She isn't letting go. How worried should I be, and what should I do about it?
In March of 2011 I joined OKCupid, which has been great. Unfortunately, when I first started there I made some rookie mistakes (the worst of which being not paying close enough attention to a person's Enemy rating before messaging them). This resulted in me briefly dating a woman who I'll call "Sarah", whose behavior I eventually found troubling to the point of breaking off contact with her. Unfortunately, she seems unwilling to accept this, and I'm at a loss as to what I should do next, or even if doing anything is feasible or necessary.
Sarah and I dated (not exclusively) from the end of March to the end of May of 2011. By the end of that period I had decided that I was not interested in progressing to being her boyfriend, and I told her that I wanted to end dating her in order to pursue things elsewhere. She told me to get over myself and that she didn't have any feelings for me (which, if true, would have been a great relief to me), but asked if we could have a FWB arrangement in the meantime. I agreed, which I fully accept was a poor decision on my part.
The FWB arrangement lasted another month, at the end of which time I broke it off because I felt like she was getting too emotionally invested in a way that I knew I would never be able to reciprocate for her. She was upset, but wanted to remain friends (sans benefits). I felt bad about the whole situation, so (in part out of guilt for agreeing to her FWB proposal when I should have known better) I attempted to be a supportive but platonic friend to her. She made numerous attempts (some quite embarrassing) to get me to reconsider and resume our FWB arrangement, but I kept my boundaries firm and remained completely platonic with her.
In September of 2011 I left town for a week. When I returned home she asked if we could hang out, and something in the way that she asked made me suspicious, so I looked at her Twitter account (something that I had not done in the past, because I wasn't terribly interested in what people have to say on Twitter). I immediately noticed that she had been referring to me as her boyfriend for months (and as recently as that morning). This was in spite of numerous conversations that we'd had about how I was not and would never be her boyfriend, and how it was not ok for her to call me that (when drunk or on special occasions like her birthday, she would request that she be allowed to do so).
I decided that I had had enough of her constant attempts to ignore and erode my boundaries, and I sent her an email explaining why this was not ok and instructing her never to contact me again. She immediately sent me an email in reply, which I'd expected, but I didn't respond to it and I figured that was that. Over the next few weeks she sent a few more emails and made some phone attempts, but I never resumed contact with her. Foolishly, I assumed that she would give up and stop contacting me so long as she received no reply. That has proven not to be the case.
I don't feel as though I'm in any danger, but some of my friends have suggested that maybe I should start worrying and being proactive about putting an end to this. Here are the possible red flags in this situation:
- Sarah's emails are coming with increasing frequency. At first they were coming once every few months. Then it was once a month. Last month she sent three, and just this evening she sent another one.
- Sarah's emails are becoming increasingly accusatory/pleading. Her first emails after I ended contact were about how she wasn't interested in me and how this was all a big misunderstanding. Her more recent emails have been about how I "cruelly ripped [her] heart out" and how I "owe [her] another meeting".
- Sarah's jealousy would manifest in really unsettling ways. After we stopped dating she would Facebook stalk the girls that I was seeing and make strangely racist comments about them, and she would occasionally react to seeing an attractive woman on the street by saying things like "I want to smash a bottle in her face" or "I want to hit her with my car". Her tone of voice did not sound like she was joking.
- During our time hanging out, Sarah would sometimes brag that she had enlisted the help of her friends in stalking guys that she'd been interested in in the past. They would do things for her like wait outside of a guy's house, and then call her to tell her when he left, and follow him around so they could report to her what he was doing.
It has now been almost a year and a half since I broke all contact with Sarah (far longer than the period that we were actually together). I have blocked her on all social media, and changed my privacy settings to prevent her easy access to my profiles. I would block her emails without reading them as well, but I am somewhat concerned that I might someday have to take them to the police, so I'm placing them in a special email folder rather than blocking them or deleting them.
This matter is not causing me extreme mental anguish, but at the same time I want to take whatever precautions I can to be safe. Ideally, I would like for her to leave me alone. I'm not the sort of person who worries much, and that has sometimes caused me to dismiss things that later turned out to be dangerous, so I was hoping to get the hivemind's opinion about how concerned I should be about all this. Also, what are my options for putting an end to it? She hasn't become threatening yet, but she is persisting in contacting me after I've instructed her not to do so. What are my legal options here (I'm in Los Angeles, if this matters)? What does MetaFilter think I should do with this?