“Do you really want this to be over?” he asked. “Yes, I really do,” I said. “You don’t mean that,” and he continued to eat his cereal and flip through the TV channels. This was the exact conversation I had some years back with my ex as we sat in my apartment one lovely summer afternoon. I had always thought he was crazy, but this really put some fear into my heart. I sat on my couch and was truly perplexed. How am I going to get this man out of my apartment? For the next couple of weeks he acted like nothing was wrong. Eventually I got him out, and it wasn’t pretty. After it all went down, I left for a few days and returned to my apartment to find out that he had been lying in my bed, smelling my underwear, writing notes to me, and had scattered photos of us across the apartment. There were roses on the table and tension in the air. I ended up moving out of there, and the weeks that followed were filled with calls upon calls, 1,000 word Facebook messages and protection orders. This was an extreme case, but many of us have a story about the ex boyfriend/girlfriend that turned obsessive and would not leave you alone. Life seems to be pretty peaceful. You’re in a new relationship or happily doing your own thing, and then the Ghost of Boyfriends Past somehow finds a way to poke his head through the fence and starts haunting your life. Rarely do these people come back in over time. They come back full force, like they had never left. I have noticed that most people who won’t seem to let you live in peace are never too far away. These days there are too many ways to contact someone for them to truly disappear. Your family and friends have suggestions. “Block their number!” Tried that. “Delete them from your Facebook!” Tried that. In my experience, these are short term solutions. They always pop up with new numbers and social media pages just to get on your nerves. At times I feel like I am destined to be haunted by these couple of people who just won’t let go. If you have ever gone through anything like this, you know exactly what Destiny’s Child was singing about in “Bug-A-Boo.” Nothing is worse than running into this crazy person and having nowhere to hide. Seeing you face to face must trigger some strong feelings of nostalgia and will be all it takes for them to start trying to railroad you with texts and calls. I have noticed that old flames seem to be quite arrogant. They expect you to say that you have missed them too or that you think of them every now and then. Say that you don’t and they act like they don’t believe you. I don’t want to reminisce about how much my mom used to like you, I don’t want to remember the time you bought me that necklace, and no, I do not want you back. Just recently my sister group texted me, our mom and other sister because her ex (who is in Korea, mind you) called three different locations of her job looking for her. His logic? He missed her and that he knows she still has a little love left for him somewhere in her heart. They’ve been broken up for almost a year. I think that love ship has sailed.
So Why Can’t Some People Let Go?
While I am in the midst of being annoyed by someone, the main thing that I want to know is ‘why won’t you leave me alone?!’ These are people who have been out of my life for awhile, but if you are fresh out of a breakup and someone can’t seem to let go, try not to be so hard on them. Being broken up with is a grieving process and people handle grief differently. This isn’t to say that you have to hold their hand in getting over you, that’s counterproductive. Just establish boundaries. I don’t have the blueprint for how to do it, just make sure you aren’t giving them false hope. The best thing you can do for both parties is to make it clear that just because you can be amicable does not mean you are interested in working things out. I was never interested in being amicable with people after I had kicked them to the curb, and I made that known. Sadly, some people have no respect for your personal boundaries. They are doing whatever will make them feel better with no regard for your peace of mind. They could be fueled by sadness, regret, or spite. If they aren’t going to be happy, then neither are you. If they are feeling despair, they want you to know how deep their sadness lies. No one is going to take you back out of pity. Why would you want that anyway? Talk about damaged pride. Now if someone has been out of your life for a reasonable amount of time and suddenly here they come, they are bored. Many women have that “they always come back” attitude like they’ve got the juice other women don’t have. That really has nothing to do with it. An old flame or ex boyfriend that decides he wants to shoot the breeze with you out of nowhere is not looking to sweep you off of your feet again. More than likely he has become newly single or his roster has hit a dry spell. Men like to come back to what is familiar. This isn’t a case of the struggling ex who cannot seem to let you go. I notice that many women get an ego boost out of the amount of men who attempt to come back into their lives. Don’t be flattered. He has probably contacted five other women he used to be involved with in the same week he was liking your Instagram picture. Women do it too. I see guys complain all the time about various women texting them “hey stranger” when they haven’t heard from these women in months. What do you want now all of a sudden? Our own arrogance likes to allow us to flatter ourselves into thinking we are these irresistible creatures that no one can stay away from for too long. Whether it is the ex calling you crying to Marvin’s Room or the old friend with benefits who is popping up, you’ve got to ask yourself, do you like the attention? Many people fake complain about being irritated by the constant stream of texts and calls they get but they fail to mention that they are the ones adding fuel to the fire.
Let’s Face It, You Like The Attention
It is okay to admit you like to feel wanted. The ego stroke feels nice. You’re not fooling anyone though. Most people give up on contacting you after awhile if they do not get a response. Unless you’re dealing with Glenn Close from Fatal Attraction, your hotline is not going to keep blinging with your suitors begging for an ounce of your attention. If you want peace, stop feeding into these people. Lovers from the past are like stray cats. Give them a bowl of milk one night because you feel bad for them and they will be scratching at your door every night. How are you going to call the cat thirsty just because every time it asks, you give it what it wants? You are an enabler. I have another ex who actually just sent me a friend request on Facebook while I was working on this post. This guy was after underwear sniffing ex (I had a pattern of attracting crazy people for awhile) and for the past four years, he has been texting/calling me from different numbers, running up on me at the club, trying to add me on social media, etc. For awhile, I used to respond to his texts. I thought he just couldn’t let me go. Now I know he is just an irrational human being. I haven’t responded to his messages for a very, very long time yet he won’t go away completely. That type of attention gets old very fast. Even though I still hear from him every now and then, once I stopped replying, the communication decreased significantly. Sometimes, people will pop back into your life and will genuinely just want to know how you’re doing. Should you respond and risk your phone getting blown up from that point into the near future? You can take the risk, but not everyone is in stalker mode. I think our egos can have us thinking that just because you get a text that says “hey, you crossed my mind when this song came on, just wanted to say hello,” that they want you back. Not always the case. People are capable of maturing and being genuine in their interactions. Don’t go text your best friend complaining to her about why you can’t figure out why these guys just won’t leave you alone. We have extreme cases like the ones I have mentioned and we have basic cases of if you keep giving a dog a bone, the dog will keep coming back for more bones. My sisters and I joke all the time about how “they” always end up coming back in some shape or form, but we are sensible enough to know the logic behind it. It really isn’t all that personal. Everyone gets a kick out of nostalgia, and sometimes we just want those old feelings back.