True love and other clingy lies

Joey Garcia

My ex-girlfriend won’t let go. She uses every excuse to contact me, or my sister, and try to reinsert herself into our lives. She acts like she’s just being social and caring but the conversation always turns into an argument. I stopped returning her calls about six months ago and I blocked her number. Now she harangues my sister, complaining that I owe her thousands of dollars and won’t pay. (She never said this to me and it’s a lie, anyway.) Then she cries about how she can’t live without me because I’m her soul mate. They both work in the same field so my sister feels like she can’t cut my ex off without repercussions. Do you have advice for us?

Choose your girlfriends more carefully? Seriously, your ex-girlfriend’s desperation didn’t suddenly lurch to life after the breakup. Anyone who is terrified of losing control shows signs long before panicky, adrenaline-driven barnacle behaviors take over.

Unfortunately, initial clinginess is frequently ignored or mistakenly translated as a symptom of true love. It isn’t. In most people, clinginess is a symptom of infatuation. But in others, refusing to let go points to an older, unresolved wound of abandonment. That can’t be healed through a romantic relationship, but it can be healed through therapeutic self-examination while in a romantic relationship.

Your sister’s situation is particularly difficult, but she has to cut the cord, too. Here’s how: Be less available to chat. When engaged in a conversation with your ex, your sister must insist on a boundary: no more conversation about you or the old relationship. Your sister must shift away from being your ex-girlfriend’s confidant. Eventually, your ex will understand that she cannot use your sister as a release valve. She’ll also learn that your sister is not a route back into your heart. Although establishing a boundary may seem unkind, it’s actually an act of love that can nudge your ex to heal and move on.

Every time I try to talk to my boyfriend about our relationship, he immediately says he realizes that he can’t make me happy and that we should break up. I find myself going crazy, trying to make everything OK for him because I don’t want to break up. But then what happens is the point I was trying to make gets lost and nothing gets resolved. I love him and don’t want to lose him. I don’t know what to do. Please help.

Start to listen without fear. Fearless listening connects you to reality, so you can begin to understand your situation clearly. Like this: Your boyfriend is saying that he feels inadequate and that thought pushes your panic button. Why? Are you afraid that you have invested so much in the relationship that you can’t risk losing him? If so, you might be enslaved by your ideas about love, rather than free to love and be loved. And, yes, I know that your man’s “I can’t make you happy” story might be an excuse to avoid growing into the partner you believe he’s capable of becoming. But if he really doesn’t have the chops for intimacy, counseling can help.

Girls’ night out used to be a blast, when my friends and I were single. Now that we all have boyfriends, everyone talks about every little thing their boyfriends do and they sound like my co-workers who exaggerate every little thing their babies do. I’m so sick of it.

Oh sweetie! You are not a victim of your friends’ blessed lives. Refuse the invites to the outings, or accept the invites and soak in the sweetness. Or find another friend group. Channel your annoyance into a life makeover, if that’s what you really desire.

Meditation of the week
“You take your life in your own hands, and what happens? A terrible thing: no one to blame,” wrote Erica Jong. Are you ready to accept responsibility for what you have done and what you have failed to do?

Our content is free, but not free to produce

If you value our local news, arts and entertainment coverage, become an SN&R supporter with a one-time or recurring donation. Help us keep our reporters at work, bringing you the stories that need to be told.


Stay Updated

For the latest local news, arts and entertainment, sign up for our newsletter.
We'll tell you the story behind the story.