Smash Talks: The Breakup Block

Ashera is a Marriage and Family Therapist with an extensive background in sexual health education. You can ask her stuff anonymously and she won’t get weirded out. Seriously, try her. Send your queries through our anonymous contact form here.

Dear Smashera,

My ex won’t stop blowing up my shit.  Do I have any options other than blocking him to get him to chill?  How do I refrain from responding?


Dear Isolated,

The fallout from a breakup is often super rough, especially after a long-term relationship.  In some unicorn scenarios, two people come to the understanding that they’re not right for one another and are able to cut ties and move forward.  In especially freakish situations, those people can maybe be friends.  Often, though, one partner feels somewhat blindsided no matter how toxic the situation.  In these cases, the dumpee will often want closure that they can never, ever receive.  Mostly, they want the relationship restored to its former perceived glory or to somehow be vindicated from all fault in said fallout.  Both expectations are unreasonable.

So, the relationship ended and they’re not ready for that.  You know that speaking to them is unproductive, yet they want to talk and undoubtedly rehash what went wrong—when and how.  These conversations are often guilt-laden and have the potential to be super emotionally manipulative.  It’s clear everyone is hurting at this point and no amount of talking is going to make this better.  So what now?

Ya gotta set some boundaries, kid.  If they are completely unable to have a reasonable conversation, it’s imperative to block them.  If you still have to separate finances, custody, whatnot, it’s important to say early on, “Hey, we can only talk about logistics and I will end the conversation as soon as that’s over.”  You need to hold yourself to this.  Do your best to not take the bait.  Once any logistical bullshit is resolved, it may be helpful to block them in all scenarios so that you don’t end up in a shit swirl conversation going nowhere.

As a newly single person, it can be really tempting to answer an ex’s texts if you’re feeling especially lonely.  After all, they knew how to comfort you for a period of time.  But, the relationship ended and unless you are willing to potentially spark it back up, you need to hold your ground.  Imagine that you have the phrase “Do Not Engage” tattooed on your hand to remind you to hold your boundaries.  Hooking back up with them might feel good for a moment, but it has the potential to get really confusing really quickly.

So, in short, the best case of action is often to cut contact in all situations whenever possible.  Tell your friends not to update you on their lives and to keep your personal stuff hidden from your ex.  Facebook stalking and obsessiveness is unhelpful.  Keep yourself in check. Don’t hit them up unless there is an absolute necessity.  Have your friends help you with this.  Have a couple people you can text instead of your ex that will help you move out of moments of weakness.

You got this.