Move on already!
Your eyes meet. You become involved in a relationship. You fall in love. Then ... something happens. Maybe you discovered that you have different life goals. Maybe the passion waned and it was just time to call it quits before one or both of you became disappointed in the long run. Whatever the reason, you two broke up. And in a normal world (with functional people) that would be it.
However, perhaps your ex was slightly possessive (which is really just a nice way of saying he was a controlling, crazy, nutjob who finally showed their true colors) and that was at least part of the reason you broke up in the first place. The problem? They just won't let go.
They switch between two modes. One minute, they're sincerely regretful: "Baby, I'm so sorry. I know I screwed up, but you have to give me another chance. I can make it right this time." Yeah, right. Because you didn't fall for this line of crap and break up with them 18 times before.
And the next minute, they're in their angry and controlling mode: "You think I'm letting you go? No way! You may have broken up with me, but I did not break up with you. We're still together. Don't even think about being with someone else."
The main issue is that they say either (and sometimes both) of these statements all the time: at 4 a.m. — sometimes sober, sometimes drunk — at your job, at your doorstep, near your car at the mall (because he followed you from your three previous errands and "just had to talk to you") or — in extreme cases — at the foot of your bed, in the morning when they do not live with you anymore.
Those crazy lunatics with their immense lack of self control, inability to recognize boundaries and supreme mastery of denial! What the hell is wrong with them? Are they just a few sandwiches short of a picnic? Did they originate in the shallow end of the gene pool? Whatever the case, these kind of exes just can't let go.
Really, It's Not You. It's Them
Not that there is any way to excuse this crazy (sometimes scary, sometimes violent) behavior, but there is a sad truth to this: They are more miserable than you. They can't let go because it's likely that they lack a sense of self-worth. As such, they feel they need yours to survive and they will seemingly stop at nothing to get it. There is also a control problem going on that needs to be addressed.
Being that you are a nice person, you will try to get them to see the logic of why it didn't work out between the two of you. Or, their outrageous behavior (4 a.m. phone calls asking to see you) will have you wanting to help him through the breakup. Sorry, but that doesn't work. You cannot take care of someone though their own lack of growth.
What you do need is some distance, clear thinking, and an honest evaluation without wishful thinking or denial on your part. Don't take their phone calls (forward them). Don't accept their deliveries (return it through the carrier it came from or dispose of it). Stop participating and don't have your friends or family intervene. Everyone needs to stop being involved. And don't even think it will correct itself.
If the issues get too out of hand, visit your local court clerk and investigate getting a restraining order. Keep in mind though that even if you do get a restraining order, you are not necessarily safe. All it means is that your stalker is legally supposed to stay away from you — it doesn't mean that they will. A restraining order will make arrest and prosecution easier, but it won't necessarily stop them from stalking you — or worse. Use your best judgment about obtaining restraining orders. Depending on the circumstances of the stalking, you may be able to have your stalker arrested for trespassing, threatening communications or other crimes they commits.
Remember: No matter how crazy they act, try to realize that what is happening isn't because of anything you did. Crazy behavior is just that. Sometimes people have unstable mental issues that aren't being checked and that's not a reflection of anything you are, or have done or not done.
This article was originally published at theproblemismen.com. Reprinted with permission from the author.