I get asked this question quite a lot, and 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?
Whoever wants the other back should initiate reconciliation.
There is nothing shameful or demeaning about showing someone that you love him/her. 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.