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Can I stop him from texting me?

(64 Posts)
DrNelsonsInhaler Mon 16-Sep-13 11:35:09

Brief background: acrimonious break up 3 years ago when XP left us for OW. Ds is now 12 and presently waiting for major surgery to remove a recently diagnosed tumour. I rebuilt my life and am back on track and doing ok. He did me a favour and I look back at those dark days with horror. He treated me badly and I still feel incredibly anxious if I have any contact with him. Although he is still with OW he doesn't seem happy with his lot and I believe he has serious money problems. I suspect he blames me for the fact that his life isn't how he hoped.

So, the last few years have been difficult but I coped and recently I came to the conclusion that it would be easier if contact was by email only. That way I can control when I read any messages from him. To have his name pop up on my screen when he texts causes me huge anxiety. People say "ignore it" or "why do you let it bother you" and "text him back the next day" but I find it incredibly intrusive and feel like he is trying to control me all over again. He usually texts me when he has ds and assumes I am with my new partner. The texts are not abusive but they can be sarcastic in tone. If you read them you would probably think I was massively over reacting. But in the context of what has gone on in the past, the fact that his name can suddenly appear on my screen at any time really distresses me. Does anyone understand that?

I have repeatedly asked him to limit contact to email only and he absolutely refuses. In fact, he dismisses my request with yet another text to tell me so. I paid for a solicitor to write to him and request the same. He told me the letter was bollocks and he had screwed it up and thrown it in the bin. He is still communicating by text. It's all about lack of respect, trying to control me, making me unhappy.

It's really getting me down. 3 years on and still the same old, same old. I have enough on my plate without XP trying to deliberately thwart me. Any advice? Or sympathy? I'm at the end of my tether.

anon2013 Mon 16-Sep-13 12:53:10

I wouldn't respond to any text message ever again and delete them. If he continues or increases the frequency then I'd save them and show your solicitor about the harassment.

PAsSweetOrangeLurve Mon 16-Sep-13 22:49:54

Ignore, ignore, ignore. I know it is so hard and it makes you feel sick when you see another text from him. But if you don't respond then he doesn't know that you are reading them - I promise you that he will eventually get fed up and stop. It might take a while and he might get more aggressive -why haven't you replied etc. - but if you don't react then you aren't giving him anything to work with.

Totally agree about the harassment though - if any message that he sends you is threatening then involve the police.

AnyFucker Mon 16-Sep-13 22:55:07

I understand and I sympathise hugely. You don't need this hassle along with your son's illness

It has to be said though, that the only effective way to deal with his intrusions is to give them absolutely no oxygen

It will take a long time, but when the penny finally drops that you will respond only to practical matters about ds, then he will lose interest

it sounds like a long game to me though, bearing in mind what has gone before

don't lower yourself to appeal to his better nature any more though,..it is quite clear he doesn't have one

stemstitch Mon 16-Sep-13 22:58:19

I have a similar problem. Texts every couple of weeks for a YEAR despite me giving absolutely no response. Some of them pretty creepy. Network provider says they cannot block...

Just posting to make the point that even if you do completely ignore, the persistently mad won't let that stop them.

forumdonkey Mon 16-Sep-13 23:01:45

Can you not get a cheap PAYG and text him your 'new number'. Ignore all texts on your normal phone and let him believe that one is no longer in use? That way he should be the only person on your PAYG so you can turn it off or on as you need to?

DrNelsonsInhaler Tue 17-Sep-13 09:37:52

Yes. I tried the separate phone but he would text both!
He knew my original number was in use by checking our ds phone.

The part I find difficult is that the intent of the texts is to upset me. 3 years down the line and he still wants to hurt me. I never reply or respond.

I'm toying with the idea of emailing him to tell him that I've had texts blocked from his number. If he believes I can't read his vitriol then surely he'll stop soon?

Thistledew Tue 17-Sep-13 09:41:12

The texts don't need to be threatening for the police to give a harassment warning. All that is required is that you don't want to receive texts from him, you find it upsetting, he knows that you don't want them yet he continues to send them.

DrNI You can't change his behaviour, only how you react to it, so perhaps chat to your GP? Perhaps s/he can prescribe a course of CBT from a counsellor to help with the anxiety that's triggered when he texts. He's obviously enjoying hassling you and isn't going to stop, so I don't think buying a new phone/SIM etc will make any difference unfortunately; as you say he'll just use you son's phone instead.

StupidMistakes Tue 17-Sep-13 09:55:31

I would get a cheap phone that only makes and receives phone calls (if they still exist) for when ds is with his dad and make a poor of saying to him my phone can't accept text messages. In the even of ab emergency with ds you would need to phone me and buy a new SIM for your phone n not tell him you have changed your number.

KatyTheCleaningLady Tue 17-Sep-13 09:59:06

I see that he just uses your son's phone to get to you, and I can see how blocking him or changing your number won't work.

I guess ignoring is your only option. Perhaps we can think of ways to help you not care so much.

The solicitors letter just told him how much it bugs you. That's a shame. How can you train yourself to not mind so much?

LemonDrizzled Tue 17-Sep-13 10:01:09

You can but you don't seem to want to. You are playing the "why don't you?" "Yes but" game with us.

DrNelsonsInhaler Tue 17-Sep-13 10:06:36

It's so bloody awkward.
I have to relay a fair bit of information to xp at present regarding ds who has had various medical investigations and is about to have a 3 hour op to remove a tumour. We have to attend hospital appointments together. The follow up after the op could be months or years. I don't want ds to witness his dad's poor behaviour. It's just doesn't help anyone, including xp who is clerarly very angry. Ds must pick up on that too.
I thought the solicitors letter would do it.
Unfortunately, I can see this escalating.

DrNelsonsInhaler Tue 17-Sep-13 10:09:47

Lemon - most of the things on here I have already tried except for blocking his number and going to the police. I am dealing with an abusive, controlling ex. I never ever respond to his texts.
I can assure you this is no game for me.

fuzzywuzzy Tue 17-Sep-13 10:09:56

Personally, I'd change numbers, keep the old one just for him and not tell him, when DS goes to him ensure that DS has a phone which only contains the old number, leave the old number chip in a phone and turn off the sound, check it occasionally at set times to ensure everything's OK with your son.

Unless texts relate directly to your DS don't bother answering them.

That's exactly what I'd do, if there's an emergency presumably you have a landline? Or your son is old enough to memorise your new number without giving it to ex?

If ex queries you non reply, tell him you're too busy having wild sex with your new partner.

DrNelsonsInhaler Tue 17-Sep-13 10:15:24

It's no fun when you get a text at 11pm asking a trivial question eg. when is the next half term holiday? Then, when I don't reply I get a text from ds at midnight saying, dad want to know when I break up from school. It's really wearing me down.

fuzzywuzzy Tue 17-Sep-13 10:19:55

I'd email him telling him all relevant school related information is on the school website (it is for my children).

At night turn off the phone and don't reply till the morning.

If its an emergency he knows where you live.

KatyTheCleaningLady Tue 17-Sep-13 10:26:39

You may not be able to afford it, but self employed people often pay for an answering service. They will follow instructions to put through emergency calls or certain individuals only and take messages for everything else.

LookingThroughTheFog Tue 17-Sep-13 10:35:50

Yes. I tried the separate phone but he would text both!

You need a phone that he doesn't know the number of. If you can't block, and he won't listen, you need his texts to go to a phone that is off and in a drawer somewhere. You can turn it on and look at the texts at a time that suits you. Otherwise, it's off and in the drawer.

This, unfortunately, will have to be your current number, as he already knows the number. You can put the SIM into a cheap little phone, and get a new SIM for your iPhone, and do not tell him your new number. In fact, don't even tell him you have a new phone.

You then give your iPhone number out to people you trust. It's hassle, but if you won't or can't block, then it's the only option I can think of.

Separately, you need some sort of help to deal with the anxiety - if you haven't already, see your GP and see what they can do for you. If you think of the problem in terms of things you can change, and things you can't change, altering your ex's behaviour is one of the things you can't change. He's an arse, so will deliberately text. You cannot change that. However, the feelings of horrible panic is something that you can, with time and help, change.

If, in 6 months time, you're responding to the texts with a shoulder shrug and carrying on your conversation, you can guarantee that he will be prepared to stop texting. At the moment, he's doing it because he knows it upsets you. However, that side of it, you can change. It might take a little while, but it is possible.

Really good luck with your son! I hope that the operation goes as well as can be expected. Give yourself a little break though - it's going to be a horrible anxious time, and accepting that and giving yourself as many comforts as you can will help.

Vivacia Tue 17-Sep-13 11:25:59

It's no fun when you get a text at 11pm asking a trivial question eg. when is the next half term holiday? Then, when I don't reply I get a text from ds at midnight saying, dad want to know when I break up from school.

Ignore both. Non-emergency contact is by email, isn't it?

LemonDrizzled Tue 17-Sep-13 11:48:29

DrN I was referring to transactional analysis not playing games.

Can you see that XP is using your anxiety over DS and your wish to avoid hurt to DS to get you to interact? Just inform XP you wont be answering ANY texts and then stick to it? Just delete them. We all managed fine before we had mobile phones and email.

I am sorry you are having such a worrying time and hope it goes ok

DrNelsonsInhaler Tue 17-Sep-13 16:54:13

Thank you.
I normally cope quite well with his attempts to control me - he tries all sorts of other shit too - threatening to dump ds at my work place or leave him with strangers, refusing to return his clothes, etc. I never respond and of course he never follows through. I think I'm worn out with worry about ds' health right now and all these little games he plays have just tipped me over.
I should add that I never reply to his texts or let him see me upset. I must have 20 or 30 unanswered texts on my phone. I don't know because I make a point of not re-reading them.
I send brief, factual emails about ds. End of. I really think he will never give up. The texts are just the latest of his ridiculous stunts.
Thanks for listening.

Wellwobbly Tue 17-Sep-13 17:10:38

Just delete the texts without reading?

No reaction: no fun.

If you need to pick DS early etc he can ring you.

AnyFucker Tue 17-Sep-13 17:43:51

You poor thing x What a pathetic wanker he is.

Vivacia Tue 17-Sep-13 17:47:37

I think your answer is no, you can't stop him texting you but you're ready to consider alternatives to how you handle receiving them.

calmingtea Tue 17-Sep-13 18:22:27

Warning about changing name in iphone contacts to something comical, I did that and the person received emails from my phone where instead of saying their name in the to: field, had the comical title instead. They were not amused. In the case of an abusive ex it might be worth being careful about this.

I can completely empathise with the way you feel intruded on and upset when you receive messages from him. After your solicitor's letter about the harassment, did they not have any other steps they could suggest? Perhaps if you can't change his behaviour, if you saw a therapist you could work through how to change your emotional reactions, so you don't keep getting so upset?

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