couple walking 88 248.
(photo credit: Oren Klass)
'He dumped me," Julie typed on instant messenger. "What?" I replied, followed by a trail of acronyms expressing my surprise and disbelief. "He called me on Monday and said he wasn't ready to date anyone yet," she wrote. I responded with all types of condolences from "well, you did say he was moving really slow, so he probably is telling the truth" to "he was kind of dull anyways, you're better off" and "alright then, time to move on, next!
I also told Julie you can't be dumped by someone that you're not really in a relationship with. Julie had been on just five dates with this guy over the course of three months. For weeks I've told her that it wasn't good for continuity, but she liked the guy and was hoping the momentum would pick up and go somewhere. I liked that she was giving him a chance and putting herself out there even though their schedules never seemed to mesh. He seemed great on paper and they had a nice time together, but she had already been putting her guard up by complaining about him in seemingly mundane ways. As an outsider I could see that this "relationship" was going nowhere in a hurry, but I didn't feel any type of satisfaction from knowing I was right.
Getting the ol' heave-ho is never easy to bear, but is it easier or tougher when you've barely gotten to know each other? Do you take it more personally or less when you're dumped based on just a few dates? After getting dumped, we often spend time looking within. If the dumper barely knew you and dumped you, does that mean your personality sucks or that their intuition is stunted? You could look at it as the dumper doing you a favor by ending things before they got too serious, but if you are blindsided by the dumper, having 20/20 hindsight won't help soften the blow.
How Julie reacted is also an integral part of the process. When you're dumped, don't lose your cool, act like the lady or gentleman that you are and accept the news graciously. The last thing you want is for people to think badly of you after the fact. The dumper should be the one feeling bad right now. If you act like a psycho, you will only make the dumper feel legitimized for his or her actions.
I like to tease my friend Scott about his ex-girlfriend's psycho moment. After dating "Rebecca" for six months, he broke up with her because although he liked her and had fun with her, he simply didn't see himself marrying her and didn't want to waste anymore of her time leading her on. He was honest with Rebecca, but she didn't take the news very well. Rebecca should have simply told him where he could get off and move on. Instead, her instant reaction was to curse him out, which turned to crying and begging, and then finally getting angry and seeking revenge. Rebecca snuck over to Scott's house in the middle of the night, opened the back door, stuck the garden hose inside and turned it on. Needless to say, Scott woke up to a flooded condo. The next morning remorse set in and Rebecca called Scott to ruthlessly apologize and resorted to crying and begging once again. Instead of regretting his decision of breaking up with Rebecca, Scott calmly proceeded to get a restraining order against her and uses the story for a great laugh every now and again.
When you're being dumped, a good rule of thumb is to keep your mouth shut. It's an awkward conversation and it's not your job to make it any easier. Let the dumper do the talking: let the dumper tell you how awesome you are; let the dumper tell you how stupid they are; let the dumper tell you it's not your fault. Because guess what? It's all true!
Following your reaction, the most important thing about being dumped is the subsequent action you take. Julie, like many other singles, tends to be set back with each failed relationship. Rather than chalking it up to kismet, she takes it to heart and adds another layer to the wall she puts up between her and men. I have thicker skin and am able to rebound more quickly than she. Not that it doesn't bother me, but for the most part I'm not going to let it affect how I act on my next date. The only thing I'm going to do is try and learn something about myself and hopefully become a better person and companion. I believe that you can't regret the time you spent in a failed relationship as long as you take something away from it. The fact of the matter is, we're all going to get dumped at one point or another in this process. The trick is to try to think of it as a speedbump on the road to love rather than a pothole.