THE UNBEARABLE LIGHTNESS OF BEING DUMPED (and why you’re never better off being the one to end it)

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.

Enjoyed this?
Read some more break-up wisdom in Break-Up Club the novel – http://www.breakupclub.co.uk/<img

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Follow me on Twitter @loreleimathias

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CRAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY? FEAR NOT LOVELIES, I HAVE JUST THE THING 

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Inspiration! Wallpaper from the Victor and Rolf exhibition at Melbourne’s National Gallery

What’s that you say? You couldn’t reach your front door yesterday for all the cards and presents clogging up the hallway? And you couldn’t get any work done because you kept pricking yourself on all the red red roses on your desk? I know, it was tough day for us all, wasn’t it.

If however, like most of the population that wasn’t your yesterday, then don’t worry, I have just the antidote! If you’re single and you’d rather not be…or if you’ve just finished reading Break-Up Club (ta very much!) and don’t know what to do with yourself, then I present to you the perfect follow-up: sign up to this brilliant new course called Project Love. The only possible hazard I can think of is that you may find yourself with a Wet Wet Wet song stuck in your head for about twelve weeks. I kept singing ‘Love is All Around you’ as it was written on a good few of the lesson notes. But if you can handle a bit of vintage Marti Pellow humming to you then read on…

You can’t hurry love. But you can do a 30 day course in it.

In the words of its lovely founders, Selina & Vicki, “Get Ready for Love is an online course that contains the 30 essential lessons that we’ve found to be the most effective and powerful to get you ready for love and on your way to a happy and healthy relationship.” How it works is, you get emailed 30 interactive lessons to do at your own pace, with homework to do when it suits you. I was lucky enough to try out the course, and I heartily recommend it to anyone – even if you’re already in a relationship! One of the reasons I was drawn to it is that the aims of the course are a little like those of Break-Up Club: to become happy single, because only then can you become part of a happy union with someone else. Cripes, if only Holly or any of my other characters had been on the course, the book wouldn’t have been half as long. Sorry! Anyway – once you’re done processing your break-up via the 12 essential rules, I cannot recommend Project Love enough. It makes for the perfect epilogue. Here’s a bit more about why I liked it…

You’ve got the love. Yeah, You do!

Saying ‘you need to love yourself before you can love anyone else’ has become something of a cliché these days. But the difference is, Project Love really gets you doing it, through easy, practical methods that slowly seep into your daily rituals ’til they’re habitual. The world can be a cold and lonely place sometimes if you’re not a smug married. And that loneliness goes out the window when you realise you’ve got someone there standing by you the whole time. You! 

Any fool can fall in love. But Project Love gets you falling in love the right way… into a relationship that’s built to last. And if you don’t know what the frig any of that means – do the course!

Some highlights:

  • Lucy Sheridan on ‘Comparison Coaching’ – There’s a really interesting section on how we all sometimes sabotage our own happiness by comparing ourselves to others. No thanks to Mr Zuckerberg!
  • The Dating is shit, or is it? podcast has an interesting discussion on how more often than not, heartbreak is just grief for the stories we’ve told ourselves. Without knowing it, we sometimes invent narratives about the person we’re falling for. When we break-up, we have to disconnect with that reality, and let go of ‘that individual who didn’t play to the rules of the game they didn’t even know they were playing’ – the poor little mites. 
  • Visualisations – The course explores lots of ways to get you ready for the relationship you want. Imagining what it looks like is one part of that. One exercise I found particularly powerful was when they get you to imagine it playing on a screen. It reminded me of what Holly does in ‘Break Up Club’, only she does it in a really destructive way. She plays constant re-runs of The Holly & Lawrence Show before they broke up. Numpty that she is, she’s unable to let go of the past and ‘delete the tapes’. Of course, the thing to do to help yourself after a break-up instead is this: press play on the positive images of what you’d like to see in your future, and the things that make you happy – rather than poking at the burning embers of your broken dreams. And that’s where Project Love is so helpful.
  • The Tips on dating are brilliant. I loved happiness coach Gail Schock’s guided meditation for your pre-date-jitters. That said, I must confess I still haven’t ever joined a proper dating site before because a) I just seem to always meet people IRL (what can I say, I’m chatty!) and b) every time I’ve ever briefly tried an app in the past it always seems to end up with me watching jpegs buffering of men holding dogs, and me feeling like it’s all too much ‘ladmin’ – but that’s probably just mostly down to me having a shit data package.
  • Lessons in ‘Self-Care’ – This might sound slightly wanky. But all it means is, it’s good to talk to yourself everyday in the kind of tone you would to a good friend – as opposed to a naggy-Mrs-Mangle-on-crack, which I sometimes do. Self-care also means taking yourself for a date once in a while, and nurturing yourself with daily-acts of love. Just the other day I read a really good article in Red Magazine about why we should date ourselves more. To celebrate this, for Valentine’s Day, Project Love are asking people to write themselves a Love Letter:
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Image: Project Love

Instead of making this day of love all about romantic love and focusing your attention on others that you love or lust after, we want you to turn all that love right around and in on yourself, starting with the way that you speak to yourself.  It is a life changer and key to your happiness and success.’ Check out how to write the letter, here. Of course, once again these ladies are bang on. Only last week I was listening to a Guilty Feminist podcast where Fleabag’s Phoebe Waller-Bridge did an exercise in counting how many times she judged herself in a day. And this is a writer/actor at the top of her game. See, we all do it! We all need to exercise a little more self-care. The more you do that, the more you actually get a sense that there is someone there, catching you. And that’s the breakthrough moment – suddenly you realise you’re  become the controller of your thoughts and your feelings – no one else is. That’s well worth remembering, whether you’re in a relationship or not.

All the Single Ladies

Lastly, another incentive to joining Project Love is that you get free membership to the warm, friendly community that is the Secret Facebook group ‘The Love Zone’. Take it from me – if you’re going dating (on or offline), then you need these girls in your corner.

And rosecallaghan910x380170x170bbwhile we’re at it, you also REALLY need this girl! A frigging hilarious stand-up comedian I’ve met recently in Melbourne, she’s co-host of a sassy-as-shit podcast about sex and online dating – SwipeNight. I bring you the hysterical and lovely Rose Callaghan. If you happen to be in Melbs for the comedy festival, go see!

So there you have it. Between SwipeNight and Project Love, and your old chums the BUC, you’ve got the best possible support group you could ask for as you ride roughshod through The Jungle Of Single on this, the week of Valentine’s. And who knows, with all that going on, maybe it won’t be long before you’re the proud recipient of one of these puppies:

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More Inspiration! An excellent card from an achingly cool shop in Melbourne called ‘Quirk of Fate.’ I bought one as soon as I saw it, to give to my next friend that graduates…

If you’re interested in joining Project Love just head here to sign up (and to get a  very good price discount of £20 – Just type in the code Loreleilove) – Good luck!