Murphy’s Love: Advice on Intimacy and Relationships
Dear Stacy: I am asking this on behalf of a friend (no, really, I am). He was in a long-term relationship with a woman and they thought about marriage, but eventually he realized she wasn’t “the one.” He broke up with her and she has not left him alone since. It’s starting to become a bit intimidating – she’s showing up at work, he even saw her talking to his secretary outside the building. She keeps trying to contact him by calling at all hours, emailing him, making rude comments on Twitter. My question is why would a person continue to contact someone who has ended the relationship? He’s been quite clear about his intentions to no longer be in her life. What more can he do?
-It’s Not Over ’Til She Gets It
Dear Not over, The end of a relationship is difficult – it’s rare to hear of a completely amiable breakup – but this sounds like a little more than a case of hurt feelings. When we start to feel intimidated by another person’s behavior, we have to recognize that it may take more than “It’s not you, it’s me” to make the separation complete. It sounds like Ex is stalking Friend. As such, this ventures into legal territory, so I talked to local divorce lawyer Regina DeMeo about what comes next.
“In the legal world, it is critical to have evidence,” DeMeo says, noting that it is important to compile documents, pictures and witnesses (that’s you, Not Over) to the harassing behavior. She recommends that the victim keep a record of all emails and texts, plus a call log and calendar of all incidents.
“Send a stern ‘cease and desist letter’ letting your ex know that no further contact is wanted, and will be considered harassment,” DeMeo says. After that point, she says to stop engaging the person. “You need to go radio silent. Delete them from your Facebook and Twitter feeds, block them from your phone and emails…Tell others at work and near home, so they can be aware of situation, and if something happens, they can be witnesses.”
If all else fails, DeMeo advises victims to call the police (making sure to record the name of the officer who makes the report) and go to the courts for legal assistance. The bottom line is that Friend should take formal steps to protect himself.
Stacy Notaras Murphy www.stacymurphyLPC.com is a licensed professional counselor and certified Imago Relationship therapist, practicing in Georgetown. This column is meant for entertainment only and should not be considered a substitute for professional counseling. Send your confidential question to firstname.lastname@example.org.