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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.

kinkyfuckery Mon 16-Sep-13 11:39:59

Block his number, or change number and don't tell him.

At 12, does your DS have his own phone so he can be in contact with his dad?

Good luck for your DS's surgery, hope it all goes well.

Jessicarthorse Mon 16-Sep-13 11:40:12

Change your phone number? I'm not trying to be flippant, btw!

AllThatGlistens Mon 16-Sep-13 11:40:21

Get your service provider to block the number, as its harassment.

You are absolutely within your rights to do so, it's just another way for him to try to control you, you've been more than fair by stating you want email communication only.

Get on the phone and get that number blocked! wink

BerkshireMum Mon 16-Sep-13 11:40:57

I'm sure you should be able to block the number - you certainly can for calls.

MagzFarqharson Mon 16-Sep-13 11:44:53

Could you put that sim card in another phone, keep it switched off and just switch it on as and when you feel up to it?

You can then get another sim card for your everyday phone, circulating your new number only to those people you want to have it. smile

WeAreEternal Mon 16-Sep-13 11:45:38

Can you change your number and not give him the new one?

Do you have a landline? So that he still has a way to contact you in an emergency regarding DS.
If not you could always keep the current sim, but put it in a phone that doesn't not receive text messages or had the ability to turn SMS messaging off. And only have the phone turned on when DS is with him.

I would make a point of telling him that you have changed your number too.

gamerchick Mon 16-Sep-13 11:48:05

If you don't want to change your number can you not change his name to something comical.. so you never have to see his name again?..take back some of the control you feel he has over you. Or download a special warning ring tone to assign to that number that makes you chuckle?

DrNelsonsInhaler Mon 16-Sep-13 11:48:26

I have considered blocking his number. Apparently you can't block numbers on an iPhone 5. If I ignore the texts he uses ds' phone to text me.

Also, because ds is presently unwell, if I block his number how would he contact me in the event of an emergency? He has used that argument to me and done a massive guilt trip on me.

DrNelsonsInhaler Mon 16-Sep-13 11:49:23

I mean, if I blocked him or changed my number he would just get the info out of ds' phone.

Walkacrossthesand Mon 16-Sep-13 11:49:36

Arguably he does need a means of contacting you that is more flexible than email, in case (eg) DC has an accident while with him - but you can set things up so it doesn't feel like he's in your face. A separate phone which you only check once/week and when DS is with him? Or (less adult option) you could change the name that his number is stored under, to something mocking (I'm thinking 'ohnonotagain', or 'the plonker' or 'littlus dickus'... ).

DrNelsonsInhaler Mon 16-Sep-13 11:54:28

I've tried the insulting name tactic - he just fills me with horror still.
I've tried the second phone - he refused to play ball.
He goes massively out of his way to intimidate me but makes sure it appears to an outsider that its very trivial.

DrNelsonsInhaler Mon 16-Sep-13 11:55:13

Plus, he has ds 3 nights a week so it's actually a huge chunk of my life that this affects.

TheGirlFromIpanema Mon 16-Sep-13 11:58:04

When ex texts me his name pops up as cuntbadger wink As a tactic for coping with his inane drivel I find it really helpful.

DrNelsonsInhaler Mon 16-Sep-13 12:01:32

If only I could look at it as inane drivel. He has really done a number on me and I am so cross with myself for still letting him get to me.
I don't wish him dead but it sure feels like I'd be better off if he vanished and that is an awful thing to say and very unlike me. I'm very live and let live.

I downloaded a silent ringtone and text tone for my ex so that I don't hear it at the time. I've told him not to contact me at all and to go via my dh now as I can't take his abuse and accusations any longer. I also informed him that if he did contact me I'd be calling the police and reporting him for harassment. He's already been on a harassment warning with the police for his behaviour towards me so I know they take it seriously.

I still get that horrible sinking feeling in my stomach when his name pops up on my phone and just don't need it anymore. No wonder dd1 can't bear him and rarely sees him as he's just as much of a bully to her and my sons.

ainsleysballs Mon 16-Sep-13 12:17:13

If you have a smartphone you can download apps to block texts (and calls) from certain numbers, you shouldn't have to go through the service provider. I use 'Call Blocker' on Android which is free. I expect there's something available for iphones too. I use mine to block harrassing/spam texts. The texts are still sent and stored but I can choose whether to actually look at them (I don't bother but you might want to look when you feel strong enough, in case your ex is sending some information that's actually useful). For calls I set it up so that it automatically hangs up for certain numbers, it doesn't ring at all but I get a list of numbers which have tried to call so I could call back if necessary.

Betrayedbutsurvived Mon 16-Sep-13 12:18:50

There's a software update for iPhones later this week which includes the ability to block calls and texts. From certain numbers

DrNelsonsInhaler Mon 16-Sep-13 12:24:37

Cheese - "that horrible sinking feeling in my stomach" It's exactly that. It has a physical effect on me.

I would love to block his number. But he will just use another number or more likely ds phone knowing I can't block that number.

sherbetpips Mon 16-Sep-13 12:26:47

Realistically if he needed to contact you he could the phone. Do not respond or reply to his texts ever. If he wants an answer he can call you. If you have to respond do so via email and remind him that you dont respond to texts.
As you say he is attempting to control you so dont let it. Dont respond, dont react. Just reply to messages that required a response and nothing else.

ChazzerChaser Mon 16-Sep-13 12:32:10

DrNelsons I don't have any useful ideas but just wanted to say I totally understand and sympathise. It doesn't sound trivial to me at all. Just felt like it might be helpful to hear that.

When the solicitor wrote the letter did she have any idea of outcome if he ignored the letter?

ChazzerChaser Mon 16-Sep-13 12:33:49

Actually yes I agree with sherbet. Even if you see the texts never ever respond to them. Then he won't be aware of them having any impact so will get bored of it. Hopefully.

Thistledew Mon 16-Sep-13 12:40:24

Can you speak to the Domestic Violence team at your local police station? Explain to them that getting texts from your ex makes you feel upset and anxious and that he has already ignored a request from your solicitor to contact you via email only. They should be able to give him a harassment warning, which if he breaches would be a criminal offence.

DrNelsonsInhaler Mon 16-Sep-13 12:44:40

Thank you.
Solicitor didn't discuss other options. I stated that I didn't want anything else other than a letter to stop the texts. I stupidly thought it would frighten him. It would have frightened me. But I'm confusing him with someone who is reasonable and I guess it reflects how unhappy he still is. But that is of no comfort or use to me.
Sorry if I sound negative. Ds recent diagnosis was such a shock and I feel like I've got the world on my shoulders. Even ds being ill hasn't made xp want to mend his ways. If he said sorry lets clear the slate I would accept with no hesitation. I have extended so many olive branches but he just beats me with them. I'm worn out.

Vivacia Mon 16-Sep-13 12:44:53

I can totally understand why you feel the way you do. Your feelings are not daft.

I would only respond to a text that was sent for a reason I thought warranted a text. Any other text I'd ignore if at all possible.

Another thought is do you have a partner who could have that old number and field the texts for you?

Finally, I think that counselling could help you deal with this anxiety and support you in formulating strategies which work for you.

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?

Bogeyface Tue 17-Sep-13 18:27:34

What about "I feel so sorry for you, that after 3 years you are still not over the end of our marriage and obviously still have feelings for me."

FanDanceLil Tue 17-Sep-13 22:25:19

I definitely know how exhausting this is and can relate to you receiving endless texts. My ex would arrive on my doorstep if I ignore his texts for trivial information. His text messages would become increasingly angry and insulting and my stomach would flip over every time my text alert sounded.

As some poster above have advised, please do consider accessing some counselling through your GP. I found counselling really helpful in dealing with my reaction to my exp's behaviour and some insight into his controlling behaviour while we were together. It has really helped me to feel almost indifferent to his now rare outbursts.

Hope your DS gets better soon.

DrNelsonsInhaler Wed 18-Sep-13 08:25:10

Thanks for all the messages of support. I didn't think I needed counselling - I assumed it was his problem and not mine. I shall look into it.
It is just awful when you know that your dc father is prepared to launch an active campaign against you at a time when we should be coming together for ds.

Ezio Wed 18-Sep-13 08:33:24

Change the name on his contact details to "Same old shit" and just dont read it.

LookingThroughTheFog Wed 18-Sep-13 08:38:44

DrN, his behaviour is certainly causing the problem. The thing is, if you imagine a 'problem' to be a physical thing, then it ends up at your feet. It's not bothering him - it's not effecting him. He's neatly bundled up the package with its little trip wires and explosive charges, and he's dropped it, ticking, in front of you.

This is his bad behaviour, certainly. But like I say, he doesn't seem reasonable enough to change his behaviour.

Suggesting counselling isn't to say that you need to get over it, or it's your fault. It's just that you have this ticking package in front of you, and you need help with how to unpack it safely.

OK, I think it might be a bit to early for metaphor. I just don't want you thinking I was suggesting it was your fault. Not your fault at all.

DrNelsonsInhaler Wed 18-Sep-13 08:49:39

Thanks Looking. Yes, your metaphor makes very good sense.

KatyTheCleaningLady Wed 18-Sep-13 09:21:30

I think of problems like this as physical objects as a coping strategy. I am religious, so I imagine it as an unwanted letter, like a bill, and I mentally hand it to God and say "You deal with it." If you are not religious, perhaps imagine screwing it up and tossing it aside with a "feh!" as a way of shrugging it off.

LessMissAbs Wed 18-Sep-13 09:21:40

If an ex did that to me, Id phone him up, lose my temper and give him severe aggro when he did it. The fact you feel unable to do this suggests he is still controlling you. In which case, id take back control by reporting him to the police for harassment each time. He will soon learn.

Vivacia Wed 18-Sep-13 09:33:57

I'm surprised at the lack of understanding on the part of some posters. OP can't block contact or give as good as she gets because there's a child's welfare involved.

piratecat Wed 18-Sep-13 09:47:03

i understand. i know the anxiety seeing that name or number creates. It is really hard.

In the end i changed all my numbers, luckily dd didn't have her own phone at the time, and contact is by email only. DD does have a phone now, but it's recent on starting secondary, he's not asked for it yet.

So ok, you need to minimise his ability to reach you.

Your ds must turn his phone off at bed time. He can use an alarm clock or a digital watch if needs it to get up in the morning.

Change your number, and get another payg switched on only when your ds is with him. If something comes through from ds via him, ignore as much as you can.

Carry on ignoring, i sympathise with you, as you need to have this contact avenue ( a number for you)available as he has your ds alot.

fromparistoberlin Wed 18-Sep-13 10:03:03

ugh what a fucking cunt wad

OP firstly I am sorry about your son, and I hope he gets treated

and I know its easy for us to say stuff, but when you have an ill child involved I get you dont want a war

I agree re counselling, its about you getting resisielnce, peace and acceptance

and then, sorry but I agree that you either need to

block his number
change your number
give DS a pay as you go

but I agree that the last thing you need is stress

what a fucking cuntwad I say again, annoyed and angry for you

OH and plan B
you say that : threatening to dump ds at my work place or leave him with strangers

correct me here, buit your chiuld has a tumour and he is pulling stunts like this???? maybe you need to save text messages, and launch a different offensive OP.

calmingtea Thu 19-Sep-13 07:34:06

DrNelson - oh it is his problem not you. But in this sort of case I would see you having counselling as looking after yourself rather than fixing anything. Or at least it is what I did after a very abusive relationship. I needed to talk things through and learn how to look after and nurture myself again and what I could do to do that. It would be so you can cope better because he is so messed up, as you have been affected by the fallout from that.

CogitoErgoSometimes Thu 19-Sep-13 11:26:57

"if I block his number how would he contact me in the event of an emergency?"

Landline. Like we used to do in the olden days before the mobile was invented. Change your mobile number and give it only to people you want or need to have it. Give him your landline number only. He can't text a landline.

Hopasholic Thu 19-Sep-13 11:46:51

Try sending every text message back to him. He might think you have a setting which is automatically doing it, it's a long shot but he might just give it up? Unless there's a risk of him becoming violent of course. My friend did this with an ex (no kids involved though) and he got bored after a week and left her alone. He just thought it was an automated response.

Alternatively go back to the solicitor, keep all text messages and report to the police.

Or forward them to his partner?

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