Stop Stalking Your Ex! Here’s Why, and How
By Josie Brown
January is National Stalking Awareness Month… are you a stalker? You’re not only broken-hearted, you’re a woman scorned. And you’re obsessed, too—with what and whom he’s up to, now that’s he’s kicked you to the curb.
Honey, face facts: he ain’t coming back, and it’s time to move on. Here why, and how:
Why You Should Stop Stalking Your Ex
First, there are the legal issues about stalking: each and every one of us has a right to his or her privacy. Your malicious invasion of your ex’s can get you into some serious hot water. Have the urge to show up at his apartment uninvited, in order to give him a piece of your mind? Well, squelch it. Want to partake in some late night drunk dialing? Forget about it. And so, so sorry: Sitting in the next booth at the local Denny’s and hurling dinner rolls at him or his new arm charm is also verboten. Should he file a harassment or stalking complaint with the local authorities, any of these actions can get you slapped into cuffs and an orange jumpsuit—and believe me, it won’t be sporting the Cavalli label. For example, if he’s put out a restraining order against you and you’re caught doing it anyway, in California that could mean up to one year in prison, and/or a fine of $1,000. And there are Federal laws against stalking as well.
Considering the statistics on stalking, these laws are spot on. Case in point, according to the Stalking Resource Center:
- 13 percent of reported stalkers are women.
- 1 in 45 men will be stalked in their lifetime. This translates to 370,990 men, stalked annually in the United States.
- 64 percent of male victims know their stalker.
- 61 percent of stalkers made unwanted phone calls; 33 percent sent or left unwanted letters or items; 29 percent vandalized property; and 9 percent killed or threatened to kill a family pet. (Yikes! Think Glenn Close in Fatal Attraction.)
- And while 10 percent of male victims obtained a protective order, 81 percent of male victims had the protection order violated.
- The average duration of stalking is 1.8 years. If stalking involves intimate partners, the average duration of stalking increases to 2.2 years.
Seriously, do you want to spend the next two years of your life thinking about a man who now can’t stand your guts?
How to Move On
Your obsession with him is drawn from a myriad of feelings: loss, denial, hurt pride, hate, and deep emotional pain.
That said, each of us responds differently to a relationship breakup. Some of us suppress our emotional pain by channeling it into other people: our children, our family, other lovers. If we haven’t yet worked through our emotions over the breakup, odds are we end up projecting our feelings about the failed relationship onto those we love. For example, we don’t want to see our children get hurt, so we “warn” them against falling in love. Or we shy away from getting hurt again, even though we may have found someone who wants to nurture and commit themselves to us.
Is it any better to channel our pain into an activity? Even if that is work or physical exercise, no promotion—or, for that matter, a well-toned body—will make you forget the hurt you felt when he left you.
So, what steps can you take in order to move on?
More now than ever, you need to:
1. Talk about your feelings.
To your best friend. Your sister or brother. Your mother or father. To anyone who loves you, and will listen.
2. Take paper and pen in hand, and write through your pain.
Seeing your thoughts on the page will help you validate the hurt and put the the reasons the relationship failed into perspective.
3. If the compulsion to stalk persists, seek professional therapy.
Your obsession must be dealt with as soon as possible. Talking to a professional therapist or psychologist about your feelings may help you process your pain in a way that allows you to move beyond it, so that you can live and emotionally healthy life.
Were you at fault? Yes. And so was he.
Whether it was an issue of timing, circumstance, or personality, for whatever reason, it just wasn’t right.
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