From the U.S.: I left an emotionally abusive relationship about one year ago. After going through therapy and doing some reading and research, I’ve read about the importance of making a completely clean break. Though I haven’t spoken to the individual in over a year, I’ve left connections on social media open and haven’t deleted text messages from the person.

After the breakup, there were several instances where he tried to harass me in the first six months of our breakup. (However, it has been quiet recently). Because of this, I’m hesitant to delete this information from my phone and sever these ties, especially if I ever need to take legal action against the individual. Is there anything wrong with leaving these ties open? Am I better off deleting these messages and severing these ties? And, if I do sever the ties and something happens, am I setting myself up for further issues legally? (Is there anything wrong with keeping a record?)

Thanks for your help!

A: It sounds to me that you are clear that the relationship is over and that you would delete the messages if you were equally clear about the legal consequences of doing so. I therefore encourage you to consult with a lawyer. Your question at this point is a legal, not a psychological, one. Take care of yourself by getting the advice you need.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie