Many BR readers are currently going through breakups, which may include No Contact – this is essentially closing your door on the relationship by cutting contact and distancing yourself, so that you have a chance to gain objectivity, break an unhealthy partnering, and gradually rebuild your life. By closing the door, you signal that the privileges that they’ve enjoyed in or out of the relationship no longer exist, and by enforcing boundaries, you also impose limits on your own behaviour, which may have detracted from you.
But as some of you have discovered, after the breakup or during No Contact, your ex may periodically, or even often, try to get your attention. They might do the same thing, almost like clockwork – I hear from readers who have exes that always reach out on the same day, or every X weeks, or Y months. Or during the holidays or whenever. Some of you have let the same ex back in with the same con numerous times.
When you’re broken up but are still receptive, it’s basically like having a security keypad on your proverbial door. Because you’re still receptive even before they attempt contact, you’ve avoided doing anything as ‘drastic’ as changing the lock or taking back their key. With the access code, you either haven’t changed it, or you have, but you’ve either changed it to a code that you know they’re likely to guess, or you keep dropping hints making it easy for them to figure it out. Maybe you send texts saying that you miss them or that you’re really hurting and finding it hard to move on and they get an idea of which ‘buttons’ to press.
When they successfully gain access and are basically inside the perimeter of your heart and mind, your ex may also take it upon themselves to press The Reset Button which can be as drastic as restoring you to your ‘original settings’. Then you end up having to ‘relearn’ why you broke up with them in the first place and gather the strength to boot them out and change the code and lock your door.
Reading a comment from reader ‘Yoshizzle’ a couple of days ago, whose ex comes into the store where she works several times a week, I was struck by the almost brute force mentality of people who are trying to get you to ‘give in’ to them. Yoshizzle has no desire to be with him and is NC but has been unseated by his Jeckyll and Hyde behaviour – some days it’s like she doesn’t exist, other days he says hi, and sometimes he’s giving her filthy looks.
It’s the same when you have an ex that attempts to get their foot through your proverbial door by any means necessary…sending you dumb jokes, weather and sports commentary, asking if you’re friends yet, provoking you with information about them with a new person, sending nasty messages, sending apologetic messages, turning up, moaning to your friends, pitching themselves to your family, slagging you off knowing full well that you’ll hear it back and may confront them, making up lies, claiming that they’re ill, claiming that they’re dying, claiming someone else has died, claiming that they don’t think they can live anymore, saying that they have to get something from your place even though there’s nothing there, reneging on agreements to pay you back, claiming that they’ll leave their wife/husband/partner, claiming that they’re almost ready to leave, and the list goes on.
It’s natural to be affected by this onslaught, but as I explained to Yoshizzle, they’re being tactical to break down your defences so that you ‘open the door’. They don’t want you; they just want to win.
When you remember this, they have less power.
Don’t misread this bullshit and see it as flattering (it’s not, it’s boundary busting big style) or where it’s particularly unpleasant, as being reflective of who you are. You must recognise that when you have boundaries and/or try to move on, for some people, this makes them feel out of control so they have to pull this stuff to try to give themselves a sense of being in control of you. If you give in, with the control follows a loss of desire erection.
Imagine yourself as a door, that you’ve now closed and locked.
Your ex comes along and tries to open the door, but discovers that their key doesn’t work. They keep trying it but no result. They have a root around and pull out a selection of keys that they know used to work on you. Still nothing. They come back another day and try to jimmy the lock with hairpin. Another day they try with a credit card. Another day they kick at it furiously and you’re near crapping yourself and feeling you should cave in and unlock, but you hold your ground.
The next time, they try the gentle and polite approach with the door, maybe pressing the doorbell, and trying to look through the letterbox. The time after that they serenade you (reminds me of Adam Sandler in Happy Gilmore), or leave flowers or rat droppings (snigger) – let’s hope they don’t put poo through your letterbox… Then they get pissed off again that the door isn’t open so they try to take a hammer to it. Maybe they kick at it, thump the crap out of it, or stand a few feet away throwing rocks and hoping you’ll be intimidated. You’re scared and wondering why the hell they’re doing this. They then try a calmer approach to the door. Then get frustrated again. And lather, rinse, repeat.
What you don’t do is open the door. Especially when you’ve previously opened the door and got yourself hurt for your trouble. It’s like letting someone pull the same con on you more than once. Where’s your door chain?
Yes their antics are a pain in the arse but the best thing that you can do is recognise how unbelievably inappropriate their behaviour is and use it as further validation of why your relationship needs to be over.
Let me say it again – it’s not flattering; it’s effed up.
You don’t need this type of negative attention – not all attention is created equal.
Door bashing relies on either a receptive occupant, or the perception that the person will be receptive, and if they keep being met with a closed door, they’ll eventually fade away and find some other fallback option to pester. In the meantime, don’t let their antics own you and keep moving forward.
Check out my book and ebook Mr Unavailable and the Fallback Girl in my bookshop.
Image via webcooltips