This is an archive post created to potentially de-mystify some of the thoughts in the mind of a dumper.
For a decade now (nearly) I’ve seen the shock, hurt, confusion, and anguish that dumpees go through following a break up. What has been less apparent over these years is the other side of the story…The one from the person who has chosen, for whatever reason to walk away…There are always two sides to every relationship and every break up too.
Of course not all statements will be true for all dumpers, but many of the feelings expressed in this upcoming series are universal – and notes have been contributed to us by young / old / male / female / gay / straight individuals…for the purpose of these pieces.
MYTH 1: “It Must Have Been So Easy to Walk Away From Me”….
Despite how it may look from a dumpee’s vantage point, breaking up is hard on both parties. It’s just that it’s generally hard at different times for each. Obviously from the day the bombshell is dropped, most dumpees feel the pain…but for the dumper it’s not the same in fact as harsh as it may sound, for the dumper, D-day is a relief.
The days, weeks, even months prior to the split may have been much more agonizing for the dumper than a dumpee can ever realise. Even though a dumper may have made it look easy, it probably wasn’t. (Well, not unless the ex was a cold-hearted-sociopath or something, but most likely you weren’t dating one of those…).
More than likely, the dumper weighed up the decision for countless hours, days, weeks, even months – always to-ing and fro-ing – just trying to find some sort of conclusive proof that whether to stay or whether to walk was the right decision.
This is exceptionally challenging – because, at the end of the day, no relationship is perfect and no one is all good or all bad. So often for the dumper it’s a constant inner struggle between what they deem are the pros and cons of the relationship, and additionally, on a deeper level is this relationship better than being alone?
So many thoughts hound a dumper’s brain and sorting through them can be a downright draining experience…How will I cope living alone?, What if I never find someone else? What if I don’t have as good of chemistry with the next person? and so forth.
On the flip side, a dumper needs to ask themselves: What if there is someone who is a better long term fit for me? What if there is someone out there who wants to do the same things as me?
Again this “should I stay or should I go” thought process can be draining as you’re having this constant inner civil war going on in your brain…and the nicer the person you’re dating, the harder it is to walk away just in the hope of finding someone who may be that better long-term fit.
DUMPEE IS CLUELESS…
The dumpee is seldom privy to these inner debates and often a break up can come after a period of really good times together – which only makes the exiting even more challenging and confusing to comprehend for them.
“But we were just talking last week about________” – (Insert your response here:- going away together, moving in together or even getting married.
Honestly, seldom, in my opinion, is the decision to walk away done over night. It may appear that way to the dumpee, but in the mind of the dumper, as I say, it could have been going on for weeks or even months (or more).
Leaving a relationship can be hard whether it lasted ten weeks, ten months or ten years.
You could have been a great couple on many levels, but one of you (or both) just felt it wasn’t working for them. It hurts like hell when it ends (for both parties), but it’s not a crime to walk away. It’s not a crime to have someone fall out of love with us – even though it feels like it at the time.
I remember, asking my ex, from ten years ago, how he felt after the breakup and he said he felt a great “relief” after he dumped me.
I think the words were “like a great big weight has been lifted off my shoulders”.
Amidst my sorrow and pain, I took that as the coldest, most callous, insensitive thing a person could say to me, but a decade later I started to really understand what he meant.
He wasn’t saying, I don’t think anyway, that having me out of his life was a relief (though that may have been a bit the case too) – what I believe he was saying was after weighing up this decision to walk for weeks or months – he was relieved to have finally done it. He finally said those words “it’s over”, and by then it was a relief.
For him, it was the right decision, as three months later he was engaged, and not too long after he married my replacement…but for other dumpers there is still a doubt in the back of their mind “did I do the right thing?”
This is especially true when you still love and care about the person you’ve left on some level.
If they had gotten to the point where they were thinking about ENDING the relationship – more than actually ENJOYING it – then the chances are they probably did the right thing…
Several years ago, after breaking up with a guy I really liked and feeling duly miserable (just as bad as when I had been dumped), I remember, being asked by one of my best friends, “could you have done anything that would have had a different or more positive outcome?” The truth was that there was nothing I could have done which would have resulted in us having the kind of relationship I’d hoped for.
Therefore, if a dumper can honestly answer that question with a “No” – then the odds are they’ve done the right decision. It doesn’t mean s/he’s a bad person. It doesn’t mean the person they left is either. It’s just one of these character-building experiences (as my dad would say) that we can file under “not meant to be“.
EASY TO LEAVE…
So was it easy for your ex to walk away from you? In most cases, not on your life. Not for anyone with compassion and empathy and who cares about you – for that type of person, it’s the hardest thing they’ll ever do. Truly. But in the honorable words of the Fray – “sometimes the hardest and the right thing are the same“.
So, for the dumper, the pain really happened prior to the break-up, and for the dumpee it tends to start when the words “it’s over” have been uttered. Pain is experienced on both sides – it just seems to be at different times. And for some dumpers the pain is so bad, that it can be worse than being dumped themselves – due largely to guilt and doubts that surround the decision to leave.
And once the person has chosen to walk away – knowing they made the right decision – doesn’t mean the pain is any less. The dumpee is not the only one who has lost that lover, best friend and confidante in one fell swoop, so has the dumper, it’s just that they’ve generally had a longer time to detach and come to terms with the pending loss of the relationship. So that tends to be why a dumpee thinks it’s so easy to walk away. It’s not. It may just seem like it sometimes.