What to Do When Your Ex Won’t Leave You Alone Post-breakup (17 Things + Tips)

Breakups can be like finishing a challenging book—sometimes the story lingers, especially if an ex keeps turning back the pages. If you’re feeling caught in the post-breakup loop, you’re not the only one.

Let’s unpack some helpful strategies to gracefully handle an ex who just can’t move on.

Why Might an Ex Have Trouble Moving On?

Breakups are tough; we’ve all been there. But sometimes, one party has a hard time letting go. Why? Several reasons:

  1. Emotional Attachment: Even after a breakup, deep-rooted feelings can remain. They might still see a future with you, or they’re struggling with the void you’ve left.
  2. Unresolved Issues: If there were questions left unanswered or issues not addressed, they might feel there’s unfinished business between the two of you.
  3. Ego and Rejection: Nobody likes feeling rejected. For some, an attempt to stick around could be a way to prove they’re still wanted or to soothe their bruised ego.
  4. Habit: Relationships create routines. Maybe it’s that good morning text or weekly movie night. Breaking those habits can be as challenging as breaking emotional ties.

So, now that we’ve delved into the reasons an ex might have a hard time letting go, it’s crucial to consider how you can navigate this tricky situation with grace, understanding, and firm boundaries.

The next section offers helpful strategies to ensure both of you can find the space and peace needed to heal and move forward.

1. Assess the Situation

It’s natural to feel overwhelmed when someone you once shared a deep connection with starts to cross boundaries post-breakup. However, maintaining your calm can be your strongest asset during these times.

By staying composed, you can:

  • Prevent the situation from escalating.
  • Assess the situation more objectively.
  • Make better decisions on how to handle the situation.
Tip: When you feel emotions bubbling up, practice deep breathing exercises or take a moment to step away and collect your thoughts.

2. Trust Your Instincts

Your instincts, honed over time and shaped by experiences, are a powerful tool in determining the underlying intentions of your ex. Sometimes, you might feel uneasy or sense that something’s not right even if you can’t put your finger on it. Trust these feelings.

For example, if you get a seemingly harmless message from your ex but feel an underlying motive, it might be worth taking note of or discussing with a trusted individual. Remember, your emotional intuition is there for a reason.

Actionable Advice: Create a mental or written list of 'red flags' based on your feelings and past experiences. When an action or message aligns with one of these flags, take it as a sign to approach with caution.

3. Assertively Set Your Boundaries

Setting clear boundaries is crucial, especially when dealing with an ex who won’t leave you alone. Here’s how you can effectively communicate your boundaries:

  • Be direct and clear about your needs. For instance, if you want no contact, express that explicitly.
  • Avoid using aggressive or confrontational language.
  • Ensure you’re consistent in your communication.
Actionable Advice: Instead of saying, "You're annoying me. Stop texting!" you might say, "I think it's best for both of us if we have no contact for a while. Please respect my decision."

“Daring to set boundaries is about having the courage to love ourselves, even when we risk disappointing others.”

— Brene Brown

4. Keep a Record of All Unwanted Interactions

If your ex’s behavior starts to take a turn for the worse, it’s essential to have evidence. It’s not just about emotional well-being but also about ensuring your safety and safeguarding against potential legal implications.

When necessary, thorough documentation is vital. Here’s a deep dive into why and how:

Purpose of Documentation

  • Objective Record: Keeping records eliminates the influence of memory biases. Over time, you may forget specifics, but having them documented offers an undistorted timeline.
  • Legal Protection: If things escalate, having proof of the harassment can be crucial when approaching the authorities or pursuing a legal case.
  • Validation: Sometimes, we doubt ourselves, especially when someone is trying to downplay their actions. Documented evidence reaffirms that you’re not imagining or exaggerating the situation.

How to Document

  • Texts and Emails: Save and backup all electronic communications. It’s essential to ensure that these backups are in a secure location, such as a password-protected folder or cloud storage.
  • Face-to-Face Encounters: Write down the specifics of every unwanted encounter. Note the date, time, location, what was said, and any witnesses.
  • Voice Calls or Voice Messages: Try to save voice records, if possible. If not, jot down the specifics immediately after the call.
  • Pictures or Gifts: Sometimes, an ex might send unsolicited gifts or letters. Retain these and photograph them for records.

Tools to Assist

  • Screenshot Tools: Useful for capturing digital conversations. Make sure to include timestamps.
  • Dedicated Folder or Diary: Allocate a folder on your computer or a diary specifically for this purpose. Date every entry and keep things in chronological order.
  • Cloud Storage: Platforms like Google Drive or Dropbox can be handy for storing documentation, ensuring you don’t lose them even if your device malfunctions.
Tip: Always maintain a backup in a separate location. This ensures that even if one set of records is lost or destroyed, you have another.

5. Share Your Concerns with Close Friends or Family

When dealing with an ex who won’t let go, a support system is crucial. Trusted friends or family can offer:

  • A listening ear.
  • Validation of your feelings.
  • Potential advice or solutions.
  • Safety, in case the situation escalates.
Tip: Choose who you confide in wisely. Ensure they are individuals who can be empathetic, maintain discretion, and offer constructive advice.

Real-life Anecdote: Sarah, a 28-year-old teacher, was struggling with an ex-boyfriend who wouldn’t stop contacting her. By confiding in her close friends, not only did she receive emotional support, but one of her friends introduced her to a local support group for individuals dealing with similar issues.

This connection was a game-changer for Sarah, providing her with resources and a larger community to lean on.

6. Talk to A Professional

Post-breakup scenarios can be challenging and emotionally taxing. Counseling isn’t just for addressing significant traumas; it can be a valuable resource for anyone looking to navigate complex feelings after a relationship ends.

Here’s why:

  • Emotional Processing: Breakups can bring up old wounds and unresolved issues. A counselor can help you unpack these feelings and provide clarity.
  • Safe Space: Counseling offers a non-judgmental environment to express and process feelings you might not be comfortable sharing elsewhere.
  • Coping Strategies: Professionals can provide tools and strategies to help manage stress, anxiety, and other emotions.
Tip: Look for counselors or therapists specializing in relationship issues or post-breakup scenarios for more tailored guidance.

7. Set Boundaries with Mutual Connections

It’s not uncommon to share friends or acquaintances with an ex. However, it’s essential to ensure your mutual connections respect your boundaries post-breakup.

  • Open Communication: Approach mutual friends and explain your situation without badmouthing or blaming your ex. Your objective is to ensure your privacy.
  • Specify Boundaries: Clearly express what you’re comfortable with. Whether it’s sharing your whereabouts, updates about your life, or passing on messages, make sure your friends know your limits.
Example: "Hey, [Friend's Name], I'd appreciate it if we keep discussions about my current life or plans away from [Ex's Name]. I'm trying to maintain some distance for my well-being."

8. Update Your Online Privacy Settings

In the age of social media and digital connections, an ex-partner might try to keep tabs on you online. Securing your digital presence becomes crucial in such cases.

Platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter offer settings to control who can see your content. Ensure your profiles are set to private, and make sure that only trusted people can have access to it.

Also, even on private accounts, avoid sharing specific locations or plans that could compromise your safety or privacy.

Tip: Occasionally review your friend list and connections. It's a good practice to ensure you recognize and trust all the individuals who have access to your digital life.

9. Educate Yourself on Digital Safety

Being savvy about your online presence isn’t just about privacy settings. It’s about understanding the landscape of digital safety.

Signs of digital stalking:

  • Receiving anonymous messages or messages from fake profiles.
  • Finding out details of your life that you haven’t shared publicly.
  • Constant friend requests or follows from unknown accounts.
Actionable advice: Regularly change your passwords and use two-factor authentication where available to bolster your online security.

10. Block if Necessary

Sometimes, the only way to ensure peace of mind is to cut off all possible lines of communication. If your ex persists in trying to contact you or infringes upon your boundaries, it might be time to use the block function on your phone, email, and social platforms.

Example: If you receive unwanted messages like, “Why are you ignoring me?” or “Let’s just talk,” it signifies a breach of boundaries.

Real-life anecdote: After her breakup, Anna received consistent messages from her ex, ranging from apologetic to aggressive. Initially hesitant, she finally decided to block him on all platforms. The immediate peace she felt reinforced that she had made the right decision for her mental health.

Remember, sometimes, creating distance is the healthiest action.

11. Reevaluate Shared Responsibilities

Breakups aren’t always a clean break, especially if you and your ex have shared responsibilities like financial commitments, shared properties, or even pets. These shared responsibilities can become lingering chains that tether you two together. The key is to address these obligations head-on.

Consider setting up a meeting to discuss and untangle shared responsibilities. It may not be a comfortable conversation, but it’s necessary.

Actionable advice: If discussions become too heated or unproductive, consider involving a neutral third party, like a mediator, to help streamline the process.

12. Inform Your Workplace

If you and your ex work in the same vicinity or if there’s any reason to believe they might cause a disruption at your workplace, it’s essential to let your superiors know. Most companies prioritize the safety and well-being of their employees.

By informing them, you’re not gossiping or causing drama but ensuring a safe and productive work environment.

Real-life anecdote: Sarah, who worked in a corporate setting, once had an ex show up unexpectedly at her office. After informing her HR about the situation, they implemented a check-in system at the reception, ensuring no unauthorized visitors could enter.

13. Ensure Your Personal Safety

Physical safety post-breakup is not just about immediate actions but also about cultivating a long-term sense of security. In situations where you’ve ended a relationship and feel unease about your ex’s behavior, there are several proactive steps you can take.

  1. Changing locks: If you shared a living space or if your ex had access to your place, the first step is to change the locks. It’s not necessarily a matter of distrust but a simple step to reinforce boundaries and give yourself peace of mind.
  2. Varying routines: A predictable routine can unintentionally offer opportunities for unplanned encounters. By switching up your daily patterns, such as trying a new coffee shop, jogging in a different park, or even alternating your commute route, you can reduce the chances of running into your ex unexpectedly.
  3. Inform close friends and family: Make sure your closest circle is aware of the situation. They can offer support, be extra eyes and ears, and sometimes just knowing they’re looking out for you can provide comfort.
  4. Consider personal safety devices: In situations where you feel more vulnerable, consider carrying a personal alarm or other safety devices. Modern technology offers various discreet options that can be easily added to a keychain or bag.

Lastly, always trust your instincts. If something feels off, it might very well be; it’s always better to prioritize your safety.

14. Seek Legal Advice

When all else fails, and your ex’s behavior crosses boundaries that make you uncomfortable or unsafe, it might be time to consult with a legal expert. A lawyer can provide guidance on your rights and potential remedies available, such as restraining orders or cease and desist letters.

Remember, your well-being and peace of mind are worth safeguarding.

Actionable advice: Like stated earlier, keep a record of any incidents or unwanted contacts. This documentation can be helpful if you decide to take legal action in the future.

15. Engage in Healing Activities

Breaking up is tough, no doubt about it. On some days, you might feel like staying in bed with the curtains drawn. While it’s okay to give yourself some downtime, finding ways to heal and move forward is essential.

Instead of letting negativity drown you, actively invest in yourself and discover activities that uplift your spirits.

  • Mindful Practices: Meditation, deep breathing exercises, and yoga can help you find balance and inner peace.
  • Expressive Outlets: Painting, journaling, and dancing are just some ways to let your emotions flow without restraint.
  • Physical Activities: Exercising, whether it’s a run in the park or a workout in the gym, releases endorphins that boost your mood.
Tip: Create a healing routine. Designate specific days for specific activities. For instance, reserve Sundays for self-care, Wednesdays for therapy, and every other day for some form of exercise. Structure can help in fostering discipline.

16. Focus on The Future

In the midst of heartbreak and ongoing issues with an ex, it can be challenging to look beyond the present. However, now is the perfect time to introspect, recalibrate, and focus on what lies ahead.

  • Journaling: Put pen to paper and let your feelings flow. It’s not about being a perfect writer but about understanding and articulating your emotions.
  • Plan for the Future: Whether it’s furthering your education, a career change, or even traveling, set goals that excite you.

17. Cultivate a Support System

The people around us play a significant role in our healing journey. During testing times, it’s crucial to surround yourself with individuals who radiate positivity and genuine concern.

  • Reconnect with Loved Ones: Now’s the time to rekindle bonds with friends and family. Their unconditional love and support can be a balm for emotional wounds.
  • Join Support Groups: There are many online and offline groups where individuals share experiences and coping strategies related to breakups and healing.
  • Limit Negative Interactions: While it’s essential to face reality, constantly being around naysayers or those who remind you of past pains can be detrimental. Choose your company wisely.

Remember, every individual’s journey is unique. The mentioned strategies are guidelines to help navigate the stormy seas of a breakup, especially when an ex won’t let go.

Always prioritize your emotional and mental well-being, and don’t hesitate to seek professional help if needed.


In the journey of moving on, remember it’s okay to prioritize yourself. Every individual deserves respect, boundaries, and peace of mind. As you take the driver’s seat in your own story, always know you’re worth the destination of tranquility and happiness.

How useful was this post?

Click on a star to rate it!

As you found this post useful...

Share it on social media!

We are sorry that this post was not useful for you!

Let us improve this post!

Tell us how we can improve this post?

Leah Bayubay

Leah is a creative soul with a passion for telling stories that matter. As an editor and writer at UpJourney, she channels her natural curiosity and imagination into thought-provoking articles and inspiring content. She is also a registered nurse dedicated to helping others and making a positive impact.

In her free time, she indulges her artistic side as a hobbyist photographer, capturing the world's beauty one shot at a time. You can also find her in a poor-lit room playing her favorite video games or in a corner somewhere, reading and immersing herself in the rich worlds of fantasy and dark academia.

At home, Leah is surrounded by love and laughter, living peacefully with her partner and their three adorable shih tzus.