Today we’re going to talk about dumpers and if they hurt after a breakup too.
Many who read this website have a tendency to demonize dumpers and call them evil or say something along the lines of,
- They never loved me
- They don’t care about me
- They’re selfish
It may seem cold if they seem like they don’t care at you at all but our research has found that isn’t entirely true.
Dumpers do hurt just like dumpees but they have a different way of processing the grief than you do because they view relationships in a different way fundamentally.
In this article I’d like to show you why so many people mislabel dumpers after a breakup.
Understanding The Avoidant Stages Of Grief
You may be familiar with the five stages of grief.
I’ve found that the stages of grief tend to be pretty accurate for most of the clients we coach here on Ex Boyfriend Recovery after a breakup with one small change.
Often our clients will have setbacks or skip entire stages. In other words, they process their grief out of order.
I’d say that close to 90% of our clients are the dumpees which means that the exes they so desperately want back are the dumpers.
One of the observations I’ve had when it comes to dumpees is that they really don’t go through the typical stages of grief.
Rather, most of them process breakups in the same way an avoidant will.
My team and I think this is because most of our clients are dealing with exes who are avoidant,
For those of you who don’t know what an avoidant is I think our very own Coach Tyler Ramsey gives an amazing description,
The Avoidant Attachment Style: They are a person that does not like a lot of emotional intimacy or vulnerability within a relationship. They typically revert a conversation back to someone else to talk about themselves to avoid the spotlight. Often that’s how you’ll figure out if they’re avoidant or not. Ultimately they are afraid of having a deeper emotional connection and it all can stem from their experience in childhood. They’ve learned that any time they are vulnerable, it can be used against them and therefore they don’t rely on other people.
One of the points I made in an article I wrote yesterday is that a quick way to understand if you are dealing with an avoidant is to look at their core wound.
An avoidants core wound is comically simple, they simply don’t want to lose independence in the relationship.
Ultimately this is why we see so many breakups stemming from “independence loss events.”
More on that later.
For now, what we are going to look at is how the avoidant processes grief.
Understanding How An Avoidant Processes Grief
One of my favorite “Go to” websites when it comes to understanding avoidant attachment styles is this beauty, Free To Attach.
And I think they do an amazing job of highlighting the fundamental difference in how avoidants handle breakups compared to the average person.
So, while you can expect the average person to handle a breakup utilizing the five stages of grief the avoidant ex will have a completely different approach.
They’re going to be handling breakups through the five stages of avoidant grief.
Now, before I dive into the five stages fully I’d like to point out this graphic I made last month,
It’s probably the single most accurate representation of how most avoidants get caught in this self fulfilling loop in their relationships and the beauty of it is that you can see these five stages within it.
Stage One: Euphoria
According to Free To Attach,
After a relationship ends, people with an avoidant attachment style tend not to show much anxiety or distress, often feeling an initial sense of relief at the relinquishing of obligations and the sense that they are regaining their self-identity.
Remember how I said a lot of their identity is wrapped up in this idea of independence? Well, initially, to an avoidant, upon the outset of a breakup they’ll feel euphoria because to them it will feel like they’ve reclaimed their identity.
This is often the stage where many people make assumptions about the avoidant.
It can seem like they never cared about you. It can seem like you meant nothing to them.
Simply because they are over the moon about the breakup. However, this stage won’t last forever because repression is right around the corner.
Stage Two: Repression
Eventually after the initial elation of getting their independence back wears off the grief begins to hit them.
They start remembering the good times or the bad times. Either way, it hurts to remember.
When those feelings begin to bubble to the surface they repress them. After all, avoidants are considered experts in regulating their emotions.
They’ve had a lifetime to practice it. This might be the single hardest stage to identify from the outside because it’s internal for them.
With stage one, they can be overly obnoxious on social media about “how happy” they are after a breakup. However, stage two is more of an internal battle that they are undergoing alone.
Stage Three: Rebound
The most famous phrase in the movie Jurassic Park is, “life finds a way.”
The meaning is clear, no matter how hard you try to suppress life it’ll always find a way to succeed.
The same sentiment can be had about feelings. No matter how hard the dumper tries to suppress those feelings coming to the surface they always find a way to keep occurring.
So, with them losing the internal battle they decide to do something more drastic.
Use another person to suppress their feelings.
That would be on this stage of the wheel,
Now, one of the interesting things to note is that often we’re finding dumpers already have a rebound lined up before they break up with you.
Which might potentially mean these stages can start as early as the tail end of your relationship with the dumper.
Nevertheless, this stage encompasses the entirety of the rebound relationship from start to finish.
Stage Four: Depression
Once again I’m going to turn to Free To Attach to help describe this stage,
They can have a depressive episode from 2-4 months after a breakup, manifested in feeling numb, disconnected and meaningless, which they may try to repress. Everybody needs deeper connection, but often avoidants don’t recognise they need their partners until the partner actually loses interest and leaves, through separation, divorce, also death, illness, or something else. Then, when they finally realise nobody is “in the house”, that’s when the crisis hits. It’s then that a very deep depression can happen, because they actually want connection and ultimately a safe, secure attachment like anybody else.
And this is really the stage where they start to recognize what they lost but it’s important to realize they frame it differently than you would expect.
It’s not, “Oh, man I’ll never find another ex like them again.”
It’s more along the lines of “why is this always happening to me?”
So, they’ll stay in this stage for a while before eventually falling victim to…
Stage Five: Nostalgia
Do me a favor and watch this video,
I filmed the entire thing to essentially explain this entire stage.
So, one of the important things to remember about avoidant dumpers is they feel safest when they are alone or out of a relationship. After all, there’s nothing to threaten their independence if they aren’t committed.
And so often, what we find happening is they start to only focus on the great moments of past loves.
Usually this happens when three criteria are met,
They’ve moved on to someone else (see rebound stage) You’ve moved on to someone else Enough time has gone by
But here’s an interesting twist. While they may fantasize about you a pure avoidant dumper won’t usually be the one to initiate.
As pointed out by Coach Tyler in this video,
Sometimes they can but research often says you’ll have to be the one to reach out first.
There’s one final thing I’d like to talk about.
Understanding The Time Dilation Factor
This is a personal addition to this article that may on the surface seem it has nothing to do with a dumper hurting too but in my opinion it’s where most of the confusion stems from.
Often when we have clients who are caught in the confusion of a breakup and saying things like,
- My ex never loved me
- They’re incredibly selfish
- They don’t regret breaking up with me
I think it stems from a fundamental misunderstanding of how dumpers often regulate emotions.
There’s a time dilation factor at play. One of our most popular strategies is that of the no contact rule.
Officially, The no contact rule refers to a period of time where you cut off all conceivable communication with an ex after a breakup. The intent of this tactic should NOT be used to make your ex miss you but instead should be used to rebuild your own life so that you outgrow your ex. By doing this, the no contact rule can have the added benefit of making an ex miss you
Typically we tell our clients to utilize it for 30 days but what we’ve found interesting is that attachment style theory is a direct indicator on how much a person will struggle with it.
And it loops directly in with time dilation.
- For an anxious attachment style: 30 days will feel like 60+ days.
- For an avoidant attachment style: 30 days will feel like 15 days.
- For a secure attachment style: 30 days will feel like 30 days.
Notice how Avoidants often take longer to process things. Well, if this is true for something as simple as a no contact rule then we can probably assume that it also applies to all facets of post breakup behavior.
Generally speaking the avoidant is going to take longer to process emotions as opposed to the other attachment styles.
Now, most of our clients are anxious by nature so as you can imagine the disconnect simply comes from the anxious individual thinking that the avoidant should be processing the breakup the same way they are.
But that’s not ever going to be the case.
So, Does The Dumper Hurt Too?
In short, yes, but their grief is going to be different because if the dumper is an avoidant they’ve come up with all these coping mechanisms to suppress how they’re feeling.
Think of it like a more agonizing process that on the outside might not look like they’re grieving at all.
It’s important that you aren’t placing your own ideals of how grief should work onto them.
Instead, you should be spending all of your time doing one simple thing, finding something you care more about than them.
Good things tend to happen for our clients who do that.