If you’ve been through the experience of being stalked by an ex-lover, then you know how scary it can be. Unbalanced people who stalk come in all sizes, shapes and colors. It can be difficult to see just how troubled they are until a relationship is formed and emotions are invested. Frequently, when you do figure out that the person you’re with is a real nut-case, it’s too late to let them down easy and they are “hooked.” Here are a few tips on getting away from someone that you no longer want to be with, when they refuse to let you go.
Be firm with your decision
If you tell the person that the relationship is over and they cry, don’t soften and try to comfort them. Say what you have to say and keep your boundaries firm. If the person sees that their getting upset sparks a sympathetic reaction from you, they’re going to try and milk it for whatever they can to “buy time.” Don’t fall for it. If you waffle, you’re sending mixed messages, and the person will think that there is hope. Show that there is no hope, and that the relationship is over. No long, drawn out explanation is necessary. It is what it is. They may want to have “closure” and try to bargain or discuss it with you. Nip it in the bud quickly and get to the point when you break it off, don’t get sucked into re-explaining it. The person knows it’s over, but wants to keep you talking.
Cut off all contact completely
Assuming you don’t have children together, cut off contact with the person you no longer want to be with. Many times, they won’t take “no” for an answer and will keep pushing. Change your home phone or cell phone numbers if necessary. Tell others that the two of you knew together that the relationship is over, and not to encourage him to reconcile because there is no hope of it, end of story. Friends will understand this and respect your wishes. The idea is to discourage anyone from giving your ex any information about you, to feed his “addiction.”
Make sure your home is secure
Put password access only on your home computer, so unauthorized people cannot use it. Stalkers may try to access your e-mail or usage history. If they are desperate enough and have a key to your house, they may try to come in when you aren’t home. Change your home’s locks if necessary. Make sure all the doors and windows are locked. You can even buy motion-sensitive lights that will go on whenever there is movement outside your house, and cheap door-alarms to alert you if someone tries to open your doors. I found some on eBay and they work really well. They are stick-on so you can put them on doors and/or windows. It is better to be safe than sorry when it comes to an overzealous admirer who just won’t go away.
If things get scary, call the police
Don’t let a stalking ex bully or scare you in any way. If at any time you feel in danger or afraid, call the police and ask about getting a restraining order. Remember, a restaining order is just a piece of paper, so still continue to have your guard up even after you get one. The order will, however, help you put your stalker in jail if he or she continues to ignore your wishes and rights, to try to “win” you back into his life. The person is deluded and unstable. Some stalkers get mad when they realize that all their efforts to get you back have failed. Then, they can become even more scary as they find ways to get even, or go after those they perceive as your “new love.”
Long ago, I dated a man who initially seemed to be decent in the beginning. But, he came on too hard, too fast in trying to get to know me. He asked me to marry him a week after we met, red flag number one (of course, I said no.) Then, he’d show up unannounced at places I was going to, and question me about any man I talked to. He then let it slip out that he had been in a mental hospital. And, just for fun, he liked to stalk any celebrities that came to town to get their autographs. That was it, I ended it after two weeks of knowing him.
My breaking up with this needy man triggered him to go ballistic. He began calling anyone he thought might be a “new boyfriend” (there wasn’t one) and even threatened one of them with violence. He even moved into my apartment complex and was caught looking into my window one day. I moved away and changed my phone number. He’d even asked the guy at the local donut store if he’d seen me come in there, because he was desperate to find me. I told the man to say nothing, that he is troubled and not to give him any information about me. He understood, but it was embarrassing. The guy finally was out of my life but it was horribly scary during the situation. Years later, when I was at a car repair garage getting my car fixed, he came up to me, remembering me like it was only yesterday. Lucky for me, my car was repaired and I could make a hasty exit. A chill went through my spine, though. He wanted my number, and I told him that I was then married and left. He was obviously still deluded into thinking that he could somehow charm his way into my life, even if it was twelve years later. Amazing. This shows what a fantasy world stalkers can live in.
If you’re unlucky enough to encounter someone needy and obsessed who stalks you, cut the relationship off and don’t look back. Don’t be flattered by all the attention, or taken in by their sadness. Don’t talk to, see, or write the person. Leave them totally alone and go about your life. Don’t be predictable, so your stalker isn’t sure when you’re coming or going, if possible. Refuse to be victimized by this person by being proactive. Carry pepper spray, the one I used to carry was called Sabre, it fit on my keychain and was a potent mix of chemicals to level anyone, if needed. This is not being paranoid, it’s being preventative and smart. This person has put you in an uncomfortable situation, and to get your peace of mind back, you must do whatever you can to ensure your safety, just in case. In time, most stalkers will find a new “target” and back away. The more dangerous ones won’t, though. So, trust your gut and if you feel in danger, get help immediately. It can be a matter of life or death. Never underestimate someone who doesn’t take “no” for an answer. The storm will pass, just give it time, but watch your back and take precautions to stay safe throughout the process.