Do Dumpers Experience Separation Anxiety?

Separation anxiety after the breakup is often misunderstood and thrown around like it’s an extremely common breakup symptom.

To be fair, it is pretty common, just not with dumpers. Dumpees are the ones who grieve and experience anxiety due to the sudden termination of their relationship. They are the ones who get abandoned, mistreated, belittled and disrespected so they are the ones who experience a rollercoaster of separation anxiety.

The main reason why dumpees experience separation anxiety is because they care and want a future with their partner.

The first 7 days are the worst as the anxiety is at its highest. It can feel close to the effects of drug withdrawal or exactly like it. This is because the bond that gets severed with the separation comes to an abrupt end, forcing the dumpee to go cold turkey.

In this article, we’ll put separation anxiety under the microscope and discern what’s really going on with dumper’s emotions after a breakup.

dumpers separation anxiety

Symptoms of separation anxiety after a breakup

Separation anxiety is usually associated with children, but adults experience it as well. It normally occurs when a person is separated from his or her partner for any reason and gets overwhelmed with anxiety as a result.

Breakup separation anxiety entails:

  • immense fear of being alone
  • uncontrollable worry and anxiety
  • distress from a lack of control (i.e. not knowing where the partner is and who he or she is with)
  • becoming lost and disoriented
  • imagining the worst things happening
  • losing trust in his/her own capabilities
  • losing the ability to function independently

Do dumpers feel separation anxiety?

Contrarily to dumpees, dumpers don’t care enough, hence why they usually don’t experience much (if any) separation anxiety. They instead feel sad and guilty for putting their ex through a lot of pain. If you ask me, that alone is enough. As long as dumpers feel something, you can be certain that they care.

It may not be sympathy or full-on regret, but at least they often feel guilty for leaving their (long-term) partner.

Dumpee separation anxiety

You may want your ex to experience separation anxiety, fear and pretty much what you go through, but that just won’t happen. Dumpers simply aren’t emotionally invested anymore.

It’s like asking a stranger you just met to cry over your recent misfortune and expect him or her to be empathetic and understanding.

Now, by no means is your ex-partner a stranger. It’s just that he or she is no longer concerned about you to that degree. As dumpers often state, “It’s not my problem.”

This detachment doesn’t occur overnight as some dumpees confusingly proclaim. The breakup may have occurred out of nowhere, but it was definitely planned. This is true for at least 99.9% of all breakup cases.

Your ex has been preparing to deliver the news to you for ages (or at least long enough) to feel happier to leave the relationship than to stay in it and fight through repulsive emotions.

Yes, repulsive emotions are what prevent the separation anxiety from occurring after the breakup with dumpers. The newly-created emotions of revulsion back up the rational decision and create an intense desire for separation.

In other words, your ex’s hatred tank filled up to the maximum and he or she, as a result, needed to run away as soon as possible—as fast as possible.

What about the dumpers that feel separation anxiety?

Some dumpers do, however, experience separation anxiety to some degree. They suffer mainly from a lack of activities, friends or things going on in their lives.

The ones that sit at home and quite frankly, don’t do much with their lives will get to the regret and sadness stage of a breakup for the dumper nearly instantaneously. They will experience the separation anxiety after the breakup and feel miserable as a result.

Dumpers who experience separation anxiety are usually the ones who:

  • were diagnosed with anxiety disorder, social anxiety, personality disorder, panic disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder.
  • were forced to break up because of disapproving families
  • broke up in the heat of the moment
  • rebounded with the wrong person
  • broke up for little reasons or because of rumors
  • separated due to distance alone
  • left the relationship because of depression or mental illness
  • lack the self-esteem and confidence to undergo the breakup
  • still loved the dumpee but didn’t think it would work

Those dumpers who leave their long-term partner for another person usually don’t suffer from separation anxiety. Rebound relationships make sure of that as they provide the dumper with immediate comfort and security.

Monkey-branching to a new person can be a short-term solution to avoid separation anxiety as a dumper (especially if the dumper isn’t over the dumpee yet). In most cases, the separation anxiety is prolonged until the day the rebound relationship comes to an end.

Once the new romantic relationship comes to an end, the dumper is then hit by waves of anxiety (just like the dumpee right after the breakup) and has to deal with rejection or failure of two relationships.

Anxiety after a rebound

That’s when the fear and anxiety finally set in, wounding the dumper severely—causing him or her to run back to the dumpee and profess his or her immense love.

Gradual breakup vs sudden breakup

Anxiety levels are at their worst when the breakup is so unpredictable it ends up shocking the dumpee or the dumper. That’s why sudden breakups are way more painful than breakups that you can see coming from a mile away.

Since sudden breakups (figuratively speaking) tear your heart out, they coincidentally, cause the most separation anxiety.

The uglier the way in which a person is abandoned and the worst he or she is treated after, the more devastating the post-breakup pain and separation anxiety get.

This unbelievable pain of the separation anxiety is the reason why many people are so afraid of getting involved with another person again.

If you are one of these people, try not to be afraid of loving and being loved again. Just because your ex made you feel worse than a bug, doesn’t mean the next person will.

But before you start dating someone else, I’d advise you to work on improving your self-esteem. If you do this right, a gradual or an unpredictable breakup won’t affect you to such degree again.

3 Stages of separation anxiety for the dumpee

Separation anxiety mainly happens to dumpees so I will write about the following stages from the dumpee’s perspective.

Here are the 3 stages of separation anxiety in adults.


The first stage of separation anxiety is the withdrawal stage. In this stage, the dumpee suffers from various mental and physical withdrawal symptoms. These symptoms include headaches, nausea, panic attacks, lack of appetite, chest pain, vomiting, diarrhea…

This stage is the worst because the dumpee often experiences so much pain that he or she ends up completely drained of energy and loses weight, as a result.


Following the withdrawal is the grief stage of separation anxiety. During this stage, the dumpee regains his or her composure and gets his or her appetite back. Weight naturally starts coming back on and the dumpee enters a stage of depression.

Feeling down and depressed are the predominant types of moods dumpees usually experience in this stage.


In the last stage of separation anxiety, the dumpee is recovering and leaving his or her predicament behind. Every now and then, the dumpee gets hit with anxiety caused by emotional setbacks and wishes that he or she would start feeling better already.

Separation anxiety VS Elation

Dumpees feel unbelievable separation anxiety due to the breakup. Dumpers, on the contrary, experience very tiny amounts of this symptom. Instead, their worst enemy is regret, guilt, shame, and revulsion.

In all honesty, I’m not sure why people talk about dumpers getting hit by separation anxiety. Most of the time, it just doesn’t occur or if it does, it happens for a very short time (a few days).

I believe people assume that since they are the ones suffering from separation anxiety, their dumper ex must be hurting well. If only it were as simple as that.

If you’re hoping your ex is suffering as much as you are, then I can tell you right now that your ex isn’t even in 1/10th of a pain you are. You are the one in pain and your ex is likely on cloud 9. This, of course, depends on how long it’s been since the breakup.

But don’t worry, dear friend. Your ex has already ordered his or her karma delivery. It’s already on its way. All you need to do is start moving on so that when it finally comes knocking on your ex’s doors, you can bask in justice.

karma with ex boyfriend

When you forget about your ex and finally move on, it’s your ex’s turn to get off his or her high horse. That’s when your melancholia and your ex’s elation will switch around.

You will become happy to be alive and your ex anxious and miserable.

Karma works mysteriously, but don’t become obsessed with it. Simply let go of your ex and focus strongly and solely on yourself.

Did your ex experience separation anxiety? What did your ex do post-breakup that proves or contradicts this article? Comment in the comments section below.

7 thoughts on “Do Dumpers Experience Separation Anxiety?”

  1. I and my ex broke up about 2 months and 12 days ago because she was not showing any interest and make a very less time for me when I asked her friend that if she is the one who tell her to breakup with me so my ex asked about this to me and I said I was just asking so she said everyone is against me and everyone is asking her to leave me than I asked should I talk to her parents she said then we’ll going to breakup and instantly I messaged her mom and over the phone she said how many times should I tell you that I am not interested in this relationship since than we didn’t had a word with each other.She is telling everyone about the mistakes I’ve made in the past and talking about me and my family badly and she told one of my friend that she got a proposal in her institute.We had a relationship for about 4.5 years will she ever come back?

    1. Hi Aman.

      She probably won’t be back.

      There are too many disapproving third parties. I doubt you want to feel unwelcome if she did somehow come back.

      I wish you the best recovery,

    2. Hi zayn.
      My ex broke up with because his parents forced him to. He puts all the blame on me, i was the one who exposed fights to his family. Its been 3 months, he moved on. Whenever i tried to contact he misbehaved and blocked me. Why do you think he is doing all this? We were together for 5 years and he had feelings for me

  2. Hi,
    My love interest walked away and I texted her to which she acted distance so I went no contact instantly.She started putting social media stuff with another guy,Who is a clingy doormat.After 45 days she came back,But I just felt that she has come for something else and not genuine attraction or care for relationship.She use to message me every 4 weeks to which I just acknowledged.So last month it was her birthday I sent her a message which she didn’t open till yesterday(45 days after) and she keeps stalking me everywhere.What should be done,How to know when someone contacts is from genuine interest and not for closure?

    1. Hi ANKITTivrekar.

      That’s a very good question.

      I suppose it’s difficult to know what her intentions are right away. But the longer you observe her actions and the more you speak to her, the sooner her behavior will make sense.

      It also depends on the intensity with which she comes back. If she comes back at the speed of light, then it’s clearly for the wrong reasons.

      Best regards,

  3. Hi Zan,
    Almost exactly a month ago (June 7th) my bf and I got into a quarrel because he came to visit me that evening, but seemed to be moody. I asked him why he was feeling moody and he began to get frustrated at my attempts to just make him talk about whatever was upsetting him. A few days prior to this he expressed to me that recently he has become unhappy with himself career-wise (we are both undergrad students), and he explained to me that he was disappointed he had not gotten a summer internship, and felt as though he was not accomplishing anything. With this in mind, when he came to visit me and was in a bad mood I figured it was about this concern, so I began to ask him about it, and all my efforts to help backfired when I mentioned a company he could potentially intern with that a friend had told me about that he had already applied to. Upon me mentioning this company to him that he had applied to and been rejected by, he thought I was trying to make him feel worse (even though I had no idea that he had already tried with this company). This caused him to become very upset, and I pleaded with him to just talk to me rather than shut me out. This eventually led to a dramatic scene fo him walking out and me basically running after him and pleading with him to not walk away from me. At some point during this dramatic outburst, like a flick of a switch, he suddenly stopped saying “I love you” back to me as though he suddenly no longer felt it. The next day (June 8) I asked him to come talk with me, so he came over but was still upset that I pestered him the night before, and began saying stuff to me like “at what point are two people just too different” and that “he had never felt that angry before in his life”. After this, the next day (June 9), we had been exchanging snapchats still and in a moment of weakness I told him “I miss you”. He then responded saying I could “come over and hang out if I want”, so later that day I went over but he did not want to talk with me at all. In fact, when I went over he barely acknowledged my presence and just seemed like he wanted me to sit there next to him. This made me upset, so I left and gave him space over the next week. At some point during that week he contacted me to tell me his grandmother (who had reached an old age) had passed away so he would be going home for some time. I responded politely with condolences to this message, and gave him space for the next few days. Once I figured he had returned to school I contacted him asking to meet (June 17), and he was very distant and cold in his responses. I became very upset at some point that day and basically texted him saying that if he wanted to just breakup with me then we do not even have to meet and talk because there would be no point. Eventually he responded saying he’d come over to talk (June 18). When he came over, he was cold at first and did not speak. I began explaining that I was sorry I had pestered him, but I was doing it from a place of love and concern for him, not to hurt him. I asked him how he wanted to move forward and after lots of hesitation he told me he wanted to be alone right now, and that he does not understand his emotions, and that he talked to some people while home and they were shocked to hear that he had gotten angry (he normally is a very emotionally stable person, and never gets mad or overly emotional about anything). He told me that even I had been saying he had become less patient recently, and he seemed to be associating me with all of these emotions that are uncharacteristic for him. I made it clear to him that I know I was not the sole cause for his emotions, and he agreed to that as well. He seemed to feel strongly about his decision for space. I was a bit confused because he did not show up to my room with a bag of my stuff that he has at his place, so I asked him straight-forwardly if he wanted to just break-up. At this point he warmed up a bit seeing that I was keeping calm and level-headed. When I asked, he responded saying “we don’t have to call it anything”, implying he did not want to call it a “break” because he said he “did not want me to feel like I was being dragged along or feel hopeful”, but he did not want to break it off clean. He asked where I put all my pictures of us and where the gifts he had given me had gone as though I would have kept them all out and nothing was wrong. He even at some point called it “a sabbatical”, instead of normal terms like “break” or “breakup”. It is as though he wanted me to be a backup option, but wanted to take the guilt off himself by telling me he wanted me to be happy regardless and move on and not wait for him. He was giving me a hug and being warm towards the end, and said I could move forward however I wanted, and if he comes back then it is up to me to say yes or no. It’s also worth mentioning that I asked him if there was someone else and he said no (I believe him), and I made it clear to him that our relationship would be done for good if he did move on to someone else and he agreed. Towards the end I felt a slight sense of urgency to cling onto whatever I could, so I told him to check-in with me after one month to see if he would want his t-shirts back or something. Basically I was scared we would never talk again (even though I actually asked him that and he said “he highly doubts we would never talk again). He kept saying things like “if it’s meant to be, it will be”, and in 2 months if we wanted to get back together we could, and such things.
    Since then I maintained a solid no-contact for 2.5 weeks. On July 4th I had a moment of weakness, so I sent a snapchat to him and we engaged in a brief conversation. Instead of responding to his last snapchat on July 4th, I texted him on July 5th and we had a very spaced out brief conversation that day as well, but both conversations were completely unrelated to our relationship status and I did not come off as needy. He did not respond to the last message I sent (it did not really warrant a response though). So since then I have not been sending any follow up messages. I figure at this point I should begin indefinite no contact, but I struggled with no contact a lot initially. I was a bit clingy in the relationship (it has been 1.5-2 years since we began dating), but mainly because this is my first serious relationship. We are both 20 years old and have two years left at the undergrad college we are at. It seems like I am the only one going through any pain because he has diplomatically made it so he can have me as a backup. How do I show him I am not just a backup option for his to take his time to come back to IF he chooses?

    1. Hi Gigi.

      Your ex is not experiencing the kind of pain you are because he had emotionally disconnected a while ago. He’s experiencing repelling feeling while you are going through attracting ones. It’s just one of those things that breakups create.

      To show him you’re not a backup option, you must enter indefinite no contact and stick with it until the end of time. He doesn’t want to be with you right now so you need to respect that, as well as yourself.

      You can’t reason with him, nor can you crawl back into his life. For some reason, he gave up so you need to give up too. I suggest you try to figure out what went wrong and work on your shortcomings. You’re young, so there must be plenty for you to correct and better about yourself. This is the time to do it.

      He’s cold and distant because he doesn’t want you near him. You shouldn’t want to be near him either, so wait for him to process his post-breakup emotions and message you on his own terms.

      If it happens in the future, it will happen because something changes on his end. And if it doesn’t, then you will have moved on properly with the help of no contact and meet someone who can dedicate his time to you.

      Best regards,

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