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He won't accept that it's over

Posted by Meredith Goldstein  September 23, 2013 08:31 AM

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Q: Mere,

I recently ended a three-year relationship primarily over trust issues. There were many other issues to be sure, but the final straw was when he lied to me about a significant event in his past.

I can forgive but not forget this lie, which was one of several over the years. And frankly, I'd been unhappy for several months and considering a breakup anyway. This latest situation just gave me the catalyst I needed.

So for me this relationship is over, and I conveyed this to him in no uncertain terms. I'm completely comfortable with my decision and relieved to be moving on.

The problem is that my ex will not accept my decision. He is calling, emailing, and texting incessantly. He is texting my friends. He is sending flowers, cards and gifts, and even sent a friend to my house to plead his case. Though he is now staying with family a half hour away, he was apparently in my town yesterday and sent me a text saying, "You looked great today!" (Yes, I have already changed the locks.)

He still has a significant amount of personal items at my home (he was living here when I broke things off and took only a backpack when he left that day). When I ask him when he's coming to get his things (the only topic that I communicate with him about -- all other texts, emails, etc. are deleted), he responds along the lines of, "We need to talk and work this out!" I've let him know that there's nothing to talk about, I'm done, and he needs to move on.

I don't know what to do with his things. I'm ready to put everything on the curb, but I know he can't afford to replace it and it seems wasteful.

To date, I've left my explanation at, "I can no longer trust you." Giving him a long list of why this relationship did not work for me seems cruel and unnecessary. But is that what it will take to get him to accept that I'm done so I can end this chapter in my life?

Your advice is much appreciated.

– Ready to Move On, Boston

A: No more explaining. The more you explain the breakup, the more he gets to respond.

Mail his belongings to his family's house or hire someone to move it all for you. I don't care if there's a lot of it; there's no need to have him anywhere near your place. You can include a short note with the boxes. Something like, "The contact must stop now. No more calls, emails, texts, or visits. It's time to move on." He needs to understand the boundaries.

Also consider changing your phone number. I know it's a pain, but it might help to start fresh.

And please don't be afraid to talk to local law enforcement about your ex's behavior. People often freak out and grovel when they get dumped, but your ex's drive-by crosses the line. Maybe he thought the whole "you looked great today" thing was romantic, but it was weird and scary. It's always good to let friends, neighbors, and officers know that they should be looking out for you. Police -- or an organization such as Jane Doe Inc. -- can talk about when behavior gets into restraining order territory, and about when you should report problems. Don't keep any of this stuff to yourself.

Readers? Should she keep explaining the breakup? Does she need to change her number? What can she do to be clear? Is his behavior normal? Help.

– Meredith

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ABOUT LOVE LETTERS: Welcome to Love Letters, the place for love advice (giving and getting). Globe relationship columnist Meredith Goldstein and Boston.com readers are ready to take your letters and tell you what's what. Have a question? Click here to submit or email us at loveletters@boston.com.
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Meredith Goldstein is a Boston Globe columnist who follows relationship trends and entertainment. She offers daily advice on Love Letters — and welcomes your comments. Meredith is also the author of "The Singles," a novel about complicated relationships. Follow Meredith at www.meredithgoldstein.netand on Twitter. Love Letters can be found in the print edition of The Boston Globe every Saturday in the G section.

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