Join 3,572 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


Annoying ex, leave my mom out of this
November 22, 2010 1:59 PM   Subscribe

How do I get my ex-boyfriend to stop contacting my mom?

We broke up six years ago and now live in different states. We kept in some contact at first (text messages, occasional phone calls) but it got to a point where I wasn't interested in keeping contact because he'd end up cussing me out or insulting my boyfriend, or his girlfriend would get pissed off or some other kind of drama that I'd really rather not be involved in. Not responding I guess pissed him off a lot, so he'd contact my mom (emails and phone calls), and then tell me that my mom liked him more and act like they had some special bond. This was still more than a couple years ago. My mom thought it was funny and that he was being sweet but when she started telling me about how he was so hurt by me and all of the "his side" of old arguments /events, I said I didn't like them talking because her information was wrong and I wasn't about to start defending myself. When she told me that he was planning to "get" me back I said that I didn't want her to talk to him but at at the very least I didn't want to hear about it. She respected that and hasn't mentioned him since.

I've ignored the dozen or so texts and phone calls a year from him, but recently we've been in contact since he's engaged and starting a family (I figured this meant he had grown up some). He is inappropriately affectionate, and says that he and my mom still talk and that she will never like my current boyfriend as much as she likes him. I'm annoyed because I'd like to be on good terms with everyone but I don't think it's possible. I don't believe that my mom is as nice to him as he says. I figure I can go back to ignoring him (which has me failing the "good terms" attempt) or find a way to convince him that contacting my mom isn't cool.
posted by and1 to Human Relations (38 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
I usually don't answer questions like this, but this one seems like a no-brainer. You don't get him to stop calling your mom. You've got to get your mom to stop taking calls from him. Honestly, it should be that simple. I know it may not be easy, but it sure is simple.
posted by msali at 2:03 PM on November 22, 2010 [20 favorites]


He's a creep. Don't respond to him. Ever. Don't respond to your mom mentioning him, except to say, please don't mention him to me again.
posted by empath at 2:03 PM on November 22, 2010 [9 favorites]


ditto getting your mom to stop talking to him, period.

this guy sounds like a first class a-hole. his behavior really boggles my mind.
posted by violetk at 2:06 PM on November 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


msali> You've got to get your mom to stop taking calls from him.

Agreed, which suggests that you may need to rethink:

I said I didn't like them talking because her information was wrong and I wasn't about to start defending myself.
posted by UrineSoakedRube at 2:06 PM on November 22, 2010


This is your mother, not his. I understand that they may have become friends or had some sort of connection, but the origin and basis of that connection was the fact that you were in a relationship with this guy. This isn't like groups of friends merging and reforming in new ways post-breakup -- this is your mother. Tell your mom that you feel he's contacting her in an inappropriate manner, and that you will no longer be in communication with this guy and you expect the same from her.

Your family should be there to support you, not make your personal relationships more challenging.
posted by mikeh at 2:07 PM on November 22, 2010 [2 favorites]


I said that I didn't want her to talk to him but at at the very least I didn't want to hear about it. She respected that and hasn't mentioned him since.
...
I've ignored the dozen or so texts and phone calls a year from him, but recently we've been in contact..


It sounds to me like you'd solved the problem with your mom and then caused this flare up yourself. The guy is a creep and you shouldn't let hm into your life.
posted by rdr at 2:09 PM on November 22, 2010 [10 favorites]


Talk to your mom. You won't know how cordial they really are until you ask her. If she wants to keep in contact with him, it's her right to do so if she wishes, just leave any conversation about you out of it. She should know what he's saying, too, so she has an understanding what she's dealing with.

As for him, why are you even listening to his messages/reading what he sends? Delete without any further though.
posted by inturnaround at 2:11 PM on November 22, 2010


I've ignored the dozen or so texts and phone calls a year from him, but recently we've been in contact since he's engaged and starting a family (I figured this meant he had grown up some).

I'd advise you to cut off all contact with him permanently, because he obviously has serious problems respecting your boundaries and that's not going to change.

You don't get him to stop calling your mom. You've got to get your mom to stop taking calls from him.

I agree that trying to get him to stop contacting your mom is pointless, although trying to get your mom to stop talking to him might be equally pointless. It really depends on your relationship with you mom, but if you have already made it clear to her that you didn't like her talking to your ex then that doesn't bode well for trying to get her to stop now.
posted by burnmp3s at 2:12 PM on November 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


Your family should be there to support you, not make your personal relationships more challenging.

This is true, but people have a right to make friends with whomever they choose regardless of how the friendship started.
posted by inturnaround at 2:13 PM on November 22, 2010


Forget the issue of him talking to your Mom. Go back to the old status quo of don't ask, don't tell. Trying to fight that battle will just increase the drama.

But you should absolutely not be talking to this dude at all. You think having a family means he's gotten over you? You're wrong. You start letting him back in your life and he's going to start offering to leave his family for you. Carrying a flame life that for 6 years is not healthy or normal (IMO). He's gotten it ingrained in his head that you two were meant to be together, and being in his life at all is only going to encourage that.

I get that you don't like the idea of having a loose end lying around in this guy. You'd be much happier if you could both be in happy relationships and be able to be friends with each other, and have your kids be friends and laugh about old times etc etc etc. Too bad. Not going to happen. Keep the people in your life who make your life better, and cut out the ones who cause drama. Life's too short.
posted by auto-correct at 2:13 PM on November 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


The relationship between him and you is yours. You terminated it.
The relationship between him and your mom is not yours. You can only terminate it if one of them lets you.
The relationship between you and your mom is yours. I'm assuming you don't want to terminate it. However, it is currently the link between you and a relationship you terminated. You need to get your mom to shut up about him.

Be clear, be firm, and do not waver, just like when you're dealing with little kids: When he comes up, tell her that the subject, and anything relating to it, is off limits. When she persists, get off the phone/leave the room/refuse to engage (That's nice Mom. How's [alternative subject X].) If all else fails (the Thanksgiving table being a great forum for these types of pushing-of-boundaries), develop selective deafness.

You can't stop her from talking to him. People develop relationships with others independent of what goes on in YOUR life. But you can require that she respect the line of communication when dealing with you.
posted by Ys at 2:14 PM on November 22, 2010 [2 favorites]


He is inappropriately affectionate, and says that he and my mom still talk and that she will never like my current boyfriend as much as she likes him.

Consider the source. Cut him out of your life entirely. He's messing with your head and in all likelihood lying to you.
posted by Meg_Murry at 2:15 PM on November 22, 2010 [5 favorites]


The real issue isn't between your ex and you; the real issue is between your mom and you.

Regarding the ex, you only have one meaningful, useful, healthy option: disengage and ignore him PERMANENTLY. Period. He's a creep at best, and a quasi-stalker at worst. You have no obligation to try to stay on ANY terms with him, much less good terms.

Regarding your mom, you have to have a conversation with her about how and why her continued contact with him makes you uncomfortable. If she continues to be in touch with him -- and that's her decision; you can't "make her" do something else, if she chooses otherwise -- then you can tell her that you need her to cease telling you about it. Then you enforce this by (politely but firmly) switching topics or even ending the conversation each and every time it comes up in the future.

We all have boundaries. But some people won't respect them until we articulate them and respect them ourselves.
posted by scody at 2:17 PM on November 22, 2010 [3 favorites]


Restraining order.
posted by Ironmouth at 2:20 PM on November 22, 2010


rdr really has it (you brought this particular flare-up on yourself.) Yett throughout your ask, I was incredibly bothered by your mom's behavior. Doesn't she know this guy is working her? Where is her sense of protectiveness concerning you? Isn't she aware that this guy is creepy stalkerish in the same way the Chris Elliot character was in Something About Mary?

Your mom needs a Come To Jesus Moment concerning this fellow. He's not her friend and he's not yours.
posted by jbenben at 2:21 PM on November 22, 2010 [2 favorites]


He is inappropriately affectionate, and says that he and my mom still talk and that she will never like my current boyfriend as much as she likes him. I'm annoyed because I'd like to be on good terms with everyone

Moms can be weird, and since they don't know what the relationship is really like, they can totally wrong about who you "should" be with. I would just handle these two issues separately. If it's not beneficial to you to be in touch with your ex, cut off contact again and forget it. As for your mom, I wouldn't bother trying to convince her one way or another about this guy. Shake it off, accept that she may always wish you married the boy next door, or her best friend's kid or all the other ways moms can sometimes plan your life in their heads... If she doesn't bring it up, and you don't bring it up, it doesn't really matter if she does like him better.

The most I would do would be to mention offhandedly that it didn't exactly make you happy you to hear they were talking - but only if you think it's something she hasn't really considered, or if you want to know her side of things. I would definitely not try talking to him about it, and I wouldn't make a strong-armed request of her either.
posted by mdn at 2:31 PM on November 22, 2010


You can't control anyone but you. A guy who's been harassing you (directly and via your mom) for years isn't going to stop. You can control how you react. You can block his number and email addy and never hear from him directly. That's what you can control.

Your mom has stopped talking to you about the guy. You can't make her change her relationship with him. Trying to get into your side of things is a really bad idea; good call on not getting into a he-said-she-said and sticking your mom in the middle. You can't control what she does. You can control how you react to it. She's already respecting your wishes on this, and so you're not hearing from him indirectly through her.

It sounds like you should about have it covered.
posted by galadriel at 2:36 PM on November 22, 2010


figure I can go back to ignoring him (which has me failing the "good terms" attempt) or find a way to convince him that contacting my mom isn't cool.

You did not fail. He's an asshole. He failed. If someone is an asshole to you, you don't have to be a nice person back to them. That's it. So many people get hung up on being nice to assholes. I don't understand that.
posted by kellyblah at 2:40 PM on November 22, 2010


Does your mom know he cussed you out? Does she know of any of the other particularly nasty thing he's done towards you?

If she doesn't, it might put a stop to all of these if you clue her in to the fact that he's not Mr. Sweet.

If she *does,* then I think she's got issues and I'm surprised she respected your request not to talk to you about him in the first place. I think that's the best you're going to get, in that case.

But I think the more important issue is this:

I'd like to be on good terms with everyone

Here, being on "good terms" with this ex means allowing him to trample over your boundaries, ignore your expressly stated wishes, say rude things to you, and be affectionate in a way that makes you uncomfortable. (I'm reading "being on good terms" with him as "not having him be upset/angry" with you, or having him still like you.)

Why is it so important to you that he not be upset/angry with you or like you, that you're willing to put up with this treatment?
posted by Ashley801 at 2:41 PM on November 22, 2010


Thanks everyone for helping me put this in perspective!

I do want to add that I can't make my mom do anything, she does like my current boyfriend, and hasn't brought up the ex at all since I asked her not to.

But it seems the concensus is that there's no hope of maintaining contact drama-free?
(auto-correct, get out of my brain!)
It would be great if I didn't have to ignore him and no texts or calls came in at all, I don't mind having no contact. But I don't want to have creepy text messages at random times to ignore for the rest of my life. He's slimy but he's still a rational human being, I think.
posted by and1 at 2:56 PM on November 22, 2010


I told my mom a long time ago that he was a total creep and really rude and cussed me out and that's why I didn't talk to him anymore. It may have been why she stopped talking about him to me (maybe she doesn't talk to him at all, I haven't asked!)

I also don't care if he hates me, but I do care if he expresses it at me. One text a while ago said something about how if I didn't stop ignoring him he would just call my mom. (I know, crazy right). I guess my question should have been, how do I get those texts to stop?
posted by and1 at 3:06 PM on November 22, 2010


There is no hope of maintaining contact drama-free.

Period.
posted by cyndigo at 3:08 PM on November 22, 2010 [6 favorites]


there's no hope of maintaining contact drama-free?

Why on earth would you want to maintain contact with this creep? He's manipulating you, direspecting you, and threatening to harrass your mom if you don't give him the attention he wants. This is not a failure on your part to remain on "good terms," it's a failure on his part to be a decent person.

You might consider changing your phone number. I know it would be a pain, but it's an option that could be effective.
posted by Meg_Murry at 3:13 PM on November 22, 2010 [5 favorites]


I guess my question should have been, how do I get those texts to stop?

Check w/ your cell phone company (online or on the phone) and see if they allow you to block numbers. Verizon does, for example (you can do it online even). Problem solved, you never see another text and he never gets a response.

Seriously, I really advise this. Otherwise every time you see one you'll have an unwelcome emotional reaction even if you don't contact him (same reason you should block/hide exes like this on Facebook, etc).
posted by wildcrdj at 3:16 PM on November 22, 2010 [7 favorites]


The next time he contacts you (preferably by email so you can save a copy of his email and your response) tell him that you do not want him to contact you again EVER and if he does, you will take out a restraining order. And when he ignores this, march down to your local police department and do it! You don't "owe" him anything and for him to keep trying to coontrol you six years after you broke up is crazy.
posted by MsKim at 3:25 PM on November 22, 2010


I am patient until I am not patient any more. At that point I will either suit up for the long, careful management campaign or go for the nuclear option.

If he's messing in your personal life and will not take instructions to back the fuck off and is persisting in contacting your mother, I am 99% positive his new wife would put a stop to this kind of obsessive behaviour pretty fucking quickly.

Tell him he either stops contacting you and your mother immediately, or every time he contacts either of you, you're calling his wife.
posted by DarlingBri at 3:31 PM on November 22, 2010 [6 favorites]


In the best of worlds we could all maintain "nice" relationships with exes...but the reason people opt for clean breaks is because clean breaks make the most sense. Here he is about to start a family and still infiltrating yours. It is all fine and good that civilized people can and should maintain friendly contact, but what would be the purpose of that in this case? None.

Your Mom thought it was "funny" to stay in touch. It is not at all productive. Even though she may like this fellow I believe you should make it clear to her that you would like her to "break it off" with him too. That is the only thing that adds up. For her to stay in contact with him muddies the water. She isn't moving on. He isn't totally moving on....and it is way beyond time to move on.
posted by naplesyellow at 3:38 PM on November 22, 2010 [1 favorite]



It would be great if I didn't have to ignore him and no texts or calls came in at all, I don't mind having no contact.


You cannot control what he does, but you can choose how you respond to it. And you're not ignoring him--you're still in touch with him. He's continuing to text and call because it gets results.

He's slimy but he's still a rational human being, I think.


No, a rational human being would not continue with this drama--when he is engaged and starting a family with another woman--for six years. That alone is enough reason to cut him off.

Have you read some of the stalking questions on here? This guy is harassing you. You would not put up with this behaviour from a coworker, a roommate, a neighbor, and the fact that you dated this guy does not mean that you have to keep him in your life. (And choosing that doesn't make you a bad person!) You made a good will effort, but he clearly has other issues. He can't be your friend.

(I have to say, ex questions really push my buttons because I had an ex who allowed his ex to carry on in a similar manner. He didn't want to be the bad guy, either. It caused a huge rift in our relationship, one that I'm still sensitive about, and it all could have been avoided if he had just put his foot down and stopped the craziness. There's nothing wrong with being friendly with an ex, but this guy isn't even your friend. He's taking advantage of your kindness. Enjoy your relationship with your current boyfriend and let the past stay in the past.)
posted by lucysparrow at 3:43 PM on November 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


Change your number and tell your mother you've been forced to change your number because of his abusive texts. Tell her she is under no circumstances to give out your new number to him. Just end it once and for all.
posted by whoaali at 3:57 PM on November 22, 2010 [2 favorites]


I guess my question should have been, how do I get those texts to stop?

Stop responding to him, forever. You've already shown him that if he pesters you enough with the emails and texts, you'll eventually respond. So why would he stop? You've trained him to be like this. Now you've really got to bite the bullet and never respond again. With what you've written here, I don't even know why you would want to. I'm glad you're mom is on board with not mentioning him around you...hopefully she can continue with that. Try to get his number blocked or change your number and make sure your mom understands not to give him a new number if you do decide to go down that road.
posted by MaryDellamorte at 4:01 PM on November 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


"But I don't want to have creepy text messages at random times to ignore for the rest of my life. He's slimy but he's still a rational human being, I think."


I am you. (as you now know if you've checked your Memail. This public comment is mostly for other folks in the same boat as us...)


The techie solutions available depend on your phone + carrier, if like me, you are unable to simply chuck your current cell phone number and get a new one.

You've gotten "threats" via text or email? You sound like you are in PRIME position to follow-through on Ironmouth's advice.

I do understand wanting to tread lightly and not make a big thing and even bigger thing. Nthing your mom needs to know how serious this has become because you've spent six years dodging this guy's unwanted overtures. Your mom needs to help you. It's OK if you share the full story with her and ask for her to cease contact with this guy. Really.

-----------
Assigning the stalker's call number a silent ring tone has really super helped me cope. Otherwise I'm stuck unless I want to go nuclear and block all calls from his number via my carrier (he'd just switch to using a different number to ring me, I'm sure. Perhaps you fear the same thing?) Or as stated, I could get a brand new number and/or carrier. OP, if your cell isn't job-related, make the number change. You'll feel so much better. Again, Nth blocking all emails, talking to your mom, and basically cutting the cord as completely as you possibly can. My stalker still isn't gone for good (missed call last week), but blocking the contact as much as possible + using tech solutions to limit the intrusions when they do occur has made a similar situation almost a non-issue in my life. Good Luck.
------------
posted by jbenben at 4:04 PM on November 22, 2010


Might not be the smartest thing in the world but I'd call his new wife and tell her to tell him to leave you the heck alone and if he contacts you again you are getting a restraining order. Do this in such a way that she knows you mean business.

Or, just block his number.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 4:34 PM on November 22, 2010


Although my gut reaction was to call his wife/fiancée, it has a lot of risk. If this leads to screwing up this relationship he could turn psycho on you. You do not want to be responsible for breaking up his relationship with his wife. That will not end well for anyone and the risk of physical reaction is not a good option.

There is no perfect solution. I would opt for talking to your mom in a more concrete and detailed way and ask her to cut ties and I would take steps so that he could not even attempt to contact you such as changing phone number, unlisted new number, call block, etc.
posted by AugustWest at 5:08 PM on November 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


Restraining order.

If I were the OP, I would get one. Also two copies of The Gift of Fear, one for me and one for my mom.

But I don't think one can get a restraining order to keep someone from contacting a third party, as long as the third party is an adult who can make their own legal decisions; it seems likely that Mom would have to be on board with that choice.
posted by Sidhedevil at 5:59 PM on November 22, 2010 [2 favorites]


AugustWest is prudent. But threatening may be effective. "Contact me or my family again, I call your wife. And THEN I file a restraining order." Of course, you need to be willing to do that.
posted by cyndigo at 6:05 PM on November 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


I said I didn't like them talking because her information was wrong and I wasn't about to start defending myself. When she told me that he was planning to "get" me back I said that I didn't want her to talk to him but at at the very least I didn't want to hear about it. She respected that and hasn't mentioned him since. [She ignored your basic request and agreed to the very least you asked? I can think of lots of words for that but “respected” isn’t among them.]

He is inappropriately affectionate, and says that he and my mom still talk and that she will never like my current boyfriend as much as she likes him. I'm annoyed because I'd like to be on good terms with everyone but I don't think it's possible. I don't believe that my mom is as nice to him as he says. [You ”don't believe”? I’m wondering why you don’t know.]

I started this comment then went out to dinner. While I was gone, Bella, the very charming and very young dog I’m sitting, devoted herself to 1) unwinding every skein of yarn in the basket on the floor (my very bad), 2) beginning a large-scale fiber-arts piece involving weaving, macramé, felting, and her own techniques, 3) taking a nap.

It’s easy to unravel yarn from something knitted or crocheted—just follow the stitches. Untold yards of the stuff, randomly snarled up, no coherent pattern... this’ll take me hours (hours!) and lots of patience (ooommm) to untangle.

Hello, metaphor!

and1, you've got two skeins here (each one rather tangly in its own self) and your ex is doing the best he can to snarl them up in one big knot.

You can't stop him from trying but you can stop him from succeeding.

First tangly skein: You and Ex. Set up an email filter so anything from him goes straight to the trash and you don't even know it exists. You have caller ID so let him leave a message and erase it without listening.

What I don’t get is... Why do you have to be on ANY terms with Ex? Even if you have to see him at the grocery store or the pancake supper or whatever—being "on good terms with everybody" just means being courteous with everybody and giving up the immediate pleasure of slagging anybody, even the people you wouldn’t piss on if they were on fire. That’s all.

Being “on good terms” doesn’t imply any sort of meaningful connection or emotional comfort. So… Ignore his calls and emails. When you see him, say hello and move on. Avoid the temptation to bad-mouth him. Wah-lah—good terms.

Second tanglier skein: You and your mom. You told her you didn’t like her talking to Ex. So why is she still doing it? What does your mother get out of yakking it up with Ex? Is that worth making her daughter’s life worse?

TL,DR: Ignore Ex; he's part of your past, just like your second-grade teacher. Take a look at what's going on between you and your mom.
posted by dogrose at 6:39 PM on November 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


Moms can be weird, and since they don't know what the relationship is really like, they can totally wrong about who you "should" be with.

My Mom can sometimes be this way. I think it's more that she has bad parent-kid boundaries than she actively wants anything bad for me or my sister, but there are times when she's been like "Why don't you call up that nice guy soandso, I always felt like you weren't very nice to him..." about ex-boyfriends and even flat out sort of creepy stalker-ish types. Granted, most of the time she's reasonable and appropriate but sometimes she is not.

So, I agree with most everyone else, you can't get her to necessarily not accept his calls. And at this point in time, it's sort of weird since you're talking to him [but he's being creepy and weird] and you don't want your mom to because he's saying weird things about how she feels about your boyfriend, in his mind.

THIS IS BECAUSE HE IS WEIRD, and it's not really a mom thing. I'm also seconding everyone else, go back to no contact. If it were me I think I'd get a new phone number [and tell your mom why] but that's not everyone's thing. I had a boyfriend a little like this in college. Not scary but just definitely like "you'll never find anyone as right for you as me" despite him being not particularly right for me at all [and borderline abusive, and just sort of nuts]. Not a huge deal, we went our separate ways, he showed up on facebook a few years ago and was married, settled down, had a steady job and was STILL WEIRD, picking up where he left off with some of the "rememebr how you used to tell me I was the best guitar player ever" and "I bet your new boyfriend isn't as good as me..." sorts of weirdness.

So, yeah, cut it off. It's not any good. He's not being any good. Tell your mom you're back to not wanting to hear about it anymore. Sorry he wasn't less crazy.
posted by jessamyn at 9:00 PM on November 22, 2010


>>But it seems the concensus is that there's no hope of maintaining contact drama-free?

Look, when people can deal with "just friends," it's obvious. In this case, it's obvious he can't handle the contact gracefully.

As a person who carried a torch for TEN YEARS for a guy, sometimes enforced no-contact really is the kindest thing you can do. When you keep contact with someone who wants, for good or for bad, to be with you, it can really feed into the fantasy that there's hope for a reconcilliation.

You can draw a hard line without being cruel. But you have to be consistent. Piddling around just tells him you can be pushed into doing what he wants (maintaining contact). Send him a formal goodbye if you like. You can even put in an explanation if you want --some people operate better when things are spelled out [note: Do NOT include phrases like, "I still care for you." This is a no contact letter]. But after that, block him on your phone, send his e-mail address to the spam filter, and pretend you're not home if he drops by. Done is done. Some people --including you-- are better off without "just friends."
posted by Ys at 4:15 AM on November 23, 2010


« Older Will Photoshop and Lightroom w...   |  Why do my screens attached to ... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.