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?
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.
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.