- Harassment is never OK, and you shouldn’t have to deal with what your ex is putting you through.
- At the same time, setting boundaries and letting him know there are legal consequences in the form of a restraining order could help.
- You should also take this time to find loved ones who support you and are willing to listen in a judgment-free way. Those people may not be your own family.
- Use this time to pour into yourself and the hobbies that make you happy.
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I’d been dating my ex-boyfriend for two years when he started to seriously talk about getting married.
I thought it was too fast, so I disagreed.
Still, I let him live with me, paid all of our bills and rent, and also let him borrow my car anytime he wanted. I would cook, clean, and do laundry.
Then, a few weeks ago, he moved out with no notice.
I was at home when all of a sudden his family came inside to get his things. I felt so uncomfortable with the situation that I stayed in my bedroom and hid from them.
Since then, I’ve blocked my ex on social media and from calling me, but I keep getting calls from random numbers that end up being him.
He leaves messages calling me names, and when I told my family about the situation, they just tell me they knew he was never good for me.
All of this is only making the breakup harder for me, and I’m not sure how to move forward when my ex won’t respect my space. What do I do?
I’m so sorry you’re experiencing verbal abuse from your ex because you don’t deserve that. What you do deserve is closure and the space to heal.
The first step in getting there is setting boundaries with your ex. From what you’ve told me about your relationship, it seems like you did a lot to care for him and didn’t ask for much in return, so he likely never understood that your needs mattered too.
Though a lack of boundaries during your relationship doesn’t excuse his abusive behaviour, learning to stand up for yourself, rather than hide from conflict, now could help you take charge of your own future, Amy Chan, the founder of Renew Breakup Bootcamp and author of “Breakup Bootcamp: The Science of Rewiring Your Heart,” told me.
“There’s a difference between avoiding something and actually having a conversation about it or communicating about it,” said Chan.
Since your ex didn’t take the hint that you want to cut off communication, Chan suggested sending him an email that explains your specific boundary and the consequence if he doesn’t respect your request.
She said an email could be better than a call or text in this case because his tendency to say disrespectful things to you could lead to a full-blown shouting match. An email also provides a record of your boundary so you can take legal action, in the form of a restraining order, if necessary.
In fact, a restraining order could be an effective consequence when you state your boundary, according to Chan. In your state, if an ex-partner harassed you verbally, you can file for protection against future in-person or telephone harassment.
After you communicate your needs to your ex, it’s time to focus on yourself
Since you spent so much time caring for your ex and doing your best to avoid conflict, you likely have time to think about your own emotional and physical needs.
To start, Chan suggested taking an online course to learn more about boundary-setting and how you can harness the practice to create a life on your own terms. And if you have any hobbies you’ve neglected, like crafting, making music, writing, or playing a sport, now is the time to create goals in those areas and set your focus there.
“I think right now she’s feeling very disempowered, right? She’s also not getting the support that she needs from her family, so she needs to start doing things and expanding her energy and focus on things that are going to help her feel empowered,” Chan said.
When it comes to getting the emotional support you need during this breakup recovery period, you have two options.
In sticking with boundary setting, you could tell your family that you know their comments were their way of looking out for you, but it’s not the type of support you’re looking for right now.
Then, let them know that when you bring up your ex, you simply want to vent and don’t want advice or comments badmouthing him. If they can’t respect your wishes, you’ll know to cease talking about your relationship troubles around your family.
But if that happens, it doesn’t mean you’re alone, Chan told me.
“There’s what I call low-safety, medium-safety, and high-safety relationships. There’s people in her family. Yes, they’re related to her by blood, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a high-safety relationship,” Chan said, referring to relationships that honour your needs for feeling understood and not judged.
If that’s the case for you, think of the people in your life that you consider safety blankets, like your closest friends, your therapist, or a mentor, and lean on them as you navigate your new single life. You’re not alone.
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