Who Should Initiate Contact – Dumper Or Dumpee?

Shouldn’t the dumper be the one to initiate contact?

I get asked this question quite a lot, and I thought a longer response might help clarify a few things.

Although I’ve often used the words “dumper” and “dumpee” myself, I’m convinced that “dumper” and “dumpee” labels oversimplify the break-up and reconciliation process.

“Dumper” and “dumpee” labels, though not directly or even intentionally imply that:

  • Break-ups are inherently “bad” or unnatural.
  • The dumpee is a “victim” of the dumper.
  • The reconciliation process is about righting a wrong.
  • The one who holds out longer (does not initiate contact) has the power.

These are relationship assumptions or beliefs that although not often spoken out aloud, drive many of our actions. But are they true, realistic or helpful?

My answer is no.

1. Break-ups are as natural as the sun rising and setting.

It’s not personal. Just like in many things in life, there is no guarantee that the one you love will love you back, or love you always. Even where there are still strong feelings of love both ways, sometimes that’s not enough to make the relationship work.

2. There is always a “good” reason (as far as the dumper is concerned) why someone wants out of the relationship.

Most people don’t end a relationship because it’s so great. You may not like their reason for the break-up, their timing or how they did it, but that does not make you a victim.

Granted, some relationships end because of abuse, and if that’s the case, reconciliation should be out of the question, unless one enjoys being abused.

3. Reconciliation should be about love.

If you are trying to get your ex back because your ego is so badly hurt and you think that getting your ex back will again make you feel good about yourself, you have serious issues. What you need is therapy, not your ex.

4. Holding out on someone you still love and want back in your life does not prove you are mentally strong. It proves that you are emotionally insecure. It’s an admission that you don’t trust yourself enough to be able to regulate your own emotions and actions (act too needy or clingy).

People who know what healthy connection is trust themselves to know what is healthy and unhealthy contact, they are not overly worried/fearful of the risk that relationships call for, and they trust that whatever happens, they’ll be just fine.

So, who should initiates reconciliation – dumper or dumpee?

My answer.

Whoever wants the other back should initiate reconciliation.

There is nothing shameful or demeaning about showing someone that you still love them and want them back. In my opinion, as long as you accept that there are no guarantees that the one you love will love you back, risking rejection is one of the most selfless things to do.

If ego and fear have their way, you could be waiting for that text, email or phone call for ever.

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21 Comments

  • Its been almost seven months now since we broke up. It was a very bad breakup and I needed some time to heal. I would really like to reestablish some communication with her but I am afraid that the period of no communication has hurt my chances. I did try to contact her about a month ago and got no response. Do you think its already to late? What can I do differently?

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    • Seven months is a very long time not to have any form of contact. There is a very high chance that she has moved on. The only way to find out is to try contacting her again… a simple “how are you” text and see if she responds. It’s along shot though.

      Until she responds and there is open lines of communication, you do not have that opening to do anything differently.

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  • Thanks for the wonderful post. I have been doing serious thinking and the reason I haven’t contacted my ex is because I’m afraid of being further exposed to rejection. The breakup which happened 2 months ago left me completely devastated. Basically my question is should I try again and what do you think my chances are?

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    • I strongly believe that if the door is not completely shut, you should always try again. You just never know.

      As for your chances… it depends on how long you were together, what kind of relationship you had, why you broke up, what’s changed since the break-up, if she’s still open to communication… it depends on a lot of things.

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  • We have broken up 4 times and I have always been the one who reaches out and tries to work things out. This time I havent reached out to her and waiting for her to come to me first. I dont want to be the one thats always asking her to come back. Btw, it’s a same sex relationship.

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  • It’s wonderful to read advice that emphasizes the need to sustain our connections with each other. In my case, we just weren’t right for each other. We both agreed it’d be best as friends. He’s the only man I have been involved with who has remained in my life. To me what this means is that he is an honorable person, and will always be a valued person in my life.

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