Hi all, I have a former friend with mental health issues who is somewhat obsessed with me and has been increasingly creeper-ish over the past year. I just found out today that he now lives within 1.5 miles of me and I'm a bit freaked out. Would like to request input/advice re: next steps, partially because I'm not sure how concerned I should be. More after the cut.
posted by cardinality to Human Relations (17 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I read a few of the existing stalker threads but none seem to cover PA, where I live. I looked up a few of the statues and the legalese sounds vague to me. I'm confused about what I should do next, and whether this would be a police vs. magistrate vs. lawyer sort of thing.
This person is an old friend from high school who had expressed romantic interest in me over the years. His mental health issue is some sort of mood disorder, possibly bipolar spectrum, but I don't know for sure. He has two ex-wives and kids with each, none of whom he is permitted to see. It's been a long time, but I vaguely recall that Ex #1 had a restraining order against him at one point. (Lots of drama on both sides, with both spouses.) He moved back to my area shortly before I split up with my troubled ex, last March. Most of his family is deceased and he's not close with his siblings, so I think he wanted to move back here and feel like he still had someone who cared about him in his life.
Friend was very kind to me after my awful breakup last year, when I was exceptionally emotionally fragile and dealing with a lot of life-fallout relating to said relationship. We'd been spending a lot of time together and I had the impression that he'd matured somewhat. I was tentatively willing to date him, very casually...nothing crazy. Just plain old-fashioned "let's go get ice cream and hang out" type dating. (This was my dumb decision, but like I said, I was not in the best place to make good decisions and he definitely took advantage of that.) Two months after the breakup my ex committed suicide. Friend kept me from jumping off a bridge at that point, basically...and a week after the funeral, Friend asked me to, "tell him the truth about whether or not I wanted to be with him." I truthfully answered, "Not now, too much has happened, I'm just not in a good place right now, but please know that I really appreciate your support and I'm sorry," etc.
Friend proceeded to send me a verbally abusive email telling me that I was "...just using him to get to Ex and Ex shot himself bc of my actions and Friend felt partially responsible, bla bla bla." I told him never to contact me again and I blocked him on my phone, Facebook, email, etc. He replied with more vitriol, so I installed SMS Blocker on my phone and started logging his messages.
Within the next two weeks, he began contacting my friends via Facebook about my status, and also drove out to my dad's house in the suburbs to ask about me. (Luckily my dad wasn't home and he just left a note taped to the door.) A month after the funeral, he showed up at my apartment at 10:30 PM under pretense and knocked on my kitchen window and called my name. I had to ask my then-roommate to tell him to leave and not return or we'd call the police. He texted me again three days later to say that he was afraid I'd committed suicide so that's why he stopped by.
He stopped contacting me for a while, but did call my dad late one night back in September, and hung up when my dad replied that I wasn't there. He texted me again in October, and then I randomly saw him at a grocery store near my town at the end of this January. It was odd because to my knowledge, he'd lived way on the other side of the city from me, at that point.
I've been resigned to ignoring his sporadic sad-puppy text messages, but was definitely unnerved to see him at "my" local grocery store. He works all over the greater metro area and lived on the other side of the city from me, so I chalked it up to uncomfortable happenstance and resigned myself to an eventual follow-up text.
He contacted me today to see how I was doing, and asked if I wanted to go to a concert with him next month because his "gf can't go," as if we're still friends. (I have ignored and not replied to him since June of last year.) He also just casually mentioned that he now lives in...the next village over from me. He conceivably lives within a 1.5-2 mi. radius of me...these two boroughs are small enough that they share a municipal planning commission and police force and whatnot. I can walk there in 25 minutes.
I feel (understandably, imo) freaked out and I am wondering if I should do something about this. His behavior has made my recovery from my ex's suicide even harder, and I've spent a lot of time in therapy talking about this. Now I have to worry that I'll run into him?
Would this be a matter to discuss with the magistrate, and if so, what sort of document(s) do I need to file? Is it relevant to my case that he had a prior restraining order, and how would I go about finding that information? I'm guessing it's long expired by now, but would there still be a record of that somewhere? The restraining order was filed in PA over ten years, and Ex #1 possibly had another one in North Carolina.
Tl;dr: I am located in PA and an ex-friend has engaged in inappropriate behavior now for almost a year, and now lives near me. Wondering if I need to take steps to protect myself or at least establish a paper trail in case he tries to escalate now due to closer proximity. Thanks for reading.