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?

Whoever wants the other back should initiate contact.

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.

More: The Pros And Cons Of Waiting For Your Ex To Contact You

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  • Hi yangki
    I am the dumped after the break up i did all th usual mistakes begging pleading etc it hurt both of us..we agreed on no contact it was more my ex idea as she said she still had feelings for me but we could never go back and her feeling were all confused anyway we have been in no contact for about 3 weeks and iv got an urge to explain i know my mistakes and faults that led to break up and apoligise for my behaviour afterwards. This is not necciserly to get back together of course i would like to but if it doesnt i could live with it just want to know if a text is a good idea thanks

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    • Have you tried positing your question on No Contact forums/sites? You’ll get better advice/help on what’s allowed or not allowed in no contact.

      This site is for people NOT doing NC, don’t want to do NC and are repulsed by the very idea of NC. Here we do grown-up stuff like… COMMUNICATE… 😉

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  • Yangki, my ex and I broke 5 weeks ago. We have not spoken or had any form of contact since the split. I am thinking of sending her a letter telling her what’s on my mind. I suspect she will not respond or will respond negatively, but it’s worth a try, right?

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    • A letter immediately after a break-up only helps you the writer and not your ex — or the relationship. If you want to send one with no expectations for a response and no request for another chance, then do it for you. It’s not something I’d advice if you want to get back together.

      Most people immediately after a break-up do not want to hear how much you love them or miss them, even when the reason for the break-up was because they didn’t feel loved. Too much and all of a sudden outpouring of emotion is overwhelming at best, and suspicious at worst.

      From experience, a simple “hi, how are you?” gets you a long way than an emotional letter. If and when communication is re-established, you can then send her the letter.

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  • We have been separated for 6 wks. We were together for 3 yrs. I pleaded and begged and after that I initiated NC. In wk 5 of NC but I have to admit I cheated and used a friend’s account to check her facebook. She has made status updates on her facebook which I think are to try and make me jealous. My question is, how long does it take a dumper to contact a dumpee?

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    • It depends… a day, a week, a month, a year… some dumpers never contact the dumpee at all.

      Just so you know, not everything your ex does after a break-up is about you. Sometimes they are just moving on with their lives… meanwhile you are sneaking around checking their facebook updates.

      For your sake, I hope that the status updates are indeed meant for you.

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  • I found your site this evening and now Im feeling conflicted. I have implementing NC for 3 weeks and feel it’s helping me control my emotions. But I also know that my ex isnt the type to chase or make first contact so it is me who has to make the move. When do you think is the right time for me to contact him, after 6 weeks or 8?

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    • You asking the wrong person. The best person to help you will be someone who encourages the use of NC.

      My conviction is that it’s always better to engage/communicate/talk than not to. I created this blog specifically for those that are looking for an alternative to No Contact.

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  • Thank you so much for this website. My girlfriend of 1 year broke up with me a few days ago, and while our relationship was far far from perfect, I still love her very much. A lot of my friends and family tell me I should do no contact, and I don’t want to at all. Your articles have shown me that there are other, better ways to deal with a break up, and just maybe down the line.. get back together again.
    Thanks a lot Yangki 🙂

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