Being “thrown under the bus”

busThis is a common term in the dating world to express a breakup. At the end of a relationship, you are either the one being thrown or the one doing the throwing. Neither image is a pleasant one. When I suggest my sweetie is going to throw me under the bus, he cringes at the words.

Why is it that this has become such a popular term, given the violent image it conjures? It implies finality, where “He broke up with me” suggests there is chance for reconciliation.

Consider what other terms for a breakup communicate:

  • “He dumped me.”
  • “He dropped me like a hot rock.”
  • “He called it quits.”
  • “He went poof.”

All of these say the decision was solely in his hands. While it may be true that you wanted to continue and he didn’t, you sound like a powerless victim.

We choose words to express our feelings and view of reality. Some convey our sense of victimhood, that we had no say in the outcome. Others show a sign a humor, which means you aren’t taking it too seriously.

Or you could want to telegraph that it was you making the decision, even if that wasn’t the truth. So to pump your ego, you may say, “I dumped him.” Which is not respectful of him. “I called it quits” proclaims that you were the sole decision maker.

If you use the term “throw under the bus,” ask yourself what you are expressing. Are you feeling sad but attempting to be light about the situation? How about choosing a term to explain to your friends what happened that doesn’t make you sound like a victim? Something like:

  • “We parted ways.”
  • “We’re not seeing each other anymore.”
  • “We decided we aren’t a good match for each other”
  • “We’ve moved on.”
  • “We decided to be just friends.”

The point is, no matter how sad, upset, or disrespected you feel, express the breakup in terms that honor both of you. No matter how much of a loser, jerk and cad he was. You will show your class through your words, and will have more respect for yourself.

Technorati Tags:,,,,,,,, , , , ,

Got a topic on dating after 40 you want Dating Goddess to address? Send your issue to







3 responses to “Being “thrown under the bus””

  1. Christine Avatar

    DG, although this is rare, I think you ‘ve got this one all wrong. You’ve got to call it what it is!!! For me, my breakup was quite like being thrown off the back of a fast moving train! He returned to the station, picked up his luggage and headed back home. I was left stumbling along in the woods, looking for the train track! Even though this positions me as a “victim”, it is what it is! I don’t think there’s any harm in living that in the short term. It only became a problem for me when I couldn’t let the victim role go.

  2. Dating Goddess Avatar


    You are right that feeling like a victim is not good in the long run. And as soon as one can turn from feeling victimized to empowered, the easier it is to let go and move on.

  3. Ally Avatar

    I don’t think I’ve ever heard that expression used in dating. Rather, I’ve only seen it used to describe when you’ve been stabbed in the back, or fingered for something a group did as a whole…
    That said, I’m with Christine’s response, and your addition.