Adapted from a recent online discussion.
Question: I'm a late bloomer weathering my first breakup, and am curious to know your take on breakup etiquette, not for the dumper, but for the dumpee. What constitutes good dumpee conduct in terms of what is expressed to the dumper, and when it's expressed? Is the question even relevant when (sometimes justifiably) hurt or angry feelings are involved?
Answer: The question is at its most relevant when there are hurt or angry feelings involved, since we need far fewer civility guidelines when we're feeling calm and at peace.
It's hard for me to say what "good dumpee conduct" looks like for your situation when I don't know what happened between you. But, I think you'll be OK with these general guidelines: saying thank you for any candor that isn't plainly intended to wound; not trying to score points (including but not limited to lashing out, trashing Dumper to anyone who will listen, seeking vengeance); not begging to reconcile; and never drunk-dialing. Accept the breakup as fact, and gracefully look forward.
Reader comment: The best advice I ever got on this was from my best friend's mother: You can act in a way that makes them glad you are gone, or in a way that makes them think of you fondly. Stake out your ground on the high road, and do not let it go.
Answer: Nice, thanks.
Reader comment: It is OK, though, to calmly call bull on them if it is justified. For example, the "It's not fair to you"/"I don't have enough time for you"/"You are too good for me" type of lines. It is totally OK to say, "I'm happy in this relationship; if you are not, that is on you. Don't put it on me."
For what it's worth, I was almost always the dumper. The first time I was the dumpee was the greatest, most freeing, least painful breakup I'd ever experienced.
Answer: Understandable, since getting hurt can be far easier to live down than hurting someone else, but it's definitely a your-mileage-may-vary proposition.
Reader comment: Facebook makes the temptation for bad dumpee conduct much greater. If you can, take a break from FB for a couple months, or at least use the "I don't want to see this" feature.
Answer: Whenever you're feeling raw and/or impulse-control-challenged, going on a social-media diet makes sense - unless, yes, you make good use of filters.