Rebecca Schiltz, Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist in Washington state for over 15 years with a particular focus on relationship health both in terms of relationship with others and relationship to self.
What should a woman do about a boyfriend who won’t let her break up with him?
You never need anybody’s permission to remove yourself from a situation or relationship you no longer want to be in. You don’t have to justify your decision or explain “well enough” for the other person to understand. While it’s ideal that a relationship or situation can end amicably, it’s not true that the only options are 1. it ends amicably or 2. you stay in it.
Try talking and expressing your feelings and needs with lots of “I statements.” Be clear and direct. “I’m no longer getting what I want or need in this relationship and so I’m leaving.” If there’s room for trying a different kind of relationship together like a friendship, have an open and honest conversation about that; talk about what you want and don’t want and what the new boundaries would be.
If the other person continues to insist that there is no break up, use firm language and matching behaviors. “I’m no longer interested in being with you. Do not contact me further.” Do not accept more calls or texts from that point.
We have this illusion that boundaries are about setting rules for other people but that’s not the case. Boundaries are for ourselves to clarify what we will and will not invite and allow in our lives. So set the boundary of no longer having this person in your life, and live that way. It’s most respectful if other’s abide by the boundaries we set, but they certainly won’t abide by our boundaries if we aren’t either. For example, if you set the boundary of not being in the relationship anymore but you continue to respond to texts, calls, visits, etc, you aren’t following your own boundary and nobody else is likely to either. Be clear in your words, actions, and follow through.