I broke up with my ex about some years ago. I've been through a lot all those (many) years I was in a relationship with her, due to the fact that she suffered from various disorders such as depression, anorexia and OCD. Just to be clear I don't blame her for having those issues - and I helped her through the end - but because she wasn't a good person overall and she constantly tried to take advantage of her situation in order to make me and her family guilty, so that she could take what she wanted - mainly attention and money to buy unnecessary stuff and have plastic surgeries.

So after all those years in which she was practically extorting money off me, she still owes me. She gives back small portions but often postpones it, because she wants to buy more things. I've been in countless arguments with her, but to no avail. This makes me really upset, not only because I need the money back, but also because I really want to cut ties with her, as I really don't like having to talk to her every now and then. I also have a serious relationship and my girlfriend isn't happy with the situation. I asked her to put the money in the bank directly which she didn't, making all kinds of excuses and further delaying the payment because, by the time I asked if she did, she had already spent it all. I've talked about it with her brother, who still thinks of me as one of his best friends, but she doesn't listen to anyone.


I don't know what to do to make her pay back the entire amount, or even pay me the portions when agreed. How can I persuade such a difficult person to be consistent with her obligation towards me?


  • I've considered stop requesting the money back, I just asked this question in case someone can give me some advice I haven't thought of yet, so this situation wouldn't end up so unfairly.

  • I can't afford to take this to court, nor I think I have enough proof in order to do so.

  • I live in southern Europe if that helps. Things are pretty loose around here and the minimum amount of dept that sends you to prison is quite big - but still less than the amount I'm talking about.

  • 1
    Did you have a clear agreement that this was a loan? If she claims it was a gift, do you have persuasive arguments to the counter (contracts, witnesses, etc.)? Echoing others, I think you need to see a lawyer. Or perhaps Law.SE? Aug 23, 2017 at 13:19
  • 1
    The only proof is that her family knows about this, but I guess that is as good as no one knew. @NVZ It is quite big - e.g. I could buy a used car in a very good condition with this money.
    – clueless
    Aug 23, 2017 at 13:23
  • 8
    This looks like it would be better suited for Law.SE. You do not seem to be interested in salvaging the relationship, so this is purely a legal, not an interpersonal matter. if you want an IPS solution, the first step is to kiss your money goodbye and be good with that.
    – Polygnome
    Aug 24, 2017 at 8:19
  • 3
    There are usually multiple ways to solve a problem, employing different tactics. clueless wants to solve this problem using interpersonal skills, and states that they want to persuade the person. Purely legal answers are not appropriate.
    – HDE 226868
    Aug 24, 2017 at 15:46
  • 3
    I'm not really sure what "i could buy a good used car with this money" really means. I could buy a good used car with $500 or $10,000 but I don't regard either as a significant sum of money worth getting all bent out of shape over.. When my father lost $300,000 on a business venture trying to help out a friend he eventually gave up fighting for it and moved on, not because he could afford to lose that much (around half his savings) but because the process of getting it back was being physically and psychologically more ruinous to him,in his then-state-of-health, than the benefit of having it..
    – Caius Jard
    Sep 5, 2017 at 11:18

5 Answers 5


The first thing I would do is draw up a letter that states how much money is owed and what the terms of repayment are. Then get her to sign that letter with a witness. If she refuses to sign this, and you do not already have some documentation as to the loan and the terms of repayment you are unlikely to ever be able to achieve your goals.

If she will sign it or you already have the documentation and she fails to meet her obligations for repayment you have something to take into court. If the court finds in your favor then they will issue a judgement which is legally binding and if she refuses to pay still or fails to meet the terms set there, there are options including garnishment of wages for your collection.

However, unless this sum is significant or your goal is more to make her life difficult, you are probably better off just writing off the debt as a bad investment and moving on with your life. The hassle of suing and collecting on the debt will likely be far more effort than the rewards merit. If you truly wish to just make a break with her, then the best bet is to just do that. If you fight for the money chances are it will be several years before it is resolved. On the other hand, you can probably make a clean break from her pretty easily if you just walk away from it.

So what do you want more, the fight for the money, or the clean break? You are not going to be able to get both.

  • Thank you. I will search if your advice applies to my country's laws. I agree that suing must be the last resort and I'm still not considering it as a solution but it may be useful if I know some legal stuff about the situation. This will be the last time I'll try to get the money back, if this doesn't succeed I won't bother trying again.
    – clueless
    Aug 23, 2017 at 16:54
  • 9
    Even if you are not planning to sue her, signing a document will (hopefully) make her think twice before backing off her words. Try to make her sign one, especially now when she still admit owing you money.
    – Vylix
    Aug 23, 2017 at 17:32
  • 3
    And document each and every payment she made, just in case you might change your mind and take it to the court.
    – Vylix
    Aug 23, 2017 at 17:33
  • 1
    @Mari-LouA - Those are questions for a lawyer... as for the third party if they were witness to her admitting it or accepting the money yes. how much weight it would carry is better asked to a lawyer in your area. Sep 14, 2017 at 14:09
  • 1
    Wouldn’t presenting her this document potentially make her realize he has no power over her and stop paying even small amounts? May 23, 2018 at 4:50

Frankly, as this is a person who suffers from a number of disabilities, I believe that the kindest and most appropriate thing to do is to write it off as a loss.

She clearly suffers from psychiatric disorders, and the "unnecessary" plastic surgeries are a symptom of that. There's a lot of blame you are putting on someone who is ill.

It is kindest to her, but it also kindest to yourself. You are actually maintaining the relationship by trying to collect what you think she owes you. It's not healthy for either of you. You must be very angry with her that you want to keep this going.

If you seriously want to cut ties, then cut ties and stop trying to collect from someone who is suffering so. Just end it, and thank your lucky stars you do not have OCD, anorexia, etc. You are the only person maintaining the relationship right now.

If you need money, you must stop trying to get it from this sick woman, and you must find another way to get it. Regrettably, that is the reality of your situation.

  • 2
    Thank you for your answer. This person is not sick anymore or at least is much better because of medication. The reason I mentioned her illness is because I had to justify why I gave her the money in the first place. This is a little off-topic, but regarding the other things you mention, the abuser is an abuser, sick or not and according to my experience and knowledge on the matter there is no such symptom in the official definition of clinical depression and also I am not angry for any reason other than the debt. I will stop asking the money back, because I don't find any other solution.
    – clueless
    Aug 24, 2017 at 12:09
  • Just walk away. You won't win this one. Oct 24, 2017 at 14:25
  • I would make sure to 'formally' announce this to her, adding that you no longer want to (have to) deal with her. Please stay away. That also tells her that she no longer has to worry about the money. You may not feel like doing her that last favor, but since you decide to give up the money anyway, there's nothing more you lose by 'giving' that to her. Be the gracious person.
    – user10085
    Feb 12, 2018 at 14:12
  • @clueless That she is an abuser is all the more reason to do nothing to maintain the relationship, including attempting to collect a debt. I hope however, now that it is a year later, that you are free from her, and safe and well.
    – gracious1
    Aug 7, 2018 at 22:46
  • 1
    Thanks @gracious1. Yep the issue is over. She somehow managed to pay me off and she hasn't bothered me ever since. Miracles happen sometimes.
    – clueless
    Aug 17, 2018 at 9:25

I am certainly no lawyer, but it is my understanding that in most U.S. jurisdictions, a transfer of money from one person to another is implicitly a loan unless specified otherwise. You might be able to recover some of your monies through small claims court. If she has paid you anything, that's evidence of the debt from her side, and bolsters your claim. You would be bound by jurisdictional caps on recovery amounts, and your costs would be capped at filing fees as there are no attorneys in small claims. Otherwise, for the sake of your future (well, current) relationship, it might be the most practical thing to just consider it a bad life experience, cut your financial losses, and move on.

  • Thank you for your advice. You mentioned some things which I will consider telling her if we ever communicate again in order to convince her that if I took it on court I would have some proof. I don't know though if they are valid in my country.
    – clueless
    Aug 23, 2017 at 16:44
  • @DavidW : How could it implicitly be a loan if no interest is specified? Is it default 0% and if it isn't, are there really no cases where this has been abused? Aug 23, 2017 at 21:40
  • @mathreader The presence of the loan is not dependent upon any specification of an interest rate. If a friend lends you $100, and you tell him you'll pay him back $10 week for ten weeks, that's a perfectly legitimate loan with zero interest.
    – David W
    Aug 24, 2017 at 2:38

I'm going to attempt an answer and assume you live in America for now, since that's where I live.

Also, it sounds like you're not worried about rescuing your friendship with her.

I'm going to mention court despite what you said, just because it's not as hard as most people think to go to small claims court. I'm not a legal expert, just speaking from my experiences.

Currently, she has no incentive to pay you back

  • I'd advice you to cut your losses and leave her alone. It sounds like the money was given to her while you were dating and that there is no proof that it was a loan. (Just about every Judge Judy episode is about this subject.) You're going to need solid evidence that it was a loan, not a gift. A "verbal contract" is not usually enough for a court. However...

  • Another tip is to threaten to take then to court. That is often enough of an incentive to get them to pay up. Be prepared to back that up your threat. Also, if they admit to owing you money in their response, you could use that as evidence in court.

  • Small claims court - I've been to small claims court before, and it's not too bad. If you're dealing with someone who owes you money, sometimes it's the only way to get them to listen. Also, at least in my home state, it's relatively cheap. Generally below $100 if the claim isn't more than a certain value. Info on that. It might be worth the investment, given that she owes you a large amount of money.

  • Hire a lawyer to write her a letter. You could ask for the lawyer's legal fees in addition to what she owes you. It should only cost an additional $200 or so.
  • 2
    Thank you for your help. I will stop asking for the money anyway, if none of the advice posted here works. But I agree about warning her that I will seek legal help. That might make her understand that I am more serious than she thinks.
    – clueless
    Aug 23, 2017 at 16:40
  • 2
    Threatening to take to court can also back fire. They are possibly more likely to just shut down and deny owing you any money at all. Aug 23, 2017 at 16:56
  • 1
    Get a lawyer, don't take law advice from a random stranger on the net. As @Chad pointed out, this can backfire. plus, you do not live in the US but suothern europe, where law works differently.
    – Polygnome
    Aug 24, 2017 at 8:28
  • It isn't my intention to hire a lawyer or take legal advice from here, I'm just asking if there is anything I can say to her in order to convince her. Yes, it may backfire, so I won't do it. I will probably stop asking the money back as all the answers advise.
    – clueless
    Aug 24, 2017 at 11:42
  • OP says he lives in Southern Europe. Oct 24, 2017 at 14:25

The question you are asking is basically "How to make people do things I want?".

There are 2 ways:

  • motive and speech are aligned : you simply talk to her about the situation and ask for a solution. Given her personality it will not work.
  • motive and speech not aligned, some call it lying, some call it "the end justify the needs", some simply say to "hide" your motive, or manipulation, etc... it's all the same, how you call it depends if you want to see it positively or negatively

If you are willing to go the second way, you need to find leverage on her.

  • Identify people she listens to, rally them to your cause: make sure people know how much she owes you and bring this topic regularly. They need to be relays of your own will/speech
  • Try to out-pity her. You could fake money problems. Maybe a person you know that is really worse than her currently needs your money, much more than her. It would also help you remain the good guy in the story.
  • Present the refund under the angle of what she will get out of it (Respect? Trust? Self-esteem? Therapeutic?)
  • You could also ask someone to ask her for money, if there is such a person available
  • a combination of all the above


  • don't try to unmask her manipulations. She clearly entered this self-doom circle because as a child she could get much more love/attention/objects by being "broken", and it has now because her normal operational mode to inter-operate with others (maybe unfortunately for her the only she actually ever experienced). Confronting her will just make things worse (because you don't fix a problem by throwing another problem at the problem)

I agree with you that being ill is not the silver bullet of "excuse-it-all", especially since it might actually be because people were kinder to her when she was sick than she trapped herself inside this habit (pure conjecture here, as I don't actually know her).

If you want to help a sick person, try to show her how another way of behaving could look like. She probably need only a kind soul to show her how a different way of interacting feels like. You could even ask her to give you back 10$, and ask her if it feels good to honor her word, be responsible, etc... It's exactly what I described in point n°3, but seen under another angle (helping). By showing her it's possible, and helping her practice this "new way", she could get caught in a positive reinforcement circle that would motivate her to continue... Who knows...

Note: even though the question is 5 months old, I didn't find any answer providing this perspective.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.