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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  • Thanks for putting up these valuable advice. I have a long history of cutting off all my exes. Things began to completely change for me when I stopped associating “breaking up” with negative experiences and outcomes. This is the first ex that I’m trying to get back, and I’m perfectly okay with risking my heart because I love her so much, but also because I think this experience is good for my personal growth.

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  • I was the dumpee and I admit that I didn’t take the breakup well and more damage was done to the relationship as a result of how I handled things. Is it still okay to initiate contact?

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  • I was the dumpee and I admit that I didn’t take the breakup well and more damage was done to the relationship as a result of how I handled things. Is it still okay to initiate contact?

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    • It depends on why you are initiating it and what you expect to get out of it.

      Are you initiating contact just to re-open the lines of communication, or are you doing it to get him to respond so you can ask him if he wants to give the relationship another chance?

      There is a high probability that he will not respond, and you have to be okay with that, otherwise you will feel worse if you don’t get the response you are looking for.

      And if you rush to the “let’s get back together ” conversation, he most likely will say “no”. You can’t appear from no where and expect him to rush into your arms. You have to progressively build things up to it.

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  • 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 a long 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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