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Ask Athena: My Ex Is Too Attached to Me


Published September 20, 2017 at 10:00 a.m.
Updated September 20, 2017 at 11:07 a.m.

Dear Athena,

I was dating this guy for about two years, and we broke up a few months ago. Before we started dating, we were friends for a while. Now I'm starting a relationship with a new guy, but I'm still friends with my ex. I kind of want to stop being friends. He annoys me and is jealous about the new person I am with, and calls a lot and shows up to things I didn't invite him to. I broke up with him and stayed friends to make him feel better about the breakup, but now I don't know what to do. He is way too attached to me.



Dear Help!

Welcome to part two of this breakup story.

If I had a time machine, I would advise you to travel back and make a clean break with your ex from the get-go. It takes a very special situation for lovers to transition back to friends. Rules need to be determined, boundaries established. There may be a chance for that in the future, but right now it's time for a big change.

Invite your ex out for coffee and discuss how this new arrangement isn't working. Explain that staying friends was important to you, but now it's interfering with your ability to move forward — and his, too. Offer specific details to illustrate how his behavior is standing in the way of your friendship. It might be the reality check he needs. And then — this will be hard — tell him you need a friend break.

You did what you could to keep things amicable, but humoring him is not worth the stress and strain you're experiencing. Distance is key in order for you both to heal and move on.

He might not get it. He might get mad. But stay strong and be straight: Honesty between pals is crucial. Maybe friendship is in the cards for you down the road. But if you can't open up to him now, it's almost certainly not.