How Do I Get My Ex To Leave Me Alone?


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Trouble in life or love?

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(Questions have been modified for space and clarity.)

Past flame reaches out. AGAIN. How do I get her to stop?

–Sykogin19; Denham Springs, LA

I don’t ask for much. The Google form through which you submit questions has just three fields, two of which are for your name and hometown.

In the third, I only request you include your question and any relevant context, so I can provide as thorough and applicable an answer as possible.

Sykogin19 did not provide context. But that doesn’t mean he leaves empty-handed.

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The post-breakup world is a wasteland of emotions. While I believe communication between the two parties should cease as soon as possible, I concede a certain amount is necessary, so each person can process his or her feelings and gain closure.

But there’s an etiquette to these exchanges — what you can say, how often you can say it and how long you can say it for — and whether you got dumped or did the dumping dictates how you are to conduct yourself.

We don’t know on which side of the equation Sykogin19 falls, so let’s examine both…

IF YOU DID THE DUMPING:

When people get rejected, they don’t know what to do with themselves. And it takes a while before they figure it out.

Even when they sense a breakup is imminent, it still catches them off-guard, leaving them to navigate a minefield of rejection, resentment and “Where do I go from here?”

Which is why if you broke up with your ex, and your ex keeps contacting you, I’d recommend cutting her some slack. At least for a little bit.

Getting over a relationship is similar to getting over a death. Both are a loss, and both require the person to endure the five stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance.

As a survivor of some brutal breakups, I always had the most trouble with bargaining. It was the stage that took the longest to get through, because it presented my last bastion of hope.

I was convinced that if I could just keep the lines of communication open, and profess my love just a little more eloquently, it’d only be a matter of time until my ex saw the light and took me back.

That never happened for me, and it seldom happens in real life. But thanks to Hollywood’s rom-com propaganda, we’re reluctant to relinquish our final shot at a fairytale ending.

Which has led to too many people doing too many things to try to win back the person who dumped them. Cards on anniversaries. Texts about inside jokes. Emails regaling the good times together.

Yes, this gets annoying, and yes, it likely illustrates why you broke up with this girl in the first place.

But unless your ex is crossing the line, showing up at your house or sabotaging your current relationship, why not give her time to say what she wants/needs to say?

You don’t have to read or respond to it; just don’t call her out for it. She’ll exhaust herself eventually, and your biggest inconvenience will be hitting the Delete button.

Consider your compassion a parting gift for breaking her heart.

IF YOU GOT DUMPED:

The pain people feel when dumping someone should not be undersold. After all, only a sociopath feels no fallout from hurting somebody else.

Still, because the breakup was their idea, they must adhere to a different set of rules when it comes to post-relationship communication. Their bar is higher, and unfortunately few are able to clear it.

This failure is on display every season on ABC’s The Bachelor. Each week, the bachelor dismisses unworthy admirers. The later in the game it gets, the harder it gets for him to say goodbye.

The contestants who get rejected are always in disbelief. Sometimes they cry. Sometimes they get angry. Sometimes they fake it, so they can secure a slot on Bachelor In Paradise.

Considering these people just got humiliated, in front of a national TV audience and Chris Harrison, they have the right to react however they want.

The bachelor, on the other hand, does not. Yet he almost always commits the same breakup crimes, saying things like, “I didn’t want to hurt you,” and “You’re an amazing person who deserves an amazing love story.”

While it comes off as compassion — and to an extent it is — it’s also coming from a selfish place. He’s trying to make himself feel better for making someone else feel bad.

If your old flame is reaching out to you to do this, you have every right to stop her.

When a girl breaks up with you, she forsakes her right to talk to you. It’s not her job to see if you’re OK or convince you you’re worthy of happiness. Communication is no longer a two-way street.

She created this situation, and she has to deal with it on her own — without using you as a chew toy.

You owe her nothing. Block her, ignore her, (respectfully) tell her to lose your number, whatever. Do what you need to do to move on.

What do you think? What advice would you give this reader? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

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Need more advice? Check out the most recent installments:

How Do I Save My Marriage?

Beauty And The Eye Of The Beholder

How To Get Over A Broken Heart

How To Achieve Work-Life Balance

My Girlfriend Cheated On Me

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My First Kiss – Why I Want a Do-Over –



My first kiss is something I would like to redo. Not undo but redo because I think the guy was really nice and I feel things would have been better if the setting was different. It happened in a dark, loud club, I was embarrassingly drunk and incoherent but somehow this guy still thought I was kissable and asked if he could kiss me. Even in my near blackout state I was impressed with his instance on my consent because he didn’t make a move until I said the word ‘yes’.

As I think about kissing guys and specifically that night where the alcohol assisted in my giving consent to be kissed in a club in the pseudo-liberal Cape Town filled with straight people from across the country. It’s something I would never have considered a possibility in a sober state given my absolute fear of being outed.

But then I remembered how free I felt and how every breath felt fresh and new and affirming. That kiss, as sloppy as it was, changed my life.

The freedom was so refreshing, the courage I embraced from the spirits was emboldening. I can say that I may possibly understand why there are some men who first need a few drinks before they allow themselves to be free especially if that freedom includes letting another guy kiss him in the dark moments of the night.

The night because day, I woke up in my bed and I wasn’t drunk anymore. My wits were back but dulled by the hangover but more importantly my fears were back. I kicked myself for daring to do something so brazen and be so care-free about it.

Queue in the guilt.

But then I remembered how free I felt and how every breath felt fresh and new and affirming. That kiss, as sloppy as it was, changed my life.

But I’m not a drinker, nearly all my male relatives and neighbours are committed alcoholics and I have seen the damage it can do, so I’m generally not interested in alcohol. I’m not interested in sustaining myself on alcohol every time I need to breathe free and I certainly am not interested in ever being as drunk as I was on that day at the club.

I did, though, start mourning that feeling of freedom as it was fading into memory. I did everything I could to prolong it, clinging on to how great the release of years of repression felt, but with every passing second it all was falling to a drunken yesterday.

The solution was obvious; I had to come out, I had to state it to everyone. If I wanted any bit of that peace that I felt. I had to get out of bed and say it.

But then I thought “who did I come out to in that club?” All I remember was that the room darkened and the noise quietened when that moment of ‘first kiss’ happened. I knew what dangers and real life effects of being gay and care free could bring about in a conservative society but I didn’t let that stop me (blame it on the alcohol perhaps?). In that moment, I just existed

What I’m saying is that I didn’t need to state anything to anyone, I just needed to exist.

Growing up I depended a lot on the coming-out stories on YouTube. They brought me comfort and relaxed my anxieties of my fate as a gay human person on Earth so I’m not going to downplay the necessity of coming out in this society of ours. Humans interact with symbols and symbolisms and also humans don’t like being alone, so representation does a lot to starve the demons of loneliness and worthlessness that many men feel. What I will downplay though is this new cultural rite of passage that makes the coming out event a sort of duty for LGBT people.

But that ‘conversation’ will happen. It will happen because people expect everyone to be straight and thus heavy words are going to be shared to adjust that misinterpretation of reality.

I feel there is this expectation that expects gay men and women to ‘come out’, to announce their orientation. You hear it with even within the settings of liberal parents, family and friends when they respond to a coming out with ‘why didn’t you tell us before’; well-meaning but kind of silly if they are the type that perpetuate an environment of heterosexism or awkward gay-inclusive-heterosexism where you say and encourage heterosexist behaviour but then add disclaimers like “women…and some men…like a man who is [insert masculine characteristics]”

The pressure I felt to announce myself was instinctual. I felt that people wanted an announcement, wanted to be sat down, wanted a reading of a highly emotional letter, wanted the tears and wanted the ‘gradual phase of acceptance’ that comes after. But I want none of that I just want to live free.

People have come to romanticize coming out to be something that is done for the other instead of something that is done for the self.

But that ‘conversation’ will happen. It will happen because people expect everyone to be straight and thus heavy words are going to be shared to adjust that misinterpretation of reality.

It’s good to know that most coming outs I have seen throughout my youth have gone reasonably well or very well (unless there has been an over representation of good stories). I hope when the moment to address my sexuality as an announcement comes, I would have found enough solace and have resolved enough things within myself regarding my orientation.

What my epiphany did was allow me to refocus my energies to a more effective end without feeling like I was robbing others of what I though they deserve from me; a good coming out announcement. The work now is to be alright with myself because I know that just by saying ‘I’m gay’ doesn’t dissolve the internalised homophobia callouses I have formed over the years. The more important thing I can do for myself is not necessarily working up the courage to come out with bold words but dealing with those callouses that have formed which I can only predict will only serve to diminish whatever happiness I would ever hope to attain. I have already come out to the most important person… myself.

I hope someday I get to redo my first kiss and I hope I won’t need liquid courage to be fully present within that moment because there would be no shame to try drown out but just me and another good man.

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5 Ways We Screw Up Unconditional Love –


 

Thomas Fiffer wants you to get unconditional love right, so you don’t break your heart trying.

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Unconditional love is presented as the purest form of love, the gold standard, the summit of bliss we’re all trying reach. 

There’s this thing everyone talks about called unconditional love. You hear about it from people who seem to have good relationships. You see it plastered all over Facebook. Unconditional love is presented as the purest form of love, the gold standard, the summit of bliss we’re all trying reach. And you begin to think, if I could just learn to love my partner unconditionally, or better yet, if I could find someone to love me unconditionally, I would be supremely happy.

Because I want you to be supremely happy, I’m calling bullshit on unconditional love.

Because I want you to be supremely happy, I’m calling bullshit on unconditional love. I’m not saying it doesn’t exist. But it doesn’t mean what you think it does, nor does your supreme happiness depend on it. So let’s correct some major misunderstandings. Because if you try to love unconditionally and you get it wrong, you will be miserable. Supremely miserable. And you won’t be doing your partner any favors either. You’ll be creating a relationship in which you tolerate and enable hurtful behavior that doesn’t serve either one of you. Here are five things I’ve learned about loving unconditionally that you can put into practice for better, healthier relationships. When you practice these yourself and expect them from your partner, your understanding of love will change, and your whole life will change with it.

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The power to love, to give love, and to walk away from love always resides with you. 

1. Unconditional love is not an obligation; it’s a choice. Loving your partner unconditionally doesn’t mean loving—or staying—no matter what. The power to love, to give love, and to walk away from love always resides with you. If someone abuses you, or is cruel to you or your children, holds you back in life, or consistently trashes your sense of well-being, you’re not obligated to stay or to keep giving your love to that person. You may still harbor a kind of love for this scoundrel in your heart—a love that keeps a safe distance—but you are not required to leave yourself vulnerable to emotional or physical harm. Saying no to hurtful behavior is not setting a condition for love. It’s simply saying I love myself first, and I refuse to abandon my self-love to indulge in the love of another who hurts me. Some people do choose to remain in relationships that don’t bring them happiness or worse, bring them harm. Justifying this choice with the excuse of, “But I’m obligated to love unconditionally,” perpetuates powerlessness and a victim mentality. Choosing to be with a person who respects you, honors you, treats you with kindness, and enriches your life is actually the first step to loving unconditionally; it prepares the ground for unconditional love to flourish.

You can demand—and accept—your partner’s apology, but you don’t have to forgive unconditionally, meaning without defined expectations for future behavior.

2. Unconditional love doesn’t mean unconditional forgiveness. Your partner does something that pisses you off—big time. Or repeats the same mistake twice, or five times. Or says something that’s, well, unforgivable. Unconditional love doesn’t mean you let it go. You can demand—and accept—your partner’s apology, but you don’t have to forgive unconditionally, meaning without defined expectations for future behavior, in order to love unconditionally. In fact, calling your partner on his or her crap, not accepting lame excuses, and refusing to be a doormat is a higher form of love than forgiving everything to keep the peace. First, it challenges your partner to a higher standard of behavior, which is in the best interest of the relationship. And second, it enables your relationship to grow by ensuring that you and your partner learn from your mistakes. Relationship dynamics do not remain static, and sometimes, the way partners interact with each other needs to shift for the relationship to improve. Unconditional love requires you not only to allow but also to enable that shift by making your forgiveness meaningful and real.

“I love my partner unconditionally” doesn’t mean you love that person with some mystical purity that transcends your everyday interaction. Instead, it means that in every interaction, you come from a place of love.

3. Unconditional love is not a kind of love but a way of loving. If you’re a parent, you know that you can love your child and simultaneously hate what that child does. Your child’s horrible behavior doesn’t make you stop loving your kid; but it does compel you to treat your child differently in the moment and respond appropriately with corrective action. So to say, “I love my partner unconditionally” doesn’t mean you love that person with some mystical purity that transcends your everyday interaction. Instead, it means that in every interaction, you come from a place of love. That place of love means you act respectfully and treat your partner as an equal. That place of love means you don’t judge or try to control. And that place of love means you don’t hit below the belt and use your partner’s vulnerability against him or her. Those are the conditions you don’t violate.

A boundary is not a condition you set that says, I’ll only love you if you do x, or I won’t love you if you do y. A boundary is nothing more than a healthy understanding of your own value and of what behaviors value and devalue you.

4. Unconditional love has boundaries. To understand this, it helps to understand the value of boundaries and that boundaries are not selfish. A boundary is not a condition you set that says, I’ll only love you if you do x, or I won’t love you if you do y. A boundary is nothing more than a healthy understanding of your own value and of what behaviors value and devalue you. While it is necessary in some cases, particularly in high-conflict relationships, to attach consequences (such as leaving) to the violation of a boundary, in an unconditional love relationship consequences are not needed. The consequence is the impact to the feelings of the person you love whose boundary you have crossed. If your partner knows that coming home late without calling makes you feel unappreciated and disrespected, your partner can choose not to engender those feelings in you, because he or she doesn’t want you to feel them. Setting a boundary is making your feelings known, and respecting a boundary is making a choice to respect your partner’s feelings and making that choice from love rather than fear of retribution. Failing to express clear boundaries sets up a dysfunctional dynamic in which partners cross lines and cause pain unintentionally, then suffer the angry reaction to the offense—a pattern of interaction that erodes love over time.

Unconditional love is a mutually supportive dynamic in which both partners pull each other up to the healthiest way of loving and neither partner tears the other down.

5. Unconditional love is not one-way. If you love your partner unconditionally, as described above, but your partner doesn’t love you the same way, it isn’t unconditional love—it’s damaging self-sacrifice. Similarly, you need to hold yourself to the same standard you expect from your partner and that your partner adheres to. Unconditional love is a mutually supportive dynamic in which both partners pull each other up to the healthiest way of loving and neither partner tears the other down. Many people get stuck in unhealthy, self-destructive relationships because they think that applying the healing salve of what they believe is unconditional love to a difficult or even abusive person will change that person into the partner they desire. Trust me. It doesn’t work. Despite our conscience and sense of morality, the human animal tends to do exactly what it can get away with. No more, no less. Your one-way unconditional love will never heal or change your partner. It will only change you into a bitter and resentful person. Demanding that your partner love you in a healthy, respectful, reciprocal way—which sounds like setting a condition but is actually recognizing your own self-worth—is the only way to improve your relationship.

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I don’t know what you thought unconditional love was, but I’m betting it wasn’t this. I know when I first fell in love, I thought it was something different, and it took a long time and a lot of pain for me to learn these truths. So I share them with you as an act of love, a gift forged in the crucible of my suffering. Because love isn’t supposed to hurt. Abandoning yourself, sacrificing your happiness, stifling your true character, and giving up your dreams is not unconditional love. It’s unconditional surrender. It’s ceding the territory of your joy before the first shot is even fired. To achieve intimacy, you do need to take off your armor. But always remember, your heart is sacred ground.

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For more of Thomas G. Fiffer’s writing on love, check out his book, What Is Love? A Guide for the Perplexed to Matters of the Heart, on Amazon.

Learning to be Fearless with Attractive Women –


If you want to get someone’s interest, you have to let go of you nervousness. This week, we’re going to talk about how to talk to hot women without fear.

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Click on the link to for the podcast recording.

When you’re talking to someone you think is hot – whether you’re hoping to get a phone number or a date, to practice your flirting or lay the groundwork for future interactions, it can feel like you’re having to juggle while riding a unicycle. And the unicycle is on a tightrope. And the tightrope is also on fire.

You’re trying to do a dozen things at once – you want to be witty and funny because you want them to laugh but you are also trying to be a bit flirty because you want them to like you and you’re also desperately trying to gauge how they’re responding to you so you’re looking for any clue about how you’re doing and you’re also trying to think about what you’re going to say next because the last thing you want to do is let that awkward moment of silence crop up and make everything uncomfortable.

If you want to get someone’s interest, you have to learn how to talk to them without freaking out. This week, we’re going to talk about what it takes to learn to talk to hot women without fear.

Show Highlights:

  • Why your brain locks up talking to women you’re attracted to
  • The psychological trick that gets people interested in you almost immediately
  • Why trying to impress her is going to backfire on you
  • The best questions to ask to create an instant connection
  • One simple trick to make talking to women feel effortless

…and so much more.

Related Links:

How To Make Small Talk (For People Who Hate Small Talk)

Instant Charisma

The Art of the Cold Approach Pt. 1

How To Tell Stories

Five Secrets To Make People Like You

Don’t forget to subscribe and review us on iTunes and on Stitcher.

Want more dating advice? Check out my books at www.doctornerdlove.com/books

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How to Deal With a Girlfriend with A Higher Sex Drive Than Yours –


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Couples of all sorts frequently encounter hurdles in their relationship, be they physical, emotional, or mental. Few things can be more frustrating for a relationship, however, than dealing with a girlfriend who has a higher sex drive than you. So what exactly should a couple do when they run into this problem, and what common pitfalls should they avoid?

Sex is a natural and healthy part of any human relationship, but the differences in you and your partner’s preferences may drive you over the edge if they’re not properly managed. By following the advice below, you can overcome some of the challenges facing you and your girlfriend in and out of the bedroom.

Discussing your relationship openly.

The first step toward solving any problem in the bedroom is by approaching it openly and honestly, which means you and your girlfriend will need to set some time apart to be together and go over your differences in private. Establishing free time to talk in a place where you’re both comfortable is a must before you can hope to iron out the wrinkles in your relationship.

It’s perfectly normal to have different preferences, even large ones, with your couple when it comes to the bedroom. The natural solution to many of the problems encountered in most relationships is to establish what your differences are first, and then to finely delineate between both of your needs and your wants. For your relationship to thrive well into the future, one partner’s wants cannot impede on another’s needs.

It can be easy for couples to resort to the blame game, or to take issues like this, which revolve around sexuality, far too personally. Be sure that you and your partner both understand that a situation such as this can be uncomfortable, but that there’s no need for spiteful words or thoughts, as you’re only trying to genuinely clean up a dark spot in your relationship.

If you think your difference in the bedroom could be an indicator of broader problem or problems in your relationship, don’t be afraid to bring it up for fear of loss. Talking to one another honestly and freely when it comes to intimate issues like this is a must if you’re to build empathy, which is needed for any loving relationship to last.

Sync your sex drives.

Getting the stars to align in the bedroom is by no means easy, but by taking some steps to sync your sex drives, you and your partner can get on the same page as one another. This may mean taking some extra time to plan your schedules – if you’re both intensely busy with work or school, for instance, it’s vitally important that you block off both personal time and time spent with your partner so you can both recharge and connect.

Sex therapists have already harped heavily on the benefits of syncing your sex drives, which can increase libido if one partner isn’t feeling comfortable or help another, overly-eager partner temper their urges. An individual’s sexuality is almost always an intricately complicated thing, so don’t be afraid to unpack your preferences with your girlfriend in detail (provided you’re both comfortable with it) to strengthen the bond between the two of you.

A necessary part of this is taking what your partners says at face value – if they say they’re not in the mood, it should be understood that you shouldn’t be pushing the issue. Make this clear to both parties in the relationship so that no one is being unfairly forced into something they don’t want to do, or feel as if they have to meet their partner’s higher sex drive out of an obligation to them.

There’s much more to the female sex drive than mere hormones, something a surprisingly large amount of partners can forget. Take some time to educate yourself with reliable information outside of the bedroom to better bridge the gap between you inside of it.

Recognize that some divides can’t be bridged.

Perhaps the most important thing to remember when dealing with differing sex drives between partners is that some people are simply different than others, and your preferences may be irreconcilable with your partners. This doesn’t have to spell the end of a relationship, of course – by compromising based on the specifics of your situation, you can settle on a schedule where you get the best of both worlds, and both partners make a sacrifice for the benefit of the other.

Maintaining an open and honest partnership where one partner isn’t doing something unhappily out of obligation is critical for your relationship to thrive.

A girlfriend with a higher sex drive than you don’t spell the end of your time together – it just means you need to sit down and work out the differences to enjoy your time in the bedroom all the more.

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