Shortcuts: “My Ex-Boyfriend Keeps Calling Me”

It’s time again for Shortcuts. For every question, I’ll give my advice in just a few sentences because sometimes the answer to a person’s question is so obvious and the need to hear it so great that being as clear and frank as possible is simply the best way to go.

My ex-boyfriend whom I broke up with two years ago is calling me! (I broke up with him because it was a long-distance relationship and I couldn’t do it anymore). The thing is, I still have feelings for him and he still has feelings for me, but he has a girlfriend. He called me the other day out of nowhere to ask how I was doing. He told me that he is always thinking about me, even with his girlfriend he is thinking about me; he even said “I still love you” to me. He asked me if I still had feelings for him, but I didn’t answer because he has a girlfriend. He has been calling me a lot lately and I have been ignoring him — not because I don’t want to talk to him but because I feel horrible for his girlfriend and I don’t want to cause any problems between them. Please help me! What should I do? — Still Has Feelings

Are you still long-distance? If so, it seems like if that was a problem before, it would be a problem again. And then, why create drama when there’s not much hope for a relationship anyway? But if circumstances have changed and you think there’s potential for something between you, I wouldn’t let the girlfriend stop you from sharing your feelings if he’s asking. I would tell your ex that you do still have feelings for him but you would never pursue something with someone who was in a relationship. The ball will then be in his court. If he doesn’t break up with his girlfriend, you know where you stand and you should probably stop taking his calls.

My boyfriend dumped me for another woman, because we were long-distance and it was too hard on him. I agreed that it was hard, but I begged him to stay and he didn’t listen. After a month, he started to text me that he missed me and he wanted to have sex with me. He is engaged now, but he keeps asking to have sex with me. It has been a year now since he decided to call it quits. Part of me wants to do it and part of me doesn’t. What should I do? — Still Misses Him

He’s engaged to someone else and he wants to have sex with you? All you would be is “the other woman.” He’s not even pretending that he wants you back and that he’d break up with his fiancé for you. He just wants to screw. Have some self-respect and MOA.

I was with a guy for ten years and I broke it off six years ago. He drank heavily and was very abusive. During the six years since we broke up, I never saw him even though he only lives down the road. He started ringing me about 14 months ago. I stupidly answered the call, and he asked to see me and said he wanted me back. I did meet him on a few occasions, but he still was abusive, putting me down all the time. I never answered his calls after that. He’s still calling me every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday nights when he is drunk, but I don’t answer. He leaves messages to ring him, but I don’t. Last night, I did answer his call only to be asked why didn’t I attend a funeral and to be told I was out of order for not going. He likes to mess with my head and, for that reason, I have asked him today–again–to delete my number. Why does he still call? — Ex On Call

Because he likes trying to get a reaction out of you. Continue ignoring him and he will hopefully get bored and stop. In the meantime, you should also contact your local police and report him for harassment. You’ll want a record of how long and how often these calls have gone on in case you need to press charges against him in the future. Good luck.


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If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at wendy@dearwendy.com.


  1. simonthegrey says:

    Read “The gift of fear”, LW 3. Stop engaging with him at all. Any time you answer, you teach him that if he calls you X times, or X+1 times, he will get the reaction he wants.

    1. GertietheDino says:

      I am reading it right now, and seeing a few of past relationships in it. Do not engage, that is all they want, a reaction. Good luck.

  2. Avatar photo lemongrass says:

    LW1- that guy is a skeezeball. He wants you back but he doesn’t want to risk being single (and shock, going without!) so that is why he is pursuing you instead of breaking up with his girlfriend and then pursuing you. Aim higher.

    1. Avatar photo lemongrass says:

      LW2- same thing except he doesn’t want to get back with you. Aim higher too.

      1. Avatar photo lemongrass says:

        LW3- it is not that hard to change your phone number. So easy of a fix it makes me wonder if you secretly like the attention. If that is so, find some attention in other healthy ways.

      2. If the situation hadn’t been so messy I’d agree with you, but ten years of abuse can do weird things to your head. Please go easy on this person.

      3. Avatar photo lemongrass says:

        Your right, LW I’m sorry. I hope you have had some therapy that has helped you move on from the abuse and allowed to make healthy choices in life.

      4. Avatar photo lemongrass says:


  3. Avatar photo LlamaPajamas says:

    An exku:
    Exes are the worst!
    There’s a reason you broke up;
    don’t get sucked back in.

  4. TheOtherOtherMe says:

    To LW3: CHANGE YOUR PHONE NUMBER. Problem solved.

    1. Avatar photo LlamaPajamas says:

      I think it’s a little more nuanced than that. Rainbow and Lemongrass touched on the abuse aspect above, but there’s also the fact that she might not want to change her phone number because it’s a huge inconvenience, and there’s no guarantee that her ex won’t just get her new number and continue to call her constantly. If I was in the LW’s situation I’d be super pissed if I had to change my phone number and make it difficult for friends, family, work contacts, childcare contacts (if applicable), etc. to get in touch with me just because some controlling asshole wouldn’t leave me alone.

      1. lets_be_honest says:

        Its super easy to block numbers though, without changing your own number. One quick call to the phone company should do it. I know I can do it online even with my cell phone. (I know this because I had to block you, lp. Stop calling me! I don’t want to hook up with you behind your boyfriend’s back!)

      2. Avatar photo LlamaPajamas says:

        Oh, blocking is a much better solution! It’s obviously very effective because I haven’t been able to ring you in days, LBH. It hurts. I just wanted to talk…

      3. lets_be_honest says:

        Ok, fine, I’ll unblock you. Our love is too special for blocks.

      4. cakemonster says:

        I suppose it depends on your carrier. I had an abusive ex that found out each of my new cell phone numbers after I changed it THREE times (AT&T had the nerve to try and charge me for it each time, too, but some tear-filled phone calls fixed that) I called AT&T and they said I could technically “block” him through my phone, but it would still send him to my voicemail (which he would fill up) and he was still able to text me. They then suggested their stupid $5/month parental controls service that completely blocks numbers (of course it’s not free… but I was desperate) which seemed to work for a while, but then it turned out it blocked everything except MMS messages, so I’d still get his texts if they contained a picture/file. I turned off that worthless service and now only get a text from him once every few months (I haven’t replied to him in years) so I must be wearing him down (heh.)

      5. cakemonster says:

        And just fyi – I’ve definitely been documenting everything, and I’m lucky to have a friend who’s awesome father is a lawyer who specializes in this kind of thing who has been helping me out.

      6. I had one too, and no matter how technical you get with the blocking most times it goes down to idiots tricked into believing they’re acting as the love fairy and giving the asshole your number. I ended up having to delete everyone from his city, related to him or not, from FB, keeping only my two favorite people from our friends in common but on restricted, and not giving any of them my number anymore just in case.

      7. And only because those friends in common are barely in touch with him, live closer to me and didn’t know anything at the time.

      8. cakemonster says:

        Oh man, I feel you – it’s the story of my life, as well. I would unfriend so many people after the ex would text me and ask about things I shared on facebook. Just… ugh.

      9. Hmm I have the smart limits as well and haven’t had an issue with it. I have 3 guys blocked and haven’t heard anything from them. Best $5 a month I’ve ever spent. I suppose none of them have tried to send me MMS messages, but to not get any texts or phone calls is amazing.

      10. cakemonster says:

        Luckily he doesn’t call anymore, but if he ever does again I wouldn’t hesitate to turn that service back on. It was very useful for the most part!

      11. I found out on my phone (Android) I can block numbers so they go straight to voicemail. Not helpful when there’s someone harassing you, but very helpful when people keep calling me asking for Tammy who supposedly wants to do masters classes online.

    2. AbbyNormal says:

      I think in this situation changing the phone number won’t help much since he lives right down the road and will probably go asking mutual friends/acquaintances/anyone who may have her phone number for her new one and will just continue to harass her. My abusive ex was excellent at playing the sad, misunderstood victim role and our mutual ex-friends felt *so sorry* for him that they basically gave in to whatever he wanted because he was so good at manipulating them for information and other stuff about me. There’s a very good reason I quit being friends with them a few months after our breakup and three years later, it seems my ex has given up trying to keep a presence in my life through whatever means were available to him.

  5. Penguingina says:

    Yuck! These guys are all awful. To LWs 1 and two, even though you used to be the girlfriend, you’ll be nothing more than the other women at this point, and even if your guys DO leave their SOs and try to convince you to get back with them, you’ve seen their cheating stripes firsthand and should know to STAY AWAY FOREVER!!
    LW3, this guy is really sick and obsessive, not to mention criminal in his level of harassment. Perhaps you should consider changing your number or blocking your phone from receiving his calls. At the very least, never, not even once more, answer him and if he shows up in person or anything, call the police immediately.

  6. Bittergaymark says:

    Yikes. Wow. Okay…. So… apparently, all three of these LWs simply can’t handle the sheer power of having a phone.

    1. Perhaps they’re all in their 90’s and hail from a less complicated time.

      1. Bittergaymark says:

        But the telephone was first patented in 1876… 😉

      2. Touché!

  7. possumgirl says:

    Y’ALL need to change th guy’s name to “Wendy says NO!” in your phone’s contacts. And #3… for the love of gerbils, call the cops. Guys like this only get worse, not better.

  8. I think you should talk to him; You cannot shut him up for the simple fact that this relationship is broken, if you really feel something, say it, it is not good to shut things up, then it will be worse because if you one hundred x one hundred you know that he really feels something for you too, do not hesitate to Talk to him because if you want to, it will be worth talking to each other. I hope it serves you many kisses.

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