How to Deal With a Clingy Ex Boyfriend
Robin Thicke's newest video to his song "Get Her Back" just dropped, and let's just say there are no blurred lines in the message he's sending-he's in a lot of pain. (The video features him with a black eye!) The song is reportedly dedicated to Thicke's estranged wife, Paula Patton (and the album itself is called Paula). The "Get Her Back" video features texts many assume to be ones exchanged between the couple, including, "You drink too much" and "You embarrassed me." And while most of us haven't had to deal with our dirty laundry being aired for millions of YouTube watchers, dealing with an angry or clingy ex isn't exactly fun. Here, how to let him know it's over for good-and let you both deal with the breakup with dignity.
1. Really end It. No hanging out as "friends," no ending up back at his place, and no retweets or hearts-at least for a little bit, suggests Karen Ruskin, Psy.D., author of Dr. Karen's Marriage Manual. "Even if it ended on relatively good terms, having any sort of connection-and especially a physical one-can confuse you both." We're not saying you need to ignore him completely, but giving each other space will make it easier to organically fall into a friendship pattern in the future, once your brains and bodies know it's really over.
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2. Be blunt. Let him know that his clingy behavior isn't doing him any favors, and may actually detract from the possibility of a reconciliation, says Elisabeth Mandel, a licensed marriage and family therapist based in New York City. "Try something like, "Please respect my need for space. I know you still care about me, so the best thing you can do is let me reach out when I'm ready. These things are never easy. Thank you." By saying that, you're showing you know he still cares about you, so he won't step up his get-you-back strategy, explains Mandel. "Giving him clear directions helps alleviate his confusion on how to make the situation better," she explains.
3. Keep it classy. It's tempting to badmouth him or let everyone know your side of the story-especially if he's sharing his side with your mutual friends-but resist the urge and tell everyone that it's a matter between the two of you. By not getting locked in a this-is-what-really-happened convo exchange, friends' attention will drift to other things-and he'll eventually drop the subject as well, once he realizes that no new info is coming from you, say experts.
4. Be ready to block. If he's e-mailing and texting after you've told him you're not ready to talk, it's not rude to block him-it's you protecting your boundaries. But before you block, give him a warning, suggests Mandel. "It's about letting him know that it's hard for you too, and that you know he's reaching out because he cares, but that's not what you need right now," she explains. Making sure to use "please" and "thank you" in all your communications will help him feel acknowledged and respected, and will help him realize the best thing he can do is leave you alone.
5. Know when you need help. If your ex won't respect your boundaries after you've made it clear-or he's threatening or harassing you in any way, or makes you feel seriously freaked out or uncomfortable whenever you and he do communicate-then you need to let authorities know ASAP. Letting the police know what's going on will help you figure out your options, and will also give you peace of mind.