Breakup Help: What To Do When Your Ex Just Won't Go Away


Break ups aren't always easy, especially when they involve a stage-five clinger.

Most of us have probably seen enough true crime shows and made-for-television miniseries to know that the person you break up with doesn’t always go quietly into the night. Sometimes, they want you back, sometimes they get revenge, and sometimes they put a cute white bunny on your stovetop. When they refuse to take “go” for an answer, break up help is often needed: this is one dump you can’t do alone.

So, the next time you have a stage-five clinger, remember the following tips:

Talk To Them: The most logical break up help is mired in common sense — simply talking to your ex can do wonders. You could ignore them, but the “ignore it and it will go away” adage doesn’t always work with exes. Instead, they tend to get louder and more daring until you can’t dismiss them as easily.

Remind Them Why It Didn’t Work: Perhaps the most powerful piece of break up advice involves reminding your ex why your relationship didn’t work in the first place. This is powerful because of the way relationships are remembered. When people want someone back, they often remember the best of that person, and conveniently forget all their negative aspects. Talking to your ex about what happened and why it happened can help remind them that your relationship wasn’t the perfect union their mind has painted it out to be.

Encourage Them to Move On: Encouraging your ex to move on is a good way to show them that it’s really over. This may afford them closure, ultimately causing them to let you alone once and for all. If encouraging them to move on isn’t enough, you may also want to show them that you have. This shouldn’t involve throwing it in their face — there’s no need to tag them in every single Facebook photo of you and your new beau — but letting them know that you’re seeing other people may be exactly what they need to hear.

Establish Boundaries: This portion of break up advice is kind of in the “if all else fails” category. Ideally, breaking up with someone would involve the severing of all ties: there’d be no mixed signals and no room for misunderstandings. Yet, for someone who is having a hard time accepting that things are over, a clean break might not be possible. They may beg, plead, and make claims of self harm if you refuse to ever see them again. If that’s the case, seeing them on occasion may help them get used to the idea that things are finished. But, be sure you set boundaries before you do this. They can’t have the same reign they did when the two of you were together.

Give Them Time: Depending on how long the two of you were together, the fact that you are no more may be a pill that is very difficult to swallow. Sometimes this is because your ex is caught up in you or refuses to admit that they’ve been rejected. But, usually it’s simply because they need more time to accept such a life-changing occurrence. 

Call the Authorities: If none of the above solves your problem – or if you feel threatened and need to skip the first four steps in favor of this one – the only break up help that may aid you is that of the professionals. Most ex-girlfriends and ex-boyfriends don’t become violent – most, not all. The 20th anniversary of the Nicole Brown Simpson murder reminds us of that. Your safety isn’t worth risking, even if you don’t want your ex to get in trouble. So, if you feel as though you’re in danger, don’t second guess yourself: call someone who can give you real protection.

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