How to Be Dumped with Dignity

Unless you’re Miranda Kerr or another Victoria’s Secret Angel, it’s fair to say that you’ve probably been dumped at least once before. We’ve all been there. But what’s important is that you toss out the prawns you were planning to hide in his couch and bring out your inner poise. Discover how to be dignified while being dumped in this simple how-to guide.

Okay, so your fairytale romance didn’t turn out exactly the way you’d hoped. In place of a sparkling Tiffany engagement ring, there was a mumbled apology in a deliberately crowded restaurant. Your long-held dreams of a dramatic island wedding came crashing down around you. All you could think about was grabbing the butter knife and spearing it right through his…


Being dignified while you’re being dumped is hard. After all, it’s probably the furthest thing from your mind when he’s sprouting the ‘It’s not you, it’s me, baby’ line. But you can handle being dumped with dignity, and here’s how.

Don’t fight it

couple touching foreheads

After a little subtle questioning (i.e. Why the heck are you dumping me, you useless little moron?!), your newly ex-boyfriend is rattling off a list of his complaints. You don’t cook enough. You cook too much. You don’t let him watch football with his friends. You give him too much freedom. He hates the way you chew your food. You’re too refined.

And throughout all of this, you can’t help but think: I can change. After all, it’s not like you can’t change how you can chew. And if it gets your relationship on track and puts your island wedding back on the map, it’s worth it, right?


Heck no.

No matter what he says or how infuriating he is during the dumping, do not even try to argue with him. Go along with whatever he is saying (yes, even the break up) and nod your head. Sure, yes dear. Do not fight it. There will be no ‘buts’ or excuses. Just let him have his say.

Whether or not you plan on getting the slimeball back is both completely your decision and a battle for another day. Today, we just want to get you out of that restaurant tear-free and dignity bound.

So put your chin up, cloak yourself with a decent amount of dignity and let his words fly off your emotional amour.

And remember; don’t take his words to heart. He’s an idiot. He’s dumping you after all, so right now put his words into the ‘to be considered at a later less emotional date’ bucket. And then pour kerosene over the bucket and set it on fire.

Don’t rise to the bait

No relationship is perfect. Not even Brangelina’s. So while your ex-man is listing your faults, flaws and shortcomings, you may feel a little tempting to add in a few of your own.

Because the reason you don’t cook enough is because he’s never home. You never let him watch football with his friends because they turn into slobbering boozehounds that grab your ass every time you walk by. And you chew loudly deliberately, in the hopes that it will show him that talking with your mouth full is not acceptable table manners.

And sure, you’re likely to have your own arm-length list of his flaws, starting with leaving the toilet seat up and ending with his porn stash. But … it’s not going to help the situation by bringing any of this up.

It’s going to be hard not to, believe me. Because our natural instinct is to defend ourselves when we feel as though we’re being attacked. And what else is a dumping but a very public, very vocal attack? But if you manage to pipe down the defense mechanism, you’ll be able to come through this skirmish with your dignity in tact.

So instead of turning your dumping date into a verbal beating, just accept what he says (at least outwardly) and refuse to add any negativity of your own.

Be the better woman

young teen couple in conflict

Okay, so now that you’ve maintained your poise and have accepted the dumping with dignity, he’s likely to be a little miffed. Perhaps even disappointed. Because, he was probably expecting a little more emotion from you during this conversation.

His friends would have warned him of an impending catfight and he would have guarded his loins in expectation. But when you refused to rise to the bait he’s left feeling a little, well, deflated.

And this, my lovely lady, is perfect. That’s how you want him to feel. You want him to be questioning his previous opinion that you were a crazy irrational woman prone to plate throwing (yeesh, that was just once!). You want him to wonder whether he’s doing the right thing.

So in order to appease his inner worries, he’s going to get a little nasty. There’ll be a few ‘So you agree it’s your fault,’ and a couple of ‘Maybe if you’d been less/more …’

Welcome these comments. Embrace them. Because it means he’s getting seriously peeved off. After all, he’s gone to the effort of pre-thinking this dumping to be as effective and efficient as possible. He’s wasted time thinking about what to say and when to say it. And now … you’re giving him nothing.

So while you shouldn’t agree that the break up is your fault (ugh, as if), you should keep things fairly general. Say things like ‘I think that the relationship ran its course’ and ‘I think you’re right in suggesting that we go our separate ways.’

Don’t place blame on either him or you. Be general, vague, and annoyingly bright. And sit back and watch as he becomes increasingly frustrated.

Expect exaggeration

It’s now post-break up and you’re pleased to report that you didn’t cry, didn’t yell and didn’t stab him with the butter knife. You remained poised, calm and dignified.

So when your ex boyfriend arrives back at the man cave and is bombarded by questions from his bros, expect a little exaggeration. He won’t want to admit that you sat there calmly, chewing (quietly we might add) on your delicious sirloin steak.

Oh no siree bob. That’s definitely not the information that’s going to be released. Expect something more like: ‘Man, she was devastated. The whole restaurant was looking at us. She was doing that whole crying-coughing thing and begging me to take her back.’

Okay, so spare a moment to make a voodoo doll version of him and stab it with a few pins. It’s low, unchivalrous and petty that he exaggerated your behavior. We know.

But just like you could pick out when he was lying a mile away, so can his friends. They’ve spent years listening to him exaggerate about his basketball scores and his performance in the bedroom. They know when he’s talking sh*t, so don’t be too concerned that they’ll believe what he says. And even if they do, well, who cares?

After being in a relationship together, you’ll probably have some mutual friends. And likely, these mutual friends will feed information and things he’s said back to you. So expect the worst. And then, handle it with dignity.

Shake your head, roll your eyes and toss your hair, but do not say a bad word about him. Do not tell anyone that you want him back. Just tell them to take their information with a grain of salt and say that you’re so glad that stage of your life is behind you.

Then, move the conversation to something else. Don’t dwell on the topic of your failed romance. Act and behave like your ex is exactly that, your ex. Give them the impression, even if you spend evenings spooning ice cream directly out of the tub, that the break up has not affected you. You’re calm, dignified, and completely over it.

Don’t trash talk

man in bar drinking beer

Okay, now you’re really annoying him. Not only did you handle the break up with ease, but now you’re refusing to even defend yourself against his claims that you cried so hard you pooped yourself? Did the relationship mean nothing to you?

Cue evil laugh.

One of the side effects of handling being dumped with dignity is that he won’t. He’ll be so set on proving that he was right in instigating the break up, that he’ll forget to act like a decent human being. *

There’ll be trash talk in abundance. He’ll be breaking open the safe of secrets and airing your dirty laundry for the whole world to see. Suddenly, you’re hearing that he’s calling you all sorts of nasty names and telling people intimate details of your relationship.

While this is certainly less than ideal, it should be expected. Like we said before, if he’s stupid enough to break up with you, then he’s clearly a few cells short of a battery.

So, true to form, you should handle this with dignity. Don’t trash talk him to mutual friends, or even just to your friends. Sure, you and your BFF can have a regular ‘we hate the ex’ party, but outside of this inner circle, your lips are sealed.

Be better than him. Because after all, you don’t know who out there is watching your behavior with interest.

It could be that the way you handle your break up is the opening for Prince Charming to ride in on his white steed.

Handling a break up with dignity doesn’t just leave you with the upper hand; it also helps you to be emotionally mature about the end of a relationship. You’ll move on faster and burn fewer bridges along the way.

So as a wise woman once said, keep your chin and standards high, and your heels higher

* Note: He might actually act like a decent human being during the break up process and make everything much, much easier. If so, then praise the heavens that you made such a good choice in boyfriend material in the first place. And even if you’ve now broken up, be thankful for the time you shared together.

About the author

Cassandra Lane

While Cassandra readily admits to being a rampant cupcake aficionada (how could she not be with an almost-brother-in-law that owns not one, but three cupcake shops?) she happily works off her lust of all things sweet and sugary by slogging it out in the gym and outdoors.

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  • This was brilliant! Thank you so much! I did several things mentioned earlier this year and it made me laugh to read this article because now I realise how he must have felt :)