I Broke Up With Him, But He’s Still Pulling My Strings


Dear Chantal

We met yesterday at Indigo Yorkdale, and you signed a copy of No More Assholes for me. I started reading it as soon as I got home. I’ve already left sticky notes on the pages I know I’ll need to reference as I continue to heal.

Thank you for listening to my story. Breaking up with this guy was the scariest and bravest thing I’ve done. I thought I was going to marry him and have a family. He said, and still insists, that he wants to marry me too. That he’s had chances in the past to get married and always said no. After everything he’s done to me, I don’t trust a word he says. He could tell me the sky is blue and I wouldn’t believe him.

I have one question that I’m hoping you can answer for me. He currently lives in Mexico (we met here in Toronto, but then he went back). I still have some of his stuff – a television, equipment parts, nice clothing. I want to give it back…I want it gone. But I feel guilty throwing it out or donating it. Some of the stuff cost him a lot of money. This is my question: should I go to Mexico and bring him the stuff?

He can’t come to Canada and he’d need to get a visa to enter the US. Before we broke up, I’d been begging him for months to get a US visa so we could meet half way and spend time together, but of course, he never did that. Just another example of how low on the priority list I was. And shipping to Mexico is insanely expensive and I don’t trust that it will arrive (I’ve done research).

The fact is, in his mind we’re not really broken up. For him, we’re just working through problems and I’m angry with him. He “really regrets what he did to me.”

Any advice you can share on what to do with his things is most appreciated.

I’ve signed up for your newsletter and I’m looking forward to reading all your books.



Dear Amelie,

It was this very scenario that had me raising my hands towards the sky in my little kitchen and saying out loud, “No more assholes!”

Making minimal effort, being deceitful, and expecting you to stay through it all is very typical Guy behaviour. I once had an ex break up with me and offer to continue having sex. Offer! “You don’t have to answer right now” he said, “if your answer is no, then you can just give me my winter coat before I leave.” Let me tell you, he got his coat back.

When it comes to guys, the level of ego and sense of entitlement we face is sometimes unbelievable.

Here is my advice to you. First, don’t take responsibility for the things he’s left behind, but be sure you don’t continue to be haunted by them. Give him a two month window to make the necessary arrangements to either have them picked up and shipped back, or sold. Don’t be his intermediary either, there’s a reason why e-transfers exist. Be firm about the date, and if it rolls around and his stuff is still there then sell or donate them. You need to purge him from your life so you can create the space a good, solid, devoted man will fill.

Do you feel uncomfortable doing that? Will he give you excuse after excuse regarding why he can’t meet that deadline? Then I want you to remember this; grown men don’t need moms, and if you want to be with a man you have to stop mothering guys. He needs to take responsibility for his actions and decisions, and choosing to be irresponsible should not be a trait that falls on your shoulders to fix.

I can tell you’re facing an emotional uphill battle, and I want you to understand what obstacles are in your way so you can clear them ASAP. Remember, with understanding comes compassion, and you’ll be softer on yourself as you go through your highs and lows if you know where they’re coming from.

First, you’re going to mourn the relationship, but here’s the thing; most of your mourning will be over what you’ve imagined the relationship would be, rather than what it really was. Honeymoon period aside (which isn’t really reality, it’s just a chemical high) what you shared was hurtful and deceitful, and when you suffer those moments of longing I want you to remind yourself that you’re forgetting what didn’t work. Bring yourself back to reality, STAT.

Second, he’s going to stress you out until this whole thing is wrapped up and finito. Again, remind yourself what didn’t work, and since you bought No More Assholes you should be making a new list of what you’re looking for in your next relationship. Stand your ground, know your No More, and don’t let him cajole you back into his arms unless he’s become the man you want to be with.

So here’s how you deal with all this… Meditate. Take care of yourself. This will help reduce your anxiety and give you more inner power. You’ll need it in order to make that precious space for a functional relationship. Cut all contact with him after he picks up his stuff or at the two month mark so you can heal, otherwise you’ll be dragged back over and over. Change your contact info so he can’t continue pulling your strings if you need to.

And allow your life to evolve.

Stick to the deadline Amelie, and be a woman who does what she says instead of a girl who says one thing but doesn’t follow through. If he doesn’t arrange pick up by the deadline it’s not your responsibility. Let him pay the price of being irresponsible if that’s what it comes down to. That’s what being an adult means.






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