‘My ex-girlfriend is still bad-mouthing me seven months after our split’

Dear Coleen

I’m a 28-year-old man and I split up with a long-term girlfriend at the beginning of this year. It was my ­decision, but I wasn’t horrible about it – I realised she’d be hurt, so I did ­everything I could do end things amicably and explain my reasons.

The bottom line was, I didn’t feel the same about her any more and felt we wanted different things from our futures. I couldn’t see myself settling down with her.

Despite trying to handle things sensitively, she reacted badly – lots of screaming, throwing things, blaming me and also bad-mouthing me to friends, which I felt was really unfair.

I haven’t met anyone else – not easy during lockdown – and I’m happy enough on my own for now. My problem is, she’s constantly posting negative “cryptic” comments on social media (aimed at me) and also takes every opportunity to post photos of herself with different men, having a good time. She also says things to mutual friends, knowing I’ll hear back.

It’s bringing me down, but I don’t want a showdown with her. How can I get this negativity out of my life? It’s been seven months since we broke up.

Coleen says

I think you have to just switch off from it and, if that means unfollowing her or coming off social media for a while, then do it.

It sounds as if she’s trying to get a reaction out of you, make you jealous or is trying to show you she’s just fine without you and having a ball. Well, I don’t think that’s the case – I think she’s still angry and hurt, and is consumed by it.

So don’t react to any of the posts or to anything you hear via friends. You can put them straight, but just say you’re not interested in hearing what she has to say. A real friend won’t believe any gossip that’s passed on.

As irritating as this is, you’ve decided to make a fresh start, so focus on that and do your best to ignore the rest. It’s probably been extra tough because of lockdown – hard to socialise and meet someone else and focusing too much on social media. If you don’t react, I think she’ll get bored or meet someone else and move on. Hopefully you will, too.

No break-up is easy and the ripples are sometimes felt for a while afterwards, but you know you did the right thing for you.

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