Best of Dharma – I Hear You Knocking


Hello there everyone – Dharma is on vacay this week, so it’s a great time to look back at some of the favorites… even the best, some say! This Q&A has stuck with me, because it’s so unfair when other people’s crappy behaviour leave  you doubting yourself, like it did for Stuck in the Past…

Dear Dharma,

I’ve got an ex that won’t go away. It was one thing for me to avoid his phone calls, requested visits and texts, but now he is reaching out to my family.

Granted, we were together for six years and I believed he was the one, but things of course did not go according to plan. It began when I caught him cheating… with a girl friend of his that I had welcomed in our home on a number of occasions and even lent pajamas to, but I digress. I took him back, figuring it must have been my fault somehow. I was young, naive, and in love and not ready to give up on the relationship. But three more years passed and his flirtatious ways and unwillingness to take the next step coupled with my mistrust finally became too much. I had given six years of life to this person and knew I needed more.

It was as civil as a breakup as could be, but I was devastated. I never shared the infidelity with my family, as I knew it would have hurt them – plus if I had been willing to look past it, why should they even know?

Six more years have passed since then, and I’ve been blessed with a man who treats me like gold and never makes me question his love or commitment. The ex has always kept in touch and seems to genuinely care about maintaining a friendship, which I am not interested in (it just drudges up all of those old sad feelings), so for the past few years I have politely declined, thinking he’ll get a clue. It doesn’t seem like the message is working though, especially of late with my family now in the equation.

I don’t want to be rude to him, and maybe it’s unreasonable for me to want him to stay away from my family… I just don’t know anymore. Hopefully you can give me some fresh insight. I feel like I’ve been wading in this mess for far too long.


Stuck in the Past

Dear Stuck,

It sounds like you are doing a whole lot of protecting of everyone else’s feelings, being ever so polite with your gently worded excuses. You don’t want to be rude to him; you don’t want to hurt your family, all the while carefully avoiding a bunch of truths you don’t seem to want to own.

You didn’t tell your family the reason for the break up because you were embarrassed. It wasn’t because you thought it would hurt them, it was because you felt ashamed. Sorry, cutie, but you gave yourself away when you said you figured his cheating was your fault. And if you figured that out, obviously your family would see all the reasons you gave him to cheat, right?

Wrong. And this is where we stop wading and start swimming. You did nothing wrong and it’s time to put this cross down.

You need to call a family meeting and very calmly tell your side of the story. You’re not trying to turn them against him; his past actions should take care of that, non? Then explain to them how his continued attempts to stay in your life are causing you upset and stress, and potential damage to your current relationship.

Just out of curiosity, have you ever allowed yourself to get mad at him about any of this? I sense some anger towards the other woman (you trusted her enough to lend her your pajamas, for fricks sake, and I can’t explain it, but I feel your pain about that… must be a girl thing), but none towards him. It seems like you’ve been too busy trying to be fricken reasonable to realize that he deserves your anger, too. A person you loved and trusted betrayed you, took your young heart and smushed it, then cleverly made you feel that it was your fault! Come on, Stuck! If someone did that to your sister, your best friend or your mother, wouldn’t you be mad on their behalf?

Yeah, you would. So why don’t you feel you deserve the same level of indignation?

You do, so get a little mad and move on to the next step – calling the ex. Not an email, not a text, but a phone call. Tell him it’s time for the overtures to stop. Like, now, and completely. You are not interested and you need him to move on and leave you, and the past, alone.

Someone once said to me “the way a guy sees it, if the door’s not closed, it’s still a little bit open”. And you’ve been leaving the door a little bit open every time you just politely decline instead of shutting him down. For six years, he’s been thinking maybe maybe because you let him. There. If you want to be at fault for something, I’ll give you that. So now let’s close the door, okay?

That, combined with your family pulling away from him, which I think will happen once they better understand the situation, should deliver the message he needs to get. Should he continue to pursue you, take every action to block him – on your phone, on Facebook – and respond to nothing. I do believe once you change the dynamics of the playing field, he will respond accordingly.

But it starts with you, my friend.



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  • Anonymous says:

    yeah, good advice, go get mad at someone, that’s helpfull.

    • Anonymous 2 says:

      She should get mad at him, are you kidding me? This guy needs to leave her alone.. If she does not say how she truly feels to him and put her foot down he will keep walking all over her!

    • anonymouser says:

      I don’t think Dharma is advocating blind rage, but you must admit some level of antagonism is warranted. This guy is either just not hearing the mild responses, or is and just disregards them. In either case this is pure disrespect, and should be stopped.
      Telling your family what a douche the ex is, is necessary. If they want to keep in contact after that, tell them not to include you, as you want nothing to do with him. If it sounds harsh “well i am making them choose me or him” well it’s your family for fecks sake, they are SUPPOSED to choose you.

      • Dharma says:

        No, the suggestion was not for gun slinging anger – but when you are so busy trying to soak up all the blame for a wrong that wasn’t yours, I think the healing process doesn’t have a chance to begin. There’s nothing wrong with acknowledging you’ve been wronged, and that certainly sounds like the case here, non?

      • Dharma says:

        Thanks, everyone, for your comments – maybe Stuck will get back to us one day and let us know the outcome?

Whether you agree with Dharma or think she missed the mark on this one, leave a Comment!

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