What It's Like Getting Dumped For The First Time, According To 11 Women

by Natalia Lusinski
BDG Media, Inc.

No one likes to get dumped. After all, you may think things are going well with the person you’re dating, and then BAM. It’s over. Sure, there may have been a few warning signs here and there, but you didn’t think they’d cause a breakup. Maybe the person’s ex came back into the picture, you two had a fight and couldn’t come to a compromise about something, or the person you were seeing realized your values were different than theirs. But whatever the reason was, the end result was the same: You got broken up with, and getting dumped for the first time is often the most painful as far as breakups are concerned.

“Relationships are part of how we learn who we are and what we want — and breakups are part of package,” Dr. Kate Dow, psychologist/empowerment mentor, tells Bustle. “They are difficult irregardless of who initiates it. The challenge is having enough positive support in your life to help you from believing it’s all of your fault or you are not worthy. When we can look at relationships as experiences to grow from, rather than who is good or bad, we can reap the benefits from them, even when it included getting ‘dumped.’

Like Dr. Dow says, as bad as they are, breakups are educational. For instance, perhaps you could have been more cognizant of the red flags, and you will be for your next relationship. And if the breakup was truly a surprise, maybe the lesson was that you would never do an out-of-the-blue breakup to someone in the future. In any case, it’s probably happened to everyone at some point, so you can share your stories and comfort each other. Below, 11 women share what it was like getting dumped for the first time.


Alisha, 28

Ashley Batz/Bustle

“When I was 26, I was in a great relationship with a guy and, while it was long-distance, we talked a lot and saw each other often over six months. One day out the blue, he didn’t respond to my calls or texts for 24 hours. He later texted me saying that he had gotten drunk and had fallen asleep at a friend’s house. He told me that he wanted to talk, but that everything was fine. When we talked later that evening and he broke up with me, saying that that the more he thought about his future, the less he saw me in it. Devastating.”


Brittany, 26

Hannah Burton/Bustle

“The first and only time that I was dumped (I’m engaged now), I was 16, and it was by this guy I dated in high school. He broke up with me via text message while I was waiting in a Starbucks drive-thru with my mom! It was super awkward and I didn’t know what to do. And, even though I’m really close with my mom, I didn’t want to deal with that conversation right then and there, so the whole thing was just really uncomfortable. When I got home, I was sad for a few days, as you’d expect, but the more I thought about it, the more I was just angered by the fact that he did it via text.

To make matters worse, I had a suspicion he was interested in someone else, and this was confirmed when he started dating her only a couple of days after our breakup. Even in high school, I understood that what we’d had wasn’t that serious, and I wasn’t upset about him falling for someone else — I was more upset about him lying about it. To this day, I really don’t think he cheated or anything while he was with me, and I wish he would have just had the guts to tell me in person that it wasn’t working or that he was interested in someone else — instead of breaking it off via a vague text message.”


Anonymous, 38

Andrew Zaeh for Bustle

“I was dumped during my first year of college (when I was 18) by my long-distance violinist boyfriend. He decided he needed a lot more time for his music practice than to keep at our tough long-distance affair. It was absolutely crushing, mostly because my pride suffered tremendously. It crushed my self-esteem for a while, as I was convinced I was the love of his life. I went through a number of meaningless rebound flings, but kind of still feel that it affected much more than I led even myself to realize.”


Courtney, 34

Andrew Zaeh for Bustle

“I was dumped by the first woman I ever loved (well, I thought it was love and thought she felt it, too). I’d dated guys before her, when I was still in denial about my sexuality. I’d ended those, though, probably because I wasn’t feeling those relationships. But the woman dumping me was tough. We’d been together for about six months, and she was the first woman I’d officially been with (in every way). I was 25 at the time and remember feeling like I’d never find someone again. Luckily, I did, and live with my girlfriend now. It is possible to overcome that first breakup, but it’s definitely NOT easy at the time.”


Shaun, 40-something

Andrew Zaeh for Bustle

“I was 21 and dating a (now very famous) NFL football player. He was older than me and we had a kind of whirlwind relationship. Contrary to popular belief, he hated networking, was a homebody, and was really looking to settle down. Me, on the other hand, I was enjoying my freedom after college, I was in law school, I loved going out and meeting people, and I wanted to see the world. He told me that he loved me and I think I really did love him, but I knew that what he wanted, i.e., a stay-at home wife with no career and a life built around him, just wasn’t my dream. Needless to say, he dumped me and I was devastated.

...I was a vampire, just sleeping all day and awake at all hours of the night. Even my mom came to visit and stayed with me for a few days to get me to eat and go outside and get some fresh air. I would say it took me about three weeks to feel a little better again and, gradually, I moved on.”


Kate, 54

Andrew Zaeh for Bustle

“I was dumped by my first boyfriend, who was my first sexual experience, as well. I was 17 then and it was devastating because I tried to be strong and had waited before having sex (nine months!) to make sure he cared about me. Then we were supposed to go on this trip to New Zealand where we would be paid to play this sport together for a sponsoring beer company — I deferred my college acceptance to go. Last-minute, he said the company was having financial difficulties and only he could go. I was an emotional wreck, sad, and missing him. Then he stayed on the trip longer. I waited for him in NYC, and he told me he was with an old girlfriend. I felt enraged, worthless, and completely manipulated. I was so hurt and angry, I became self-destructive for a good while. It was a horrible imprint of how relationships are for me. It took a lot of work, years later, to see how I’d been repeating the cycle.”


Anonymous, 25

Andrew Zaeh for Bustle

“I’ve been dumped once, when I was 19, and it was one of the worst experiences of my life. I transferred colleges, and one of the reasons was to be with someone, and within the first two weeks of the semester, he dumped me like the week of Valentine’s Day. I felt like someone had hit me in the face with a frying pan and couldn’t get out of bed for two days — I had no will to do anything. On Valentine’s Day, I had an impulsive urge to see my mom, so I jumped in my car and drove four hours home. I exploded into tears when I saw her and she gave me a hug, and that was the moment that I knew it would be OK… maybe not that day, but soon. The guy ended up showing his true colors later on. He hooked up with three of my close friends in our upperclassmen years, then tried to hook up with me again in a gross way, and I can’t say I’m still hung up on him.”


Alexis, 31

Hannah Burton/Bustle

“The breakup happened just about two weeks ago... Our relationship was really amazing — we had excellent communication and enjoyed similar lifestyles, and I really believed he was ‘the one.’ He would stop by my office just to say hi and insisted on spending time with my family. Six months in, he is waiting for me at my apartment (he had a key) and tells me our relationship hasn’t progressed to the right level and he’s unsure if we should proceed. I was completely blindsided, shocked, and very hurt. He needed ‘time to think.’

After a week in limbo, I was forced to call it quits, because if he was really so unsure about me, then it was clear we no longer needed to be together. I did not want to break up in any way, shape, or form, and it was my first time experiencing something like this. We had become best friends, and so aside from the romantic aspect, I really miss our friendship, but I don’t want to be ‘just friends’ with him, so I cut off all communication. I am totally heartbroken. To make matters worse, part of my job is giving relationship advice, so I kind of feel like a fraud now because I was just so sure that my relationship was stable.”


Justine, 26

Ashley Batz/Bustle

“I was in middle school (12 years old) and I had my first boyfriend, the new kid at school... About a month or two into ‘dating’ each other, we started our spring break. I didn’t want to call him and played coy. When I returned to school excited to see him, he never showed up and no one picked up the phone upon calling his house. A week later, his neighbor, also one of my friends, said that she talked to the family and he had moved during break... to Ohio (we lived in Maryland). I felt heartbroken, and I remember telling my mom and crying for weeks about it. My parents were supportive and enrolled me in golf classes to keep my mind off of him.

I don't think I ever really felt closure until we reconnected on Facebook while I was in college. He explained how sudden his disappearance happened and how sorry he was that things ended the way it did, especially because we were so young. After all the years of not knowing why he never told me he left, it felt nice to receive the closure even a near-decade later."


Meghan, 23

Andrew Zaeh for Bustle

“When I was dumped for the first time, at age 21, I cried hysterically. It felt like this ‘great’ relationship I worked hard to maintain, and all the memories between us, were gone in an instant. I called out of work the following day because I cried all night and just questioned what I did wrong. However, being dumped made me realize that I need to love myself more and that I don’t need to have a significant other to feel fulfilled with my life.”


Lisa, 30

Ashley Batz/Bustle

"I was dumped over an email for the first time in middle school after "dating", aka talking on AIM every single day but rarely IRL, someone for eight months. They emailed me on my birthday and said they liked one of my friends instead. I remember feeling empty, sad, and unreasonably embarrassed. Thankfully, I wasn't that mortified that I couldn't talk to my friends about it. They were a great support system — and still are."

As you can see, you are not alone if you have been dumped. Although it is comforting to know it has happened to other people, too, and they went on to find happy relationships, in the moment, the pain seems unbearable. But the good news? You can — and will — definitely get past being broken up with.