Being the “Dumper,” How Does the One Who Left Feel?
WARNING: If you have the personality of a “dumpee” or have recently been a “dumpee,” you may not want to read this post. While I have complete sympathy for the pain you have suffered and the grief you are experiencing, this post is not for you. This is about the other side, and how we often forget all of the pain and suffering the “dumper” has experienced. On the other hand, if you want to learn what it is like to be a dumper than read on–you may see a side you never have considered.
In general when a relationship ends, whether it be a marriage, a long-term love or just a few weeks of dating, there are two parties involved–the dumper and the dumpee. The difference being that the dumper is the one who ends the relationship while the dumpee has the relationship ended for them.
Most of the time our attention goes immediately to the dumpee because they tend to feel hurt and they are the one who was left. As compassionate people we reach out to them, show our support, encourage, and often tell them the things we think they need to hear in order to heal. That is only normal. No compassionate person is going to hit the dumpee while they are down with questions like “What about the dumper?”
The problem with this situation is there are still two parties involved. Two parties that experience an equal amount of difficulty. Yes I said EQUAL. Equal, although very different. During my divorce I read a book where the author described divorce like death. It was the death of the same relationship, however the type of death experienced by either party was very different.
For the one who was left, the death was sudden and unexpected and the grief is filled with strong emotions. For the one who did the leaving, the death was similar to a death following a prolonged illness, which included a grief that began long before the actual death. When the death actually took place, there came a sadness but also a great deal of relief.
As the dumper, you do not experience the “surprise” or feeling of being left, you experience a whole other set of emotions. There is guilt for hurting someone, frustration with how to deal with things, the decisions (made all alone) on how to deal with every situation, sadness, withdrawal, grief, all of the things that the dumpee feels only they are taking place during the relationship instead of after the relationship ends.
Depending on the situation and circumstances the dumper may spend days, weeks, months, or even years, with all of these emotions weighing on them and in most cases unable to share those feelings because the relationship is still somewhat intact, even if only superficially.
The dumpee on the other hand can immediately start talking to friends and family and begin the healing process of trying to make it right in their minds. They do not have to suffer any of the pain alone like the dumper who does not receive the immediate compassion from others except from the select group of dumpers that relate, and many times that only occurs after the breakup.
Not to mention the fact that at that point, the word is spread, lines are drawn between friends and family and the dumper immediately becomes the bad guy/girl. So not only does the dumper have to suffer through the emotions alone, they now have to deal with the loss of some friends and the judgment of others. But here we are, compassionate and caring and taking care of the dumpee.
Why is it that we feel so compelled to help the one who was left but the one that did the leaving has to do it all alone? Is it really that difficult to understand that the dumper has feelings too?
It wasn’t until after my divorce that a friend of mine told me there are two types of people, dumpers and dumpees and you are one or the other. More importantly while you may be able to sympathize with the other, you can never truly relate or understand all that they go through and experience unless you are of the same type.
As a dumper, which is the personality trait I have always taken on, I can better understand all of the things that relate to those types of experiences. While I certainly have empathy for a dumpee, I can honestly say I feel more commiseration with the dumper.
Like I said I have always had the personality of a dumper. There is not one relationship I have ever been involved in that I was not the dumper. For all of you dumpee’s out there that may have not headed my warning above and are still reading, do not mistake being a dumper with not being able to maintain or enjoy a relationship long-term. And DO NOT think that a dumper can only be a dumper because they lack feeling and are heartless. That is far from the truth.
Even as I write this, there is a part of me that knows I will never be able to get through to a dumpee because 1) I can’t truly relate with them and 2) they can’t associate with my feelings. Although I could sit here and write out all of the feelings I experienced in my divorce, most of you would dismiss them and blame me for one thing or another because I was the dumper. I think the only way to truly give you a glimpse into the pain a dumper experiences is to recap the loss of my relationship years ago with my husband now.
We had been together for more than five years and our love was strong, passionate and young. Young because we were young, not young meaning new. We had not grown into the people we are now who can talk about anything and talk about everything and without that communication even a love as strong as ours can struggle. We were still trying to find ourselves while trying to be together. But even with growing pains, I truly never believed we would be anything other than Jeff and Carrie, always and forever.
Slowly my world was changing. I was in search of myself and he was in search of himself. In that, he made one minor mistake but a mistake that, in my youth, I could not get past. It caused me so much hurt, pain and grief that it didn’t matter how many times he apologized or what explanation he gave. I loved him more than anything and I knew he loved me the same way. But as a dumper, my pain was set aside. I spent countless hours running through all of the options. I agonized over how to move forward. Now granted if I could go back today, as the woman I am now, I would have made a different decision but at the time the only decision I felt I could make was to end the relationship. Even though he tried over and over to talk me into reconsidering, I had made my decision and I was sticking to it. As much as he thought I was hurting him (which I was) he did not see the nights of crying myself to sleep. He never saw the struggles I had with deciding and the tears shed over asking him to leave. Even though my pain went on for longer than you can imagine, I never allowed him to see it and really as the dumper, I didn’t feel I had a right to show it.
So was I the one left, no. But I did feel the pain and equally as much. Absolutely, and in my mind, more. I think it is fair to say that my pain is always going to feel more real and justified than someone else’s. If we were honest, isn’t that how we all feel?
My question to you is “what about the dumper?” Why is it we often forget about them and instead just place blame? Don’t they deserve our compassion as well? Or as the dumper are we just expected to suck it up and deal with the decision we made? Not that we would take back our decisions because unlike the story above, in most of our situations although we have suffered in the process of making those decisions we are secure in them –I know that I experienced great pain in my divorce although I have no doubt it was the right decision.
So again I ask “What about the dumper?”
Author Bio: Carrie Dahle has spent her life doing the right thing, rather than pursuing her dreams. That is until now. Four years ago, she threw caution to the wind, divorced her then husband of ten years, and began reaching for the stars. She began writing professionally, and has been published numerous times. She is the founder and creator or Day to Day Woman and hopes that her experiences in life will inspire others