The Psychology of the Dumpee vs the Dumper (Epic guide)

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Have you ever been dumped? Most people have.

The psychological effects of being dumped can be devastating, but what about the person who does the dumping? What are their reasons for doing it, and how does it affect them?

This article aims to find out by exploring the emotional state of someone in each role, as well as how they deal with the aftermath. 

The Dumper

When we say a dumper, we tend to think of someone who may be having strong reasons for ending a relationship without telling the other person, or who is a manipulative horrible person. 

Which is incorrect. 

Dumpers have a different reason, one that neither the dumpee nor the dumper would necessarily agree with: they’ve been dumped before.

Dumpers most likely use dumping as a way of avoiding conflict, of getting out of an uncomfortable situation, or even making peace – making them quite similar in some ways to the dumpee. 

The dumper is usually labeled as the villain since the dumpee is usually in the right for feeling hurt, but most dumpers have no intention of hurting their partner. 

Truth be told, they’re just trying to do what they think is best.

The Dumpee

Most dumpees agree with the idea of dumping as a way to get out of a dysfunctional relationship and are usually not at all eager to bring up this topic.

Dumpees often wonder why they even got into a relationship in the first place, and feel bad that they put themselves through suffering if there is no chance to keep their loved one. 

They may also feel guilty for making their partner’s life miserable, especially if the dumper has been putting up with their partner for too long. 

If the breakup is a surprise, dumpees may find themselves in a state of denial. They’re usually sad for a period of time after the breakup (depending on how serious their relationship was), but soon find themselves in a sort of “moving on” phase. 

They may feel alone or worried about the future and have trouble sleeping or eating. 

But dumpees can also experience happiness at being free again, especially if they were subconsciously desperate to leave their partner.

6 key concepts of a dumpee and a dumper according to Psychology

1) Both parties are aware of the breakup

As stated by Psychology Today:

“This happens at the end of a long-term relationship, but also when people dump each other on a whim. The dumpee and dumper know that they’re breaking up, but neither will admit it.”

They may try to waft the idea off but deep inside, they are aware that a breakup is about to happen.

Especially on the dumpee’s side – before being dumped, they may feel that something is wrong, or that their partner doesn’t love them anymore, but most will keep this to themselves; it’s not until after the breakup that they may openly discuss their issues. 

There are some signs that you will be dumped by your partner eventually, these are:

  • Wavering commitment
  • Acting distant from you
  • Undermining your self-esteem
  • Manipulation of communication

Of course, both parties will feel sad and regretful. 

The dumpee feels sad about losing the one they love, and the dumper feels regret for hurting their partner. If these feelings are present, it makes it hard for both parties to say that the breakup was “right” or “wrong.

But what they don’t know is that they will face the consequences of the breakup soon.

2) There are no winners

“A breakup is often (but not always) initiated by the dumper. Rarely does a dumpee initiate a breakup, as a relationship usually comes to an end when the dumpee has given up hope and left the dumper.”

– Psychology Today

Both parties may be actively trying to find out why they broke up

It’s not unheard of for the dumpee to ask, “Did you do this because you don’t love me anymore?” or even “Are you leaving me because…” 

The dumper, on the other hand, will say things like “You can still turn it around and make it work!”, or even “I want to work on the relationship. I want to make things work. If you don’t want that, then maybe it’s best if we just break up.”

At the end of the day, none of them will feel like a winner. 

They each have their reasons for doing the break-up and feel the effects of giving up something that they once cared about.

The dumper may feel guilty, sad, or even regretful in the weeks (or months) after a breakup. Some may not even feel bad at all, but they usually don’t share these feelings with others. 

But no matter how they deal with it, it’s likely that they’ll regret their decision to break up at least to some degree – because every dumper has been dumped before. This makes them hesitant and unwilling to face their partner head-on when ending the relationship.

But as stated before, breaking up is a challenging one. The dumper has a hard time emotionally dealing with letting go, and the dumpee may not entirely be convinced that their relationship was a bad one. 

3) “Working it out” is futile

You see, the reasons behind having a relationship are not the same. 

Whether you are the dumpee or the dumper, it is impossible to work things out and have a rekindled relationship after everything that happened in your relationship. 

For one, you will most likely find yourself constantly questioning every action of your partner. 

This questioning may lead to uncertainty and insecurities in both parties, as any change (at least unconsciously) can cause stress and unease. 

Aside from that, your partner will most likely feel the same way about you – especially if you have been together for a long time.

Dumpers don’t usually want to fight for the relationship before the breakup – because if they do, they’ll have a much worse reason to leave. 

Just like dumpees tend not to fight about things that will change the dumper’s decision – like “If you loved me, you would change your mind” – talk of things that will make it easier to “work on the relationship” is not something that a dumpee wants to deal with.

The reality is, that they probably not going to get back together after breaking up. The reason why it’s so difficult for many break-ups is because there are no winners.

And the more time passes before a breakup, the more time and energy both parties didn’t put into the relationship – they’ll both feel like they lost out to the other person because they wasted those chances. 

And if they try to make things work or want them back, it’s likely that neither party will agree with that.

4) Dumpers try to avoid hurting their partner

Being torn between being honest and protecting themselves, dumpers often feel like they have been dishonest with their partner throughout the relationship, which is why they feel bad after breaking up with them.

Let me explain. 

A dumper does not intend to hurt anyone and is usually well-liked by both friends and family members. 

But dumpers are afraid of being hurt, so they choose to protect themselves from a situation that makes them feel weak or vulnerable. 

Let me remind you again, the reason they’re doing this is usually because they’ve been hurt before, and there’s a big chance that they are still in pain from the previous relationship. 

This is why they’re afraid their partner will hurt them as well. The pain comes from the fact that he or she is the one ending the relationship. 

As mentioned, the most common thing that a dumper will feel after dumping their partner is guilt – they will carry this feeling for a long time, and it’s likely that they’ll go on dates with others, especially in hopes to mask out their guilt. 

But this usually leads to a series of failed relationships, because of their inability to forget their last breakup. 

So it’s true that a dumper is not solely in control of the relationship and the end of it, as they may be forced to break up with their partner for whatever reason – but this does not mean that they want to hurt or upset their partner.

5) Dumpees are not always heartbroken

Yes, a dumper may regret past actions, but for dumpees, it’s normal to be sad about losing their partner. Yet some may even grieve for at least a couple of months after being dumped as a way to deal with their loss. 

Dumpers may see this sadness as annoying and that dumper should be “stronger” than this, but they should understand that these feelings are normal and part of grieving over the breakup.

When dealing with a breakup, the dumpee usually starts by grieving for what could have been and exploring how he or she feels about the situation. This is where they start to realize how it might have been different if they were dumped at an earlier time during the relationship.

Subconsciously, though, being dumped may not always leave them with a broken heart.


That’s because, when dumpees begin to deal with their feelings and future, they’ll notice that the relationship that they thought would be perfect was not all-that-perfect. 

And this realization that it may have been too good to be true actually makes them open up to the possibility of being in a relationship with someone else. 

It only takes a little bit of time for dumpees to realize that an unhappy ending does not have to remain so – if the past is dealt with properly, there’s still hope for finding a happy ending for both parties involved in the breakup.

As a dumpee, they may have a few or more ugly feelings, but the stages usually are:

  • Crying through the day 
  • Sharing their feelings with friends and family 
  • Having trouble sleeping or eating 
  • Feeling overwhelmed by negative thoughts or memories

Slowly, they start to see their sadness as a normal one that happens to all of us. And before long, they’ll be able to move on from it and be happy again. 

They will feel relieved that they’ve moved on from the relationship, but realize that even though it’s gone, some good memories will always remain in their hearts.

There’s always a chance, though, that for some, it can sometimes seem impossible for a dumpee to move on from an emotional breakup, as they might feel insecure or vulnerable without their significant other in their life.

6) The breakup is not always mutual

This is one of the biggest differences between a dumpee and a dumper, as the latter initiates the breakup for whatever trivial or heavy reason. 

In some cases, the person who does the dumping may have been building up reasons to leave their partner – this can include arguing, fighting, ignoring, or lack of communication. 

And you know what else?

Dumpers may have also been harboring negative feelings towards their partners (jealousy, anger or resentment), and may feel that they’ll be happier without them.

The person who does the dumping may feel like they’ve had to deal with too much for this relationship to work and are unhappy with how their partner has reacted with them (how he or she is behaving or being). 

On the other hand, the dumpees may not have been aware of the fact that their relationship is over. Maybe the dumper has already decided to end things, and when the dumpee hears about it from a friend or family member, he or she feels blindsided.

This can lead to an ugly breakup – both parties will be angry and hurt and will feel like they have been betrayed or lied to.

As mentioned, it’s normal for a dumpee to be upset when they find out their partner has already decided to end things. 

Dumpees are usually angry that they were not informed of the breakup in advance – and some are even offended that their relationship was ended without any warning.

In order for a relationship to work, both parties have to understand that the relationship is not going on indefinitely – it’s always important for both people involved in a relationship to know what the other person thinks about the terms of the relationship before making any decision which would be against the wishes of one party involved.

That’s why one thing is for sure: the breakup is not mutual. One of them may have broken up with the other, but they need to also know that they’re not the one who initiated it. 

How to stop being a dumper or a dumpee

Relationships are supposed to be experiences that we have in our lives. And while it’s true that sometimes they may not last, that doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t be thankful for having a person to love. 

To avoid becoming a dumper or dumpee, you need to understand the importance of empathy, communication and honesty in a relationship – and treat your partner’s feelings as your own. 

Be honest with yourself when you realize your relationship is not working out. And if your partner is not happy, you must be willing to listen to them and compromise. 

Manage your emotions in a healthy way – avoid being jealous or angry, as these will only lead to unnecessary arguments. You also have to avoid keeping silent about an issue that bothers you in the relationship.

How does a dumper move on after the breakup

After dumping someone, a dumper may cope by focusing on themselves. 

If you’re the dumper, you can find yourself feeling guilty, or asking yourself why you acted in such a way. 

Instead of dwelling on the relationship, work on self-improvement. This may include going to the gym and eating well to reduce your stress and improve your overall health.

A dumper may also return to the hobbies that they’ve had before the relationship was over. 

Some of them may even consider dating again, wanting to have a new person in their life who they can build a future with – but this is not very recommended as it can be extremely hard to move on from someone you cared deeply about (and vice versa).

A rebound relationship is not recommended for anyone who is seeking to build a good relationship.

How does a dumpee move on after the breakup

After being dumped, a dumpee may find themselves dealing with a broken heart, or simply too upset to move on.

If you’re the dumpee, while you may want to stay in bed and cry over the loss of your ex-partner, it would be better if you forced yourself out of there and do something to distract yourself.

Going out with friends will help you feel less alone as they are able to listen in on your problems and comfort you – they can also help you see the silver lining in this breakup. 

You should try to fill your time by being productive, doing work around the house that’s been neglected due to your relationship, or start working on a passion project that’s been left untouched for months. 

Trust me, in time, you will feel better.

The first step to getting over a breakup is accepting that the relationship is over – you are no longer part of each other’s lives, and that’s it. 

This does not mean you will never see that person again; it just means that for now, this relationship has come to an end

And you have to accept the fact that your ex-partner is no longer part of your life.

Friendship between dumper and dumpee after the breakup

Is it possible for a dumper and a dumpee to remain friends after the breakup? There are times when it’s possible.

We’ve already pointed out that some relationships aren’t forever, and that they may not always last. If both parties aren’t getting any benefit out of the relationship, they should let it go – but that doesn’t mean they have to break off all contact with each other. 

However, if one party is still holding onto the relationship, there’s no need for them to continue their friendship with the other person; in fact, doing so may just cause additional feelings of guilt or regret from both sides (in some cases).

It really goes down on how healthy the breakup was – if both parties are mature enough and they understand that the relationship is over, it’s likely possible to remain friends.

However: I wouldn’t recommend this for all couples. 

It’s just a matter of time before one or both of the people are going to start feeling uncomfortable with this situation, leading to arguments and worsening the “friendship” between them.

Final thoughts

Whether you are the dumpee or the dumper, it can be very hard to cope during and after the breakup. 

But never forget that even though your relationship may have ended, you will recover – and you can move on to find love again. 

To keep looking for a great new relationship, you have to always be open-minded when meeting a new person. 

And if the opportunity arises, try to ask yourself if the person standing in front of you is worthy of being in a healthy new relationship with you. 

If this is not the case, just remember that there are plenty more people out there who could be good matches for your personality and life goals.

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