My cheating ex won’t get out of my life. Why?

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Dear Guys,

I was in a relationship for 5 years. (A gay couple.) My ex constantly flirted with his previous boyfriends or other guys online while we were together.

Two years ago he left me and moved in with a guy he just met. Well that lasted two weeks and then he wanted me back. When he came back he got into counseling and I thought things were going well. I was wrong. He cheated again. So I ended the relationship for good.

It has taken a lot of work to get over my ex. Finally, I started talking to someone new. At the beginning of December my ex tried to say negative things about me to this new guy. Then he tried to repair his broken relationship with my best friend. (I think it’s really unfair of my ex to contact my best friend.) He’s made sure that I don’t talk to many mutual friends anymore which I’m okay with because it tells me they weren’t true friends.

The bottom line is, my ex just won’t go away. Not a week goes by that he doesn’t do something to try and tear me down. What I don’t understand is why would he do this? He’s dating someone else. And I’ve been working hard on myself to heal and grow from this because it was a really, really bad relationship.

He’s told everyone he doesn’t want me, but he still contacts me and tries to get all dramatic. So why won’t he go away? Why won’t he stop doing these things and just leave me alone?


Dear Nate,

Thanks for your question.

It takes strength to break up with someone you still love. Good for you—for recognizing how unhealthy your relationship was, and extracting yourself. But as you know, the breakup is only the first step to actually moving on. Often people get back together—as in your case, sometimes more than once—only to finally break it off permanently. Once the actual physical connection is no longer there it still takes time to separate emotionally.

And that’s where you are. Both of you. You are still allowing him to exhibit control over you and he still feels remorseful for messing up a good thing. Because rest assured, he is remorseful, and wishes he acted differently when the two of you were together. Otherwise he wouldn’t be spending so much time trying to make life difficult for you now. He sees that you’ve moved on. He sees you’ve gotten stronger and more confident and that bothers him. He wants you to feel as miserable as he does inside. So when he sees you happy, he’s going to do anything he can to try and take that from you.

You can’t control his actions and words, but you can control how you react to what he says, and how his actions affect you. This starts with you having very clear boundaries. (Maybe you’ve done this, but it should happen again.) Please ask him nicely to stop speaking badly about you to other people. And then ask him to stop contacting you. Once you’ve done this you must also follow through. Stop answering his calls. Don’t get sucked into the drama—long drawn out conversations and arguments. Stop giving him any sort of audience and after a while this will hopefully stop.

We understand that part of the problem is the two of you travel in many of the same circles. You have mutual friends, you go to similar hang outs, and you probably live near each other. So unless you plan on moving and starting a new life somewhere else, you’re going to have to deal with him in your life to some extent. So you must be consistent, strong, and clear. And lean on your true friends for support. Don’t be shy about this. It’s okay to ask for help.

Nate, if you can understand that he’s actually hurting, and try to see him as someone who doesn’t know how to deal with his inner turmoil, it might help you separate from him. We’re not saying accept his negative actions. No one should ever accept being bullied. And we’re not saying it’s your job to help him. It’s not. But if you realize that he is in a holding pattern—right where he was when you broke up with him—and that you’ve grown so much since then, you’ll realize that you do in fact have the control here. You’re the stronger person; you’re the person who’s put in the hard work to grow; so you need to rise above this. Hopefully one day he’ll start working on what he needs to work on. But that’s his journey, not yours.

Focus on what you can control: your happiness. The rest is all static, meant to distract you from your goal.

And finally, if this gets too bad, and he won’t leave you alone, then you might need to seek help beyond your friends. (Something to consider down the road.) Hopefully it won’t ever get to that point.

Good luck and happy holidays.


ps. Let your friends know about us. Thanks!

8 Comments on My cheating ex won’t get out of my life. Why?

  1. Wow. This is great advice for anyone going through a break up with an ex who refuses to let things go. Great perspective. Great advice. I am impressed!

  2. @Victoria….Thanks Victoria. We try hard to give thoughtful advice. Let your friends know about us.

  3. There’s so many issues here so I’ll try my best to summarize and hope it makes sense. I met this guy at a house party last year, I was there with his best guy friend whom I wasn’t exactly dating it was more of a FWB thing. Anyway he said he thought I was pretty, said he had asked his friend if he could talk to me and that he had said yes. So he asked for and I gave him my number. However, we didn’t really start texting daily till about two months later when his friend started seeing someone else. To be honest I just started talking to this guy because I was hurt. Anyway he seemed sweet and the first time we hung out he picked me up, we went to his place and yes we had sex. I know huge mistake. I thought he would disappear but surprisingly he texted me every day all the time and we began seeing each other regularly. Never actually going anywhere though just sex at his place. A month later I started a fight because I didn’t want the whole FWB thing I wanted more. I remember once I posted I miss you on his fb and that was immediately deleted, he said he hadn’t told his friend about us yet. I ignored him for maybe 2 days at most after that fight because I was hurt and felt used, and he was blowing up my phone and finally said I love you. I was shocked because it had only been a month but regardless I had strong feelings for him as well so the “relationship” continued. Now he’s always been kind of broke always saying he wished he could take me out but couldn’t and he was really struggling there for awhile. Then in July he received some settlement money and said we can go out now, we can get our own place. He said he wants to marry me and we ve talked about having kids. But his family went out of town that same month and we got into a fight because I didn’t want him having house parties. I know his friends and I’ve been to their parties and there’s always random girls, alcohol and weed ( they all smoke constantly and together its one big close group, his friends). The last time I wen to his place I saw this pl!
     astic cu
    ps and a mattress set up in the spare room. I didn’t speak to him after that bc I know he lied. I was waiting for him to come after me but he didn’t really he’d call maybe once or twice a week all throughout august. I had deleted him off fb, although he had deactivated his fb for most of the time we were seeing each other. In early September he friend requested me  back and I saw two other girls had posted on his wall. One whom he admitted was a girl he used to date wrote I miss you can’t wait to see you. And the other constantly put hearts and a goodnight on his wall. I called him angry and we got into a big fight and he said he had been talking to someone else but hadn’t slept with anyone and that he loved me and missed me. He was in NJ for the first two weeks of September and when this conversation happened. When he came back we saw each other but things were a little off he seemed a bit cold and distant. During the last two weeks of September I was in the hospital due to emergency surgery. In early October he msgd me through fb because I saw that those two girls had recently re-added him as a friend. And I figured they were mad at him for deleting their posts, which he had done for me and I guess he made up with them, bc why else would he add them back. I wouldn’t answer his phone calls so he msgd through fb and said I’m not with them I swear I want to be with you I want to change for you. I love you and only you, it’s not about the sex I want you to be my girlfriend. We went out for lunch that day and I felt like we started fresh. Now just a week ago I texted his ex one of the girls from fb just because him and I got into a huge fight over him always blowing me off to smoke with his friends. And she told me EVERYTHING. Theyve been on and off for two years. She spend 3 days at his house during the summer in august when i wasn’t speaking to him. AND while he was in NJ he was texting her saying he hoped she wasn’t with anyone bc he wanted to be with her an only her and missed her etc. Everything he’s s!
     aid to m
    e apparently he’s said to her. While she was at his house for those days and saw my name while I was calling him she asked who I was and he said I was a “ho” bc I hooked up with his friend, he even fake called me in front of her to “tell me” not to call anymore (he never called me) she also said he’s been trying hard to see him for the past two weeks. When she called him to tell h she and I had spoken he totally sided with HER I was so shocked expecting the opposite. He said I was a liar, that he’d rather be with her and that I was just a hook up and he loved her. But he also straight up asked her if he was trying to hook up. She told me he had admitted to her to sleeping with that other girl from fb in September. He told me previously he had never met that girl in his life. So after this huge blow out and everything coming to light I texted him that same day and said try lying to me now. He said he didnt love me, I wasnt his girlfriend and he was just looking to hook up. He also said to please don’t tell anyone (meaning his friends) what happened between us. I said I couldn’t believe he cheated this whole time and to have a nice life and that I was happy for the both of them. This ex of his is only 21 with two kids a one and two year old, neither of which are his. From what she told me he’s cheated on her multiple times and she told me she’s given him about 600$ over the time they were supposedly together. Every time she tried to leave he would say they same things I love you don’t leave me etc etc as he’s said to me. I’ve tried to break up with this guy SO many times and he never let’s go. He always comes BEGGING back, I feel bad for him and take him back hoping things will get better. Instead we keep going around in a circle. After what he said to me after that mess he texted me the next day which was thanksgiving and said I’m sorry I do love you I wish this never happened. He called on Sunday and texted me again yesterday asking “can we talk” I haven’t answered anything I’ve completely ignored him bc!
      I don’t
     know how to go about reacting or responding to this. I want to blow up for everything he said about me to her and all the lies he’s been feeding me the whole time we ve been together. At the same time I wan to make him really regret what he did to me because I’ve never cheated on him, I was good to him and have always been there for him. I do care about him and I’d like to be with him but I know it isn’t likely he’ll change. I feel like the person I fell in love with was fake and like I’m just now starting to see what he’s really like. I haven’t spoken to that girl since that day so I’m not sure if they’ve been talking or seeing each other. I would really appreciate some insight, I’m so confused bc what I hear and what I see are polar opposites. Thanks so much.

  4. @Stephanie…..Thanks for your question and interest. So what are you actually asking? You want to know what we think of this situation we’re assuming? Or is it something more specific? We believe that actions tell the tale. He can say he’s different now, but the history is: He cheated and lied to you repeatedly. We’re sure he has some great qualities, but are they the kind of qualities you’re looking for, or that you need, in a serious and committed relationship? Ask yourself that question. It is possible to change, but that requires a lot of work, AND the desire to change. Are you getting that sense from him? If you think you are, what proof do you have of it? You need to see change over a course of time, like at least a year or longer. This might mean he’s seeing a counselor, or a professional he can talk to. It could mean couple’s counseling. It could mean he no longer hangs out with the same friends. Look at actions. Because words aren’t enough in our book. What do you think? ps. We hope you’ll share our site with all of your friends. Spread the word on Facebook and Twitter. @TGPBuzz. Please take a moment to help a fellow reader. VOTE on our Ask our Audience page. Thanks

  5. Maria Rossi // February 26, 2013 at 8:37 pm //

    Hello Ask the guys!

    Yesterday, my cheating ex-boyfriend came back into my life and now he’s gone again. Is there another chance he will be back again?

  6. @Maria……..Why? Do you still want him?

  7. Maria Rossi // February 27, 2013 at 7:13 pm //

    No, I don’t want him. I was just wondering if there was a possible chance of him still coming back? Why can’t he just move on?

  8. @Maria…..Because people who cheat, cheat because something is missing inside them. Or they cheat because they can. Which means they want it all, their cake and everything else too. He’s back because he thinks you’re still open to having him back. But that doesn’t mean he’s changed at all.

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