when an ex won’t leave you alone



Breakups are already hard enough, but they’re even harder when an ex-partner just won’t leave you alone. Many of us have had to deal with an ex-partner who refuses to accept that the relationship has ended. Often they’ll do things like:

  • Repeatedly calling/texting you
  • Making promises to do better/change
  • Blaming you for the breakup, and saying if you would just change things could be better
  • Saying you won’t find anyone better
  • Showing up at your house/school/work
  • Trying to convince your friends or family to make you take them back
  • Repeatedly messaging you on social media
  • Making grand gestures to try and “win” you back or saying they will ‘fight’ for you
  • Saying they are going to harm or kill themselves if you don’t get back with them or respond to their calls/texts
  • Threatening blackmail if you don’t get back with them

These behaviors are not healthy. Dealing with these types of behaviors can be overwhelming and can make moving past the breakup really tough. If you’re experiencing this with an ex, here are some suggestions that could help you cope (and be sure to check out our tech safety checklist!):

  • Block your ex’s number so they aren’t able to call/text you. If you don’t feel comfortable completely blocking them, change their name to something that reminds you of why it might be healthier not to talk to them, like “I deserve respect!”
  • Block them, delete them, or update your privacy settings on social media so they aren’t able to message you or see your posts
  • Use the buddy system when you are at school, work or going out so that your ex can’t catch you alone
  • Make your close friends and family aware of the breakup so they can help support you and look out for your ex to help keep you safe
  • Change any passwords on your phone/email/social media that your partner may have had access to
  • If your ex is threatening suicide, check out this article that has some tips and suggestions on what to do: When Your Partner Threatens Suicide
  • If they are making other types of threats, our article on blackmail may be helpful for you as well

Often we think that separating from a partner is no big deal or that everyone will just move on. But it’s important to recognize that when an abusive or unhealthy relationship is ending, it can be a very dangerous time for a victim of abuse. Abusive relationships are about power and control, and when the non-abusive partner ends that relationship, the abusive partner may choose to make desperate attempts to try and regain control. If for any reason you feel unsafe, it can be helpful to create a safety plan.

If you’re the one having trouble letting go of a relationship, it’s important to remember that each person has the right to walk away or end a relationship, for any reason. Feeling upset, sad or angry that a relationship has ended is totally understandable. However, it’s not healthy to act on those feelings by trying to force or manipulate someone into getting back together with you. What is healthy? Accepting that the relationship has ended, respecting your ex’s boundaries, and taking care of yourself while moving on.

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