Does your boyfriend have an ex-girlfriend who still can’t seem to move on? Are her comments, messages, and attempts to get his attention making you feel uncomfortable or frustrated?
Relationships can become complicated, especially when an ex is still hovering in the picture. Nothing can stir up emotions like an obsessive ex who won’t let go.
So, what do you do? Here are possible solutions to deal with a clingy ex-girlfriend, along with ways to figure out what’s best for your relationship:
Licensed Mental Health Counselor | Relationship-focused Therapist
Control yourself, your responses to your feelings, and your reactions to the situation
Is the ex coming into the picture again?
There are so many things that you want to say to her:
“Stay away from him.”
Better yet, there are so many things you want to say to your boyfriend:
“Tell her to go away.”
“Do not speak to her ever again.”
Well, the ugly truth of it all is that you have no control over any of it. The only thing that you have control over is yourself, your responses to your feelings, and your reactions.
It’s certainly not uncommon for an old flame to come back into the picture, and while it can be confusing or irritating, efforts to stop it usually prove futile.
When your boyfriend’s ex-girlfriend is still obsessed with him after their relationship has ended and yours has begun, it can feel infuriating.
Invasion from an ex-girlfriend can generally bring up feelings of profound anxiety. What most people don’t realize is that anxiety frequently masks other feelings that have been buried deep down inside. These feelings might include jealousy, anger, sadness, and even rage.
Related: How to Get Over Retroactive Jealousy (According to Experts)
It can feel insurmountable to think about stopping yourself before getting to the place where you are beginning to wonder:
- If he is obsessed with her, too.
- If he is answering her texts or calls.
- Even worse, if he is cheating on you with her.
These are all stories that you tell yourself as a way of making meaning out of something you have no control over.
When it comes to an obsessive ex-girlfriend, the only thing that you do have control over is your reactions and responses to the situation.
Understand that your boyfriend cannot control how his ex-girlfriend feels about him
The challenge here is in realizing that you cannot control how often his ex-girlfriend contacts him or even if your boyfriend responds, for that matter. Although it is important to discuss how you feel with your boyfriend, understand that he also cannot control how his ex-girlfriend feels about him.
Related: How to Respond to an Ex Contacting You
Take matters into your own hands
All you can do is take matters into your own hands.
The first question to ask yourself is, “Can I accept what is going on and the lack of control I have around it?” If the answer is yes, then you have the opportunity to explore how you would like to react and respond.
Having a differentiated self will allow you to better understand that your boyfriend’s ex has nothing to do with you. The fact that she is obsessed with him does not take away how he feels about you and does not change your relationship unless you allow it to.
If you feel angry and suspicious when she is staring at your boyfriend at the bar, can you ask yourself why you might be jealous and what you are afraid of happening in your relationship?
If you can’t sleep at night because you are telling yourself that your boyfriend is still obsessed with her, too, can you ask yourself where this is coming from and if you have any proof of the story you have just created?
Understanding why your reactions come out the way they do will help you to take control of the situation. Because hey, the only person you can change is yourself.
Related: How to Solve Relationship Problems Without Breaking Up?
Alexandra Mejia, LMHC, C-PD, CCTP II
Licensed Mental Health Counselor, Mindfulness with Sasha
Obsessions from previous relationships are, unfortunately, pretty common. In some cases, both of the exes have difficulty letting go of a toxic relationship and continually break up and make up over the span of months or even years.
Related: Can Toxic Relationships Be Healed?
In a case like this, it might be difficult for a new partner to trust there won’t be another make up, especially in the beginning, and rightfully so. Unfortunately, if you don’t trust the person you are with, there shouldn’t be a reason to get serious with them to begin with.
Ask yourself if you “trust” your boyfriend
Generally, it becomes clear early on in dating that the person you are seeing is still emotionally involved with their ex. They might often bring them up, check their phone constantly for communications from their ex and overall not show so much interest in getting to know their date.
Most of the time, though, one of the exes has moved on and no longer has any feelings for the other person, while the other person continues to fantasize about getting back together.
Related: Why Do Exes Come Back When You’ve Moved On? (40+ Reasons Why)
In this situation, the question is not “What do I do?” but “Do I trust my partner?”
Trust is one of the “legs” of every relationship. The other “leg” is commitment. If one of these legs isn’t present in a relationship, the relationship is not likely to stand up on its own.
When you find yourself lacking trust in your partner, you want to ask yourself where this is coming from:
- Have you been cheated on in the past?
- Have you been the one that could not be trusted in other relationships?
- Has your partner actually done something that broke your trust?
The answer to this question will help you determine whether you need to work on yourself, leave the relationship or possibly work through the trust issues with your partner through clearer communication.
Related: Trust Building Exercises for Couples (According to 9 Experts)
If there is trust and commitment in your relationship, the only thing to do is find acceptance in the situation and support your partner as best you can through this difficulty.
If you can imagine being in this situation yourself, you might recognize how stressful it might be for your partner. Your partner might be worried about their safety and their peace of mind but also might have fears that they will be left behind by their current partner because of the ex’s obsession.
Reassure your boyfriend that you’re there for him despite the situation
Obsessions like these will usually fade away with time, but in some situations, they might turn into stalking, which can also turn into violence. Reassuring your partner that you are there for them despite this situation might be one of the best ways to support them and strengthen your relationship for the long term.
When partners are able to support one another, they open a line of communication that continues throughout the relationship. Distrust turns into trust; fears turn into strength.
Related: Effective Communication: How to Improve Your Communication Skills
Where two people were worrying about the same thing on their own, now they are holding those fears together, which lessens the anxiety and worry because they now feel united in their struggle.
Certified Life Coach
Decide what you’re willing to live with and set a boundary
This can be a tricky situation because the truth is, you can’t control what your boyfriend does or what his ex does. But what you can control is what you do. And you get to decide what kind of relationship you’re willing to be available for.
You’re allowed to ask him to cut off contact with her
If you’re not willing to be in a relationship where your boyfriend is still involved with his ex in any way, you’re allowed to ask him to cut off contact with her. But he’s not obligated to say yes to that request.
If he does say yes — and then follow through — problem solved. If he says no, or if he says yes but doesn’t follow through, then you need to decide what you’re willing to live with and set a boundary.
That might look like, “I am not available for a romantic relationship where my partner is devoting emotional energy to another woman. If you continue your relationship with your ex, I will end our relationship. I love you, and I’m not willing to do this anymore.”
Or, if he’s not really engaging with her and she’s just being weird about stuff, maybe you decide this isn’t a problem and just carry on with him, and perhaps you both agree to block her.
The bottom line: Are you willing to live like this permanently? If so, there’s no problem here. If not, things need to change.
Direct your energy to what you are available for
The important thing is that you tell yourself the truth about what you are actually willing and not willing to be available for in your life and your relationship. After that, you can consciously and intentionally direct your energy to what you are available for and no longer give it to what you’re not.
Other people will do what you do. And you get to do what you’re going to do. That’s where your power is.
Dating and Relationship Expert, Cupid and Cuddles
If you ever find yourself in the uncomfortable situation of dealing with your boyfriend’s ex-girlfriend who seems obsessed with him, you’re going to want to take a deep breath and maybe grab a glass of wine or ten.
It can be tricky getting rid of an ex that won’t go away and still has hopes for rekindling their romance. Realistically, you can’t control how she behaves — her actions are up to her — but there are things you can do on your end to decrease her presence in your life.
Don’t be afraid to calmly express boundaries
First of all, encourage your boyfriend not to engage with his ex other than positively responding if she reaches out. That way, he doesn’t give her any mixed signals that could make her think they could get back together.
Don’t be afraid to express boundaries — just remember it’s better when done calmly and not angrily.
Maintain your composure and rise above the pettiness of the situation if need be
Don’t let yourself be played like a puppet where you’ll just react hysterically every time his ex does something — this will only increase the obsessive behavior by reinforcing it. Instead, maintain your composure and rise above the pettiness of the situation if need be.
Block her from interacting with you
To help avoid awkward or difficult conversations since his ex may try to reach out to you through social media or otherwise, simply block her from interacting with you as much as possible.
Sometimes holding ourselves accountable is really all we can do when faced with these types of situations. And hopefully, after taking all these steps, eventually, she’ll come around and realize that her time would be better spent pursuing passions elsewhere instead of trying to win back someone who is obviously taken anyways!
Relationship Expert, Sameera Sullivan Matchmakers
Get her off of all social media platforms
Do not provide her access to your digital or online social lives. Remove your name from the photos she has. When she tries to contact you via email, block her so that she receives a bounce back. Get your partner to remove her from all of his social media accounts as well.
Related: How Social Media Affects Relationships (According to 7 Experts)
Do not take the bait or confront her
Do not lower yourself to her level and allow her to antagonize you, despite the fact that she is playing around online and using various nefarious tactics. Not only would this kind of retaliation fail, but it will also probably lead your lover to lose some respect and interest in you.
Senior Editor, Tandem
Being in a relationship takes work, even good relationships. After all, relationships will never be good if everything is ignored. That’s because people have to do a little work to make each other happy.
But what happens when you do the work but a wrench is thrown into your relationship? What if the name of that wrench is your boyfriend’s ex-girlfriend? What can you do when your boyfriend’s ex-girlfriend is still obsessed with him?
Avoid her as best as possible
If the two or the three of you work in the same place, this might be difficult. But if it’s more a matter of sharing similar friends, then make sure you agree to go somewhere that the ex-girlfriend hasn’t been invited. If you arrive someplace and she is there, you have the right to excuse yourself.
Talk to your boyfriend
Though he might think he is “just being nice,” he might inadvertently lead her on if he continues to talk to her. Explain this to him and see if he can cut her out of his life. This means they don’t need to talk, chat, or communicate on social media.
If they share a child, this advice will require modification as they must communicate about things directly related to their child.
Talk to her
Talking to her can be uncomfortable. Still, sometimes the best way to handle an awkward situation is to deal with it head-on.
Ask her why she seems so interested in your boyfriend. Find out if there is a way that you can help her to get over him. Talking is a good way to better understand and see things from her perspective.
Be nice, but be honest
Whether you are talking to your boyfriend about his ex or talking directly to his ex, you want to be as nice as you can. The saying goes, “Kill them with kindness.”
It’s also important that you are as honest as possible. Remember that if you sugarcoat things too much, you might give false hope.
Take out a restraining order
This is only for extreme circumstances. You wouldn’t, and can’t, take out a restraining order against someone just because you don’t like them.
But if the ex’s behavior is inappropriate to the point where you feel threatened or uncomfortable, talk to a lawyer. They can advise you on what actions you can take to ensure that she doesn’t bother you or your boyfriend.
What should you not do?
You might feel so frustrated that you feel like the only thing you can do is stress. If you can, try not to let the situation get you to the point where you are physically feeling stressed.
Whatever steps you opt to take, think before you act. This doesn’t mean coming up with an idea and immediately acting on it. Instead, give your idea some time and decide if it’s the right course of action for you.
Don’t answer her
If she is trying to reach out to you and this makes you uncomfortable, you don’t have to answer her attempts. Hopefully, in time, she’ll realize she doesn’t need to reach out to you.
Whatever you do or don’t do to handle your boyfriend’s ex, it’s important to remember that it is not about you. The behavior she is exhibiting is directed at your boyfriend.
Ultimately, he will need to deal with the situation. Be there for him, be supportive, and be understanding. If the two of you can get through this, you can probably get through anything.
Founder, Relation Counseling
Talk to him openly and honestly about the situation
In a situation like this, it is crucial to communicate openly and honestly with your boyfriend about the situation and support him as he deals with his ex-girlfriend’s behavior.
Please also remember that your partner is probably feeling a lot of mixed emotions. While he may be annoyed or resentful at his ex, he may also be struggling with feelings of jealousy or insecurity. It can be tough for him to focus on anything else.
Help him establish healthy boundaries
It will be great if you help him establish healthy boundaries with his ex-girlfriend, such as limiting or ending contact with her. If you feel like your partner is ignoring or avoiding you because of the ex, it’s important to talk about it.
This isn’t easy for either person, but talking about the issue can help address it head-on.
Regarding his ex-girlfriend, it is important to understand that she is likely feeling insecure and insecure people often lash out in destructive ways. If you can show her that you still care about your boyfriend and are supportive of him, she may be less likely to focus on him.
Seek help from a professional
If her behavior is causing significant distress for your boyfriend or you, it may be helpful to seek the advice of a therapist or counselor.
Related: What to Talk About in Therapy (60+ Examples from Therapists)
Acknowledge and accept your feelings
It’s natural to feel jealous, angry, or uncomfortable when your boyfriend’s ex-girlfriend is still in his life. Give yourself permission to recognize and express your emotions without judgment.
Express your feelings without blaming or accusing your boyfriend
Openly communicate about the situation with him and let him know how you’re feeling. Remember that it’s important to express your feelings without blaming or accusing him; let him know that his ex-girlfriend’s behavior makes you feel uncomfortable and insecure.
Your feelings are valid and should be respected by your partner and his ex-girlfriend. Offer your support to him in this situation, but don’t forget to take care of yourself too.
Have confidence in yourself and your relationship
Remind yourself that there’s a reason why your partner chose to be with you, and the two of you have something special that his ex-girlfriend doesn’t.
Set boundaries with your boyfriend’s ex-girlfriend
If she continues to be involved in your boyfriend’s life, it may be necessary to set clear boundaries regarding acceptable and unacceptable behavior between them. It can also help to make sure that you and your partner are on the same page about his interactions with her.
Licensed Realtor | Founder, Suburbrealtor
It’s natural for us as humans to be possessive of what we feel is ours. This doesn’t necessarily make us obsessive. It just explains the human tendency to have a personal relationship with the person we are.
When we find ourselves in a romantic relationship, exclusivity is always the desired goal, especially when we love them. However, having a partner whose ex still has an obsession may stand in the way of this exclusivity.
Make your boyfriend understand how uncomfortable the situation makes you
Communication is always essential in every successful relationship. It is always better to share the thoughts in your head rather than assume that your partner can read your mind.
Sometimes, what you have perceived as an ex who won’t allow you to enjoy your relationship, is simply an ex-turned-friend (not like this is any easier to cope with) who is only trying to keep in touch, especially if they shared a friendship.
Making your boyfriend understand how uncomfortable the situation makes you is always the better alternative because it is the intelligent and more mature way to handle it.
Do not obsess over the situation
At this point, it is effortless to become obsessive, not with your boyfriend, but because his ex-girlfriend is obsessed with him. This is why you must be conscious not to overanalyze the situation to the point that you, too, become obsessed because this will negatively affect your relationship.
Hair Stylist and Chief Editor, Hairdo Hairstyle
The first thing that comes to your mind is confrontation, but I highly recommend that you don’t confront her. This actually doesn’t lessen her feelings towards your boyfriend; as a matter of fact, it makes her resent you more, and her obsession is motivated.
Cut communication ties
One of the best approaches is to ask your boyfriend to cut ties with her completely.
Ask him to unfriend her on social media and avoid interactions in person. That should not be a problem considering they are not together anymore. She is a third party, and she is only tied to your boyfriend, and if he hopefully is done with her, why then don’t you do the same?
It’s easy to compare yourself with her, but don’t fall for this trick. This will harm your relationship by awakening all your insecurities. This also calls for total honesty with your boyfriend if you feel threatened.
It is okay to let him know how you are feeling. His reassurance might be the only thing that you need.
Don’t stress or overthink about her. Spend your time thinking about what you have with your boyfriend.
Take legal if necessary
Lastly, take legal action if the obsession becomes life-threatening. A restraining order will help scare her off.
CEO & Co-founder, Filler Bite
Everyone has experienced dealing with an ex at some point in their life. It can be uncomfortable and emotionally draining, especially if the ex is still obsessed with your boyfriend.
Unfortunately, it is something you may have to face, and it is vital to take the necessary steps to protect yourself and your relationship:
Talk to your boyfriend and make him aware of the problem
The best way to handle this situation is to first talk to your boyfriend about it.
It would be best if you made sure that he is aware of the problem and willing to take the necessary steps to protect your relationship. Ensure he is not encouraging her behavior, which could worsen the situation.
Take care of your emotional state
It is also essential to ensure that you care for yourself and your emotional well-being. It can be challenging to deal with someone obsessing over your partner, so it is important to practice self-care and be aware of your emotional state.
Make sure to take the time to do things that make you feel good, such as spending time with friends and family or engaging in activities you enjoy.
Discuss with your boyfriend about setting boundaries
It would be best if you also talked to your boyfriend about setting boundaries with his ex. This can be difficult, but ensuring that her behavior does not disrupt your relationship is essential.
It is also necessary to make sure that you are setting boundaries for yourself and your relationship. This could include not responding to her messages or blocking her from social media.
Related: How to Deal With Someone Who Doesn’t Respect Boundaries
Talk to someone outside of the problem for an objective perspective
It can also be helpful to talk to a therapist or a trusted friend about the situation. Sometimes talking to someone outside of the problem can provide an objective perspective and help you feel less overwhelmed. Overall, it is essential to remember that you are not alone in this situation.
These are the steps that you can take to protect yourself and your relationship. Talking to your boyfriend about the situation and setting boundaries with his ex is essential. It is also important to practice self-care and to speak to a therapist or a trusted friend for support.
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