Friday, March 9

Would you rather...

Hello, everyone! I'm Jennifer Lynn Barnes (also known as "Jen"), the author of GOLDEN and TATTOO, as well as the upcoming PLATINUM and THE SQUAD. I'm 23, wrote my first book as a teen, and enjoy long walks on the beach and candy with high sugar content. I'm currently single and just finished reading AN ABUNDANCE OF KATHERINES by John Green, in which the main character, Colin Singleton, tries to develop a mathematical theorem that predicts which of two people will ultimately break up with the other one, and when. Colin theorizes that there are two kinds of people in the world: dumpers and dumpees, and all of this dumping talk led me to a simple, twisted conclusion.

I'm pretty sure I'd rather be dumped than dump someone. This is a sad fact about my personality that often leads to me sending subtle (and not so subtle) subliminal messages to my boyfriends that they should dump me, after I've started entertaining the idea of breaking up with them. I have only managed to successfully pull this off once, with my first boyfriend. We were sixteen, and about the time we hit the two month mark (which seems to be the point at which my relationships often nose-dive), I started getting really busy, and then I just started thinking that maybe, if I stayed busy enough, he'd break up with me. And it actually kind of worked- he mentioned that I was really busy, I agreed, he said "so maybe we should..." and I filled in "break up," and he said, "yeah," and then we immediately became really good friends with no post-break up awkwardness at all.

I have since learned that this was nothing short of miraculous.

The rest of my break ups haven't been quite so smooth- probably because I'm not that smooth. I just hate hurting people, and in my search for a way to break up with someone without hurting their feelings, I end up doing something ridiculous, like telling my end-of-high-school sweetheart that he was a great guy who should go "be a stud with the girls at college," when what I was trying to convey was "I think we should see other people." I'm still hanging my head in shame over that one. I am a bad, bad dumper.

I have suspicions, though, that I might be an okay dumpee. Granted, I don't have a ton of experience with it, but still, I think I could totally do the moping, going around in pajamas, listening to angry girl music, eating ice cream out of the carton with my friends thing. I'd be good at that. I'm just not so good at watching someone I care about cry and knowing that I'm the reason. I'd rather be hurt than hurt someone else; ergo (to put this in mathematical terms):

Jen's Theory of Dumpingness
being dumped > dumping someone else

Of course, I should add:

Corollary 1
not being dumped OR dumping someone else (aka "happy relationship") > being dumped > dumping someone else

And then there's:

Corollary 2
Dumping someone who really deserves to be dumped > being dumped > dumping someone who is relatively innocent of wrongdoing

It's all very complicated (and not nearly as mathematical as Colin's Theorem!) What about you guys? Would you rather have your heart broken or be the heart breaker?


Lauren Baratz-Logsted said...

I'd rather have my heart broken than break one. The guilt kills me too much! Oh, and I enjoyed Abundance of K's too.

Alex Richards said...

I definitely hear what you're saying about preferring to be the dumpee so you don't have to hurt someone's feelings. The look on the guys face (except for the one time I did it over the phone--oops!) is always heartbreaking.
But, I also have major anxiety issues and sometimes panic attacks, so being dumped out of the blue can be severely jarring/scarring! Ice cream and angsty music can help, but the sense of doom and self-degradation are too much for my little heart to bear.
Seriously, though--dumper or dumpee... it kinda sucks either way!

Alyson Noel said...

In seventh grade I stuck a note in his locker explaining how it was probably better if we just "stayed friends."
We didn't . . .

Kelly Parra said...

I'm sorry, I'm all for being the dumper, unless I totally liked the guy as a friend and yeah, didn't want to hurt his feelings, so sure dump me. :)

But this leads me to my first major high school crush, who strayed from our little relationship. I was heartbroken and even though I did the dumping, I think I was ultimately dumped first = heartbroken status.

A very sad, sad time which resulted in lots of sad, sad music in room, by myself, and candy. Lots of candy! :) :)

WendyToliver said...

Like you, Jen, I wish I could say I am a dumper type. But nope, seems like whenever I was ready to call a relationship quits, I'd send hints and hope he'd break up with me. If it took him too long, I got pretty good at playing the Girlfriend from Hell. Then, when it finally happened, it didn't hurt so much and I'd get over him relatively quickly. Of course, I'll take any ol' excuse to eat ice cream out of the carton! :)

bevrosenbaum said...

Back in h.s. I was always the dumpee, for the same reason you mentioned plus insecurity. (There's always that worry: what if I never find another person to love me? I needn't have feared. I've been happily married for many a moon!) Great post!

Lisa Asanuma said...

From my small experience, I'd prefer being dumped than dumping. I've had some bad experiences dumping. My first "boyfriend" was kind of a mistake all the way around, and I knew it, and he didn't, but I felt so guilty over not wanting to be with him that I was with him for about a month before breaking it off... and I didn't do the best job of it.

Erica Orloff said...

OK, so the first guy I majorly dumped went out a day later and joined the Navy. So dumping has been . . . filled with messy stories like that for me. Guy runs out and gets tattoo. Guy runs out and does something stupid and gets arrested.

But the one time I was dumped it was a truly horrible heart-breaking experience that took me FOREVER to get over. So despite the whole guy-joining-the-Navy thing, I think I would go for being the dumper. And hopefully I am wise enough now to do it more gracefully so no one joins the armed forces.

Sara Hantz said...

Good question. I've been both and neither are great. My trouble is I've always avoided confrontation, which makes being a dumper very hard.

I have taken the cowards way out in the past and got someone to do it for me....

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