When Your Ex Won’t Leave

One of you wanted commitment, the other didn’t…


It’s Saturday night and instead of being out with my girlfriends, I’m talking my sobbing ex down from the edge or my balcony railing. But he’s the one who cheated and broke my heart, so why won’t he leave?

When Your Ex Won’t Leave

No, this isn’t a movie. Unfortunately, this was my life. So when I say I’ve been there – I mean it. I know how it goes… One of you wanted commitment, the other didn’t. It was long-distance. The timing wasn’t right. Friends didn’t approve. Someone cheated. It was too complicated. For whatever reason, it didn’t work – and yet, your ex is still loitering around. Confused? Don’t be.

The bottom line, regardless of why it ended, is to allow some time after the initial break-up to process things and reflect. As nice as it sounds to stay true to the “let’s-be-friends” fantasy, we all know that it’s not very realistic. Feelings don’t dissipate overnight.

From my extensive knowledge (first-hand experiences of dating too many guys who can’t take a hint), I’ve put together a basic list of what to do when your ex won’t leave:

1. Quit cold turkey.

If the reason the two of you part ways wasn’t primarily because either of you weren’t interested, then completely cutting out or severely limiting the communication you have with him is probably the best way to go. If the break-up isn’t final and you just need time to think things over, make that very clear to him. And before you feel the need to lie about your whereabouts (unless he’s an uber-creep and it’s apparent that he’s a professional stalker), be clear with your ex about where you stand and what you want.

When Your Ex Won’t Leave

2. Social network no more.

If he’s clearly not respecting your boundaries, even after you’ve made it obvious that you need your time and space, do what you think is necessary to get your point across. Change your number, move out of the state (I’m only half-joking), delete him off your buddy list, and block him on Facebook & Twitter.

3. Don’t talk the talk if you can’t walk the walk.

This is the most crucial of the tips. Regardless of what you do and say, it will be all for nothing if you can’t stick with the boundaries that you have set for him and yourself. Crossing the lines you yourself drew is only going to encourage him to be persistent and eventually lead him to think that you’re not serious about what you want or need. Breaking your rules and then trying to adhere to them repeatedly will also establish a destructive cycle. Stick to your boundaries!

Listen: the last thing you want to do is break up and find yourself three or four years down the line, unable to shut the door. It will only hold you back from exploring your options and progressing forward. We all know there’s no such thing as an “easy” break-up, if either of the people involved were, in some form, emotionally attached. In the meantime the only guarantee I can make is that it will get better in due time – but only if you want it to. The choice is yours.

Avatar of Sarah Woodstock

Sarah enlightens us on a daily basis with the newest trends as (and often before) they transpire. She is the consummate globe trotter. Having traveled to over 70 countries, she earns her living writing, blogging ( and modeling while on the road. In her spare time she gets manicures, suntans on yachts in Greece, shops for even more shoes, and lives in the limelight. She loves photography, elephants, sailboats, bangles and ballet flats.

Reader Discussion: 70 Comments

  1. Avatar of Flora Wiström

    I think my ex needed legal action and not this article. But it really scares me that when you read the comment section, there are so many women telling their scary stories about men who won’t leave.

  2. Avatar of Melanie Liz

    Be wary of men like them… They’re horrifying. The way they think isn’t normal, I swear.

  3. Avatar of M e l a n i e

    A lot of women mistake those begging efforts for love. It’s not always true, okay?

  4. Avatar of O L I V E R A

    O L I V E R A

    Wow, men could be real idiots when they do this. I get it, if he didn’t do anything like cheat and he wants forgiveness over a petty breakup reason, but when he’s the one at fault and he still begs like he didn’t do anything, that’s insane.

  5. Avatar of TARA WRIGHT

    I bet other people are like “Why not just tell him off?” Okay, first of all, we already did that like…. Countless of times. Yet, here they are!!!

  6. Avatar of Esther Devine

    Esther Devine

    Ladies, it’s okay to forgive people who deserve it. But once you accept their apology even though they’ve disrespected you already, you’re only teaching the guy to do it again and not to respect you. I think forgiveness have limites even though we’re always told that it’s good to forgive people no matter what. If by any chance you will be giving forgiveness, you still have to put an end in the relationship. Just because you forgave the person, it doesn’t mean that you two can still be together.

  7. Avatar of Brittany West

    Brittany West

    Men can be psychotic. I have an ex that I haven’t even seen for 10 years and he still stalks my facebook. Tries to message me but I block him all the time he creates new ones. Annoying!

  8. Avatar of Genie Mackenzie

    Genie Mackenzie

    Being “Just Friends” is never possible. In my experience, men will still try to keep you wrapped around his finger even if you two are just friends. I’ve honestly never seen new ex’s be friends.

  9. Avatar of Maddi Lemmon

    Maddi Lemmon

    Most of the time, women don’t even ask for too much. We only want simple things like, to feel loved, feel cared for, and appreciated. Those things come in naturally when you’re in a relationship, yet some men think we’re still asking for too much.

    • Avatar of Lois Cooper

      Lois Cooper

      Exactly! These things should be naturally done because you two love each other.

  10. Avatar of Ofelia Ruley

    Ofelia Ruley

    When a guy really doesn’t want to leave, blocking him isn’t always enough. What happened to me is that he literally made loads of Facebook accounts just to message me as soon as I block one after the other. He’s such a manipulative asshole who only cared about his own feelings. He didn’t care about stepping inside my boundaries and destroying everything around me. He was so toxic and insensitive. He couldn’t take a hint no matter how much I attack him with harsh words!

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