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How to Spot Stalkers and Signs of Stalking

Updated on August 16, 2016
Marcy Goodfleisch profile image

Marcy has researched and written about relationships, domestic issues, dating, and con-artists for more than a decade.

Stalkers Are Controlling and Deceptive

Stalkers can be terrifying, and they're dangerous. Here's how to tell if you're being stalked.
Stalkers can be terrifying, and they're dangerous. Here's how to tell if you're being stalked.

How Can I Tell if I'm Being Stalked?

Dating is fun, but it can be scary, too. You may know there are stalkers out there, but perhaps you don’t realize they are not always obvious about what they’re doing. In fact, some may be so intrinsically jealous and possessive that they don’t realize their behavior can be considered stalking. Here’s how to recognize stalkers (insidious or more open) and tips on how to deal with the problem.

Your goal should be to take care of yourself and your family (single parents can often be victims via their own children), and to decide whether this person’s behavior is something you can live with for the rest of your life.

First Steps

Pay attention! Assess behaviors and gather information early on in your relationships. Pay attention to what the person does, not what he or she says, and ‘file it away for future use.’

Be objective: It’s very easy to get caught up in a new love and to rationalize or justify in your own mind when they behave inappropriately.

Examine your feelings: How does this person’s behavior make you feel? If you’re in love with the right person, you should feel good, not worried, fearful, guarded or annoyed.

Examine your own behaviors: Are you changing your behaviors because of what this person says or does? You may not even realize it when you adapt to someone’s stalking mode. Watch this brief video on how a stalkers mind works, and I’ll give some examples below, as well as tips on protecting yourself:

Video: Inside the Sick Mind of a Stalker

Is Your Boyfriend Demanding?

Stalkers love to turn the tables | make you the guilty one.
Stalkers love to turn the tables | make you the guilty one.

How Stalkers Follow You

Stalkers will often show themselves through intrusive questions or behaviors that might seem innocent, but can be controlling and even abusive. If a question makes you feel uncomfortable, pay attention to your feelings, and to what the underlying behavior might say.

The ‘Friendly Question’ That’s Not So Friendly: Pay attention to ‘innocent questions’ from new dating interests. If you are busy one night with your friends (or another date, or anything else that’s your personal business), you don’t owe him or her a detailed rundown of who you were with, what you did, who else was there or any other information they aren’t entitled to at the early stages of a relationship (or maybe ever).

“Who was there?” It’s not intrusive for a new friend to ask, “I hope you had a good time?” when you’re busy elsewhere. But it can be a warning sign if they probe for more details, either before or after your event. Once you’re in a committed relationship, you may jointly choose to share details with each other about where you are and who you're with, as a way to show respect and to build trust. But if these questions come up in the early stages, beware.

“I thought you logged off the site, but I noticed you were still online?” If you use social sites or online dating services, other users can often tell when you’re ‘online.’ If you’ve met someone who ‘accidentally notices’ when you’re online, pay attention to how it makes you feel, and examine whether it might be stalking behavior. If you find yourself worried about what they might think when you go online to answer messages or communicate with other friends, recognize that you’ve begun to adapt your own behaviors to their questions. Ask yourself: Is this person a stalker?

“What are you doing Saturday night?” This is phrased differently than the reasonable question of, “Are you free Saturday night?” The question itself is invasive. If you’d rather not see this person, or if you’re busy that night, practice saying, “I have plans” when you hear this type of question.

“Doing what?” You’ve already said you’re busy that night, and the person comes back with “Doing what?” Big Red Flag!!! It is none of their business! Even though the natural flow of a conversation is to answer a question, some questions don’t deserve an answer. You may be planning to spend an evening alone, but it’s none of their business. Notice that each of the above examples included questions. Why is that important? Questions elicit a response, so they engage you in a discussion. It’s normal to automatically answer someone when they ask a question, but with manipulators and stalkers, you need to be more guarded.

Video: Stalking and Fear - It's Real

How Stalkers Control and Abuse People

Beware of premature or inappropriate offers to help, especially if it will put the person in your home or allow access to your children. Here are some examples:

“I happened to drive by your house (or apartment) and I noticed someone was there. Are you okay?” This is a very sneaky question – it sounds oh-so-concerned and caring. It’s not. It’s a nosy question stemming from insecurity and possessiveness. Give me a break – unless you live next door or on the direct path this person takes to and from work, nobody ‘just happens’ to drive by where you live. See it for what it is – he or she is checking up on you.

“Oh, you have a doctor’s appointment (or surgery, or whatever)? I’ll take off work and take care of you.” I have known people who, in an effort to inject themselves further into someone’s life, actually tried to manipulate themselves into being the caregiver after someone had surgery. This ‘friendly’ offer may not be so friendly if you are not far enough along in a relationship to share such medical events together.

"Can I help with the kids?" If someone brand new in your life suddenly offers to take the kids to soccer or run errands with them, assess whether it feels right and feels normal. Is this a way to keep track of your activities during non-dating time? Did you somehow let the person have a key to the house (after all, they're bringing the kids home before you'll be back from work)? It might look like a nice and caring offer, but examine whether there's an underlying motive that even they aren't aware of.

What these sound like offers of help and support, they might also indicate stalking, controlling or intrusive behaviors. This is especially true if the 'offers' occur early in a relationship, before a couple has started sharing their time in those areas of life.

Recognize Stalking When You See It

Watch for signs of stalking and protect yourself.
Watch for signs of stalking and protect yourself.

Signs You Are Being Stalked

Even overt stalkers can sneak up on you. Most have been manipulators all their lives, so they’ve learned to lay the groundwork for their possessiveness by being loving, attentive and appearing to be Mr. or Ms. Right. Some even profess to be trusting and to dislike jealousy, which sets the tone they want and provides you with their own definition of ‘who they are,’ rather than the definition you might get through observing their behaviors.. Then they begin their stalking and controlling behaviors.

Here are some red flags:

Dropping by your workplace: Did you have a date for him or her to meet you at the office for lunch? If not, this is stalking. He’s checking out who you work with, or she’s wanting to make sure the other women in the office know you’re taken.

Showing up unannounced: You open the door, and there they stand. But rather than looking like the controlling stalker they might be, they’re holding your favorite type of pizza and a little bouquet. They were ‘thinking of you’ and wanted to drop by. "Hope that’s okay?" they say with a smile. No, it’s not. They’re checking up on you and bringing peace offerings to make it look legit.

Following you: This is not just a matter of trailing your car (which does happen, but it’s way too obvious). The sneaker stalker will show up at your church, or the restaurant he knows you go to with your girlfriends or the guys. What a coincidence! Not! Pay attention when you accidentally run into that new date in a place you weren’t expecting to see them. They’re stalking you.

“Helping you” with your computer: If a new ‘friend’ suddenly offers to help you with a technical problem on your computer, beware. This is a way to check up on you and perhaps even read your emails or documents. Don’t let anyone ‘borrow’ your laptop to check messages or do anything else until you know you can trust them.

Checking the mileage on your car: Maybe you haven’t seen each other for a few days, and you’re together in the car. If there’s suddenly an excuse to look at the dashboard, ask yourself what prompted that little move. Another way this manifests is when the ‘helpful’ new friend offers to get gas in the car or ‘happens’ to notice it’s dirty and insists on taking it to the car wash for you. While this might be a normal thing for your longtime boyfriend to do, it’s unusual behavior with a new friend.

Take this poll

Have you ever been in a relationship with a stalker?

See results

I'm Being Stalked. What Should I Do?

It should be no surprise that my advice is to get out of the relationship quickly. The sooner you exit, the less likely you’ll experience an ugly scene or violence. Stalkers can be clinging, peevish, demanding, cajoling and dangerous. No matter how perfect the guy seems and how great his job is, if he’s a stalker, the red flags probably outnumber the green ones. The same goes for women - there’s a reason Fatal Attraction scared the snot out of many men. She might be the hottest thing you’ve ever met, but if she’s exhibiting signs of stalking, she can become unhinged, too.

The first step in breaking it off is to just be unavailable and cease or slow down the contacts. At some point, though, you’ll have to tell them, “This isn’t the right relationship for me,” and break it off.

Chances are, they won’t take that information too well, and they may ask, “What did I do wrong?” or insist they can fix it or change (some will even say this when they haven’t heard what the problem is). They may also demand to know if you’ve met someone new

You do not owe them an explanation of why you’re breaking it off. Calmly stick to your basic statement. “This is not the right relationship for me.” You can also say, “I won’t be seeing you anymore.” Don’t say, “I’d rather not see you anymore,” because that sounds negotiable – as though you’d ‘rather not’ see them, but maybe they can talk you out of that decision. Be firm and calm.

And get out. Fast.

© 2012 Marcy Goodfleisch

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    Patricia 11 months ago

    I am not sure if I am overreacting or not but I was involved with a guy for 3 or 4 weeks, but then I ended it because he was wanting us to spend all our time together, would get mad if I didn't answer his calls or texts right away would tell me that he can see when the last time I was on my Facebook, things like that. He would notice a guy friend commenting on a picture I shared on my Facebook by saying "why is so and so saying he lubs you". I haven't talked to him or text him since I ended things but he is telling people that I am still calling and texting him when I am not. The thing is that I am getting ready to move back to my family where he lives also, my question is, should I be worried that he will bother me and not leave me alone? Stalking or whatever? Kinda nervous what I am going to be walking into when I get moved there. Also when I split things off with him he commented that when you get here and we run into each other you know we will end up back together again. Plus when I was seeing him he always worried about what I was talking to other people about. Please tell me what your thoughts are? Thank you in advance.

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    Marcy Goodfleisch 19 months ago from Planet Earth

    I haven't seen that one, Limpet, but it sounds good - they end on a note of suspense, I guess? Thanks for sharing that!

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    Ian Stuart Robertson 19 months ago from London England

    Reminds me of a 1950's movie Screaming Mimi starring Anita Ekberg who is being openly stalked on a Californian beach by an escaped inmate of a sanitorium. This continues until the men in white come to take him away. Much to her relief she is unaware that a crazed psychopath also happens to be stalking her completely un be knownsed to her.

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    Marcy Goodfleisch 2 years ago from Planet Earth

    Thanks for the comment and those examples of stalkers, Temptor! You're wise to be cautious about online dating. The example I mentioned about someone asking if you were 'still online' actually happened to me - it was insidious, and took me a bit to recognize it for what it was. It was a moment of self-awareness to realize I was altering my behavior online because I thought he would ask what I was doing (we were not dating, had just met, and I was only commenting on discussions in a forum). What a creep.

    Inappropriate questions can be signs as well - or perhaps they indicate personality issues, such as Asberger's Syndrome. It's good that you recognized these behaviors were bothering you, and created boundaries.

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    Ritu Temptor 2 years ago from India

    This is a very informative and useful hub. Thanks for sharing the tips. Voted up. Internet is a menacing world where creepy people can be creepier than usual due to the anonymity. I have mostly stayed away from online dating but I have come across intrusive people in the workplace who ask the most inappropriate questions or sneak up upon you from nowhere (not just me but other colleagues have faced the same situations from those same people). Luckily I can be very blunt and more often that not, my rudeness manages to drive them away unwanted people, except that few can become very nasty afterwards for getting ticked off.

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    Marcy Goodfleisch 2 years ago from Planet Earth

    This is a creepy story, Stargrrl - wow - you were so smart to recognize the signs and back away. Yes - he sounds like a stalker, big time. Thanks for reading and sharing that anecdote.

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    Stargrrl 2 years ago

    I think this is a pretty important hub with a lot of valuable info. I'm going to share the closest I have ever been to being stalked. I was on a first date with some guy who googled my phone number. When he asked me out, I thought at the time he was someone on Match that I had given my number too, but realized later on I did not. While on the date, he was like, "If you hadn't shown up to the restaurant tonight, I would have just come over your house." I said, "You don't know where I live." He replied, "People need to be very careful about what they put on the internet..." That was my ONLY date with him, though he continued to write me messages on Facebook until I blocked him. He even made a video of himself singing along to Duran Duran's "Hungry Like the Wolf" so I could see his "fun side." Nut job!

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    Marcy Goodfleisch 3 years ago from Planet Earth

    Private Answer to Rainbow -

    Thanks for your comment here - and I am sorry you are going through so much stress. I'd suggest reading the tips in the article here, as well as some that appear in the comments. Keep a record of what you feel you're observing, with dates, times and other information related to the circumstances (were you awakened by something, was anyone else around, etc.), and maybe that will help when you look into things further.

    My thoughts will be with you!

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    Marcy Goodfleisch 3 years ago from Planet Earth

    Hi, Les - wow, I almost had flashbacks when reading your post here. The example of the guy who 'casually' mentioned he'd thought someone had logged off, etc. actually happened to me. As with you, I was conflicted because he seemed 'so nice.' Now, I remember it only as a creepy experience and I'm glad I got away.

    Yes, trust your instincts. Perhaps he's not lethal, but could you really live with that controlling and stalking behavior?

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    Les 3 years ago

    Hey Marcy,timely article for me. I've recently joined an online dating site,a first for me... and am becoming increasingly worried about the activity of one guy on there.Whenever I come on he will contact me almost immediately,then if I say I've to go off for a while(he can chat pleasantly)...he'll send me a message later saying

    'You're up late...thought you were going to bed,why didn't you tell me you'd be on again'

    At first I thought he was a charming guy but am new on site and want to spend time talking to others?He infers we're exclusive?

    He's started labeling me as 'his sweetheart' and speaking as if we're going to meet up and he's fallen for me!

    Frankly I found myself questioning today whether I had given him even the slightest degree of personal details which he could use to locate me as gut instinct tells me I've to block him.

    Your article helped clarify my gut instinct about him. Thanks.

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    Marcy Goodfleisch 3 years ago from Planet Earth

    Best of luck, Noona!

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    Noona 3 years ago

    Hello, Marcy! Thank you so much for answering. Actually, this has been going on for months already. I have decided to take the matter to court since the HR in our company has not done anything to call his attention, and to extricate me from his presence.

    Luckily, he and I have the same position in the company, but that does not make my situation any easier.

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    Marcy Goodfleisch 3 years ago from Planet Earth

    Hi, Noona -

    I'm so sorry for what you're experiencing - it indeed sounds like stalking, and perhaps even a form of sexual harassment. Without knowing the structure of your office (is he a peer, or your supervisor?), all I can suggest are some general ideas:

    1) Keep a diary of the behaviors, including dates, circumstances, and how the incident made you feel.

    2) Consider discussing the problems with your supervisor and/or HR staff. It is incumbent on them to look into these type of complaints.

    3) Directly tell the coworker how you feel, and that you would prefer he not do those thing (this can be risky, so be careful).

    4) Change your passwords immediately, and change them fairly often from now on.

    5) Do not use a shared computer for things like FB - if he is smart enough, he can probably figure out how to get into your account after you have been online.

    6) Lock your desk if possible. If not, put personal items in a filing cabinet that can be locked (including any items related to your ID, your employment, etc.). If you aren't provided a locked area, ask for one.

    Best of luck to you - what you describe would indeed be disconcerting. Thanks for sharing this with us - and let us know what happens.

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    Noona 3 years ago

    Dear Marcy Goodfleisch,

    I am not in any form of romantic relationship with a man, but I feel that I am being stalked by a coworker. It`s quite odd because I couldn`t say if he is `in love` with me, but by reading articles, observing his actions, and of course, measuring my feelings of discomfort, he is indeed stalking me. He over analyzes all my actions, my facial expressions, and heck! he even tells me what sort of things to believe in (the nerve). There are times when I would see him tinkering with my cubicle desktop whenever I would come back from the ladies` room or from my meal break. He would often drop by my cubicle and peer behind my desktop monitor. He even followed me to our company`s `facebook station` (set of pcs where employees can surf social networking sites during their free time`. When I noticed that someone was peering over me, I quickly minimized my facebook window. When I turned around he was there peering over my monitor. Then he said `some private message?` this is really scary, since the chat window of facebook is really small. How would he know that I`m actually sending a chat message to a friend when the chat window is so small?

    this is really scary and I feel so violated because he once pretended to be my friend.

    I feel so violated.

    Now that I have avoided him, he`s been doing some shady tactics (ie, one~upping me during meetings just so that I would call his attention) to make me talk to him. Very disgusting

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    Marcy Goodfleisch 4 years ago from Planet Earth

    Wow - that's a horror story, Jmillis - you are fortunate that your boss helped support you, and that the courts finally paid attention. It should not take such drastic measures for something to be done. Thank you, so much, for sharing your experience.

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    Jmillis2006 4 years ago from North Carolina

    Great hub, I was in a relationship like this and getting out is very difficult, even after breaking up he showed up at my work and home violating a protective order on three different occasions with very little punishment from the court system. Finally I moved from the county and when he came to my job my supervisor agreed to come to court with me, along with my cell phone records and repeated voice mail as evidence he was finally charged with stalking and went to jail.

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    Marcy Goodfleisch 4 years ago from Planet Earth

    You are absolutely right, RealTalk - you nailed it. Those are most certainly some of the signs of a controlling stalker. Thanks for sharing.

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    realtalk247 4 years ago

    Watch controlling behaviors, making you feel as if you have to provide an explanation as to why you weren't available, too much too soon - mom meetings or children meetings, or suggestions as to what you should wear on a date or in their presence. Exit stage right and make them believe it's not them it's you, you're not worthy.

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    Marcy Goodfleisch 4 years ago from Planet Earth

    Hi, Staci - welcome to the site! I agree with you - teenage girls are especially vulnerable. All their hormonal reactions kick in, and relationships become addictive. I'm so glad you found the hub helpful, and thanks for commenting here!

  • stacistathos profile image

    Staci Stathos 4 years ago from Charleston, SC

    This is a very good hub. This is information many people need to have. I've found the most difficult people to convince they are in a dangerous relationship are teenage girls. They mistake this jealous, possessive behavior for romance. "He can't live without me. Isn't that romantic?" Unfortunately, it can seem romantic if you've never had or witnessed a bad experience. Thanks for sharing this information. I hope a lot of people get to read it.

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    Marcy Goodfleisch 4 years ago from Planet Earth

    Thanks so much for the kind comment, LL Woodard! I agree - too many young people, and also adults, do not recognize con artists. They are very good at what they do. Thanks, again, for reading, voting and sharing!

  • L.L. Woodard profile image

    L.L. Woodard 4 years ago from Oklahoma City

    Your information on how to spot stalking behavior is spot-on and should be required reading for teens and young adults, if not everyone. Stalkers are obsessed people and a "romance" with one can be exciting -- until it isn't.

    Great hub; voted up and Shared.

  • Marcy Goodfleisch profile image
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    Marcy Goodfleisch 4 years ago from Planet Earth

    I feel the same way - your comments helped me see it's 'them,' not us! ;)

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    heatherdos 4 years ago

    Thank you for sharing that! I don't feel so alone now!

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    Marcy Goodfleisch 4 years ago from Planet Earth

    Ooooh - that is creepy, Heather! The guy I just mentioned had chased a co-worker of his (who rebuffed his attention). They went out on a few dates, but she was smart enough to spot his behaviors. However, while they were still co-workers, she needed to be out for surgery. Without her knowledge or permission, he schedule two weeks' vacation so he could 'take care of her' after her operation. Then he couldn't understand why she refused his 'generous offer.'

    Your story of the first-date stalker reminds me of that incident . . . wow.

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    heatherdos 4 years ago

    It's as thought they don't care what you think or what you want. they want what they want and that's it. My most recent stalker was a date I barely knew. my appendix went bad while I was on a date with him. He brought me to the hospital and never left. Even when I would beg him to leave he would refuse. He didn't care. he wanted to be near me and that was it. He even brought me home, regardless of the fact that I told him I didn't want him to, and wouldn't leave. I finally got him to leave my house. They just don't care.They want you and that's it. so strange.

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    Marcy Goodfleisch 4 years ago from Planet Earth

    I know what you mean, Heather - the person who stalked me (online) genuinely didn't seem to think it was inappropriate, despite having been told by others that he could be 'jealous and possessive' at times. He would track when I was on the site and question me if I'd been on but not trading messages with him (which was none of his business). Women seem to 'get it' more than men, though.

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    heatherdos 4 years ago

    You know, upon reading some of the other comments. much of what is said here is true. RealHousewife's statement hits home. While I was being stalked, no one thought anything was wrong. when I tried to explain how the stalker was dangerous, no one understood and some people even became jealous of the "attention" I was getting. strange. very strange.

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    Marcy Goodfleisch 4 years ago from Planet Earth

    I'm glad you feel the hub hits the mark, Heather - I've been stalked before, too, and it's amazing how insidious it can be. They're good at masking their behavior.

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    heatherdos 4 years ago

    yes I have unfortunately.very creepy. So glad you wrote this! thanks!

  • Marcy Goodfleisch profile image
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    Marcy Goodfleisch 4 years ago from Planet Earth

    Hi, Heather - gosh, I hope you haven't been personally pursued by a stalker. It's a creepy feeling, isn't it?

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    heatherdos 4 years ago

    You Got it right on! That's EXACTLY what they do!

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    Marcy Goodfleisch 4 years ago from Planet Earth

    Hi, FrogyFish - many thanks for reading and commenting!

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    frogyfish 4 years ago from Central United States of America

    Valuable tips and great advice. That last line is IT! Thanks for sharing important truths.

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    Marcy Goodfleisch 4 years ago from Planet Earth

    Hi, GoForTheJuggler - I'm afraid you're right; we have evolved into a world where we all need to be on guard and have our defenses up. So sad. Thanks for reading and commenting!

  • GoForTheJuggler profile image

    Joshua Patrick 4 years ago from Texas

    Great hub here with a lot of valuable info. Always be on your guard before giving people the benefit of the doubt - voted up!

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    Marcy Goodfleisch 4 years ago from Planet Earth

    Hi, LoveMe - it is truly creepy and even scary when you're stalked; you feel helpless and vulnerable, as well as annoyed and invaded. Thanks for sharing what must have been a tough time in your life - I'm glad that incident is in the past now.

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    Marcy Goodfleisch 4 years ago from Planet Earth

    Hi, ThoughtSandwiches - okay, you have me laughing at your bill collector analogy! You're right, though, it is indeed creepy when you recognize the signs of stalking. Thanks for reading and commenting!

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    ThoughtSandwiches 4 years ago from Reno, Nevada

    Marcy,

    This is a very creepy compilation of red flags to keep an eye out for! Although I never thought I had a stalker before...the insidious stalker reminded me of this one girl...yeah...I think I have been staked. My response was to treat her like a bill collector until that point when she realized...I ain't gonna pay that bill.

    Thomas

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    Lovelovemeloveme 4 years ago from Cindee's Land

    Thanks for the hub. I had a stalker before. Actually, severals. I guess "no, I'm not interested" translates to " please try harder in a more creepy manner. "

    They were all the same. Called every day ,several times a day. Wait outside my house for me in their car. Come to my work place. Wait at my work place. Come to my school. ....just really creepy mind blowing things. I just don't get it.

  • Marcy Goodfleisch profile image
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    Marcy Goodfleisch 4 years ago from Planet Earth

    You're welcome! Let us know if you spot any problems out there! And take care!

  • Nikki Major profile image

    Nikki Major 4 years ago

    Thanks Marcy!

  • Marcy Goodfleisch profile image
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    Marcy Goodfleisch 4 years ago from Planet Earth

    Hi, Nikki - Thanks so much for reading and commenting here! I hope you never run into one of these types; they're clever and can really string people along. The ones who do this are expert at it and have perfected it for many years. Best of luck, if you do try a dating site!

  • Nikki Major profile image

    Nikki Major 4 years ago

    Wonderful article!! I know absolutely nothing about dating. great job!

  • Marcy Goodfleisch profile image
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    Marcy Goodfleisch 4 years ago from Planet Earth

    That is scary, Anamika! I don't know the options where you live, but have you looked into a restraining order or something of that type? I had a guy track me down after many years and try to start a relationship. He had seemed nice and sweet when we were quite young. He came to town twice, and on the second visit, I realized he was very bad news. His behavior was scary enough that i changed my locks on my house. He had had access to my keys (to use my car for a bit) and I literally was afraid he may have made a copy. Thankfully, he lives in amother state.

    I sent him an email saying this wasn't the right relationship for me and blocked him from my emails and FB. Even after that, he emailed my son and a friend whom he'd met through me.

    Good luck - and be careful! Thank you for sharing that with us!

  • Anamika S profile image

    Anamika S 4 years ago from Mumbai - Maharashtra, India

    Well, I have seen a couple of stalkers and now can easily recognize these signs. I also have a Guy who is making my life miserable by calling and texting me and demanding date (second chance) despite of not picking up his calls or texting back or showing any sign of interest. This Guy has really been a pest in my life for the past 4 years that I am having nightmares of him harming me because of my continuous rejections.

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    Marcy Goodfleisch 4 years ago from Planet Earth

    Thanks so much for your generous words, avionnovice! I wish I'd learned this information long ago - the insidious ones are way harder to spot than the obvious ones!

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    Deb Hirt 4 years ago from Stillwater, OK

    Voted up and useful. Yep, this sure happens a LOT. Excellent information on everything you always wanted to know, done just like an investigative reporter. Well done.

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    Marcy Goodfleisch 4 years ago from Planet Earth

    You are exactly right, TheMMaZone - even someone who uses their real name can slide under the radar if they're used to slinking around. If they're using a fake name, that's even creepier. Thanks so much for your comment!

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    TheMMAZone 4 years ago from Kansas

    The fantastic thing is with the internet it is usually easy to do some background checking these days. If you don't find any history take that as a yellow flag and be leery.

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    Marcy Goodfleisch 4 years ago from Planet Earth

    You were indeed quite young and vulnerable, RealHousewife - how fortunate you were able to extract yourself. I don't know that the person I met would have been violent at any point (I didn't get those vibes), but he was definitely jealous and possessive. Others had called him on it, and he even mentioned it as a way to lay the groundwork for it, I think. At first I didn't understand where the jealousy was manifested, and since we were online and not in the same city, the main way it came out was through the online stalking. That, alone, was creepy enough.

    It was especially icky when, after months of being out of touch, he sent me an email written in the wee hours of the morning telling me he was getting married that day. I don't think I'd have been very happy about that if I'd been the woman marrying him.

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    Kelly Umphenour 4 years ago from St. Louis, MO

    You are lucky you followed your gut - I dated this guy for a year before I realized but I was only 19. I have to say - I felt like no one believed me - even questioned my sanity. I am very sorry about what he did to his other victim (I didn't know her well) but in a really selfish way - I felt validated. I learned that I can trust myself even if other people choose to think I am wrong. I am so grateful my instincts were picking up those danger signs...and I didn't think it couldn't happen to me!

    I would say your fellow - if you had dated him longer would have gone to the same places. That is how it starts and I believe the more we let them encroach the more they try to get away with. It is so creepy isn't it? Yes - I am so glad you wrote about this - reading it made me once again think about that time and I did NOT know what to do - I agonized over how to extract myself and not get hurt because somehow I knew he was getting more aggressive and it wasn't stopping.

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    Marcy Goodfleisch 4 years ago from Planet Earth

    Your stalker story is horrific, RealHousewife! I also remember that the idea of stalkers wasn't really discussed back then, and therefore not understood or taken seriously. I can't imagine what that man's victim went through during her ordeal, or what she has had to endure through remembering that incident. I'm glad you were smart enough to protect yourself.

    I was stalked by someone I met and considered dating - it was a bit more insidious than what you mention (and much less dangerous) but still intrusive and inappropriate. He questioned when I was online on a dating site, continued to view my online profile after he got married and sent me messages asking 'what had gone wrong' with 'us.' This was not a kid - he was an adult, educated and responsible in his community. He honestly didn't understand that what he was doing was stalking! I blocked him, but he continued to view me through a relative's profile (and told me about it). I've blocked him from Facebook and other sites, too.

    Thanks for reading, commenting and sharing!

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    Kelly Umphenour 4 years ago from St. Louis, MO

    Fascinating stuff! Thanks so much - I actually did have a stalker once - but it was in the mid 1980s and not many people were talking about this really yet. I remember feeling very alone - like no one fully understood that this guy was dangerous. I took steps to protect myself, lodged a police complaint, involved my family, friends for safety measures.

    This particular guy - finally got noticed for what he was when he held his girlfriend (the one he was cheating on me with) hostage - at gunpoint for 3 days. He beat her savagely and cut all of her hair off (she had long beautiful blond hair). He spent time in jail for all of that - about 4 years I think? He called me when he got out!!! OMG!

    This stuff is serious - people need to understand that if someone makes you feel strange - or bells go off - there is a reason for that!

    I am sharing, linking, tweeting, pinning! lol

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    Marcy Goodfleisch 5 years ago from Planet Earth

    Thanks, Daisy - stalkers can be so insidious that you don't even realize it until you're in the net. Then, it is terrifying and makes you ill at ease in other settings, too. I appreciate your comments!

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    Daisy Mariposa 5 years ago from Orange County (Southern California)

    Marcy,

    Thanks for publishing this very useful, helpful, important Hub. This is a *must read* article.

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    Elizabeth Rayen 5 years ago from California

    hahahah.. yep, my followers.:)

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    Marcy Goodfleisch 5 years ago from Planet Earth

    Thanks, Rusticliving! I hope you mean your followers here, not stalkers? Hope the information helps others see what to avoid.

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    Elizabeth Rayen 5 years ago from California

    WOw Marcy! Fabulous Hub. Such a wealth of information. I have to definitely share this one with my followers! Voted up! Thank you for making us that much more aware!

    :)

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    Marcy Goodfleisch 5 years ago from Planet Earth

    That would be so great! I'm one of your followers; I will watch for it. I learned to recognize it, too -but I sometimes have a learning curve when a new variation comes along.

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    Patty Inglish 5 years ago from North America

    After the first one, I recognized stalking immediately when it started, after that. I may do a Hub on the topic as you suggest!

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    Marcy Goodfleisch 5 years ago from Planet Earth

    Hi, Patty - thank you for sharing your personal experiences. I've been stalked, too, and interestingly, it's even creepier when I look back and recognize the behavior in retrospect. The insidious stalkers sneak up on you. I'd be curious about how the legal action steps went for you. That would be a great hub topic, and you are the perfect person to write it.

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    Marcy Goodfleisch 5 years ago from Planet Earth

    Thanks for your comments, Cardisa. I think your point about the effect of intimacy is very accurate. I understand there are chemical changes when that part of the relationship kicks in - and of course, it can end up creating almost an addiction. Good points!

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    Marcy Goodfleisch 5 years ago from Planet Earth

    Hi, Ardie - thanks for reading and commenting. I'm glad you found the hub helpful, and I truly hope your girls never have to worry about this sort of behavior!

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    Marcy Goodfleisch 5 years ago from Planet Earth

    Hi, Martie - I know what you mean about following our gut feelings. That's one of our best compasses.

    As for the questions - I think it's all in how you phrase things. There's a difference between having a friendly interest in someone's life, and in the insidious prying a stalker might exhibit. I am sure you approach things as a caring friend!

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    Patty Inglish 5 years ago from North America

    Interesting; and good information for those not aware of stalking potential. I've been stalked in the past by a dentist, an employer, two students, a distant relative, and a person I did not want to date. Legal action was required only once.

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    Carolee Samuda 5 years ago from Jamaica

    It happened to me a long time ago, I had to put my foot down for the person to leave me alone.

    Here is a tip. Never have sex with someone you don't mean to really date or have a relationship with. That is a sure way to get them obsessed.

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    Sondra 5 years ago from Neverland

    I will be sharing this Hub as soon as I leave my comment because a dangerous relationship is no place for ANYONE! It's scary how sneaky and sly a stalker can be until its too late and he or she has every bit of info about you necessary to ruin your life...seriously. As a mom to three girls I know I would share your exact advice with them if I saw any of the above red flags. Run. FAST.

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    Martie Coetser 5 years ago from South Africa

    Marcy, this is an excellent and well-written hub about stalkers. But I must say that I do ask some of those questions and honestly not because I am a stalker but because I am truly interested in the person as a friend, eager to know that he is okay. I will even offer to do whatever he would like me to do in order to give him the opportunity to be happy and okay and not because stalking is my intention. I simply care and want the person to be happy.

    Of cause I will be sad because I am not regarderd as the one who have all that it takes to make him happy, I will simply hope that he will at least regard me as a friend who cares and wish him happiness and joy.

    So some of the questions you have stressed in here may not be stalking. But I guess we will know if it is or not. Our gut feeling will tell us what the true intention is. I have learned to listen to my gut feeling - and not to my mind who is forever busy to justify and minimize and compromise....

    Thumbs up for this informative guideline on stalkers :)

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    Marcy Goodfleisch 5 years ago from Planet Earth

    Thank you, Cloverleaf - I so much appreciate your comments. Yes, it is creepy to be stalked. Even years later, it is disconcerting to think about it.

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    Cloverleaf 5 years ago from Calgary, AB, Canada

    Hi Marcy! Excellent hub. Having a stalker would be kinda creepy. You've done a great job of pointing out all the tell-tale signs and advising how to deal with such a situation. Voted up and sharing :)

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    Marcy Goodfleisch 5 years ago from Planet Earth

    Thanks, albertsj - you are right, stalking is very much like emotional abuse. I'm sorry you had to go through that; you are a tender soul!

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    Marcy Goodfleisch 5 years ago from Planet Earth

    Thank you for your comments, Deborah - I've experienced stalking online and somewhat in person. It's very eerie online, and you unwittingly begin adapting your behavior to the stalker's manipulative words and actions. Thanks for your generosity in sharing the hub.

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    jacy albertson 5 years ago from Pittsfield, Ma

    These are really good tips Marcy. I've never been stalked but I have been emotionally abused, and many of the signs are similar. Thanks again, voting up & useful

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    Deborah Brooks Langford 5 years ago from Brownsville,TX

    this is an excellent hub. I have experienced this on line it is real scary. lucky enough not in person.

    I am going to share this on my Facebook page. thanks for sharing..

    debbie

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    Marcy Goodfleisch 5 years ago from Planet Earth

    Hi, Alecia - thank you for your kind words. I hope you never have to deal with this sort of problem. And I'm glad you're on the alert for it, if it does come along!

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    Marcy Goodfleisch 5 years ago from Planet Earth

    Thanks so much for reading and commenting, Kelley. And thank you for sharing!

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    Marcy Goodfleisch 5 years ago from Planet Earth

    Thanks, Jeannie - I've encountered several stalkers over the years - it took me a while to recognize when that behavior surfaced, but now I can spot it.

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    Alecia Murphy 5 years ago from Wilmington, North Carolina

    These are very good tips. I managed to make it through college without being stalked but you're right it doesn't always happen as obviously as in some movies and television shows. Thank you for sharing such great tips!

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    kelleyward 5 years ago

    Excellent hub with powerful information. Shared it with my friends on facebook.

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    Marcy Goodfleisch 5 years ago from Planet Earth

    Thank you, sholland - I'm so glad you find the hub helpful. Stalking can take many forms, and stalkers can be very insidious. Best of luck in helping your daughter to protect herself.

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    Jeannie InABottle 5 years ago from Baltimore, MD

    There are so many creeps out there! This is excellent advice and very detailed as far as what people should look for. I think this hub can help a lot of people. Voted up!

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    Susan Holland 5 years ago from Southwest Missouri

    Marcy, these are great tip! I have a daughter, and this type of thing scares me to death. She and I have talked about many, but not all, of these signs - we will now. This is a very useful and needed hub! Thank you for writing it!

    Votes and shared!

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    Marcy Goodfleisch 5 years ago from Planet Earth

    Tammy - I can imagine how vulnerable you were, with three little kids. Stalkers know how to pick likely victims; I'm glad you recognized it and didn't keep him in your life.

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    Marcy Goodfleisch 5 years ago from Planet Earth

    Thanks, James - I agree, a public place is safer than doing it alone and in person. I have even broken up by email in a few instances (stalking is more common than people think). I know email sounds like the 'chicken' way out, but it beats making a scene or getting into a bad situation.

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    Tammy 5 years ago from North Carolina

    Great hub Marcy. I had a stalker when I was very young. He moved into the apartment above me. I was a single mother of three toddlers. He showed up and started doing yard work and things I would never ask someone to do. I thanked him thought I thought it was weird. He started trying to hang around and said I needed a good man like him. He got very strange... Great tips!!

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    JamesPoppell 5 years ago

    Another excellent hub Marcy. This is informative and very useful. May I just add that if you are going to end the relationship you should do it in a public place where plenty of people are around. These people are creepy and unpredictable. Also, law enforcement needs to get their act together and realize that a restraining order is just a piece of paper that protects nobody. They need to be more proactive when it comes to stalkers. The information you listed in this hub can literally save someones life. Vote up & a tweet.

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