How to Deal with an Ex That Won’t Let Go

The only thing worse than ending a relationship is calling it quits with someone who doesn’t want it to be over. How do you deal with them in a good way without making things super hard on yourself?

Whether you were together a week, a year, or a decade, some people have a hard time coming to terms with the idea that you’re no longer a couple. They beg and plead with you to try to get you to go back to them.

They don’t understand why it has to be over and no matter how much you talk and explain, they don’t seem to hear you. It’s maddening to say the least.

If you are in this position and trying to end a relationship that you clearly have no desire being in any more, here are some things you can do to get your ex to release his hold:

Rule #1: Don’t send mixed messages

Although you may think you’re trying to be kind to your ex by telling him how great he is despite the fact that you no longer want him, you’re not raising his self-esteem.

Actually, you’re making it harder for him to understand why you’re choosing to walk away. After all, if he is as great as you say, wouldn’t you want to still be with him?

Giving him these types of mixed messages is just going to confuse him. You’re telling him one thing but doing another. Therefore, you’re better off being very clear that you have no desire to be in a relationship with him and leave it at that.

The more you try to bolster his self-image, the harder it is going to be for him to accept that it’s over.

Now, this doesn’t mean that you have to be rude or disrespectful to him to get your point across. It just means that can explain why you no longer wish to be a couple without patting his ego at the same time.

Rule #2: Don’t play games


Some women I know (I’m not naming names) like to play games when they want to end a relationship so that the guy breaks up with them. They try to manipulate the situation so that he has to make the decision, which leaves them feeling less guilty about breaking his heart.

This is bad for two reasons. First, you owe it to him to be real. You wouldn’t want him to play games with you, so don’t do it to him.

Second, the only way you’ll grow as a person is to be open and honest about how you feel. If you run and hide from your true emotions now, you’ll likely continue to do it in the future and you don’t want to be a person who lets issues pile up because you don’t want to deal with them.

Even if you’re tempted to play games, take the mature route and choose to be genuine instead. It may be the harder thing to do but it is also the most rewarding. You are who you are, so be proud of it.

Not sure how to break up with him? Read our 6 Tips to Help You Break Up with Your Bf.

Rule #3: Stand up for yourself if he gets pushy

This one is admittedly tough because you don’t want to push his buttons and make him even more obsessed with you, but to the same point you have to stick up for yourself and not be a doormat. The key is knowing when to stand your ground and when to walk away.

If he has the capability of being abusive, this is extra important as you don’t want to put yourself in harm’s way. And if he’s being abusive, that is one alarming sign you should break up.

So, you may want to do things to make yourself unavailable. Maybe you don’t take his phone calls or choose to stay with a friend for a couple of nights until things simmer down.

In cases of domestic violence, the most dangerous time for a woman is when she decides to leave the relationship. So, if this is your situation, you may wish to get a Personal Protection Order (PPO) to keep him away from you. At a minimum, alert the local law enforcement about what is going on so that they can do some extra patrol by your residence.

If you’ve done these things and he still isn’t leaving you alone, you may wish to make a police report. It’s possible that he could be charged with harassment or stalking.

Rule #4: Set boundaries

hand opening the door

You may feel guilty for terminating the relationship, but that doesn’t mean that you have to take his call every time he phones or be there to listen to him every time he wants to talks.

In fact, if you do you’re just increasing his dependence on you and making it harder to break away. You’re better off setting some clear cut boundaries.

Tell him specifically what you won’t do. For instance, you may want to inform him that you will no longer take his phone calls after 8 PM or during the work day.

Or, maybe you decide that he is no longer welcome at your home. No matter what boundaries are necessary, let him know that you’ve set them so that he knows what his limitations are.

This will alleviate the guilt that you may feel when you make yourself unavailable to him as you’ve already told him what to expect. And, if he violates those boundaries, be firm.

Let him know that his behavior is unacceptable and will not be tolerated. At some point you may have to cut all contact completely.

Being in relationships is hard enough, but ending them can be even harder, especially when you want it to be over and he doesn’t. It’s hard to get over a Queen, but he will eventually – as long as you follow these guidelines.

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About the author

Christina DeBusk

Changing careers mid-life from law enforcement to writing, Christina spends her days helping others enrich their businesses and personal lives one word at a time.

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  • I was or maybe am, the one that do not wish to let go. Are these all the ways that he wanted to treat me? Sad…