"Because everyone needs a clean break."
This is an excellent article and sound sage advice. Having that third party hanging over a new relationship, especially when the ex doesn't respect boundaries, is like trouble just waiting to happen. If you need help figuring out how to disengage from a clingy ex who just doesn't get it, you'll find this article extremely helpful.
Below are key points that are very direct and absolutely on the mark.
1. Directly state that you want him/her out of your life.
You have said it—in so many words (you didn’t want to be mean, and how many other ways are there to interpret “It’s over”?). But when a former partner you used to be connected to won’t let it go, you have to be as blunt as possible, without being cruel of course. Call them, don’t text them, in order to avoid any misunderstanding. Florida State University psychologist Roy Baumeister tells Psychology Today that it sometimes does more hurt then help when you try to sugarcoat it. Psychology Today explains, “A misguided attempt to spare a partner pain can leave him or her hopeful [that] there might be a chance at future reconciliation, which can hinder the efforts of both parties to move on.”
Use the most direct wording—short and to the point—in this situation. Say, “Please stop contacting me.” Don’t be afraid of being "mean". You are firmly establishing what you need, and they should honor that.
2. Do not respond to any of his/her communication.
This can be really difficult. Interestingly, there is research indicating that people react to rejection like a drug user going through withdrawal. According to Psychology Today, Rutgers University anthropologist Helen Fisher believes that the activation of addictive centers in response to breakups also fuels stalking behavior, which is why they may be calling and texting so much. They may be struggling post-breakup, but it’s not up to you to comfort them or make them feel better, and doing so may make their feelings of withdrawal worse. After you have made your boundaries clear, do not respond if they reach out again. Even by responding to their “Hey, thinking of you” text with an “I'm good, hope you are well, too” adds fuel to their fire to keep contacting you. They are fishing for anything from you, so cut the cord, and don’t respond.
3. Social Sites ~ unfriend, unfollow, and consider doing the same with your ex's friends.
We live in the social media era, which means they have easy access to pieces of your life. If you remain “friends,” you may be tempted to check in on them. The easiest way to prevent this is to remove your Ex from your networks. It may seem a little absurd, but even asking your close friends to unfriend them is another option. Finally, if it isn’t been done already, set your profile to private.
4. Have his/her emails sent directly to trash.
There are some other great technology tools out there to nip unwanted communication in the bud. Here’s how to have your Ex's emails delivered directly to your trash folder in Gmail:
- On a computer, open Gmail.
- Check the box next to the email you’d like to create a filter for.
- Click “More.”
- Click “Filter messages like these.”
- Fill out information about the emails you want to filter. Click “Create a filter with this search” at the bottom right.
- Check the box for what you’d like to do with messages that fall into that filter. If you want them to get sent to “Trash,” check the box for “Delete.”
Learn about different ways to create filters.
5. Block his/her number.
It’s frustrating to have to constantly delete voicemails, and it can feel harsh to ignore all those friendly or maybe even pleadingly romantic text messages. But, thankfully, you can stop your Ex's calls and texts in their tracks. To do this, go to your telephone service provider (AT&T, Verizon, etc.), or investigate your phone’s (Android or iPhone) capabilities for blocking.
6. Don't check on him/her.
You may be tempted to ask your Ex's friends how they're doing, but this might only kindle further communication. Russell Friedman, executive director of the California-based Grief Recovery Institute and author of Moving On, told Psychology Today that he warns against prolonged back and forth communication, as it often instigates arguments and causes more hurt. If your Ex's friends want to talk about them or ask any questions, change the subject.
In the ideal world, we would all be buddies with our exes post-breakup, but sometimes it’s just not possible, and often it's not advisable, especially for those who've moved on to new relationships. If your Ex can’t give you the space you need to heal and move on, you can take the initiative to facilitate a clean break.