How do I get him to finally leave me alone?
March 28, 2017 5:52 PM   Subscribe

Asking For a Friend: Sort of ex-boyfriend living in my house with his sort of ex-girlfriend, running a business and refusing to leave. How do I extricate them from my life?

This guy caused a huge amount of uproar, grief and disruption in my life almost from the day we met. Very charming and erudite, he presented himself as a successful small business owner working with his longtime girlfriend and partner to expand their product line. He made it clear to me that he and his girlfriend were now more friends and business partners than sexually involved. He also made it clear he was keenly interested in getting involved with me, although I was with someone else at the time and told him so. I told him “no” firmly and thought that should do it. Well, what I did not realize at the time was that this guy’s charm and psychological perceptiveness stemmed not from some unusual quirk of nature, but several different personality disorders rolled up in one. He worked successfully in sales and had long ago taught himself that nobody really means “no” – not when he wanted something from them. He figured out soon enough which buttons to push and got me to break up with my boyfriend, quit my job and start working with him and – you guessed it – his longtime friend partner kind of ex-girlfriend.

Now it’s easy to see from the outside how crazy this is, but he fogged all my perceptions. It all sounded like a great idea at the time. Work independently! Build a business! Experience this passionate relationship together! Grow and love and learn!

Fast forward a couple years, to find the two of them and myself living in a house I inherited, that they had convinced me to let them run their business from, to find stagnant growth, past-due bills, overextended credit (theirs, not mine – I did, belatedly, draw the line on certain things) the ex-whatever girlfriend in a state of permanent, 11 on a scale of 10 passive aggression, and myself just wanting out, out, out.

Except that he knows my weaknesses. Knows how to invoke feelings of pity for him. And they are living in my house, which I was loathe and afraid to leave. Finally I realized there was no other way, that what was going on was emotional use and abuse, and that the only way for me to make a change was to get support and get out. So I did it. I left, and I let them know that I was planning on selling the house, giving them ample time to get their things together and find a place and go. So far they have ignored that, focusing instead on bombarding me with pleas to come back and work things out with them. In particular, my boyfriend/ex pounds away on my feelings of guilt and the feelings of attraction I still – despite everything – feel for him, which I now understand is typical between people in this kind of controlling/abusive relationship. You’d think it wouldn’t be, but that’s how it works.

Anyway, any suggestions on how to resolve this thing peacefully – that is, get them to understand I am not coming back, and that they need to leave, without a huge legal fight?
posted by Ender's Friend to Human Relations (16 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Hire a lawyer and evict them.
posted by spitbull at 5:57 PM on March 28, 2017 [31 favorites]

Instead of "huge legal fight" try "small legal fight with threat of large legal fight."

Have a legal letter sent commanding them out of the home.

Don't waste your life reasoning with manipulative people. It doesn't work.
posted by cacao at 5:58 PM on March 28, 2017 [24 favorites]

I'm sorry. Anybody who would disrespect your boundaries to the extent that they were able to convince you to turn your whole world upside down and take over your house is not going to make peace with you. Exorcise this person from your life. You left your house to get away from this person. Get a lawyer. Evict them. Sell your house?! Why?! DO NOT PITY THESE PEOPLE.
posted by pazazygeek at 5:59 PM on March 28, 2017 [8 favorites]

Yuh, I don't think it will necessarily be a huge legal fight but you need to find a way to say to them that you're selling the house and you need them to leave and you'd hate to have to evict them, then evict them if they don't. That's as peaceful as you can be.

Do you have a friend who can help you on this path, either by being a go between or just by reminding you that you've already been extremely nice and that it's time for you to end this abuse?
posted by ftm at 6:01 PM on March 28, 2017

Do you want to sell this house? I would hate to think you are selling because you think you don't have any other option. If you want to sell, by all means do, but you could also hold onto the property for income. You shouldn't be forced into selling before you actually want to.

Connect with whatever Landlord Association exists in your area so you can learn about the relevant eviction related laws and get some referrals to lawyers. You don't want to make any specific moves without critical legal advice.

Hiring a lawyer also means you can outsource all communication you need to have with these people. They call you, ignore and block. They write you, tell them to talk to your lawyer from here on out. They plead with you on Facebook, block them. Save all communications, so if/when they don't back off you have a record you can take to the police if you need to get a restraining order for harassment.
posted by brookeb at 6:16 PM on March 28, 2017 [15 favorites]

Pay a lawyer to evict them. I believe they are harassing you, so mention this to your lawyer and start documenting all contact if you have not been already. Do not respind to them, direct all communication to your lawyer.

Your lawyer can from now on be their point of contact and you can block all emails/texts/calls.

Your lawyer can advise you on obtaining some sort of court order for harassment, if it cones to that. IF YOU GET A LAWYER AND LET YOUR LAWYER DEAL WITH THEM, THAT WILL LIKELY BE THE END OF IT. Why? Because once your legal armor is in place they will move on to an easier victim.

Seriously. Evict them. Move back into your home or sell it. Protect yourself. Why wait?
posted by jbenben at 6:39 PM on March 28, 2017 [15 favorites]

Except that he knows my weaknesses.

The lawyer you hire to conduct all future communications won't have any weaknesses. Seriously, these people are using and abusing and manipulating and stealing from you. You said it yourself. You need to outsource dealing with them. And give them no opening. Hire a freaking bulldog lawyer.
posted by spitbull at 6:44 PM on March 28, 2017 [38 favorites]

So you can not, must not do anything to harrass them. But your place is in danger of being trashed by them, and the empty room literally signals there is room for you to come back. Finding a cop or firefighter or part time WWE Wrestler to rent your room might be a way of protecting your place.
posted by Sophont at 8:34 PM on March 28, 2017 [5 favorites]

In addition to a lawyer who understands landlord / tenant law, you might contact local women's shelters for someone who understands abuse laws. I can imagine that your situation is cousin to that of someone trying to divorce and evict an abusive spouse.
posted by salvia at 8:59 PM on March 28, 2017 [6 favorites]

One thing that helped me when I was leaving an abusive relationship was writing a monster list of every horrible thing he had done to me. Man, that list was long, and I kept adding to it. Every time I missed him, every time I wanted to call, every time I thought about driving over - that notebook would come out and I'd start reading. This helped squash my desire to get in touch, as I knew I'd just end up with more things to write in that notebook.

Sorry you're going through this. Best of luck.
posted by sockermom at 11:10 PM on March 28, 2017 [9 favorites]

I'll do it, I'll be the AskMe cliche. As well as finding a lawyer, find a therapist, so they can help you work through all the guilt you seem to be feeling about needing to hire a lawyer. Because you need to hire a lawyer. And if that were an easy thing emotionally you would have done it already. So to help make it possible (if not easier), talk to a therapist.
posted by aimedwander at 8:11 AM on March 29, 2017 [4 favorites]

They are tenants. Maybe the business is a tenant. You give all three (both partners and the business) 30 days to move out. If they have a lease, you evict them according to the terms of the lease.

Document, with a witness, written notes, and lots of photos, the condition of the entire house and property, inside and out. You can most likely do this in their private areas with 24 hours notice, because you are the landlord; the witness is your agent and also allowed to come with you as long as proper notice is given (check your state/local laws). Do as a landlord does, not as a housemate does. Save the photos, notes, witness statements in several places, not just on a phone or laptop that someone could smash. Get your homeowner's insurance in order in case they do something destructive to your property. The insurance can pay out for repair/replacement, and then sue them for the money. Your insurance company may even be able to help you find a lawyer.

If possible, remove your valuables starting before you give them notice of eviction. Don't engage with them in an argument. "This is your notice of eviction, in writing. You need to move out by 6PM (or whatever) on [date]," and then refuse to engage them in any talk about that topic. Remind them weekly if you have to. They are almost certainly going to try out any appeals process, so you'll want to investigate what that'll be.

Since you're a landlord, you're bound by rules, too. So don't lock them out, kill the heat or A/C (as applicable), power, water, etc. Constructive evictions like that are not going to work in your favor. Research your responsibilities.
posted by Sunburnt at 10:15 AM on March 29, 2017 [4 favorites]

Agreeing with everyone else's advice to lawyer up.

But expect that they will steal everything that isn't nailed down when they go, because it's possible they will feel, in their tiny grasping minds, that you "owe" them for making them move out.

If you don't have one, it's worth drawing up a complete inventory of what's in the house that's yours. If you have photos documenting the state of the house before they moved in, have those photos handy; you will need them as proof of any damage they've done or will do. If you don't have photos, maybe find a time when they're out to take some.

Perhaps your lawyer can arrange a third party to be there to supervise their moving-out process.

I'm so sorry you're having to deal with this.
posted by Pallas Athena at 10:29 AM on March 29, 2017 [4 favorites]

I'm a lawyer, I'm not your lawyer, and everyone telling you to lawyer up is 100% correct. When you go in to talk to your new lawyer, tell them everything - tell them your history with these people, the emotional manipulation, the extent to which they're harassing you, etc. Your lawyer doesn't want to embarrass you, but they need to know the details of the situation.

Once you've hired the lawyer, all contact will go through them. Every time these people contact you, make a record, do not respond, and send it to your lawyer. No exceptions, no matter how personal it gets.
posted by bile and syntax at 10:39 AM on March 29, 2017 [6 favorites]

After you talk to a lawyer to start the process of formally evicting them, which you should do yesterday, please, please, please just take care of yourself. By that I mean STOP ENGAGING WITH THESE PEOPLE. Block their number. Emails get sent straight to a folder and you never ever read them. All contact through a lawyer. They can't guilt you into anything if you don't communicate with them.
posted by lydhre at 12:01 PM on March 29, 2017 [3 favorites]

I agree with the grey-eyed goddess, Pallas Athena above, that they will steal your stuff and break what's nailed down. Since you'll have to endure, most likely, for the fullness of 30 days at least, you should document any damage, apparent theft, as you go. They'll try to pin on you the unlivable conditions that they will create. I'm sorry, this process is going to suck, but not as much as keeping them around.

Above all, remember that you are within your rights, and that where they go, and where the business goes, is not your problem in the least, as long as they go. Don't ever let them make it your problem. If they weren't manipulative bastards, you'd be right to offer whatever help, but they are, and they take advantage, and so they aren't worthy of your help. Help the next tenants, the ones who don't treat you like a doormat. Treating this couple with a cold heart does not reflect on who you are, but rather who they are.
posted by Sunburnt at 2:40 PM on March 29, 2017 [4 favorites]

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