My ex won’t accept that it’s over

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You’ve taken the leap and broken up with someone who wasn’t treating you right. But your ex isn’t getting the message that it’s over. What can you do?

T-shirt with "I'm not with stupid anymore"

We all feel a mix of feelings after a break up – sadness, anger, disappointment, shame.

But people who are abusive often don’t want to let go.

It could be that they:

  • feel angry and hurt and decide to take those feelings out on you
  • feel threatened by not having control over you any more
  • think that you are ‘theirs’ and don’t respect your right to leave
  • want to punish you for leaving them.

They might use different ways to try to hurt you, or to get you to come back to them.

Trying to win you back

They might apologise for their behaviour. They might beg, plead, send you flowers and gifts, try to make you feel sad or guilty, or do other things to try to win you back.

This can be confusing.

Don’t let this make you forget your reasons for breaking up. If they haven’t changed their behaviour so far, is it likely that they will change now? See Can I get them to change?

He wouldn’t let go. He made a little movie of photos of us together for me to watch, with a song that we both liked. I broke down when I saw it. He’d ring me up, drunk and crying and I’d worry about him that he’d do something stupid. He came over and I got in his car to go for a drive so we could talk. When he realised I still didn’t want to get back with him, he started screaming at me and was driving so fast I thought he’d kill us both.

Threatening suicide

They tell you they can’t live without you. So you now feel responsible for keeping them alive. It’s a heavy responsibility to put on you. See ‘Dying for you?’

Stalking

If an ex is following you around, watching where you go, leaving you messages on your phone or online, and deliberately trying to make you feel scared, it’s stalking. It’s illegal and you can report it. Read more about stalking and how to report it and tips for staying safe

I thought it was the final break because it was quite an amicable split at the time. But two weeks after, he started stalking and harassing me. He would send me messages like “your lights are off, where are you” so I knew he was watching me. I’ve had thousands of hang up calls from him. I thought, “this is a part of him trying to control my life and I am not going to change my address and my number because of him”. That continued for four years, to the point of him actually threatening to kill me. He just doesn’t know how to give up. I went down to my local police station to report him. I’d had enough.

Read Alison’s story

Sending you a million texts or calls

They might call and send you lots of texts to try to wear you down so you go back to them. They might call or send threats to scare you.

You’ve got a right to break up with someone, to say that you don’t want them to keep calling or constantly sending messages. It’s not ok for them to harass you with constant calls and texts. Read more about mobile harassment and how to report it

Rumours, bullying or pics about you online

Are they using the web to harass you or to spread nasty rumours about you? See Being harassed online?

Staying safe at home

  • For ways to stay safe at home, finding a safe place to stay if you can’t stay at home, or getting legal protection, see
  • See Tips to Stay Safe

Get help

When your ex is making you scared with his/her behaviour, reach out to others – friends, parents, trusted adults, counsellors.

It’s incredibly stressful and exhausting to try and stay strong and deal with them harassing you  – so get people to help and support you if you can. You can also contact a service that can help.

Related links

Photo above from Flickr by jdlasica / CC BY-NC 2.0

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One Response to “My ex won’t accept that it’s over”

  1. My exboyfriend has done most of these things to me and because I decided to leave the controlling relationship we have got pass all the major problems now but he still calls me every now and then accusing me of sleeping with his friends even though he no’s were only friends. It still freaks me out but I’m leaving for uni soon so things will get better. Even though I’ve put up with all his crap after the break up I dont regret anything it has opened my eye to everything my friends and family had been telling me.