Diary Of The Stalked

Illustration for article titled Diary Of The Stalked

I have a stalker. I am not the kind of person who is scared, normally (paranoid, yes, but not scared), but the fact that this particular person will not leave me alone despite every single thing I have done to say no, dissuade him, insult him, scare him, threaten him, refuse to talk to or engage in any sort of dialogue with him and get the authorities involved concerns me deeply. It's his inability to connect his internal emotions to the reality of the situation that bothers me, and the fact that I basically have no legal recourse because he hasn't (yet) threatened or committed violence against me doesn't really help me feel any safer. Your movie-of-the-week plot/ detailed description of what not to do in this situation starts after the jump.

Advertisement

"Bob" was an out-of-state, middle-aged client of mine 2 jobs ago. We were work-level "friends" (for the D.C.-uninitiated, here you have "friends" that you socialize with only through work that know little more about you than some very basic details of your non-work life and your cell phone number) that would see each other a couple times a year at work-related events that he flew into town for. At one of these events, he decided that he could no longer hide his deep and abiding love for me and asked me to be his mistress. I (rather politely) declined, tried to be gentle in my let-down and help him to understand that this was just a midlife crisis. This resulted in 5 straight days of flowers being sent to my office, followed by a multi-hour tortured phone call, a very lengthy letter detailing his feelings and several begging emails. When this failed to sway me, he went to my boss to try and have me sent on a business trip with him, which resulted in an extremely uncomfortable conversation with my boss about Bob and I was taken off his account.

I then received a letter at my home address, followed by a package at my parents' house (he shouldn't have known either address) over the holidays and a series of follow-up phone calls and emails. My dad took his turn explaining to Bob that he needed to stop his behavior. A month later, he showed up at an unrelated conference I was attending on the West Coast so that he could see me. I avoided him until the end of the conference, when he walked into my room from my patio, drunk, very late at night. He left before security arrived, and I learned that most hotels will allow even us peons to use fake names in their systems.

It was months until I heard from him again, and I was at a new job when I got a letter at that new office, proving to me that he could still find me, so yet another set of bosses, co-workers and security guards had to be notified. This time, I had a lawyer friend of mine call and talk to him, and, again, he went silent for a while. I switched jobs again, and an anonymous bouquet of flowers arrived at the new office in congratulations within a week. The florist confirmed they were from him.

The last time I saw him was a year ago at another work reception- he confronted me in front of my co-workers about how I had ignored his flowers and how rude I was, and I simply walked away without speaking to him. With a contactless year under my belt, I was getting ready to discard the years of evidence I have been collecting in case I ever disappeared... and, yesterday, a new card from him greeted me when I got home from work because it's almost my birthday (another detail with which I did not provide him).

So, now it's back to the local cops, who can't help, and the lawyer who only scared him enough to start sending his shit anonymously. But, I have learned one lesson: there's no need to be nice to a man who will spend more than 10 minutes trying to convince you to date him once you say no, even if he is an important client. And your "rights," such as they are, only really kick in if you're hurt, not just scared. Oh, and a good wooden bat costs less than a gun and doesn't require a permit.

DISCUSSION

jennasauers
Jenna Sauers

Oh, AL, I feel your pain. I let a guy guilt me into going on a few dates with him over the course of maybe three weeks in the first semester of my freshman year of college. I realised my mistake when he immediately started buying me gifts (nobody who's not a little deranged celebrates a "fortnight anniversary").

When I told him I didn't think we should see each other anymore as nicely as I possibly could, he started turning up at my dorm room asking for a "reason" why that was. At all hours of the day and night. He would just happen to come to public places around campus — the library, the computer room, various student study lounges — just after I happened to get settled in them. Then he'd ask me again why I didn't want to go on just one more date with him; he really didn't understand my "reasons." One night as I was walking to work he followed me the entire way there, just a few metres behind me, without saying a word. I called a friend as soon as I got to work and pre-arranged an accompanied walk home, but thank God the stalker had ceased his vigil on the bench across the street from the bookstore where I worked by the end of my shift.

I was seriously freaked out, and I'm thankful most colleges get their students to sign on to all kinds of crazy free-speech-limiting rules that allow campus security to stop anyone from doing anything for pretty much any reason, because even though he'd never threatened violence (just, you know, followed me to the dining hall and watched me eat dinner maybe thirty times), it was no trouble to get a restraining order against him. Trouble was it was only valid on campus. Which was fine for the year I lived in the dorms but not so much afterwards.

Once I moved off-campus, the stalker — whom I hadn't spoken to for over twelve months — peed on my porch in the middle of the night the week I moved in. I only found out about it because a cop happened to drive by and arrested him and it made the police blotter. Every time my room-mates and I would have a party, the stalker would try and crash. I would station large friends at the door, but several times he found his way into my living room (we had a few friends in common, who were mortified by his behaviour, but it was like he was so headstrong and so out-of-touch that it probably would have been a big ask for any of his friends to actually dissuade him from coming. He probably thought I wanted him there). The last time, I went apeshit on him. It was my birthday, it was over two years since we'd been on a handful of truly lousy dates, and I had a damn campus restraining order against him. So I screamed my goddamn head off, giving vent to my years' worth of frustration at being followed, sent long incoherent e-mails, and asked over and over again for the "reason" we couldn't date anymore.

I'd love to say he never bothered me again, but since then he's tried online harassment through different e-mail addresses and by logging in under other people's names to try and keep tabs on me on Facebook (I blocked him years ago, of course). My last run-in with my stalker came a couple weeks before I graduated and left my small Midwestern college town, when he gate-crashed my best friend's 21st birthday, I ran out the backdoor to get away from him, and then he goaded my boyfriend into a fight. (Which my boyfriend stupidly participated in. But man did it make me stupidly glad that said boyfriend broke the stalker's glasses and ripped his shirt. Stalker left.)

All in all my most peaceful eight months of college were the two semesters that the stalker spent living with his Mom in Des Moines. It involved herpes and falling in a muddy hole in the sidewalk and yet another pair of broken glasses. Never have I hoped so hotly that someone would drop out of college for good. Alas my school gives second chances.