Delicate Dumping Is The Latest Trend Sweeping The Dating Scene, But Is It Manipulative? Our Expert Weighs In

If you thought you'd heard it all when it comes to dating trends, we've got news for you. In fact, if we're to be realistic about the topic, it might be safe to say that we're probably just seeing the tip of a very large iceberg of all the dating trends that will eventually come to fruition. In other words, your grandkids will have their own dating trends with which to contend. Lucky them.

But because you can't have dating without dumping, just like you can't have yin without yang, we find ourselves with a little something called delicate dumping on our radar. What's interesting about delicate dumping is that it's not only a manipulative way to show someone the door, per se, but the term alone manipulates the brain into thinking it can't possibly be a bad thing. If something is delicate it's fragile, a piece of true, elegant workmanship. It's a term that certainly doesn't conjure up visions of one's heart splattered all over the floor. But one should never underestimate the lengths some people will go to in order to end things with someone they're dating or in a full-fledged relationship with — things can get brutal. Especially when you end up looking like the bad guy because you were manipulated into that position. We asked Dr. Lisa Lawless, Ph.D., C.E.O. of Holistic Wisdom, Inc to help us break down how this behavior could affect someone exclusively for

What is delicate dumping?

Picture it: You've been with someone for a while. You might be falling in love and thinking about a future with this person. Everything is smooth sailing until one day it isn't. Something has changed, but you can't really put your finger on it. You start reading into things and picking up on energy that wasn't there before. When you ask your partner about it, they say they're not sure what you're talking about. Then you decide to break up with your partner because something just isn't right and ending it seems like the best route.

Here's what possibly happened: you were the victim of delicate dumping, a technique where the person you're dating manipulates you into breaking up with them so they don't have to do it. "There is nothing delicate about delicate dumping," says Dr. Lawless. "Avoiding taking responsibility for a relationship you have committed to by either not working on it or seeking out healthy closure when it is over is unhealthy . . . When we lack integrity, we are not getting away with anything."

But not only is delicate dumping damaging to the person who has manipulated the situation, but the person who has been delicately dumped is also forced to deal with the repercussions. You've been gaslit into breaking up with someone whom you may not have broken up with if it weren't for their behavior that cast doubt on your relationship.

Why it's not the best way to dump someone

In life, accountability is king. When you have a relationship with someone, even if it's not romantic, you're accountable for your actions and how they affect people. When you actively choose the delicate dumping technique, you're not taking accountability at all. Instead, you're taking a step back and letting someone do what you're too cowardly to do.

"Avoiding our personal responsibilities often leads to complications and emotional wounding," says Dr. Lawless. "Uncomfortable, gradual neglect, as seen in delicate dumping, is a form of emotional abuse because it is intentionally causing someone pain by manipulating them. It is disrespectful and can cause mental and emotional damage." As Dr. Lawless also points out, delicate dumping isn't just immature, but a sign of low emotional intelligence because, "it inhibits one's growth as a person and sets a negative precedent for future relationships."

Delicate dumping isn't unlike quiet quitting. You've decided you're done, so you stop trying, basically forcing your boss or manager to lay you off or fire you. It's an easy out for those who don't have what it takes to stand up and tell the truth. However, for those who don't have what it takes to sit in the driver's seat of their own life, things like quiet quitting and delicate dumping might be cited as the best way to avoid confrontations and difficult situations. But respect, honesty, and open communication always trump any form of avoidance.

The better alternative to delicate dumping

Breaking up with someone isn't easy. It's painful and it's awkward. As much as being dumped sucks, it's no cakewalk for the dumper either. But that still doesn't give them — or anyone — the excuse to delicately dump someone. There are better ways to handle it. Dr. Lawless suggests planning ahead what you want to say and making sure you choose the right time and place. If you know your partner has something important coming up or is dealing with stress, wait. You don't want to drop the bomb when the timing isn't conducive.

"[When you break up with them] use 'I' statements rather than blaming the other person," says Dr. Lawless. "Say 'I feel...' or 'I think...' rather than 'you always...' or 'you never...' Be considerate and truthful about why you want to end the relationship, but stay tactful." If you're really struggling, reach out to close friends or family who can offer support and even give you the opportunity to have a few practice rounds. Reaching out to a therapist is always an option worth considering too.

‌No matter what side of the breakup you're on, it's not going to be painless. While it would be great if we could have someone do it for us, à la delicate dumping, that's just wrong. You may think you're getting away with something if you manipulate someone into breaking up with you, but ultimately, it's the cowardly way out. That's never a good look on anyone.