- 6 months ago
There’s a man I know who has displayed a level of interest that I’m not comfortable with over a number of years, including some behaviours that make me uneasy. What can I do to feel less freaked out?
Before we start: I’m happily in a long-term relationship and have no interest in anyone else.
When I was in my late teens, I met a guy a few years older during an internship and we got along well. I started to get uncomfortable when he was making overt advances on me (buying flowers when I literally begged him not to, comments about my appearance etc), even though I was making clear advances on other people in front of him, in part to show him I wasn’t interested (not the most mature thing to do, but I was a teenager). After the internship, we went back to our home universities which were not at all nearby. I thought I wouldn’t hear from him again, but he started messaging me and was getting angry that I hadn’t called him. I kept on telling him that I wasn’t obliged to talk to him and I was busy living my life. This interaction made me uneasy as I didn’t feel he had a right to demand to speak to me – we weren’t even close.
A few weeks after that, I got a package in the mail. I had never given him my address and I still don’t know how he got it. The package contained several handmade symbols of love. I remember being freaked out about him deducing where I lived and these unreciprocated gestures.
I didn’t hear from him for maybe another four years. By that stage, I had moved internationally. One day, I got a text message saying he was in my city (not in his country!) and based on my deductions, I strongly suspect I was the only reason he was there (he didn’t know anyone else who lived there and it’s not a tourist hotspot). By this stage, I was honestly still a bit scared of him because of how he had found my address and so on. I decided to meet up with him anyway, and stupidly ended up in a dark park with him alone. He kissed me and I didn’t push him off (even more stupid!). I was really scared by this stage and was physically shaking. Nothing else ended up happening.
The next day, he asked me to hang out again and I refused. The following day – I refused again. A few weeks later, he booked a trip by himself to another country, and asked me to join him. I refused. He went alone, and sent me photos of my name written in the sand.
About a month after that, I was going through a major mental health episode and he started messaging me. The things he was saying were extremely unconstructive, and I told him that. After that, I ceased responding to his messages and he ceased sending them after a while.
Fast forward nine months – we hadn’t communicated at all and social media made it clear I was in a relationship. Out of the blue, I got a message from him saying he had come to my city and was there. I strongly believe he had flown there only to see me – again, not a tourist hotspot and he knew no one else there. It was also a long way from the country where he lived and thousands of dollars for the flight. I felt extremely uneasy at the situation, and on the advice of some friends, didn’t open his messages (I only saw the beginning part). He messaged me incessantly and I ignored them. Eventually the messages stopped.
At this point, I wasn’t comfortable with him seeing my Facebook, as I wondered if he harboured any jealousy towards my partner or animosity towards me. So I blocked him on Facebook.
It’s now been a few years since, and I’ve had no contact from him. However, I noticed over the past few months that he is regularly looking me up on LinkedIn, even though he has few contacts and his page is empty (ie he’s not a big LinkedIn user). This makes me feel sick to the stomach, because it means he’s still thinking about me often.
I feel so uncomfortable about the situation. Given that historically he stalked my address, harassed me about not talking to him, and on multiple occassions flew across the world to turn up in my city, I hate the idea that he’s still looking into my details. I thought this was all in the past. Bees, what do you do in this situation? My partner thinks all we can do is live our lives, but I feel so anxious that I feel paralyzed.