Though feelings are hurt, try to be gracious about breakup

Adapted from a recent online discussion.

Though feelings are hurt, try to be gracious about breakup

Dumped, Va.: I'm having trouble with the idea that one is supposed to be gracious about being dumped (as you have advised). You yourself use the word "dumped" as opposed to "broke up after honest explanation of what is not working." I suspect a gender imbalance . . . are women usually the ones being dumped, having to put up with male ideas of control of every situation? I refuse to accept that I have no say in this.

You also advise against asking why the other person has had enough. Why should it be impossible to communicate that?

Carolyn: I'm sorry you got dumped. Your hurt feelings don't justify gender-baiting, though — the jerk gene does not discriminate.

As for being gracious, it's a practical suggestion more than anything.

Since you can't control your ex, you're stuck with a limited set of options: You can (1) ask him for an explanation — once, without histrionics; (2) make it clear you won't go away until you get a satisfactory answer; (3) try to punish him for dumping you; or (4) take his behavior as an answer unto itself: He wasn't happy anymore and didn't have the (parts) to tell you directly, which, while painful and obnoxious, is arguably all you need to know.

Let's look at what each of those choices is likely to produce. The ask-once plan is a low-percentage shot, since, apparently, he's not a big awkward-truth guy. However, taking this shot is unlikely to damage your self-worth, because you're standing tall and requesting information you feel you deserve. Low risk + low percentage = worth a try.

The second one, pestering someone for an answer, may eventually extract a response — but not a credible one, since he might just want you off his back. Meanwhile, there's a greater risk of harm to your self-worth, because you're essentially choosing to make a spectacle of yourself: "I can't handle life without you, while it's clear you're through with me." Not good for the soul, you know?

Next, there's the revenge option — sleeping with the ex's best friend, keying cars, spreading rumors, whatever. But when has a revenge-seeker not looked petty, immature, damaged? There's zero chance of satisfaction here, and a 100 percent chance you'll come out of it thinking less of yourself, unless you're messed up enough to think you actually "won."

Finally, there's the do-nothing option. You know Exie doesn't believe in you, or in minimizing damage to your feelings. Why would you want him or his answers, at this point?

This is a high-percentage shot as far as getting satisfaction — 100 percent, in fact, because you're not counting on anyone to get your information. And it's a high-percentage approach for coming out of it feeling good about yourself: "I got dumped, and now I'm moving on."

Leaving is all his choice, no matter how angrily you refuse to accept that. How you take it, though, is all your choice. In other words: Give grace a chance.

Anonymous: To Dumped: "I refuse to accept that I have no say in this . . ." Ack! You absolutely have no say in whom another person chooses to spend his time with. And you talk about men being controlling?

Carolyn: Indeed.

Though feelings are hurt, try to be gracious about breakup 04/25/10 [Last modified: Sunday, April 25, 2010 5:30am]

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