I’ll admit, this post is a bit personal for me. I’ve been the target of a crazy ex-boyfriend once before and lately a friend of mine is going through the same thing. As her situation has finally come to a tipping point, I thought it might be useful to share with you the same advice I’ve been giving her on the matter.
1.) Keep a record. It can be tough to get anything done if someone is standing across the street looking at your house. Sure, it’s incredibly uncomfortable, but there’s really no law against looking creepy while standing on public property. If that were the case, there would be plenty of people locked up in jail strictly for their choice of facial hair.
So it’s incredibly important to keep a record. Is he (or she, although I’m going to write the rest of this article using “he”) parked next to you when you leave work? Do they follow you a couple cars behind on your way home? Do they hang around your apartment complex because they’re “visiting a friend?” Write all these instances down. They may not seem like much on their own, but when combined with 53 other instances you’ve built yourself up a pretty solid case of stalking.
2.) Don’t hesitate to call the cops. Let me be perfectly clear here, if someone is creeping you out, there is nothing wrong with calling the cops to come check it out. My friend’s ex, for example, keep showing up at her house, ringing the doorbell and then leaving. He does this every 30 minutes when she’s at home. It’s immature, odd, and incredibly eerie.
And sure, he can’t get arrested, but just the sight of blue and red lights might be enough to throw him off his game a little bit. And besides, if someone is already stalking you, it might not take much for them to take another intrusive step, like trying to break into your home. Call the cops, they’re there to help you.
3.) Get a restraining order. People underestimate the power of a restraining order. Yes, it’s just a little piece of paper, but it’s set’s a ruling that if this person comes within a certain distance of you (whether it’s at home, your place of work, or just follows you while you’re out jogging), they can be arrested. And the thought of being arrested is often enough to deter a committed stalker. In some cases, of course it won’t be enough, but every little bit helps.
Oh and in order to get a restraining order, it’s going to be helpful to have that list of instances from tip #1.
4.) Change your phone number, move or get a different car. Changing your phone number is one of the easiest things to do. It takes less than 10 minutes, and since you still have the same phone with the same contact list, all you have to do is send a mass text to everyone you want to have your number that this is your new number. Some companies even have ways to go online and change it.
Moving is a bit more complicated. If you’re renting, consider finding a different spot and make sure when you move it all happens at once. Then just be careful on your way home for a few weeks (or months, depending on the dedication level of your stalker). But if you own your own home (or just flat out don’t want to move), there are still other things you can do, like getting a garage. Sure they may just be able to look in and see if your lights are on, but it’s still a start, and if you live in an apartment complex where they can’t see your home, you’re golden.
And a new car? No, I said a different car. Swap cars with a buddy for a couple weeks or hell if you’re not super attached to the car you got just go trade it in for one (and maybe a nicer one) with similar payments.
I understand that all of this might seem a bit extreme (a restraining order?) and not a bit fair (moving? A different car?), but the fact is, if you’ve got a crazy stalker problem you need to suck it up and do what needs to be done. And if that means driving your brother’s old Chevy Nova for a couple weeks, do it.
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