HELP ME, HARLAN! Boyfriend who refuses to break up is trouble

Harlan Cohen

Dear Harlan,

I’ve broken up with my boyfriend four times. I’ve told him it’s over, but he can’t get it through his head. Now it’s getting weird — he just shows up. How do I deal with my crazy ex showing up multiple times after being told not to? I’m in my first year in college. I don’t want to create drama, but this is weird.

Can’t Break Up

Dear Can’t Break Up,

This is serious. I get the sense that you want to minimize what’s happening, but this could turn dangerous. When your ex shows up unexpectedly, it can be a form of stalking. According to the National Center for Victims of Crime, 15 percent of women and 6 percent of men have experienced stalking victimization at some point during their lifetime in which they felt very fearful or believed that they or someone close to them would be harmed or killed ( Do not assume that this will stop or get better. Forget worrying about creating drama, and put your safety first. This means telling the people around you what’s happening. Tell the director of your residence hall what this guy looks like and that he’s showing up uninvited. Talk to campus security. Talk to local law enforcement. You also should see a counselor at the health center. You need to set clear boundaries and have a plan in case he continues to ignore your breakup.

It’s hard to know how he will react. Intimidation and fear is the game. A man who can’t listen to what you want can become unpredictable and dangerous. Make sure you have a support system in place, and document all of your interactions — you might need a record if this guy continues to ignore and intimidate you.

* **

Dear Harlan,

I’m just coming out of a three-year relationship and have entered the single world again. I don’t want anything serious, but I’d like to go out again. I’d like something casual without a commitment. How I can approach a woman when I want to experiment sexually without an emotional connection? I’m not a player, but not ready to date.

Back Out

Dear Back Out,

Sex is always emotional. Don’t try to disconnect; it will just mess you up. And really, there’s no reason to separate the two. You can be emotional, experiment and avoid a deeper commitment. Rephrase what you want. How about this: “I want to experiment without having too deep of an emotional connection or commitment. I also don’t want to contract a sexually transmitted infection.” No sex souvenirs. HPV (human papillomavirus), genital herpes,

Chlamydia, HIV and a long list of other STIs definitely will leave you with an emotional connection. Make sure you know what you want so you can communicate it clearly to the women you meet. Instead of looking for a random hookup at bars or via apps, date women you find interesting. Be upfront and honest about your intentions when sex comes up: Make it clear that you aren’t looking for anything serious because you just got out of a relationship. Create a profile that makes it clear that you’re looking to live in the moment — nothing long term. The best part about leading with the truth is that you might find someone you’ll want to get to know beyond your experimentation phase. Bottom line: Be clear, be safe, state what you want, listen to what the women you date want, and experiment while still being honest.


Harlan is author of “Getting Naked: Five Steps to Finding the Love of Your Life (While Fully Clothed and Totally Sober)” (St. Martin’s Press). Write Harlan at or visit online: All letters submitted become property of the author. Send paper to Help Me, Harlan!, 2720 Dundee Road, Suite 226, Northbrook, IL 60062.

© Harlan Cohen 2017

Distributed by King Features Syndicate Inc.

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