Question: Dear Ernest, I'm not sure if you answer questions pertaining to relationships on campus but I thought I might give it a try. I dated a girl for close to two years on campus. We hit it off very early when we first entered and got serious from the jump. After a few too many misunderstandings and arguments, we decided it was best to break up on peaceful terms. Unfortunately, since then she has done quite the opposite. She has dogged me out numerous times to mutual friends and constantly trash talks about me to new associates. I am really trying to be cool and not come for her on the social media, but she doesn't make it easy. What should I do to get this girl off my back?
Response: When I first decided to do this advice section I was trying to steer away from questions like this. However, this particular one hits home for me personally. Before I offer my thoughts, you must seriously be honest to yourself that you are completely over her because what I say next revolves around that.
I, too, have been in an aggressive back and forth with an ex when I was in college.
Tensions were so bad between us that the guy began to create his own reality of what we were and tried to convince others I was delusional. Like you, I was called all types of names and even had divisions among mutual friends. I am happy to say I have since moved on to an even better relationship that is both emotionally and socially healthy. He, just like your ex, will most likely continue to stay bitter in the sidelines.
And that is where my advice to you comes in. As hard as it may sound, you are going to have to give no visible attention to her. Acknowledging and responding to every insult or jab she gives you only makes her feel more relevant and important to your life.
If you care truly over her then you must practice starting a life that excludes her. The day-to-day conversations that entertain the thought of you all getting back together is neither healthy nor productive. Look at what caused the break up to even happen and realize why you are currently in the predicament you are in.
Furthermore, the mutual friends are not really mutual. Whether you want to believe it or not, people take sides in every situation and if they are going back telling you what your ex is saying about you and yet still hanging out with them...you can already bet they are fueling the fire to what is going on in your debacles with her.
Draw a very clear and defined line when it comes to those associations and if you feel things are suspect, step away from the drama. It should be a no flex zone when it comes to these issues and they should know better.
Lastly, don't steer completely clear of addressing relevant pressing issues pertaining to the former relationship. If you are pursuing someone else at the time, let them know your current situation so that they can be prepared themselves for what may possibly come because of it.
By letting my current boyfriend know of the past issues with a previous campus ex, he was able to forecast what possible shade might come from past friends and foes involved. Be honest and mature when discussing these things to close friends and people you think might come in contact with the gossip. It's nothing more annoying than someone hearing people details about you from the worst person who shouldn't be telling them.
Lastly, I say all of this not as a complete guide to getting rid of your ex, but just some helpful tips on how to actually start doing so. Campus relationships are different because everyone, whether you want them to or not, knows about it (and if you think you can hide it, you aren't). Because they are more open and in a very tight setting, when they collapse they might become a huge public nightmare for those who want some level of privacy. I am not speaking for or against dating on campus, for I have been on both sides of the fence many times.
But what I will say is that one should be very selective with whom you choose to embark on a more intimate level with. Emotionally unstable individuals might be appealing on the surface level, but remind yourself that you may not always end up on their good side.
It's perhaps best to let those individuals get the help they truly deserve rather than feed the insecurities and stresses that make them worse. I will always hope the best of luck for my ex (just as you should for yours), but there is a difference between just letting go and simply moving on. Choose both.
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