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JULY ISSUE

Inside the Mind of the Happy Dumper: How does your ex really feel about the breakup?

Every breakup is as unique as the relationship, by definition. Predicting how your ex feels about it is nearly an impossible task. However, there are signs that can give you some insight into your ex's mind.

1. Easiest is of course to just ask how he/she feels about the breakup.
If someone is leaving you, and the relationship was meaningful you have a right to know why. Who knows, it may have nothing to do with you, but if it does you can take that knowledge forward into the future and prevent future breakups from happening for the same reason. It is not uncommon for an ex to refuse a straight answer, or say "it's all me, it has nothing to do with you". Try to resist this but without being overly pushy or whiny. Try to explain to your ex in a calm and collected manner that knowing the answer to "why?" means a lot to you and you would like to learn from this experience, no hard feelings. Being mature about a breakup and keeping your cool (i.e. no hysteria, no crying, save that for a private moment) will greatly increase your chances of receiving the truth. Now one warning: make sure you are prepared to hear the truth! You may not like it, and this is likely the exact reason your ex is not willing to tell you. Let them know you do want to learn and while you may not want to accept it at first, you will take this knowledge about your relationship with you into the future. This of course also opens the potential for clearing up misunderstandings; if you are in a relatively short relationship and your partner is calling it quits, then the likelihood of this being based on a mistake or a misunderstanding can be fairly large. If they have the guts to tell you, which largely depends on how you handle to news and how you approach your loved one, you may in some cases be able to prevent the breakup if it is based on such a misunderstanding.
2. Do you bump into your ex out with other people shortly after breaking up?
Either you were in a very short term relationship where the "L-word" may not even have come up yet, or your ex has gotten over you very quickly, or he/she is on a rebound. It is hard to tell which one is the case, however generally when breakups occur in a long term relationship they are hardly ever overnight decisions. The person breaking up has been pondering over the possibility of life without you for probably a considerable amount of time, and as a result they mostly likely went through the different breakup stages before even breaking up with you! Going out with other people is in that case not a sign they didn't love you, it is merely a sign that they made a very well thought out and calculated decision to end the relationship and managed to work through their grief a while ago. Even those who break up often suffer from grief and many still have strong feelings for their former partners. Often breaking up is based on a belief that you are in some fundamental way incompatible, or do not have a potential future together. That does not mean there was no love involved. The best thing to do is to approach the situation with an open mind and perhaps ask in what areas your partner saw incompatibilities. By pointing them out, they may be more obvious to you as well and this may make it easier for you to move on.

3. Your ex does not show a care in the world, and perhaps even broke up with you by email or over the phone.
These can be signs of both not caring, or just being scared of your reaction. Entertain the thought of both possibilities before judging your ex, and try to determine if your ex would have a good reason to be scared of your reaction. Did he/she avoid conflict during the relationship as well? Have you reacted overly strongly to something they said in the past? These can all explain why your ex may come across as uncaring. If you are hurt, it could help to tell your ex in a civil manner and asking for a personal conversation to get some closure. There is no point fighting the breakup; if their decision is made, it is made and no amount of hysteria or emotional blackmail will bring them back. So avoid statements like "you've ruined my life" and "I cannot live without you", because you were perfectly fine before meeting this person and you will be fine again when your heart gets a chance to heal. Holding on to old relationships will not help you move forward, and if this person truly did not care then you are much better off without them anyways. This may sound hard when you are in serious emotional pain, but with time you will hopefully realize you were better off without them.

Breaking up always hurts, but when you take something positive from the relationship with you, you honor your time with that person and you can see this relationship for what it was: a valuable experience.

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