I absolutely hate when guys use the phrase “crazy ex-girlfriend” to describe a former love interest. It’s incredibly misogynistic, and if you see it on a potential suitors dating app profile, you should run the other way ASAP. But, I do think that after a breakup, people can behave in uncharacteristic ways. Ways that could be described as obsessive, erratic, or possibly “crazy.”

And if I’m being honest with myself, I’ve behaved like that before. So, in today’s personal story, I’m sharing a little more about my experience being the crazy ex-girlfriend.

*Note: As always, names have been changed

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The Guy

Brad* and I met on Tinder shortly after my divorce. He was about five years older than me but had never been in a serious or long-term relationship. I, on the other hand, had only been in serious relationships (including, of course, the marriage I was freshly out of). Now, I’d see it as a major red flag if someone hasn’t ever had a committed relationship in their thirties. But, at the time, I overlooked it.

And despite this, we ended up dating—quite seriously—for nearly two years. We went on multiple vacations together, talked about getting married, and planned on moving in together.

In fact, we were actually starting to look at houses. But then, Brad dropped a bombshell: he wanted to end things.

Related Read: Personal Story: Finding my Ex on Tinder After a Brutal Breakup

Being the crazy ex-girlfriend after a terrible breakup

The Breakup

Two weeks earlier, we’d been on vacation. On our trip, Brad had even talked about us getting married. The night before, we were out with his family and had a great time. He stayed over at my place and the next morning, we parted as normal.

Later that day, I was out running errands. On my way to the supermarket, I called him to see if he wanted to come with me. He didn’t answer, but that wasn’t too unusual (he had a bad habit of not keeping his phone nearby). Since I was driving right past his place, I decided to stop by and see if he needed to get groceries, too. (As a side note, I had a key and he’d previously told me to do that due to his phone habit.)

Well, he agreed and the two of us went to get groceries. Afterwards, I dropped him back at home and we said our goodbyes.

That night, he called and said he wanted to breakup.

As you can imagine, this came as complete and utter shock to me. There were absolutely NO warning signs. I didn’t know where the hell this was coming from.

Being a Crazy Ex-Girlfriend

I would love to finish this personal story by saying that I calmly told him to go fuck himself before hanging up. That I took this out-of-the-blue breakup for it was: a sign of his ineptitude rather than mine and never spoke to him again. Or, even that I expressed how blindsided I felt with the same kind of eloquent grace as Gabby from this season of The Bachelor.

Unfortunately, none of the above happened. Instead, I reacted in ways that I now find embarrassing.

On the phone that night, I cried and committed the cardinal sin of all dumpees: I begged for him to change his mind. I went over to his house—under the guise of retrieving my belongings, mind you—to further try and convince him. There were more tears as I implored him not to leave me. I pressed him for why he would do such a thing. And when he told me that he needed space to figure out what he wanted, I went so far as to suggest that we “just take a break,” in a pitiful attempt to negotiate.

Before I left, we agreed to stay in contact, something that I can now recognize as a huge mistake.

Now, I do believe that you can stay in touch, or even friends, with an ex. But when you try so soon after a breakup, it’s usually a recipe for disaster.

Post-Breakup Obsession

I continued to call and text him. When he (inevitably) failed to answer or respond at all, my anxiety would spike to the point of near panic-attack levels. And, did I find a way to deal with my anxiety in healthy, productive ways? No, of course not. I ended up driving over to his house to talk to him in person.

Quick tip for anyone out there: showing up unannounced at an ex’s house is always a terrible idea. Absolutely NO good can come from forcing someone to talk to you when they do not want to.

And I’m even more ashamed to say that this happened more than once. Yes, the first time I did it, he was angry. The second time, he was (understandably) angrier. But I didn’t learn. I was stuck in my own post-breakup obsession: I couldn’t think of any other way to resolve my anxiety.

They say that the definition of craziness is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. In that way, even though I absolutely hate the term “crazy ex-girlfriend,” I can recognize that I was one. I was repeating a behavior that clearly didn’t do me any good. Yet, each time, I thought, “This time will be different. This time, I’ll be able to actually convince him to see how much I care.”

The Aftermath

Obviously, this couldn’t go on forever. Eventually, he blocked my number. And while I do understand, I disagree with the way he went about it.

It came after several weeks of us being in contact. During this time, he frequently told me he thought we’d get back together at some point. He also asked to borrow money, which I gave him. Then, he agreed to go somewhere with me, but the night before he texted me to cancel. His message went something like this: “I’m not going to come over this weekend or anytime after that. I’ve decided it’s not good to continue being in each other’s lives. Please don’t text or call me at all. Brad.”

Considering that I had just lent him money and prior to this, he said he thought there was a good chance of reconciliation, this message set me on fire.

Of course, I ignored his requests for me not to reach out. And, of course, he ignored my attempted calls/texts. For the final time, I went to his house the next day. But this time, I wasn’t there to try and change his mind. This time, I was fueled by pure anger. I demanded my money back and told him that what he did to me was bullshit. What’s more, I took back a few of the gifts I had given him (ones that I knew were meaningful to him.)

So, that’s how it ended with Brad. We’ve spoken a few times since, then, but he’s never actually given me any closure. The last contact was when he sent me a happy birthday text. I never replied. And I certainly didn’t reciprocate on his birthday.

Life Lesson

Breakups tend to bring out the worst in us. So, it’s understandable to act irrationally when you’re hurt and angry. But even though I understand why I acted the way I did, I’m still ashamed of it.

Life lesson: before you act, think about how you’ll feel when retelling the story.

A secondary lesson would be to never beg someone to stay in your life, in any way. If they want to be there, they will. Period.

Have you ever been the crazy ex-girlfriend before? Share your experience in the comments below!

Thanks for reading!

xx Katie

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  1. avatar

    Your ex was a crazy-maker. So was my ex husband. Here’s what I wish I said, rather than what I did (a lot of long texts which he ignored mostly)
    “You know how your last wife was so crazy? I don’t believe it any more. You refused to work on our relationship. It was never a good time for you. You’d love to drive me insane and complain about me to the next one. I see through you and am DONE. ”
    Since then I’ve learned the word gaslighting. Sometimes they want you to be “crazy”.

    1. avatar

      That’s a great point. It’s always a red flag if someone says all their exes were “crazy.” To me, it seems like if that’s the case, the common denominator is them!

  2. avatar

    This was so good to read! I think its normal for everyone to go a bit ‘crazy’ after a breakup. I’ve only been broken up with once but it was OVER THE PHONE and we were together 8 years!! But I went the other direction altogether and completely cut off all contact. Interestingly, most guys I’ve broken up with have remained friends so I guess I can see that I didn’t handle the other break up very well. Thanks for sharing your story!

    1. avatar

      I don’t think you handled it badly – I think going No Contact is absolutely the right move. People can be friends, but they need a breather before trying.

  3. avatar
    Brianna says:

    Oh wow, I can relate to this one. I definitely was the crazy ex in my first relationship. Granted, I was only 15 and I had gotten my heart totally ripped out, but there was no excuse for my actions. I kept trying to “win him back” by begging him to stay, even though he did not treat me right (looking back, he seemed to have commitment issues). You are right- no one should ever have to ask someone not to leave. At least we both learned our lesson!

    1. avatar

      Exactly! I was older than 15, unfortunately, and I’m definitely ashamed of my actions. But like you, I can understand that heartbreak really leads to emotional reactions.

  4. avatar

    I think the worst time was when a guy broke up with me BY TEXT and all I wanted was for him to tell me to my face why we were breaking up. As in your case, it seemed to come completely out of left field. I do regret the way I acted, but I’m also with the love of my life now, so am in a much better place.

    1. avatar

      I think it’s a good thing, though, to be able to look back and A) understand your actions, but also B) regret them. It shows introspection as well as growth. Thanks for sharing that!

  5. avatar

    UGH been there! It’s so easy to let your emotions get the better of you when you are blindsided and just don’t understand what happened. But to your point, you learn from past mistakes and move on.

    1. avatar

      Emotions really have a way of hindering logic, don’t they?

  6. avatar
    Charity says:

    Breakups can be so tough! Thanks for sharing your personal story about it. It’s good to learn some life lessons during these hard times.

    1. avatar

      Absolutely – glad you enjoyed reading it!

  7. avatar

    It can be hard to stay calm and think before you act when emotions are heated, but two great lessons came from this situation! I especially love “if they want to be there, they will.” Thank you for sharing!

    1. avatar

      That’s so true – it’s something I’ve had to learn a few different ways, but in the end, people who want to be in your life will be.

  8. avatar
    According to Chren says:

    Thanks for sharing your personal story and the red flags in the relationship. Breakups can be tough.

    1. avatar

      Absolutely! It’s an embarrassing story for me, but also one that taught me an important life lesson.

  9. avatar

    Wow, great advice there ‘think how you’ll feel when retelling the story’ love it. I hold my hands up, I have been the crazy ex. And you regret when you tell others. Thank you for this x

    1. avatar

      Absolutely – it’s great to think about that in the moment. But its also good not to beat yourself up for telling a story that makes you look bad. We’ve all been there.

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30ish Lifestyle blogger, relationship "expert," and modern-day agony aunt.
Sometimes humorous, always honest.