“My ex-boyfriend is stalking me.” Those are probably the words you never thought you’d say because, hey, of course, you’d never date a stalker!
Unfortunately, we don’t always see everything about a person up front and sometimes people change. They go through a rough patch and suddenly a seemingly rational person becomes irrational.
At other times men appear a bit too “attached” to you after a break-up, but it’s harmless – they’re just trying to get you back – and will back off once they get the hint.
So how do you know if it’s harmless or not? And how do you handle it? We’ve gathered some information for you!
Making Up for The Past Mistakes
Some men don’t intend to stalk you. Maybe they’re sending too many messages, show up one time too many with roses and are generally getting on your nerves, but chances are, they just had an epiphany that they should have treated you better and are trying to make up for it.
They aren’t demanding you come back to them because they’ll kill themselves if you don’t, they’re just trying to make things right.
The old “you don’t know what you have till it’s gone.” Or maybe they did know what they had and treated you great, they just think they can do better and everything will be alright.
These guys are generally harmless, you just firmly have to tell them that no matter what they do you don’t think the two of you are a fit. You want space to be alone now and you’d appreciate if they respect that.
The Emotionally Frail Type
This kind of guy can’t stand to lose you because he feels like he doesn’t have the confidence to find a new girlfriend or his life is in shambles at the moment and you were his light in the dark.
It could also be that an awful lot of things happened at the same time and this is the thing that brought him over the edge, so he’s trying to hold onto you like a safety vest when the boat is sinking.
He needs you, not because it was the perfect relationship, but because he thinks he has no life without you, or will never again find love.
If this sums up your ex there’s some cause for concern. You have to handle him delicately so he doesn’t end up more depressed, or insecure than he already is. However, he’s also not your responsibility and it’s important to know that.
If you aren’t seeing someone else, tell him that you need to focus on yourself right now – you’ve signed up for exercise (or meditation) classes, you’re getting real about what you want in your career and no offense, but right now you just want to be alone.
You’re on a sabbatical and you’d like him to respect that. You can, in order to help your cause, also turn off social media for a month. Make it clear you won’t talk to him. If you feel you want to be his friend, tell him to call you in three months. If that doesn’t help, tell him you’ll change your number.
If you sense he’s suicidal, or really depressed, call someone whom can advise you on how to handle the situation, such as a helpline. It’s important you get advice on how to deal with it.
The Clueless Type
My ex-boyfriend is stalking me, but he doesn’t know it. Sounds familiar? Some men don’t get a hint. They’re harmless, but they have no clue with women.
They might be clingy to the point where they’re practically stalking you, but they’re not the dangerous type. With these guys, you have to spell it out.
Tell them you want to be alone, you see them as a friend only, you’re moving on with your life and you’d appreciate if they stop texting you and sending you roses.
If that doesn’t do it tell them you’ll block their number and remove them from social media if it doesn’t stop.
If it still doesn’t stop, they aren’t clueless, but a real stalker and you need to take precaution.
The Jealous Type
If you’re telling your friends “my ex-boyfriend is stalking me” whilst simultaneously telling them he used to be very jealous and/or controlling, then there may be some cause for concern if he won’t stop texting you, or showing up unannounced.
Tell him firmly to stop. Make it clear that you want to be left alone and neither him, nor anyone else will be able to change your mind about that.
If it doesn’t stop, tell him you’ll take legal action. Also, if you feel he’s menacing, take protective measures instantly.
When Is There Cause for Concern?
We often refer to it as stalking when someone checks us out on social media constantly and text us too much. They’re clingy. They don’t get a hint.
There’s a line where it goes from them being a bit over enthusiastic about getting you back and seriously stalking you, though.
If you receive lots of negative comments from them in the form of texts, emails, phone calls, social media comments, etc., or any kind of threats (from them wanting to kill themselves if you leave them, to them threatening you with things they’ll do to you if you date others) then it’s time to get help. Call a help line, or contact the police.
Another scenario when it’s time to call for help is if they are frantically texting you non-stop, writing things all over your social media, or showing up in real life to harass you, even if what they’re saying and doing is good natured (i.e. there are no negative comments or threats).
That’s very different from someone who texts you a few times a day and keeps liking your Facebook statuses.
Do Not Delete Evidence
Whilst you might want to delete a comment on Facebook that your stalker has written, take a photo first (make it a screenshot so you can see the date and time, the context of the post, etc.).
It’s important you keep track of things if you need to take legal action.
If Things Get Really Bad Online
If your ex stalks you online, consider changing your email, Facebook, and Twitter. Before you do that you can try blocking him and change your security settings to ensure no one but your friends can see your posts.
Also be sure to update your passwords to new, secure ones, in case he tries to hack anything.
If Things Get Bad in General
Restraining orders don’t happen over night and if you feel seriously threatened, there are various measures you can take such as:
– moving in with a friend for a little while
– never going anywhere alone
– taking a course in self-defense
– buying pepper spray to carry with you
– ensuring your friends and co-workers are aware of the situation in case he tries to befriend them, or something happens when you’re with them
– changing the places you hang out temporarily
– going on vacation (might not be possible if you’re taking legal action)
– getting a bodyguard
– installing a security system in your home
– getting a dog (this is a long-term commitment, so think before you act)
Of course, as mentioned previously, the first action to take is to call for help and notify the police.
Places to Get Help
If someone threatens your life, or you fear you’re in immediate physical danger, call 911.
If you want help with filing a PPO (personal protection order) or do a live chat with someone specialized in domestic violence and abuse, go to www.haven-oakland.org
They also have a 24/7 helpline in case of a crisis: +1 248 334 12 74 (toll-free: +1 877 922 1274)
Another organization to turn to is www.crisischat.org. They also offer help regarding suicide, so if your ex is suicidal you can talk to them about how to handle that.
You can go to a civil courthouse in your area to request a restraining order and, as mentioned, if you need help, ask HAVEN about the process.
Another resource is www.victimsofcrime.org which has a specialist stalking resource center, which you find here.
If you’re in the UK www.stalkinghelpline.com can help and in Canada www.CRCVC.ca (the Canadian Resource Centre for Victims of Crime).
If you are still unsure whether you’re being stalked or not, you can read this article by Safe Horizon – another organization which you can also contact in case you’re being stalked. They have a 24-hour hotline too: +1 800 621 4673.
Remember, it’s better to be safe than sorry, so if you feel stalked contact some of these organizations for advice and if you receive threats, take legal action as well.