Dear Dr. Love,When I was seven, a boy in my class began calling me ten times a day. This continued until I was about thirteen or fourteen years old. I didn’t see him for a few years until, unfortunately, I ran into him in a bar last summer. He hasn’t changed a bit. Upon noticing my friends and me, he sat in a dark corner and stared all night while we were dancing. He asked my best friend and me to go home with him in a very threatening way. Of course we told him to get lost.This brings us to the present. He has resumed his phone calls, though this is not what worries me most. He has begun following me. My friends and I see him everywhere we go. We cannot get rid of him. He stalks us and he’s always staring. Yesterday, he followed me home from the pool, where he’d been staring all day. As I was getting ready to take a shower, I noticed him outside my window.What should I do Dr. Love? This is not funny anymore. Having the same boy stalk me from the time I was seven until now, when I’m twenty one is ill. What would you reccomend? How do I handle this on a personal level?
You are on the right track in planning to handle this matter on a personal level. But, before you talk to this man, ask yourself how his behavior makes you feel. Flattered, annoyed, frightened. Keep these feelings in mind, because they will come in handy when you actually talk with him.Do you have the impression that this person is so shy that he doesn’t have the courage to ask you out? And, he follows you instead, just to be near you, secretly dreaming that you will be his girl? You may be dealing with a very disturbed person whose only life is the fantasy he has created around you.We need to find out what is running in his his head, because this will determine how we respond to him. So, when you talk with him, I would focus on obtaining more information. I would ask him: I noticed that you have been following me for many years, and I wonder what you are trying to say to me with this behavior. I might also ask him how he wants you to feel about his following you. How he wants you to react and how he wants you to interpret his behavior.You might also ask him if you should be feeling, and then state the feeling that you do have. Then, ask him if he wants you to feel this way. After you talk with him and obtain his answers, I want to hear from you again so that we can plan a course of action that will be most suited for your situation. For example, in some cases, a firm statement that you don’t wish to be followed may be sufficient. For others, a cold indifference may be enough to burst the illusion that you are Cinderella, and by bursting the fairy tale, the stalking fades.But, we can’t know what will be best until you talk with him and I hear more from you. I am concerned that this man may be unstable and am wondering if you know about his temperament. Is he impulsive. Does he fly-off the handle? I want more information about what we are up against to know whether he will turn on you in anger if he feels rejected. So, have the conversation and please get back with me.