My Ex Won't Let Go. Is It My Job to Help? | Ask the Rev. | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice

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My Ex Won't Let Go. Is It My Job to Help?


Published February 2, 2022 at 10:00 a.m.


Dear Reverend,

My ex has been texting me every other day for several months, pleading, cajoling and shaming me for ending the relationship "cold turkey." She claims that I am cruel not to talk to her, that my silence is triggering her abandonment issues and that only my attention can free her from her misery.

Over the summer, I had many breakup conversations with her, kind or harsh, yet she never accepted a final goodbye. I admit to being ambivalent during this barely viable relationship of little chemistry and ease. For me, it's so over, but I wonder whether there is any possible way that I can soften the blow without getting sucked into the drama again.

Therapists and friends all say the kindest thing is just to block her. Yes, abrupt emotional withdrawal is traumatic for anyone, but is it my job to help her? I feel morally bankrupt and sad.

Hopelessly Avoidant (male, 67)

Dear Hopelessly Avoidant,

You aren't the one who should be feeling morally bankrupt in this situation. I'm assuming that your ex is somewhere around your age, but she's acting like a big baby. Her abandonment issues are her problem, not yours. Using them to make you feel bad is wrong on many levels and signals to me that she's going to bring a bucket of trouble to any relationship.

You've already made your feelings clear, so you don't owe her anything. But it seems that you would feel better if you had one final finale for the relationship. However you decide to do it — be it a phone call, in person or by fax — tell her in no uncertain terms that you are not interested in continuing any sort of relationship with her. Block her number. Have her emails go directly into the junk folder. Change your locks if you have to. Be done with this toxic person and move on.

Good luck and God bless,

The Reverend

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