Divorces and break-ups are always difficult experiences to endure. It’s hard enough to reach the decision to end things, but it can be even harder to fully break ties even after the divorce. For many of us, we may do things to try to hurt an ex, or they might do the same to us. But what do you do when your ex won’t let go? It can be hard to make clear that your ex is no longer a part of your new, single life the way they once were. Here are some common situations that arise, and how to deal if your ex won’t let go.
- Make sure you have a place that’s fully yours. After a divorce, only one of you will receive your property. Whether it’s a house or an apartment, that now belongs only to you or your ex. Surrender keys, change locks, do whatever it takes to make sure that only one of you has free access to the place. If it’s yours, make sure your ex has all of their stuff moved out by a specific date. If their stuff is still there after that date, just send it to them (or Good Will). The only reason to leave things behind is to maintain a presence in your life, which you don’t need. It’s important that you have a personal, private space that your ex can’t show up at unannounced.
- Don’t engage in arguments. Many controlling people will try to sabotage their ex’s social lives, trying to prevent them from dating or enjoying free time. If your ex won’t let go, there’s a chance they’ll try this tactic. They may intentionally disrupt plans and schedules, like not picking children up from school, in an effort to maintain control over you. They may also try guilt tactics, such as implying (or outright accusing) you of caring more about dating than your children. You know the truth, though, so don’t let this type of behavior bother you. Your life is now yours, to be lived the way you want. Don’t engage in arguments, and don’t take their insults to heart. That just plays into what they want, and makes it even more likely that they’ll stay involved in your life. Remember why you ended things in the first place, and look forward to living the life you want.
- Don’t respond to overbearing texts or calls. Many exes may try to simply reach out to you, whether to push your buttons or embroil you in some drama, or even just to prevent you from moving on. Don’t allow this to happen. It will only make it even more difficult for you to move on if you’re still involved in a dysfunctional relationship with your ex. And if it’s more difficult to move on, these problems with your ex will only last longer. Stop this at the source, lay down ground rules for communication, or just silence their number in your phone, so it won’t disrupt your life.
- Date anyone you want. Plenty of exes will try to exercise control or stay in your life by giving their (often unsolicited) opinion on who you’re dating. Whether it’s because they don’t want that person around your children or some undefined reason, who you date is your business, not theirs. As long as you aren’t dating a criminal or someone dangerous to your child, this has nothing to do with your ex. As with point #2, don’t engage this type of criticism. It only shows that you’re listening to them, considering their opinion, and allowing them some control in your life. Your ex doesn’t need to love your new partner. All they have to do is move on, and leave you to live your life how you want.