We don't like to think that the person to initiate the breakup goes happily forward with their life
but that isn't always the case, even if it may for a period of time look that way. Breakups affect everyone, even if it looks different depending on your role it in. Sometimes the person to initiate a breakup was never the one who had wanted the relationship to end so it is worth noting that they can go through the stages of being dumped rather than the dumper.
Not everyone goes through these exact stages and not always in this order; sometimes multiple times in different orders but this data exists because enough experiences from a variety of people have proven it to be consistent.
Relief - Breakups rarely happen at the spur of the moment. Maybe the dumper finally cracks during an argument and decides they’ve had enough and cuts things off, but even in that scenario, the idea of ending things has been brewing in their mind for a while. So it is unsurprising that after weeks, months, or even years of anxiously battling the idea that this relationship is no longer working for them, the dumper releases a sigh of relief that it has ended. It is finally over. Now they have time to do as they wish and find happiness since dumpers often believe the dumpee to be the source of their current unhappiness.
Elation - From the outside to the dumpee, this is extremely painful to see (which is why committing to No Contact for at least a month, if not indefinitely, is highly recommended). The dumper feels amazing. They’re single again and can do whatever they want with their time. They look forward to the future which seems to have endless possibilities. They seek out friends and get busy enjoying their newly found single life. They wanted to be single so they may embrace this by going out and meeting new people, sometimes leading to a rebound relationship. They may appear unrecognizable when doing things that aren’t typical of their personality in an effort to shake things up and start anew.
Nostalgia - After the first month or two, their life may calm down and they start thinking of their ex. They’re more curious about what the dumpee is doing and if they are seeing someone new. They may start to second guess their decision, and compare whomever they’re newly dating to their previous relationship. However, this is not typically when they still want a romantic relationship with their ex. Instead, they’re simply starting to shed some of the negative memories associated with the breakup.
Neutrality - At this point, they revert back to their old selves since the excitement of being newly single has worn off. They let go of the negative feelings connected to the breakup. They are often staying busy and start to appreciate their ex for who they are and how they handled the relationship. They may reach out to apologize for the breakups and what they put the dumpee through. Still, much of this is fueled by their own guilt rather than any motive to return to the dumpee.
Sadness (and regret) - Not every dumper reaches regret, but it is inevitable that they will hit sadness because no matter how they cope, no one can avoid grieving a loss. They have begun to realize that the grass was not greener on the other side and now the positive memories they may have avoided before are coming up more often. The regret can resurface due to something largely negative happening to the dumper who then misses the times before during the relationship when things were good with their ex. This is typically occurring when the dumpee has moved on and healed, so it is important to remember that oftentimes if the dumper feels regret, they’re returning to feel loved first, and love the dumpee second.
Acceptance - At this stage, the dumper sees two options - either to attempt to reconcile with their ex or move on. The dumpee’s healing is typically further along, so reconciling can be difficult. Otherwise, the dumper has now made peace with their decision to end the relationship and begins to move on.
To learn more about breakups, check out Can't Stay There: Surviving a Breakup One Moment at a Time by Jennifer Klesman, LCSW or follow @JenOnPaper on Instagram or Facebook.