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Dumpers remorse is the residue of love. It’s an emotion your ex feels when they break up with you but regret it later. And while your ex feeling this emotion does increase your chances of getting them back, it doesn’t guarantee that it will happen.
Another important aspect of dumpers remorse is that it doesn’t entail the same characteristics as a typical emotion. Unlike anger or sadness, it doesn’t present itself instantly. Instead, it slithers into one’s conscious awareness subtly and gradually — in stages.
And while these stages, call them the stages of dumpers remorse, don’t unfold the same way in every situation, for every breakup is different, they do follow a somewhat predictable pattern that I keep seeing repeatedly.
Below I’ll present this pattern by describing each stage of dumpers remorse, and answer some of the most pressing questions about the topic. But first, consider the psychology of dumpers remorse, for understanding it will help you avoid unnecessary mistakes that could sabotage your chances of getting your ex back.
The Psychology Of Dumpers Remorse
If your ex just dumped you, you need to understand that you’re likely on completely different sides of the interest spectrum: their interest is at an all time low, and yours is at an all time high. In other words, you want them back, and they don’t want to be anywhere near you.
Sure, if they feel any ounce of dumpers remorse, they may move up the interest scale, toward your side. But until that happens, you must give them what they want: space.
The worst mistake you can make during any of the stages of dumpers remorse is not giving your ex space — a.k.a., chasing after them. Now, chasing can resemble many behaviours, but most commonly it boils down to initiating some form of contact, be that through a text, call or in real life.
As a rule, avoid chasing-like behaviors at all costs. They will only make your ex more hostile, angry, and bitter towards you and prevent them from ever getting to the last stage of dumpers remorse — the stage in which they begin to miss you.
Chasing-like behaviors make getting your ex back so tricky because they sub-communicate that you have low value and have nothing but the desire to rekindle a dead relationship going on in your life.
Sorry, but no one wants to date people like that. You also wouldn’t want a partner whose life revolves around their relationship. You’d want them to have friends, hobbies, a purpose, a fucking life.
You probably couldn’t respect someone who lives their life otherwise. And this is precisely your ex’s dilemma when you keep chasing after them: the more you do it, the less they’ll respect you.
If you go overboard with chasing, they may even start thinking things like, “I’m thrilled about dating all of these wonderful people, but I can also have my ex whenever I want. Great, I can have my cake and eat it too!”
You don’t want your ex to get these thought processes, for they will only lead them to lose more respect for you. And when their respect for you depletes completely, they’ll never reach the final stage of dumpers remorse. Instead, they’ll get over you, at which point getting them back becomes impossible.
And if that’s not a good reason to leave your ex alone, consider this: your ex probably left you because you kept desperately chasing after them — this is the unfortunate case for most of my readers. So how will more of the same shit lead to a different outcome?
Spoiler alert: it won’t.
No matter in which stage of dumpers remorse your ex is in, give them space (see: the no contact rule) Let them feel their emotions without unnecessary and irritating interferences. Let them start missing you and regret their decision on their own terms. Let them come back to you at their own pace.
The stages of dumpers remorse
So this is probably going to suck. The timeframe of these stages varies from person to person, and odds are, your ex may need months before they arrive at the final one in which they start to miss you so much that they reach out. Nevertheless, here’s what you can expect in each stage of dumpers remorse.
Stage 1: Certainty
At first, your ex is certain about their decision to dump you and thus feels little to no dumpers remorse. This certainty is caused and hardened by many different factors, but, for the most part, the most influential are: relationship length, relationship type, the number of post-breakup mistakes you’ve made, and your level of maturity.
Relationship Length: Was your relationship serious and long, or was it a fling? Example: It’s easier to feel little to no dumpers remorse and a lot of certainty about your decision when you dump someone you’ve been with for three weeks than someone you’ve been with for 10+ years.
Relationship Type: Was your relationship burdened with abuse, manipulation, lies, cheating (See: toxic relationships), or was it healthy and full of honesty, trust, and respect? Example: It’s easier to feel little to no dumpers remorse and a lot of certainty about your decision when you dump someone who fucked your best friend and lied about it than someone who simply wanted a bit too much attention occasionally.
Post-Breakup Mistakes: Did you make a lot of post-breakup mistakes or not? Example: It’s easier to feel little to no dumpers remorse and a lot of certainty about your decision when you dump someone who keeps chasing and begging you to come back than someone who accidentally liked one of your Instagram photos from 2015.
Maturity Level: Are you an independent, self-sufficient, psychologically resilient, and emotionally healthy person who has a life outside their relationships, clear goals, and ambition? Example: It’s easier to feel little to no dumpers remorse and a lot of certainty about your decision when you dump someone who is a slacker, has nothing going for them and is a failure in life than someone who is the opposite.
Stage 2: Relief
Regardless of what happened in your relationship, the primary motivation for your ex leaving it behind is because they were too stressed and unhappy about it — they were too stressed and unhappy with you.
Therefore, it’s only natural for them to feel relieved now that they’re out of that relationship. In fact, they often feel so relieved that they become completely unrecognizable.
A tranquil and saint-like ex could randomly become the biggest slut in town, hopping from one sweaty orgy to the next. A sinner-like ex could randomly decide to double down on his life purpose, let his old fuckboy life go, and mature into a more well-rounded and stable individual.
Generally speaking, the more outlandish and unexpected behaviors your ex picks up, the more they’re probably relieved that they broke up with you. Hence, the less dumpers remorse they feel.
And to be fair, it’s not like your ex necessarily wanted to break up; they just felt like they needed to — especially if they were an avoidant, to who independence, freedom, and space are like air, and closeness and intimacy like sticking a dick in a light socket.
Stage 3: Elation
After relief comes elation, or the “free at last” feeling. Your ex is happy, and they feel like they can do whatever they want whenever they want without any consequences. And if you’ve been a controlling and obsessive partner, they may feel even more elation than usual and, consequently, engage in even more new experiences.
Your ex may go to strange venues they’ve never been interested in before. They may date people from social groups and sub-cultures radically different from their own. They may experiment with new clothing styles and haircuts. They may try out unusual hobbies you’ve never even heard of. The list goes on and on.
There are a lot of similarities in your ex’s behaviors in the elation and the relief stage of dumpers remorse (some experts even consider them as one stage.) All of these behaviors point to one thing: re-discovery. Your ex is essentially finding themselves again.
Be sure to stay as realistic as possible during this stage of dumpers remorse and not take your ex’s behaviors too seriously. They don’t necessarily mean that they’re having a blast. Nor do they mean they’re still suffering.
More often than not, the truth is buried somewhere in the middle. Your ex may feel at peace but, simultaneously, still foster some degree of dumpers remorse and other lovey-dovey feelings for you.
Stage 4: Comparison
After your ex’s elation comes comparison. During this stage of dumpers remorse, they’ll start comparing you with their dates and flings, making them behave in various ways that convey interest.
For example, they may start checking your social media activity, blocking and unblocking you, and thinking more about you in general. They may also start going to places you went to together as a couple and remembering all the good times you shared — partly to reminiscence the past, partly to grieve.
The reason your ex starts displaying such behaviors is because they’re getting curious. And if you gave them plenty of space to grow curious, they’ll eventually even become more realistic about your relationship. They’ll figure out where they went wrong, where you went wrong, and slowly start losing their anger and resentment toward you.
For example, they could think, “My ex really did become too insecure when I was away, but he also worked on those issues with a therapist. I shouldn’t resent him so much.” Or, “My ex did tend to be too anal when it came having a spotless apartment, but she was also understanding and compassionate when I left it in chaos. I shouldn’t be so mad at her.”
Stage 5: Nostalgia
After your ex wallowed in heartwarming memories, compared you with the people they’re dating, and perhaps concluded that you weren’t as bad of a partner as they initially thought, they will begin to feel nostalgic.
As a result, they’ll start focusing less on the negative aspects of your relationship and more on the positive. Think of it as a mild version of the “pink-glasses syndrome.” (1)
Now, the rate at which your ex feels nostalgic varies. They usually begin to feel it late in the dumpers remorse process, for lack of a better term. And even then, this nostalgia only ensues in short spurts.
But if you give your ex a lot of space, those spurts will eventually grow more persistent. And after even more time and space, they’ll propel them into the final stage of dumpers remorse — regret.
Stage 6: Regret
At this stage, a sense of dumpers remorse will start to take over your ex’s mind. So it’s only a matter of time before they build up enough of it to communicate their newly realized interest.
At first, they may only begin to react to your social media posts or watch one of your Instagram stories, but later, they may shoot you an unexpected text message or even call you.
If they do reach out, however, they probably won’t directly say, “let’s get back together,” “I still love you,” or “Can I see you this week?” That’s terrifying, after all. They don’t know if you’re angry or disappointed with them and don’t want to risk rejection and embarrassment.
Your ex’s attempts at reconnecting will more likely be nuanced and indirect. They may come out and say something like, “This movie reminded me of the time we…,” or “How’s it going? I figured I’d send you a text.” or “Do you remember the name of that restaurant that we ate together for our first date… It was so magical…”
In cases like these, learn to read between the lines: your ex is giving you excuses. They’re simply looking for a reason to contact you without saying anything that’s too emotionally difficult. This is fine. Don’t hold a grudge because of it.
Just be sure that you invite your ex on a date after they’ve reached out. You’d want to make the transition from texting and calling to meeting up as quickly (but still natural) as possible. This will greatly increase your chances of getting back together.
Stop hoping your ex feels dumpers remorse
Whether your ex feels so much dumpers remorse that you manage to get back together or so little that you never hear from them again, things will get better.
Your peace of mind, confidence, pride, purpose, hope can all be salvaged. You can always rebuild a new you from the ashes of the old. You can be happy again. As cheesy as it sounds, you already have everything you need inside of you.
But before you’re able to do any of that, you must stop hoping for your ex to feel dumpers remorse. In fact, stop reading about dumpers remorse altogether. Let that be your first step to getting them back and, in general, living a good life.
And no, you don’t need to do “more research.” It’s not more research you’re doing anyway; it’s intellectualization.
You’re anxious and scared and worried about your future, so you subconsciously try to suppress and escape those feelings by acquiring new information about dumpers remorse, its stages, psychology, and timeline, through mindless research. (4)
You don’t have to do this. It’s time to stop. One article on the topic is enough. Now just let it go. Your mental health — and future self — will thank you.
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