial all around – it either makes them wonder about you, or enough time passes that you don’t give a rat’s ass what they think.
Let’s look at things from the perspective of the dumper for just a moment, because your post-breakup behaviour isn’t just about making you feel better. It’s also about not being a nuisance to the other person. Don’t be the crazy ex that calls when you’re drunk and hurts their current relationships with your stalker-ish ways. Leave them in peace. The dumper is usually not a villain. I know it can feel that way, because what kind of MONSTER doesn’t want to be with you?! But the truth of the matter is they are probably just a regular person trying to get on with things. Don’t be that ex.
And hey, even if you’re feeling like a piece of garbage, having no contact at all can still give you that piece of confidence you need because your ex is out there with no idea of how you’re handling it. For all they know, you’ve won the lottery and are now banging your favourite celebrity in Saint Maarten. You’re a mystery now. Revel in it.
When a person is depressed, their hobbies and interests often fall by the wayside. Well I’m here to tell you to fight the impulse to sulk (I’ll grant you a few days of self-pity time for sure, we all need just a bit of that) and make a conscious effort to keep up with the things you love.
The dopamine (feely goodness, in layman’s terms) caused by feelings of love and infatuation is gone, and boy oh boy that shit stings. You have to replace it with something else, even though every impulse in your body is saying “just lay here and watch Netflix.”
Another useful tip is to do something you’ve been wanting to do for a while. Especially if that something was impeded by your relationship, for example your ex had no interest in visiting Tokyo. Well what’s stopping you now? Get on a plane. Travel, especially, is good for heartache as it provides you with totally new and foreign surroundings, unmarred by memories of that jackass.
Traveling alone is also a good idea at this stage because it forces you to be independent, as sometimes in relationships we lose our personal identities a little. It’s a pleasant distraction and it’ll force you to spend time with you and hopefully remember how awesome you are. If you’re a crappy person, don’t do this because you’ll have a bad time. /jokeyjokes And I won’t lie. There’s always the possibility that your ex hears you’re off somewhere in Indonesia and thinks “What the fuck? She’s supposed to be languishing right now!”
“What about a rebound?” you ask. Well, that strategy works for some, and is disastrous for others. Generally speaking, I say do what you gotta do with your own genitals. Try to know yourself a little. Will a random hook-up make you feel better? Worse? Up to you.
Rebound with your private bits (or not) to your heart’s desire. But DO NOT rebound with feelings if you aren’t ready. You’ll just be dragging someone else into your mess, and remember – the whole point of this is how to be good at being dumped. If you fuck with someone’s emotions for a quick pick-me-up, you’re not good at any of this.
To Sum Up
Being good at being dumped is easy. It boils down to not making a spectacle of yourself during, and keeping a healthy distance after. If someone decides their life will be better without you in it, that’s exactly what you give them – a life without you. And you wait for the person whose life was incomplete until you were in it.
The benefits of heeding this advice are numerous. Not only will following these rules make you feel better during a difficult time, but later on you won’t have to look back with regret and cringe at the memory of begging someone to be with you and promising to change to suit anyone but yourself. In summary, you’ll leave that relationship knowing you went out with class, and you’ll be proud of yourself.
I’m already proud of you for reading this far.
So if you feel like your relationship is on its last legs and someone might be able to bail on you, think about what I’ve said. Chin up. Show them what you’re made of. Go out with a bow, not a bang.