Being Left vs. Leaving
Let’s take a closer look at rejection and examine whether someone is a dumper or a dumpee in the divorce process. These two terms were coined by divorce expert Dr. Bruce Fisher in his groundbreaking book Rebuilding When Your Relationship Ends. “Dumpers are the partners who leave the relationship, and they often feel considerable guilt; dumpees are the partners who want to hang on to the relationship, and they often experience strong feelings of rejection,” explains Dr. Fisher. As a result, dumpees usually have a desire to work on the relationship, while dumpers are likely to feel guilty but are unwilling to make the changes needed to preserve the relationship. For instance, a dumpee might say, “Just tell me what you want me to change and I’ll work on it,” and a dumper might say, “I have to go and find myself.”
Keep in mind that the roles of dumper and dumpee aren’t always clearly defined and that sometimes they can be reversed. For instance, a partner might be told by his/her spouse that their marriage is over, and then the dumpee is the one who files for divorce. Sometimes, the dumpee simply gets tired of waiting and takes this bold step as a way to take charge of their life.
For your own sake, you need to learn to accept the breakup of your marriage and come to a place of “it is what it is.” But healing takes time and patience. Consulting a counselor, support group, or divorce coach may help to facilitate healing. Be gentle with yourself on the journey.
Looking at how feelings of rejection may be impacting your mood and attitude toward life can help you gain a healthier perspective. Are you neglecting your health, interests, family, or friends, due to grieving the loss of your marriage? It’s critical that you don’t fall prey to a victim mentality because your partner made a decision to end your relationship. Ultimately, being able to forgive yourself and your ex will help you to let go of negative feelings. Developing a mindset that you don’t have to be defined by your divorce experience can help you to heal and move forward with your life.
In the first part of this article, I offered seven ways to heal from feelings of rejection. Here’s a recap:
- Accept the fact that it’s natural to feel rejected when a relationship ends.
- Don’t take your divorce personally.
- Focus on self-love.
- Work toward forgiving your ex and yourself.
- Discover that relationships are our teachers.
- Adopt a mindset of adventure and expanding your interests.
- Cultivate supportive relationships.
Note: This is the second of a two-part article; the first part can be found here.