How can I get my ex to leave me alone?
January 21, 2009 8:47 AM Subscribe
My ex is still contacting me and begging for another chance more than a year after the breakup. A restraining order is apparently not an option. I can't become unreachable. What can I do?
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (44 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
My ex of 3+ years broke up with me very suddenly over a year ago. We had about two and a half months of dissecting the relationship into itty bitty “why this happened” pieces which drove me batty, and I finally ended all communication very abruptly. I met someone a few weeks later and fell head over heels, and we happened to run into my ex on our third or fourth date—well, happened to, in that my ex showed up at my apartment unannounced just as we were arriving there.
My ex flipped out. He started calling me multiple times a day, stopping by my apartment and ringing my buzzer late at night, sending flowers to me at work, writing long drunken emails—basically, he only realized he’d “made a mistake” after he saw me with someone else. I responded only for about a week, trying to gently and then firmly tell him he’d missed the boat. Then I started ignoring his efforts altogether. But they didn’t stop. After a month, I threatened him with a restraining order. He didn’t stop. I went to the police and filed a harassment complaint, but since he’s never been threatening (only whining and begging for another chance) the police wouldn’t/couldn’t help me with a restraining order (I am in NYC). They closed the complaint in front of me. I got in touch with my ex’s mother and asked her to intervene, and she said she would talk to him.
After a few months, it died down to one contact every few weeks, during which time he moved to my neighborhood with his new girlfriend (which he left me a message about). But then this morning, more than a year after the breakup, he sent me another email begging for a chance at friendship if nothing more, and telling me that he has to confess he still loves me.
I should explain here that there’s no way for me to avoid him altogether—he knows my work number, my personal and work email addresses, where I live. I haven’t changed my cell phone number since it’s used for work (I’m an independent contractor and it would be a huge hassle to get a new number to all my clients). I simply can’t become completely unreachable. And while I can ignore every message, I’m still not able to avoid him entirely (he sometimes uses different numbers/throwaway email addresses, I guess suspecting I’ve set up filters to send emails right in the trash). And apparently the police here will not help me. Threatening a restraining order without the ability to follow through clearly didn’t work.
I realize I can’t control someone else’s behavior, but...this is exhausting and irritating. I’ve thought of threatening to start forwarding all messages to the new girlfriend, since I assume she doesn’t know this is going on, and I also assume that since they recently signed a lease, he doesn’t want an uncomfortable living situation, but I’m not sure whether that would work and don’t want to appear vengeful against her. As far as I know, she’s an innocent bystander and I would rather not hurt her feelings, but on the other hand, she might deserve to know what’s going on (I believe he was doing the same thing at the beginning of our relationship, and I would like to have known; I probably wouldn’t have stayed with him for three years).
But the main point is, I don’t want revenge. I don’t want to talk to him. I don’t want to argue or fight or hear how wonderful I am and how much he loves me. I don’t want to dread checking my email, I don’t want to screen all calls from unknown numbers. I just want him to Leave. Me. Alone.
I should add, he is 30. He knows that I don't want him to contact me (every message begins with "I know you don't want to hear from me, but..."). I am a little afraid of him, although he has never threatened me and never hit me during our relationship. But his behavior over the last year clearly indicates that he has no self-control.
What can I do? What would you do?