Dealing with breakup

Dumper Stages – Inside The Mind Of The One Who Initiates A Breakup


Wondering what the one who ends a relationship is going through? These dumper stages will show you what exactly is going on inside their head!

Before I write anything else, I have the urge to explain this unusual term known as dumper stages.

As the name implies, it is about the dumper (the person who broke up with someone) and the typical stages they go through after a breakup.

These stages will help you understand the entire mental and emotional process related to their (dumper’s) decision to end the relationship (or maybe your decision to end things with someone).

I know the term sounds a little bit harsh, especially if you’re the one who’s “dumped” someone lately, but there’s nothing to be worried or ashamed about because you’ve entered a neutral, non-judgmental area. (I just made that up, and I’m really proud of it.)

Okay, now I have a question for you, my friend: You know that feeling when someone breaks up with you, and you’re dying to know if they are feeling (at least partially) the same as you? 

pensive woman in black top sitting outdoor

I don’t know about you, but I certainly do. You can’t help but think that they don’t care one bit about you and that they are completely indifferent and heartless.

You wish for them to feel the same way as you, heartbroken and devastated.

Well, prepare to hear (read: read) something shocking: Actually, the dumpers also go through breakup stages of worry, anxiety, anger, confusion, and many others!

They don’t just decide overnight that they will break things off and then just do it.

The whole breakup thing is a process that both the dumper and dumpee experience in a different but still equally confusing and painful way.

The following dumper stages will explain how the whole breakup process looks from the perspective of someone who initiated a breakup! (And they will also help you avoid making post-breakup mistakes.)

After we’re done with the dumper stages, we’ll go through ways on how to successfully get back together after a breakup or how to get over someone. So, stay tuned!

Dumper Stages: 10 Stages Of A Breakup For The Dumper

Stage 1: Anger

angry woman yelling while standing near wall

Not every single dumper will go through this stage first because it all depends on the circumstances.

For example, if they caught you cheating (or if you admit it to them on your own) or any other type of betrayal, they will experience anger.

This will be the so-called CATALYST (the thing that motivated them to end the relationship).

What To Expect At This Stage

Basically, there are two things that you can expect at this stage, and these are a sudden outburst of anger (as the stage implies) or the silent treatment.

How the dumper will behave depends on their overall personality and coping mechanisms.

When feeling hurt or betrayed, some people refuse to talk about it and ignore the other person, while others (temperamental individuals) tend to show anger.

Stage 2: Worry

worried woman in white t-shirt sitting near tree

At this stage, the dumper may become concerned about ending the relationship or finding the best way to do it.

They may start overthinking and feel worried about losing the other person (especially if you were in a long-term relationship).

They may also worry about how you will handle the breakup and how all this will affect your friendship (in case you decide to stay friends).

RELATED: He Blocked Me: What Does It Mean And What To Do About It

What To Expect At This Stage

This stage is more about thinking than acting.

The dumper will be asking themself the following and similar questions: Should I break up with my boyfriend or girlfriend? How should I do it? Should I just send him/her a text message or do it in person?

Most of the time, they will be occupied with finding the perfect way to end things while also worrying about whether it is the right thing to do in the first place.

Stage 3: Anxiety

sad woman in black top holding her knees

This stage is similar to the previous one, and the only difference is that the worrying suddenly intensifies and turns into anxious thoughts. This is exactly when the breakup hits the dumper.

They will start devising a breakup plan and thinking about the best ways to do it.

They will think in detail about things like when the best time to break-up with you would be, and what exactly they should say to you, etc.

What To Expect At This Stage

You can expect the dumper to be nervous, worried, anxious, and also to act strangely around you. At some point, you might think that everything is alright, but this won’t last for long.

After some time, you’ll realize that things are not as they seem.

All this “drama” will make you feel nervous as well. I remember asking myself tons of questions like: Is he pulling away or breaking up with me? What EXACTLY is going on here? I was totally freaking out.

Stage 4: Relief

woman in denim shirt standing on shore looking at ocean

I like to call this stage ‘the post-climax stage.’ The breakup is finally over, and the dumper feels some kind of relief even if they are still not 100% sure that they did the right thing.

Even though there is a huge relief and they feel a weight off their shoulders, dumpers still don’t feel happy about it.

The only thing they are “happy” about is that they no longer need to overthink things like Should I break up with them or not?

They realize that there’s no use crying over spilled milk. Or, better said, that’s how they feel at this stage, but later on, things might change drastically.

What To Expect At This Stage

You might receive a breakup text, a breakup letter, or get dumped in person. Once that happens, you’re officially no longer together, but there’s no need to feel bad about it just yet.

In the next stages, things will get more complicated for the dumper, and if you intend on getting back together, you can still convince them that breaking up with you was a mistake.

But, if you intend on moving on, then forget about what I’ve just written.

Stage 5: Experiment

woman painting ceramic bowl while sitting at table

This one is one of the most interesting stages of a breakup for the dumper.

It’s when the dumper starts experimenting and implementing new things into their lives, such as a new hairstyle, new friends, new clothes, new hobbies, and so on.

If the woman is the dumper, I know for a fact that the first thing she’ll do is change her hairstyle. You’ve probably seen this multiple times in movies and series.

A new hairstyle often symbolizes a fresh start for women.

What To Expect At This Stage

You probably didn’t know that the dumper will try not to think about you at this stage, but it will be tough for them not to do so.

They will preoccupy themselves with different things only to prevent themselves from having you on their mind.

Some might also enter rebound relationships, thinking that this will help them forget you faster and boost the healing process.

RELATED: Do Avoidants Regret Breaking Up And Why Do They Leave?

Stage 6: Compassion

woman holding lighter while sitting on bench outdoor

This stage involves sympathy. Believed it or not, they will feel sad for you.

Even though they will think that they made the right choice and ending your relationship was something that needed to be done, they will still feel bad about doing it.

They might wish that they ended things differently than they did.

What To Expect At This Stage

Given that they’ll feel guilty and bad about ending things, they might decide to reach out to you just to make sure that you’re okay.

They might want to talk about your relationship and how everything could have been different. If you’re determined to move on, then it’s best to apply the no contact rule at this stage.

Stage 7: Nostalgia

pensive woman in checked shirt looking through window

Ah, that sweet nostalgia that, at some point, always manages to strike even the strongest of people.

If you’re wondering about at which stage the dumper starts missing the dumpee, it often happens at this stage. Everything will remind them of you.

They might see a particular animal and immediately start thinking of you because of something you once said about that animal.

Or they might see your favorite candy and it reminds them of you. You get the idea, right?

What To Expect At This Stage

You may be feeling the same way as them at this stage, and it’s up to you if you’re going to show them that you still care or wait for them to do that.

When nostalgia kicks in, the dumper might decide to text you or call you to tell you how much they miss you. But keep in mind that this seldom happens at this stage.

Stage 8: Confusion

woman in white t-shirt thinking indoor

If you’ve practiced the no contact rule, the dumper will find themself in a state of confusion, wondering what exactly is going on in your head.

If you’ve deleted them from social media, deleted their number, and haven’t contacted them since, they will start worrying that you’ve already moved on with your life. They will want to know if that’s true.

What To Expect At This Stage

The dumper may be thinking about why you haven’t contacted them. They might start thinking that you’ve already met someone new.

At this stage, they will have a strong urge to get in touch with you. This is one of the dumper stages where you can expect them to miss you a LOT and be curious about your life in general.

Stage 9: Doubt or regret

woman touching her face while sitting indoor

This stage also belongs to the categories: dumpers remorse stages or stages of grief. I bet this is the favorite stage of every dumpee. Why?

Because during this stage, dumpers start regretting ending things, and they begin to worry whether breaking-up was the right decision.

The fact that they have no idea how you’re feeling and what you’ve been doing so far only makes things worse for them (and better for you, if you’re the dumpee, of course).

What To Expect At This Stage

If they haven’t reached out to you in the previous stage but were thinking about doing it, the chances are high that they’ll do so at this stage.

Once they (or if they) gather courage, they will make the first move and admit that breaking up with you was a huge mistake.

Stage 10: Acceptance

woman sitting on bench looking at ocean

This stage is about accepting two possible outcomes: reconciling or moving on. Obviously, if the two of you don’t succeed in reconciling your relationship, moving on becomes inevitable.

Contrary to the above dumper stages, the last stage is often the most painful if things don’t go as planned or expected.

What To Expect At This Stage

If the dumper (your ex) has successfully moved on, then it’s time for you to do the same. If you managed to get back together after the breakup, then some serious work will need to be done.

Both partners will have to be willing to work on themselves and focus on things that were critical in their relationship.

That’s the only way to establish a happy and healthy relationship and prevent future relationship problems.

How To Get Back Together After A Break-Up

Reflect on your relationship

woman sitting on window pane looking outside

If you’re thinking about getting back together, this is the most important step in your reconciliation journey. You need to think about the reasons why you two broke up in the first place.

Also, you need to think about the things that need to be improved upon in your relationship (including your own flaws). Basically, both partners need to reflect on the relationship and themselves.

Have a no contact period

woman holding smartphone while sitting on sofa

To better reflect on your relationship, you’ll need to have a no contact period, also known as the power of silence after a breakup. You can also think about the future as well.

The first time I had to break up with a guy, I was against the no contact rule, which made things even worse.

Don’t make the same mistake. Give yourself some time to think about how you can improve things and if they are worth improving in the first place.

Be honest with yourself

woman leaning on table while sitting in cafe

Is getting back together really what you want at the moment? Do you think that your relationship deserves a second chance? If your answer is yes to both questions, then go for it!

But, if you’re having second thoughts about reconciling with your ex, you shouldn’t rush into it.

Be honest with yourself. Do you want to get back together just because you’re feeling lonely, or do you truly still care about them?

Sometimes, it’s really hard to differentiate between these two. But, after the no contact period, things should be much clearer to you than they were before.

RELATED: How To Deal With Heartbreak: 15 Proven Ways To Heal Your Heartache

Get in touch with your ex (or wait for them to make the first move)

woman with curly hair using smartphone while sitting outdoor

If you want to get your ex back, well, then you’ll need to get in touch with them. It’s up to you how you’ll choose to do that. You can either text them, call them, or visit them.

Whichever method you prefer, keep in mind that you should never beg them to come back to you if they themselves are not willing to do that.

When one guy broke up with me, I remember one of my friends saying to me: Let him come to you after a breakup! So, I listened to them. I waited for him to come to me after the breakup, and that never happened.

So, I’ve decided to be the one who makes the first move. To my surprise, everything went smoothly, and after some time we were officially back together again!

Take responsibility

man and woman talking while sitting on sofa

Avoid playing the “wrong and right” game. Remember that no one is wrong and no one is right here. Both of you need to take responsibility for your actions and words.

You need to acknowledge the toxic patterns in your relationship and work on your attachment styles. Simply put, take responsibility and act accordingly!

They say that it takes two to tango. Well, it also takes two to fight for a relationship, so roll up your sleeves and believe that you can do it!

How To Move On After A Breakup

Accept that the relationship is over and there’s no going back

woman sitting on rock looking at water

If you’re determined to move on with your life, the first step is accepting that the relationship is over. Don’t get stuck on all of the ‘what ifs?’. Once you decide to let go, stay focused, and don’t lose hope.

Accept the fact that what you had was beautiful while it lasted, and now it no longer exists. Stay away from blame shifting and focus on other things in your life.

Don’t suppress your emotions

woman crying while standing near storefront

Allow yourself to experience the period of grieving the end of the relationship. Whatever you do, don’t suppress your emotions. Cry out loud if you need, scream, yell, and so on.

Find some inspiring breakup quotes that perfectly express how you’re feeling at the moment. Express yourself.

Dance, draw, sing (if you can), binge-watch those heartbreaking romantic movies, and cry with your favorite actors/actresses.

Keep a distance from your ex

woman in white t-shirt sitting on sofa

And, yes, keep a distance from your ex-boyfriend or ex-girlfriend.

I mean, this goes without saying: No social media, no phone calls (especially drunk ones), and no messaging (being bored is not an excuse to text your ex).

The last thing you need is your ex-partner to breadcrumb you (lead you on), so your best bet is to keep a distance from them or observe them from a safe distance (if you really have to). Just kidding.

Don’t do that either.

Find the strength to forgive

woman in black turtleneck sweater sitting near lake

This one will probably be the hardest for you, but to move on with your life, you need to find the strength to forgive them for all the bad things they’ve done to you.

At the core of getting over heartbreak is finding the strength to forgive.

But, you shouldn’t only forgive your ex. You should also learn to forgive yourself. Don’t think that you’re the only one to blame for things not working out.

There are so many factors that influence a breakup, so blaming only yourself for it would be a silly thing to do.

Work on self-improvement

woman in gray sweater looking at ocean

Do you know what the best way to turn a breakup in your favor is? By reflecting on your relationship and focusing on improving yourself, so you don’t repeat the same mistakes (if there were any).

This will also help you boost your self-esteem, which is exactly what you need at the moment.

RELATED: 7 Great Ways To Make Him Regret Dumping You

Reach out to your friends and family

woman talking to woman while sitting at table

Don’t shy away from reaching out to your best friends and family members during these tough times. I’m sure they’ll be more than happy to listen to you and to help you get through the breakup.

Also, I’m sure you’d do the same for them.

Sometimes, just one meaningful conversation with your loved ones can drastically change your perspective on things and, as a result, help you move on with your life faster.

Do the things that make you happy

woman petting dog while laying on bed

Discover new passions, find new hobbies, make new friends, get a pet. Basically, do the things that make you HAPPY. Think about all the fun activities and things you used to do before the relationship.

Now is the right time to bring them back to life. It’s time to find yourself again, and you’ll do that by reconnecting with your old self.

Start dating others (when you’re ready)

man and woman having coffee while sitting outdoor

Remember: Don’t jump into a new relationship until you’ve healed from the last relationship. Take some time to grieve, focus on yourself, and when you’re ready, start dating others.

Don’t force yourself to do anything that you’re not comfortable with. Every single one of us moves at our own pace when it comes to healing. Some of us need more time to start dating others, and that’s okay. Just

listen to yourself, and I’m sure you’ll make the right decision.

Stay occupied

woman watching tv while sitting on sofa

To be able to move on, you need to distract yourself from your old relationship. This is the one thing that you’ll hear from every relationship expert out there.

For example, when I was in the process of moving on, I enjoyed watching funny cat videos on Reddit, binge-watching popular TV shows on Netflix, and drawing.

All this helped me NOT to think about my ex but to focus on being in the moment.

That’s what you need to do as well. Instead of dwelling on the past, you need to focus on the present. You need to do things that make you happy (or, at least, partially happy) at the moment.

I remember the last time I saw my ex, and I realized that my feelings for him had completely vanished. Occupying myself with different activities helped me achieve that.

Remember that there’s someone out there who is right for you

woman looking at mountain while standing on terrace

Just because this relationship failed doesn’t mean that you’ll be doomed forever. Accept the fact that everything happens for a reason.

Embrace that fact and know that there is someone out there waiting for you. You are one heartbreak closer to being with the person you are meant to be with. – Unknown

There is someone out there who will be the One for you, but you first need to meet a few wrong ones to meet them finally.

You might think that your ex was the only right person for you, and now that they’re gone, you’ll never meet anyone like them.

I used to think that, too. But now, I finally see how mistaken I was. I’ve never been a fan of that cliché saying: You’ll find true love when you least expect it. But I now have to admit that it’s true.

P.S. Next time you start wondering about how your ex really feels about the breakup, just remind yourself of these dumper stages. And if you want them back, the no contact rule will be your best friend!


Category: Dealing with breakup

Roberta Carroll

My approach is eclectic and holistic with a focus on mindfulness. I have received certifications in Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Cognitive Processing Therapy (trauma), among others. I spent over 10 years at the Veteran’s Administration in Louisville, KY, working as a psychotherapist with veterans of all ages and genders on a wide variety of issues. Prior to that my focus was on young adults and their families and older adults dealing with loss. Individuals have met with me for help to address depression and anxiety, grief, trauma and relational issues as well as work-related/everyday stressors. The therapeutic process provides a safe place for the client, in collaboration with their therapist, to process distress, discover areas of “stuckness” and move forward into a life of increased meaning and joy. Accepting our imperfections and practicing self-compassion can be a difficult as well as rewarding process. I have lived and worked in different areas of the country, have come to understand how regional differences affect our outlooks and appreciate the contrasts. I have relished the opportunity to assist clients as they carry the burdens of life. It would be my privilege to hear your story.

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