Getting over getting dumped

Published: January 8, 2009 | Last Updated: January 8, 2009 By | 15 Replies Continue Reading


Dear Dr. Levine,

I’m so glad I found your blog –it seems there are many resources for how to break up with friends, but very few for the friends who get dumped! Your blog addresses both sides of the issue, for which I am thankful.

The first (and only) time I’ve been dumped by a friend happened over a year ago, but I’m still not over it. We were close friends in high school, then drifted apart as she went to a conservatory to study music and I went to a university to major in psychology. We talked mostly online, but it was usually her talking about music, rehearsal, theory class, etc; we didn’t really have much in common anymore.

One day, I made a stupid, tactless joke while we were chatting online; she signed off, offended. I felt immediately remorseful, so I emailed her an apology right away.  However, she ignored me for 3 months afterward; the only contact I had from her was when I was back home for break and invited her to lunch (She said she had food poisoning). Finally, my boyfriend (a mutual friend) contacted her to demand that she let me know where things stood. She emailed me the next day to end the friendship, and I was blown away by how unhappy she was with me.

She told me that for some time now, she had felt I was looking down on her, and she accused me of putting my friends down so as to make myself feel better, along with many other hurtful things. I was upset since I’d never meant to make her feel this way, but I was also confused as to why she’d never said anything to me before if she’d been upset for so long. My boyfriend later told me that she also confessed to him that she’d had feelings for him for a long time (which she also never told me; in fact, she was the one who set me up with him).   

I never emailed her back because I didn’t trust myself to stay calm, plus she said she never wanted anything to do with me again. The thing is, I can’t get over her. There are so many things I want to tell her, but I feel there’s no use in telling her now since it’s been so long. She never unfriended me on Facebook, and even though I know I shouldn’t, I look up her profile constantly to see what she’s up to.

I’m just so shaken that I never noticed her resentment. I find myself questioning whether any of my friends really like me, or if they too are secretly tired of me. I hesitate to celebrate any of my accomplishments with my friends for fear of coming across as boastful or snobby. I even fret about winning too many scrabble games! My boyfriend says that it was mostly her insecurity and jealousy that brought this on, not my behavior, but I just don’t know anymore.

I don’t know how to get past this. Should I delete old emails? Unfriend her on Facebook?  I don’t know how to stop thinking about it!  

Still Hurting


Dear Still Hurting:

I agree with your boyfriend: Your ex-friend seems to be very insecure and it sounds like she was jealous of you. First, she betrayed you by telling your boyfriend about her feelings for him. Then she seized upon your “tactless joke”—for which you later apologized—as an excuse for ending her friendship with you without giving you any chance to redeem yourself. My guess is that she was feeling too uncomfortable to sustain her relationship with you.

Given these circumstances, you should be angry with her rather than hurt. You should immediately defriend her—and do everything else you can to get her out of your consciousness. You certainly shouldn’t be tracking her status on Facebook or be reading her old emails because she’s made it clear that she doesn’t want to have a relationship with you.

You were dumped and the loss of any long-term friendship is very painful, especially when the decision to end it has been one-sided. Try not to use this fractured friendship as a yardstick for others. Hopefully, you will learn to trust again and your trust won’t be broken.


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Comments (15)

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  1. xiaoeee says:

    The only good way to get over getting dumped is to let yourself to keep being dumped. You will adapt to it and it won’t affect you at all in future.

  2. Anonymous says:

    I agree lending friends money can create problems. I don’t agree that EVERYONE can “learn to help themselves.” Sometimes, shit happens to people. Hardships. It’s not always a “just pull yourself up by your boostraps” deal. People have helped ME in my life: career, jobs, housing. Not money. But just helped. Lent a hand. I’ve tried to pay it back myself in life. We’re not all islands unto ourselves. There is one philosophy about life being a community of people helping people. As for lending money or things to friends, sure, it can create a lot of problems. But in my view, making them “not learn to help themself” isn’t necessarily one of them.

  3. sepulveda says:

    Lesson learned: let people do for themselves when it comes to money, or things. Buying or “helping” them financially tends to make the other person stay in the ‘place’ they are, needing help when really, they can learn to help themselves. By helping someone like that, you’re not really helping them–you’re encouraging their dependence on you. However, what your exfriend’s sister said to you was inexcusable.

  4. Anonymous says:

    I recently lost a very good friend, for weeks i had tried to get ahold of her but she would not respond, and then one day i texted her saying “hows it going”, it took 5 hours for her to respond, but when she did she said she was ending the friendship, because she thought we had nothing in common, but for the almost three years that we had been friends i thought we had much in common, such as movies, tv, education, the list could go on, and in the past i had done things to help her and her family, took her and her brother to movies, went with her to take her father to doctor appointments, and then when i told her that she had done what she had told me to fix over a year ago and i did and how i felt about what she said, she said she was cutting all communication with, and not shortly after her older sister responded to me and said such horrible hurtfull things, she called me a backstabbing piece of s*&t, and that i should go to hell and burn, i wanted to respond but thought i should be the better person and left it and said nothing, and the fact that she could not respond by calling but texting on a phone that i had helped her get due to her families financial situation, at this point I’m at a loss and just want to move on.

  5. Anonymous says:

    When one of your so called “friends” disrespects you in such a callous, humiliating and demeaning fashion, I’m a strong believer in retaliation and pay back.

    Face it: This asshhole was never your friend in any way, shape or form.

    They simply had deluded you into a slavish and supine position to be feeding their sick ego trip at your expense.

    Now, it’s time to feed your ego trip..

    Think it’s petty? Not at all.

    Retaliating against these bastards is good for your self esteem.

    Number 1: It will help you get some closure on all the time and effort you wasted investing in the false and phony relationship they conned and seduced you into while they played you for a naive ass and a gullible fool.

    By hitting them back hard – you are demonstrating to your own ego mechanism that fucking with you and burning you exacts a price… a high price. This instills a sense of personal value.

    This is not about them. Who cares about these scum? They’re vermin. Don’t worry about them. Haven’t you wasted enough emotional energy on that?

    Now- It’s about your healing process.

    And there’s nothing more healing than getting back at these scumbags and making their callow, miserable and narcissistic lives a living hell.

    Go to Google and search for articles on “payback”.

    There’s lots of good stuff you can use to hammer their ass.

    Some of it is even legal.

    Don’t get caught.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Thank you for your kind reply. Indeed, it has been a stressful time for me. The greatest stress reliever was being able to vent to my friend, as I did for her many times. Unfortunately, that all changed abruptly.
    I think if I had done something unreasonable, it would be easier because I could just apologize. But when it comes out of the blue it just leaves you stunned.
    It would not seem so unfair if we hadn’t been friends for over 30 years….

    thanks again,

  7. Anonymous says:

    This is good advice and I have felt this way.

  8. Debbie says:

    Dear Anonymous,
    If you already tried to talk to her and reconcile the relationship and she said no then I would respect her wishes. Unfortunately, age is not a barrier against losing a friend. I do have compassion for you and it hurts. You miss her and this is understandable. You are also angry with her and this is also understandable. You are going through a stressful time and it would be nice to have her in your life. Do not let feelings of anger consume you because they can take you down a wrong path. Wish good things for her. You never know what life can bring. She may miss you terribly as well and come around.

  9. Debbie says:

    Dear Dumped,
    I feel for you. I know what this is like. I lost a friend at work and it is hard seeing the person on a regular basis. Do you pray? I found that this has helped. It still hurts though but with time it will get better.

  10. Anonymous says:

    I was dumped by my BF over 18 months ago now. The thing is that whilst I know there is no going back to her, I feel humiliated that I let myself act so needy. I think my neediness drove her away but she wasn’t exactky blameless herself. However I was so dependent on her friendship, so obssessed with her that I came across as desperate even when she treated me badly I would go running back begging for her friendship. I have had counselling which has really helped me but I still ask why did I behave so needily and make such a fool of myself. I would never do the same again and are now so scared of getting close to anyone I back off from close friendships. I still have to face her on the odd occasion due to school runs etc but she knows she always had the upper hand and called the shots.. She would’ve only had to click her fingers and I’d have run back to her. She knows this. This all leaves me feeling humiliated.

    • Fiona says:

      Hi anonymous,
      I know this is 4 years later, but I`m just wondering how you are doing now. I am in a very similar situation as you had been except my friend hasn`t dumped me yet……but I sense it`s not far off. How have you coped over this time? I really hope things are better for you now.
      Best wishes,

  11. Anonymous says:

    Over a year ago, my friend of 30 years stopped communicating with me. We used to email each other daily. I noticed that the change occurred at the precise moment her daughter returned from college to live at home and another child left for college. Suddenly, it seemed that she needed to “circle the wagons” and concentrate on her family.
    I do not have children, but was always supportive of hers- I watched them grow up, sent birthday, wedding, and graduation gifts. It was never a problem until they got older. I also held her hand through a divorce and the many health problems of her present husband. I was always there for her. I noticed that when I started caring for my elderly mother, she would not respond with kindness or support.
    The last straw was when she traveled across country to help one of her children and did not bother to call, even though she was literally in my “backyard.” When I called her on it, I just got some flimsy excuse.
    This behavior is a comple 180 from where we were. We met so many times for “girls only” vacations, etc. I cannot believe that I would get to this point in my life and not have my friend, whom I consider a sister, by my side.
    I have gone through the initial mouring, but now that life is so stressful for me as a caregiver, I wish I could still have that friendship in my life. Is there anything I can do? Should I just respect her wishes that things have changed for her? It just seems so unfair because it came out of nowhere and I did not cause this….so sad….

  12. Carmen says:

    I totally understand how you feel concerning your current friendships. When my BFF dumped me, she told me I was selfish, a know-it-all and that she thought I didn’t like her anymore because of my “new, rich boyfriend”. She also accused me of not apologizing to her when I had hurt her feelings (even though I did), she also went through a laundry list of other things she said was wrong with me, to the point that I actually started laughing at her absurdness and then I hung up on her. She then called back and left a terrible, hate-filled rant on my voicemail. She completely dumfounded me. It was out of the blue. Looking back, I can see clearly that the whole drama scene was to try and manipulate me to break-up with my boyfriend (who is my husband now) so that she could A.) go after him herself (because she did walk around in her underwear in front of him & after she dumped me even told people that he like her) and B.) because she saw my bf as a status symbol and she didn’t want me to have that status symbol, she wanted it. I think she is a narcissist and if not, she was definitely a toxic friend. I was actually ok with the friend break-up for about 6 months until I saw all the emails she was sending to our mutual friends about what a “crazy, psycho” she thought I was, to which I confronted her about. She said she was just “worried” about me. Really??!! REALLY!!! That is what really killed me. Her continued attacks on me and how she could tell people how awful I was when I was the ONLY person who would even have anything to do with her, for the most part, in our small town. But anyways, when I started hanging out with my other friends I was extremely conscience of how I was acting, instead of just being comfortable with myself and resting on the fact that I DO know how to treat friends with respect and love. And thank you to a dear friend of mine who brought me back from that low point. My dear friend let me know that I have NEVER acted the way my ex-BFF described and this friend has known me most of my life so I am inclined to believe her. And I believe that’s how you should reconcile it too, that YOU KNOW THAT YOU KNOW HOW TO TREAT OTHERS WITH RESPECT and that maybe, just maybe our ex-BFF’s are the ones with the social issues, such as “jealousy”. Of course, I am not perfect but when I do mess up, I always apologize because that’s what you should do.

  13. Anonymous says:

    Thanks for answering, Irene! I am angry with her, but I also feel guilty for not noticing how she felt –I mean, aren’t you supposed to be able to tell when something’s bothering a friend? Or is that only in the movies.
    We never fought before or even disagreed; now I hover between picking fights with people that I care about just to reassure myself that they’ll still be there, and being afraid to even disagree with new friends since I’m afraid they’ll also leave after one argument.
    I will take your advice though, and I will try to view this as an isolated incident (which it was) rather than assuming it will become the norm for all my relationships.

  14. Anonymous says:

    I got dumped by a friend of mine more about 6 months ago and for some reason I cant get over it. I still read her old email and birthday cards every now and then though I know I should delete them and throw away the cards. Because of what happened between us, I now have a mistrust of people in general.

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