How Can I Convince Him That The Relationship is Over?
He was once your ‘dreams come true.’ Now he is your worst nightmare! He calls you 24/7 and turns up at your house uninvited. He constantly hurls verbal abuse at you. Other times he uses your body like a punch bag. Then he cries like a baby and begs for your forgiveness, promising that he has changed. When will he understand that the relationship is OVER, FINISHED between you?
Why Can’t He Accept IT?
He refuses to accept that you are no longer together. So, he resorts to plan B and puts the pressure on. Just maybe, you will give in and take him back………..
Joe and Sally were married for four years. Their relationship was nothing less than volatile. They argued non-stop. anytime he lost his temper, he abused her verbally and sometimes physically.
After their marriage ended, he couldn’t or wouldn’t come to terms with it. Joe bombarded her with phone calls, begged her to take him back and even threatened suicide.
His actions frustrated Sally. “I was weighed down by the divorce thing. It was emotionally draining and extremely stressful. I wasn’t eating properly and couldn’t sleep at nights. Also, I wasn’t sure if he’d cut another set of keys for the house. I was a bag of nerves.”
Every day, a new love letter arrived through Sally’s letterbox. This went for on for a couple of weeks.
As if that wasn’t enough, Joe parked his car outside her house late at nights. He sat alone in the car with the engine running, playing their favourite love songs.
Because he couldn’t get access to Sally, he threatened to kidnap their 18 month old daughter. Her solicitor took out an injunction against Joe. It was the only way for Sally to get any peace.
Breaking up with your partner is as stressful as when a loved one dies. “Separation can cause fear, depression, a sense of failure, grief, longing for something irrevocably lost, misery and loneliness,” explains John Abulajia, a Relate Councillor. “All men suffer after a breakup. Most men can accept it and get on with life, but some find it an impossible task to let their partners go.”
Mary and Ben were together for three years. After their relationship ended, he told her that he was not going to move out of her house. It took two of her male friends to force him out. He tried all he could to get her back. When all his plans failed, he convinced Mary’s friends to act as go-between. He used them to pass his begging messages to her.
Ben tried desperately hard to play on Mary’s emotions. He would phone her and sob like a little child on the telephone. He would do anything to try to win the love of his life back.
“Ben bribed me with money. That’s only because he I used to depend on his financial help. He was like a man possessed. He followed me around, sent me love letters and just wouldn’t give up. I’m not a violent person, but one day my frustration got the better of me. I lost my temper and hit him. I just wanted him to leave me alone. It was a waste of time though. It didn’t make any difference. He carried on stressing me out.”
Ben sneaked in Mary’s garden late one night. He hid behind a tree and waited patiently for her to go to sleep. After she fell asleep, he broke into her shed and slept there. The next morning, he casually knocked on her bedroom window. He greeted her, smiled, and boldly asked if he could come in for a cup of tea.
He had no fear about dying for his love. Ben threatened to kill himself if Mary wouldn’t come back to him. One afternoon he waited on the pavement outside her house. As soon as he saw a car coming, he ran out in front of it. The bewildered driver had to slam on his brakes and swerve, to avoid hitting Ben.
Ben was still single two years after the relationship ended. He carried on trying to reconcile with Mary.
Stages of Mourning
Exploring deeper into the denial of accepting the loss of a partner, let’s take a look at what John Bowlby disclosed in his book ‘Loss.’ He explained that to recover from a loss, there are four stages of mourning that a person must pass through.
- 1st stage: When one is numb and unable to suffer the loss. Numbness and denial are usually interrupted by outbursts of anger and distress.
- 2nd stage: Yearning and searching for the lost person. In this phase the mourner feels restless, unable to concentrate; insomnia is common. Again, there are frequent outbursts of anger and distress.
- 3rd stage: A phase of disorganisation and despair. Slowly this begins to change to resignation and acceptance that the loss is final.
- 4th stage: Relinquishing the person, adapting to life without that person.
Kevin was not able to move from the first stage of mourning. He was in denial and his anger turned into a campaign of terror towards his ex-girlfriend Helen. He started by hounding her with telephone calls, followed by unexpected visits to her home and her workplace.
She had to move from the area where they lived together. One night he surprised her!
“Kevin smashed all the windows downstairs with an axe. He managed to crawl in through the broken window pane. I was upstairs in my bedroom at the time. He came in, dragged me by my hair and bounced me down the stairs. He then pulled me outside into the garden. He proceeded to kick me around like a football. After he finished beating me, I laid there curled up on the ground in agony. I thought he was going to kill me!”
The police had to move Helen to a secret address for her safety. They even escorted her to and from work for a while. They advised to use a cab when she was travelling by herself. Somehow, he eventually found out where she lived. He carried on stalking her for nearly three years afterwards. He carried on beating her when he got the opportunity.
So, we’ve seen the psychological effects of losing a partner. We know what the mourning process is. Nevertheless, is that the full picture of why he won’t let go?
I think we should try to understand the reasons why these men found it difficult to come to terms with the end of their relationship.
- Joe’s story: When he met Sally he was instantly attracted to her. Although, he thought she was beautiful and they had a lot in common, he didn’t fall in love with her until later into the relationship. After they got married, he thought it would last forever.
- He knew that he was mostly to blame for the marriage break up. Joe admitted that it was due to his selfish, aggressive and abusive behaviour towards Sally.
“I was a workaholic, blind to her needs and insensitive. I lost my temper when we argued and hit her quite often and I took her for granted. I didn’t mean to. I suppose it was because of my heavy drinking. I also demanded sex 24 hours a day, whether she wanted it or not. I didn’t take her out much but went out with my friends instead. There were a lot of things that I did wrong. I don’t think I lived up to her standards either.”
After the marriage ended he noticed a big transformation in Sally. She had changed from the moody, depressed person he married, into the person that she was when they first met. Seeing her ‘come back’ reawakened old feelings in Joe.
“I still love Sally. There is no one else for me. No other woman appeals to me. I miss everything about her. I melt every time I see her. I can’t help feeling the same old way again.”
- Ben’s story: He met Mary through one of her brothers. Her beauty and calm personality fascinated him. It was love at first sight. Regrettably, his obsessiveness was the reason the relationship ended.
“I couldn’t bear to let her go. My family and I didn’t get on. Without Mary, I didn’t have a life. She was all I had.”
Ben ignored the injunction that Mary took out so that he would leave her alone. “I was willing to go through any form of punishment. I wanted her. She is still a big part of my life, even though the relationship has ended. I will always be there for her.”
- Kevin’s story: He met Helen at a nightclub. The relationship became serious after just six months. Then his jealous and violent nature emerged. He knew that he treated Helen dreadfully but didn’t want to lose her.
“I loved her and was sorry for hurting her. I sent her flowers, presents and chocolates as a way of apologising. Nothing worked and she wouldn’t take me back.”
His feelings turned bitter and hateful, because she refused to take him back. He couldn’t bear the thought of losing the mother of his children, his first love and the woman he invested ten years in. He set out to get her back in a revengeful way. He admitted that he terrorized her unnecessarily. He believed he had a claim on her because she was ‘his woman’.
Where do we go from Here?
John Bowlby stated that, “to recover from the loss, it is necessary to go through the four stages of mourning.” Joe, Ben and Kevin clearly did not go through all four stages. That is why they found it difficult to accept the loss of their partners.
When a relationship finishes, you also lose your sexual partner, limited or sometimes no access to your children, maybe having to leave the family home and so lose the creature comforts associated with it.
So he continues to love you and hound you until he comes to term with the break up. After that, he may finally decide to let you go. Most of us are left with either emotional or physical scars, or both.
But isn’t there another side to the story – ‘when she won’t let go?’
I would love to hear your comments. Has anyone chased after your shadows?