Dear Harlan: I’ve broken up with my boyfriend four times. I’ve told him it’s over, but he can’t get it through his head. Now it’s getting weird — he just shows up. How do I deal with my crazy ex showing up multiple times after being told not to? I’m in my first year in college. I don’t want to create drama, but this is weird. — Can’t Break Up
Dear Can’t Break Up: This is serious. I get the sense that you want to minimize what’s happening, but this could turn dangerous. When your ex shows up unexpectedly, it can be a form of stalking. According to the National Center for Victims of Crime, 15 percent of women and 6 percent of men have experienced stalking victimization at some point during their lifetime in which they felt very fearful or believed that they or someone close to them would be harmed or killed (http://victimsofcrime.org/docs/default-source/src/stalking-fact-sheet-2015_eng.pdf). Do not assume that this will stop or get better. Forget worrying about creating drama, and put your safety first. This means telling the people around you what’s happening. Tell the director of your residence hall what this guy looks like and that he’s showing up uninvited. Talk to campus security. Talk to local law enforcement. You also should see a counselor at the health center. You need to set clear boundaries and have a plan in case he continues to ignore your breakup.
It’s hard to know how he will react. Intimidation and fear is the game. A man who can’t listen to what you want can become unpredictable and dangerous. Make sure you have a support system in place, and document all of your interactions — you might need a record if this guy continues to ignore and intimidate you.