Reader, he dumped me must surely be four of the happiest of words in the English language.
Stay with me.
For there is a stringent mathematical reasoning to what I’m about to say.
Having spent the last few years working on a novel all about the comedy (yes, comedy!) of break-ups, I’ve become something of a connoisseur on the matter. And I can honestly confirm that contrary to received opinion, being dumped is far, far greater thing than being the dumper. So if you’re currently mourning a break-up that wasn’t your decision, and you’re about to embark on Valentines’-Day on your tod, then here’s something that might make you feel better.
Of course, it’s no picnic, being the dumpee. Someone’s just glibly ripped your heart through your bottom, and you didn’t see it coming.
But then, as time goes on, there’s something infinitely worse about being the dumper. When the grief really sets in, then boy are you in trouble. Because you have yourself to blame for the pain, on top of the pain. You’ll be like, I wish to god I could blame him for the way that I feel, but I can’t because – I inflicted this pain on myself! I’m such a dickhead!’
When you break up with someone that you still love dearly but you know it’s just not right, or you’ve suddenly realised you’re about as compatible as Gregorian chant and deep house, then…well, that’s the hardest kind of breakup ever. (Of course, if at the time of dumping, you feel no love for your ex, only hatred and utter disdain – then, you’re going to be just fine and you need not read on.)
So at the risk of going a bit Carol Vorderman on your asses, I’ve decided that what the world needs is a mathematical formula for break-ups.
Now, I’m no maths bod (as a youth I used to weep over my maths homework), but I did get forced to do a module of logic in my second year of Philosophy at university. Which consisted of breaking arguments down into their simplest forms and working things out with them. So, here is my theory of breakups presented as a Logic problem. (Eat your heart out, Prof Kripke…)
If P is pain, X is your X, and D is you, the dumper, and L is how much you love the person, then the formula for how depressed you feel (S) is as follows.*
S = (P÷ L) x D (to the power of L)
Whereas, if you’re simply dumped the formula is much simpler. It’s simply
s = P ÷ L
So, the good news is, in the long run, the value of S is always going to be lower when you were dumped. Hurrah!
Plus the fact: If you have been dumped, you won’t have yourself to blame when the inevitable game-show parade of ‘HERE’S WHAT YOU COULD HAVE WON’ starts up and they start to digitally maraud that they’ve whisked their new girlfriend away for the weekend and so on. When the ex suddenly gets their shit together and become someone else’s model boyfriend, it’s a little like when you’ve been trying to get a jar of marmalade open and one lucky bugger goes last and just gets it open. You want to shout ‘I loosened it up for them, really!’ but of course you don’t, because you’re not (that) mental.
That said, seeing your ex doing really well in Life After You is a fantastic thing because it actually means you did the right thing in ending it! Yes! Seeing the ex-love-of-your-life shine without you just goes to show you didn’t bring out the best in each other the way someone else could. Someone might be a commitment phobe with one person, and Romeo-on-heat with another. Here comes another watertight mathematical proof: every relationship we have is just a dress rehearsal, shaping you up for the right one. A training course. The only trouble is, we’ve no idea how long it’s for – or when you’ll eventually graduate with honours.
Wringing the last drop out of the mathsy theme here, my friend Rick has a theory about relationships, that they can all be classified according to different ‘sentences.’ And as you go on, many of them fall by the wayside after three months. But others, they might blossom into being either a six-monther, one year, two years, five years… or… life. Sometimes you may have a two year-er that’s ‘gone long’ or ‘gone wrong,’, but very rarely do relationships end at a different stage.
All relationships – friendly and romantic ones – are there for either a reason, a season or a lifetime. So next time you break up with someone, whether you’re the dumper or dumpee (if you’re very lucky) realise that really, all that’s happening is that you’ve lived out your sentence. You weren’t ‘lifers’.
** It feels pressing to point out now that my Logic module was over 15 years ago, and I can’t be held responsible if this is all in fact tosh.
Read some more break-up wisdom in Break-Up Club the novel – http://www.breakupclub.co.uk/<img
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