When Your Stalker Turns Out To Be Your Boyfriend, Is It Still Stalking?
Dear GG (Girlfriend Guru),
“After a while the many niggling, little feelings and weird co-incidences added up and I knew I wasn’t being paranoid, I was being watched. When I found out my stalker was actually my boyfriend I felt confused. Was I scared? Was I relieved? Should I be flattered, or creeped out? He claimed he was just being over protective but I read it as obsessive behaviour. Was I wrong? Btw, he didn’t have anything to worry about, I never cheated on him.”
~ Pain In The Neck (from looking over my shoulder)
Dear Pain In The Neck,
Stalking is stalking even when it’s your partner. It’s illegal; it’s unbalanced and its time to extricate yourself. There is nothing flattering about being told you can’t be trusted. It’s an insult no matter how much sugar it’s coated with. Following someone around without their knowledge has nothing to do with protecting them unless the person being followed is less than four years old.
Celebrities and world leaders hire bodyguards to watch their backs, but they know they’re there, which increases their level of security and comfort. If we haven’t employed a rugged ex-biker who never takes his shades off and we’re getting the uncomfortable feeling that someone’s on our tail, our anxiety levels increase and there is no way to view that as a good thing. When someone’s watching out for our best interests we shouldn’t be getting the feeling that we’re the pretty blonde in a slasher flick who can’t find any of her hot friends and can’t get cell phone reception in the middle of the dark woods she suddenly finds herself alone in.
When someone is watching us secretly, it’s because they are hoping to, or even expecting to catch us in the act of doing something that we wouldn’t do if we knew they were there.
In my experience I have found that the line from Shakespeare’s Hamlet, “The lady (or man) doth protest too much, methinks.” rings very true. Often when one person in a relationship becomes overly suspicious (without warrant) and begins doubting their partner to the point where they’re following them, checking their cell phone messages and texts or attempting to hack into their email accounts, it can signal that they are actually the one who has been acting dishonourably. As a result, they can quickly become paranoid, believing that since they’re up to no good, their partner must be also. Distrust of your partner stems from personal insecurity and there’s a vast range of intensity, from checking coat pockets for matchbooks to boiling bunnies, but none of it falls within the healthy relationship range so don’t kid yourself with lame justifications for your own behaviour or your partner’s.
If you’ve been cheating on your partner and they’ve been stalking you because they’ve smelled the coffee and woken up, you need to ‘fess up and break up. If on the other hand you’re innocent of all charges and your partner has been stalking you, you still need to get the hell out of Dodge. In extreme cases you could be in physical danger. In almost all cases you’re in emotional danger and so is your partner.
There’s nothing healthy, or sexy about possessiveness or obsession. If your partner’s stalking you he/she needs professional help. If you’re flattered by his/her mentally unbalanced behaviour, you both need help.
GG (Girlfriend Guru).