Friday, July 11, 2014

What To Do About An "Ex" That Won't Let Go?

Dear Tazi:

My husband “Roger” and I have been happily married for two wonderful years. We met when I answered his online personal ad. Although I was not the only woman he had given his email address and phone number to, I was the only woman he chose to meet in real life. At the time, I was one of several women with whom he was conversing, but once we met he let them all know he had met a woman with who he wanted to pursue a relationship (me).

Every now and then, Roger will get a phone call, text, or email from one of the women who had answered his long ago personal ad, asking how he is doing and if he would like to get together for a drink. To his credit Roger politely informs these women that he is happily married and, having no past relationship with them, asks to be removed from their “little black book”. Most women congratulate him on our marriage, laugh at his suggestion that they have an entire book of potential dates, and never contact him again. The one exception to this is “Mary”.

Mary first contacted Roger a little over a year ago, leaving a message on our answering machine and suggesting that they meet for coffee and to “catch up” on each other’s lives. Roger sent her a short email to let her know he was married to me and that his marital status was the only update that was needed. Mary took this email as an invitation to start a conversation with Roger, asking all sorts of personal questions and asking what it was about me that he found more attractive. Tazi, Roger had never even met her, nor did he have any interest in meeting her after talking to her on the phone. He remembered her as being “pushy” and “demanding” in her search for a man. Roger was too kind to tell her this, and simply ended the conversation by telling her that I was his soul-mate; that when he met me, he just “knew”.

Since that email, Mary has taken to sending him forward after forward; emails like “Sending a prayer your way!” or “Sending this to a friend I am thinking of today…” Each of these emails is innocuous in their own right, but when combined paint a picture of someone who refuses to let go of a past that never was. Roger has deleted each one of them without responding, after opening them to make sure that they did not contain anything threatening or stalker-ish. It had reached the point where Roger was receiving ten or more of these forwards a day, so he added Mary’s address to his SPAM block. Her emails now go directly into the trash. You would think this would take care of the problem, but it has not. Apparently, Mary is able to check if the emails she sends have been opened/read. Now that her emails are not being opened, she has taken to contacting my husband via other methods.

Roger has received multiple Facebook friend requests from Mary, and has finally blocked her from contacting him. She repeatedly texts him, asking why they can’t rekindle the friendship they once had. Tazi, there is no “friendship” to rekindle! Unfortunately, Roger’s mobile phone service does not allow him to block numbers, so the best he can do is ignore her – which obviously does not work. Mary’s texts are sent at the most inopportune times – the middle of the night, while we are sleeping; early morning, when we are getting ready for work; or on weekends, when Roger and I are spending time together or socializing with people who actually are friends.

We have looked into getting a restraining order against Mary, but because Roger was never romantically involved with her and she has never threatened violence against either of us we would have to pay for the legal filing (which is not cheap) and there is no guarantee we would be granted an order of restraint, since Mary is only being a nuisance from a distance. I would like to contact Mary myself and ask why she feels the need to disrespect my position as Roger’s wife, but I don’t want to come off as a jealous shrew. I do not feel the slightest bit insecure in my marriage, and am friends with a few of Roger’s actual past girlfriends, but I am getting rather annoyed at the lengths this woman is going to get my husband’s attention. Roger has suggested that we just ignore her and hopefully she will go away on her own. What do you advise, Tazi?

Fed Up

Dear Fed Up:

I receive many letters about exes that can’t let go, but your situation is unusual, considering that your husband has never even met or dated the woman who will not let go. I realize it would be a personal inconvenience to have to change your phone number, so I will not suggest that, but I will suggest that your husband turn off his mobile phone when he does not wish to be bothered by it. Since Mary only seems to text at times when the two of you are (assumed to be) together, anyone who needs to contact Roger would be able to reach him by calling your mobile phone. You could even add this suggestion to Roger’s voicemail, telling the caller to “call my wife if you need to reach me”. There is no need to leave your phone number; just be certain that people Roger wants to hear from have your phone number. Should Mary resort to calling your husband’s mobile phone (as opposed to just texting it) she will get the literal message that Roger is unavailable.

As tempting as it may be to contact Mary yourself and tell her off, this would only put you in a bad light and add fuel to Mary’s fire. By acting like a jealous shrew you will be giving Mary the impression that you are one, as well as reason to think that your marriage is unstable. As difficult as it might be, I suggest that you follow through with Roger’s suggestion: ignore Mary, and hopefully she will move on to a more receptive target. Unless Mary suffers from erotomania, she will eventually get tired of being ignored and move on to someone who will be receptive to her overtures.


Ask Tazi! is ghostwritten by a human with a Bachelors of Arts in Communications. Tazi-Kat is not really a talking feline.

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