I hate getting dumped. But I hate doing the dumping even more. I’ll take a breakup text any day of the week over having to send one. Not that I would EVER dump someone via text, even though I’ve been dumped that way. LAME. But I digress. I know how to deal with getting dumped. I have a lot of … experience, shall we say, as dumpee. Getting dumped is a piece of cake! You get angry. You get sad. You mutter expletives to yourself on the subway, listen to The Smiths non-stop for a week and think about how you really didn’t like the way he kissed anyway. Then you move on. Being the dumper is way, way trickier though. Why? Because it challenges your view of yourself as a good person. For a moment, you are forced be the asshole breaking someone’s heart. No way around it. it sucks. The guilt, the avoidance of that “asshole” feeling, has led me to perform some heinous dumpings. But I’ve learned from my mistakes. After the jump, some tips about how to end a relationship while remaining a decent human being.
1. Real men and women do it face to face. I alluded to some of my heinous dumpings above. Let me be more specific. I once hid in the laundry room of my dorm for three days to avoid having the “I don’t want to be with you anymore” conversation with my high school boyfriend. I HID! I camped out in a laundry room! I am ashamed of this. But there, I admitted it. I feel liberated. Since then, my courage balls, as I like to call them, have grown quite a bit and I’ve learned that you have to face the music when ending a relationship. The bravest thing you can do when performing a dumping is sit face to face with the human being whose heart you are demolishing and have the guts to tell them that things aren’t working. In my experience, being dumped in this fashion makes the relationship easier to get over because he isn’t left wondering where you went for three days and why you returned covered in lint. If you care or cared for someone, respect them enough to look them in the eye and tell them you don’t want to have a long distance relationship at age 17.
2. If you can’t do it face to face, use that thing called the telephone. The first time I had to dump someone I deeply, deeply cared about, he was out of town for six months, on tour with his band. I won’t get into particulars, but I had to tell him we were done on the phone while he was somewhere in Europe. It was way less than ideal. I would not recommend it. But it was way better than emailing him the news. In the end, we were able to be friends. He is married to a great woman now and they both think I’m a nice person. I think. So, see, we all survived. Face to face would have been better. But at least the telephone allows you to have a dialogue. A note to people who dump via text, email or G-chat: You are a pussy.
3. Give concrete reasons. I am bad at this. So bad. I get so overly concerned with not hurting someone’s feelings that it becomes hard for me to be honest. When I get really nervous, I tend to lie. I have done this in the past. After the 11th time I said, “I have feelings for someone else” when there wasn’t really anyone else, I realized I needed more courage balls because lies and excuses are dumb. If given the chance to dump again (I hope I don’t get that chance), I will tell the complete honest truth without being cruel. Like you can leave out that part about you not loving the way he kisses. But otherwise, don’t sugarcoat shit. Don’t spend an hour telling him what a high-quality human being he is. No one gives a crap about that when they’re being 86ed. They want it to be over a soon as possible. Avoid generic lines like, “It’s not you, it’s me” or “I’m not available right now.” Actually, I think stock breakup lines make you come off as more of a cad. Be kind, be specific and get to the point quickly. Example: “I have really enjoyed the time we’ve spent together, but I am looking for something serious and long-term and I don’t feel that I could see us spending our lives together because … [insert your reasons here minus his foot fungus]”
4. Do not give false hope to the dumpee. My least favorite thing to hear during breakups are “let’s be friends” or “who knows what will happen in the future.” Therefore, I will never be so insensitive as to utter these phrases. Ugh. I have plenty of friends without having some weird boundary blurring “friendship” with the person I used to sleep with. Maybe someday we will be friends, but not for a while. As far as leaving the door open for the future, we love to do that, don’t we? We love to think that we are keeping our options open for the universe to bring us back together when we are both “ready.” My personal feeling on that is: you get your chance with someone when you get your chance. You either make it happen then or you don’t. Getting caught up in “what we may be in the future” is a fantasy. Maybe someday your paths will cross again, but you need to move on with your life in the meantime. Stick with where you’re at right now. And right now, you’re breaking up.
5. Leave them alone once you’re done. Don’t be blowing up their G-chat or texting them non-stop. Let the person pick their dignity up off the floor without reminders of your existence. You may think you are being nice by staying in touch or checking up on them, but it is actually confusing and disruptive to the healing process. They are too busy hating you to process why you want to keep talking to them even though you just told them “you can’t envision a life with them.” Oh God. And please don’t go running back and tell them you made a mistake. That is just cruel. You made your bed and now you have to sleep in it. Alone. The kindest thing you can do is to give them space for awhile. What’s awhile? It’s different for every relationship. A good rule of thumb is six months to a year. If you’re going to dump, prepare to make yourself scarce.
6. Be OK with them hating you for a minute. If you did this dumping thing correctly, they will hate you for a little while, but respect you in the long run. I promise. You just have to sit with the bad feeling that someone thinks you’re a douche for a little while. It’s part of the process of loss — the anger phase. And you are going to be the target of that anger. Another reason why you should make yourself scarce for a while — it’s not fun to have rotten tomatoes thrown at your head. Know that they don’t really hate you, they just miss you. Maybe. Remember that having someone be angry with you, doesn’t make you a bad person. You have done something kind by letting them go. You’ve respected them enough to tell them the truth, preferably in person, you’ve given them concrete reasons, no false hopes for the future and you’ve left them alone to lick their wounds. You’ve dumped honorably. That takes a lot of courage balls.