Dumpers and Dumpees: Part Two

 By Nina Atwood

When should you start dating again? The answer is, of course, it depends. It depends on how much emotional baggage you want to drag forward into your new relationship. The more baggage you have (steamer trunks vs. carry on), the less likely you are to have a loving, lasting relationship in the future.

If you are the Dumper, your baggage is more likely to be in the form of unresolved guilt and either over or under-responsibility. Because leaving can be so hard, some people emotionally shut down or cut off real communication in order to move forward. This coping mechanism, while it may have served you to some degree, won’t help in your new relationship. The path of recovery as the Dumper is to take responsibility for your past choices and actions without beating yourself up. Acknowledge to yourself that you made certain choices and acted in certain ways based on your degree of self- and other-awareness at the time. Forgive yourself and gain the lessons. Commit to yourself to maintain the self-awareness that you need so that you can authentically express yourself every step of the way in any new relationship.

If you are the Dumpee, your path is in taking responsibility for your contribution to the relationship issues that prompted your lover to leave. You may not be ready to take this perspective, at least not until you are past the most intense part of the grief. But as you move forward, empower yourself by objectively examining your role in the relationship. This is crucial so that you can move out of the posture of victim and into the posture of personal accountability. In a new relationship you can then choose new behaviors so that you are more likely to gain and maintain the love that you want.

Entry Filed under: Advice for Men,Advice for Women,Breaking Up,Dating,Divorce,Relationships


  • 1. Maggie  |  March 3rd, 2008 at 4:39 pm

    “If you are the Dumpee, your path is in taking responsibility for your contribution to the relationship issues that prompted your lover to leave.”

    Not easy when you don’t know what those issues were…I have no idea why he left.

  • 2. Rachel  |  May 13th, 2012 at 3:47 pm

    I know this post is several years old, but I want to make a comment about the author’s perspective of the dumpee. I disagree that the dumpee’s main issue is coming to terms with his/her contribution to the break up. I don’t think every person and relationship is the same. Dumpees have different experiences and issues to work through. In my last relationship, it didn’t take me long to realize my own mistakes, but my ex didn’t want to talk about or work through issues, and that was out of my control, so I think that’s the case sometimes, but certainly not all the time. Maybe that’s what the author meant, but that’s not how I interpreted what she said.

  • 3. Jessica  |  March 30th, 2014 at 1:00 am

    As dumpee I must say too that I do NOT know why he dumped me. So it’s hard to reflect on what you did wrong when you have no clue! He adored me for a year, I love you’s,abound, we found a place to move in together, but then he slowly started fading away and shutting down, backed out of living together. I asked and asked “What’s wrong” and he would never tell me, said it was work, blah, blah. Then he dumped me in the nicest way, of course. NEVER gave me a good reason. The only thing I could drag out of him was that I’m not on time. HUH? He was “So happy, so in love with me.” Dumped me cuz I’m late? Oh come on, that was a complete excuse. Sorry but I strongly feel that a grown-as_ man has a RESPONSIBILITY in a relationship to communicate WHAT problems are! If he can’t say it (why?!) then write it down, email it, text it, something! Sitting silently, watching your relationship with the one you “love” die a slow death when you know it can’t possibly improve by saying nothing, then dumping her is downright cruel.


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