5 Definitive Stages For A Dumper After A Breakup (2023)

Most of the things you’ll read on our website or watch on our YouTube channel are from the perspective of someone who was dumped, but what about the dumper?

What do they go through?

Most people think that dumpers just break up and get over it almost instantly since that’s what they wanted but that’s not entirely accurate.

Today we’re gonna talk about the five definitive stages that a dumper is gonna go through after a breakup.

We’ll dive deep into a dumper’s experience and talk about whether they flip-flop between stages and if it’s even possible to win a dumper back.

Lets begin!

5 Definitive Stages For A Dumper After A Breakup (1)

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5 Stages A Dumper Goes Through After A Breakup

Before we get into the 5 stages I want to share a quick pre-requisite:

These stages are based on research by trained professionals and the experiences of thousands of people who have gone through our ex recovery program.

Everything I say on my platforms is either grounded in research or my personal experiences of being a relationship coach for a decade.

So, these 5 stages are pretty universal.

Also, we’ll be bending the rules a bit because the stages a dumper goes through actually start while they’re still in a relationship with you.

Stage one: The intra-psychic phase

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This is basically when one or both partners begin to notice the onset of relationship problems.

Around this time your ex probably starts feeling like they can do better than you. They start to notice relationship problems such as small things about you that annoy them, and they might act irritated.

You’ll probably pick up on the emerging relationship problems as well.

It’s our experience here at ex-boyfriend recovery, ex-girlfriend recovery, and even marriage recovery that a lot of relationship problems don’t just magically appear and cause a breakup.

There’s usually some kind of build-up or prerequisite that both parties know about.

Stage two: The dyadic phase

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This is when one or both partners begin to try to fix the relationship problems which ultimately doesn’t work.

This is the “hail Mary” stage where one or both partners will do whatever possible to prevent the breakup that they feel coming up. A lot of times people who sense a breakup is about to come will come on to ex-boyfriend recovery and ask for help to stop it before it happens and honestly, once things are set in motion there’s nothing you can do to stop it.

This dyadic phase of trying to fix things is usually fruitless.

This is because in this stage people don’t actually try to solve the bigger problem, they just try to fix the symptoms, kind of like putting a band aid on a bullet wound. You’d like to think it’s doing something, but it really isn’t.

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So, phase two is all about this failed attempt to fix the problems.

Then we get to the real breakup.

Your ex has dumped you and will now go through the following stages:

Stage three: Grief

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I don’t think I need to define grief because everyone knows it’s an awful feeling but the main point I want to hit here is that BOTH parties in a breakup experience grief.

It doesn’t matter if you’re the dumper or the dumpee, you will feel some level of grief.

Obviously, no two people feel the same amount of grief or react to grief the same way, so it’ll be different for you and your ex.

You might assume that your ex will experience less grief because they dumped you but that’s not always the case.

The level of grief one feels after a breakup is correlated with their self-esteem.

So, if you have low self-esteem, you’re going to feel a lot of grief. The same goes for the dumper – if they had low self-esteem during the relationship, it will only make their grief worse.

We’ve also found that age can play a role in how long someone is bound to grief. Generally speaking, the extremely experienced and the extremely inexperienced are both bound to experience grief on a higher level than people in the middle of their romantic lives.


Well, younger people experience grief very potently because they’re inexperienced in relationships. It was probably their first big serious relationship and breakup so even if they initiated the breakup, they will still feel a lot of grief. When it comes to older people (65+), the grief is just as bad as really young people but for a different reason. For them, it may be their last chance of a long-term commitment. Realizing that they’re not going to live forever and they’ve just gone through another breakup hits them extremely hard.

The grief phase is also when the dumper will go on the rebound to mask their feelings and get over the breakup as quickly as possible.

People deal with grief in different ways like throwing themselves into work, obsessing over their past relationship, or getting into a string of new romantic entanglements to forget their old one.

According to research, distracting yourself with other people is one of the best ways to get over a breakup faster.

So, if you see your ex bouncing from new person to new person, you might think it’s because they’re already over you when in reality they may be grieving and trying to forget you.

A final note about the grieving process is that it’s different for men and women – in general, women report greater emotional distress than men after a breakup. Women are also more likely to report physical changes including weight loss or weight gain.

Remember the grieving process is when your ex’s emotions will be at an all-time high – they’ll be having emotional pendulum swings where they’re depressed one second and angry the next.

Stage four: The reattachment phase

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The reattachment phase is exactly what it sounds like – it’s that small window of opportunity when your dumper gets nostalgic and wants to go back to the way things were.

This is the only stage where you will have the luck of getting a dumper back since they’re reminiscing about the good times you had together.

Your ex is likely to take another chance at the relationship to see if things could be the same again.

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Now the paradox with that thought is that a lot of times things will never be the way they used to be. Most of the time, they’ll be disappointed when they come back to you.

That’s why it’s up to you to add a new flair into the relationship or even become someone better than you were before.

I don’t mean that you need to totally redo your personality to get your ex to stay with you. All I’m saying is that you should maximize your potential in all areas of your life so when your dumper hits the reattachment phase you can show them an even better relationship than the old one they’re longing for.

This stage is where your ex will hit you up because they want to go back to the catalyst and get a feel for what you’re up to. You might get booty calls or texts such as “I miss you” or your ex might just start acting like everything’s normal. This is your chance to build on their openness of getting back together.

Quick disclaimer: Some exes might skip the reattachment stage.

They dump you, grieve, and then decide to move on because they don’t want back in the relationship they view as toxic. While this is a possibility, it’s much more likely that your ex will go through a small window of time in this reattachment phase which is stage four.

Stage five: The acceptance phase

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This is where your ex accepts that the relationship is over.

They move on and are completely done with you and the relationship you had.

This is the most straightforward stage and at this point, the chances of getting your ex back are slim to none.

They’ve found peace in thinking that dumping you was the right decision and they’re ready to see what else is out there.

The five stages aren’t always linear

After years of coaching dumpers, I and all the other coaches have found that not all dumpers go through these stages in a linear way. People assume a dumper will just go through the stages in order, but that’s not always true.

We noticed an interesting oddity in how dumpers experience these stages and we like to compare it to a pogo stick effect: they’ll go through the first two stages in order but then pogo stick back and forth between acceptance, reattachment, and grief.

We call this the setback phase and often see it as an extension or hidden phase within acceptance. Getting over a relationship, especially a long term one, is not easy even if you were the one who decided to end it. Dumpers can often stumble back and forth through these stages as they try to move on.


Here are the 5 stages a dumper goes through before and after the breakup:

  1. The intra-psychic phase: both parties start to see relationship problems
  2. The dyadic phase: one or both individuals try to prevent a breakup… It fails and the breakup happens anyway
  3. Grief: the dumper is sad and might go on the rebound to get over you
  4. Reattachment phase: they miss what they had with you and want it again. This is the only window of opportunity to get a dumper back.
  5. Acceptance: the dumper has fully accepted the breakup and moved on.
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