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My Ex Just Won't Move On


Published March 16, 2016 at 10:00 a.m.
Updated March 17, 2016 at 11:29 a.m.

Dear Athena,

My ex and I broke up six months ago, and she won't move on. What makes the situation worse is that I still live with her. Moving out is easier said than done. She manipulated me into moving back in after I left. She said she was moving on with someone else and needed me to keep her apartment just in case it didn't work out. She ended up breaking it off with the guy because she refuses to get over me.

Like a fool, I fell for her trap, and I regret it. I'm constantly telling her that we did not work out and that I have no desire to try to make it work again, but she doesn't get it. I'm getting extremely agitated because I just want to move on. I love her and always will, but I don't want to be with her. She invades my privacy, going through my phone, scouring my Facebook and snooping through my emails every chance she gets. I told her that she is not my girlfriend and I don't have to discuss my private life's details with her. But she's like, "We are meant to be together, and you're just going to keep hitting walls if you try to leave me. You might as well just be with me." Then she goes into a rant about getting married.

I'm about ready to be homeless. I don't have the energy for this anymore. I guess the only option is to move, but I don't have money to do that right now.

Trapped With My Ex

Dear Trapped,

This is bad, and it's only going to get worse if you stay in the same apartment. Moving out might seem complicated, but your life sounds miserable with her in it. The rants you describe and the invasion of your privacy suggest your ex is pretty mixed up. She's confused or just not willing to believe that it's over between you, so you need to take bold and unequivocal action.

The first thing you should do is pack up and stay with a friend or family member until you're able to find a new place. It's not just about getting space but about severing ties in an immediate and direct way.

As long as you're staying under the same roof, she's likely reading into signals you don't even know you're sending. For example, eating at the same time or watching a show together can fuel her delusion that your relationship has a chance.

You say you love her. If that's true, then leaving will help her as well as you to move on.

The other option is to facilitate her moving out. You might even invite some of her close friends or family to help persuade her that the relationship is finished and to help her find a new apartment. That might be the reality check she needs.

You are not really exes until you are also ex-roommates. You need to go, or she does. End of story. And the sooner the better for all concerned.