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Unwanted contact from ex-BF

(16 Posts)
blessedwolf Wed 06-Nov-13 09:24:25

Can I ask what the wise MNers would do in this situation? I think it’s creepy and a bit stalkery, but it involves someone who makes me lose all perspective, so I’d love to hear an objective insight.

Apologies if this is long...

Long story short – I met my ex-BF when my DS was 1 and I was just coming out of a very unhappy marriage. Ex-BF completely swept me off my feet. He was funny, charming, creative and amazing in bed (apologies if TMI but I think it affected my ability to see things clearly at the time.) I was so infatuated that I was blind to the fact that he was also lazy, had anger issues, suffered terrible mood swings and was pathologically unable to remain faithful.

If I met someone like that today, the red flags would be screaming out at me within an hour. But back then (15 years ago!) it took me over a year to realise what a terrible situation I was in. In the course of our relationship he was repeatedly unfaithful, dumped me then took me back twice, and although he was never physically violent, there was definitely emotional and verbal abuse. I was often very very scared.

Luckily, I finally managed to pull myself together, get out and move on. (Now happily married to DH with two more kids and DS is a lovely, kind, well-adjusted young man.)

But...in the intervening 15 years ex-BF has made a number of attempts to contact me. He met my 2nd cousin and badgered her for my contact details (which she didn’t give him.) He contacted Facebook friends (not sure how he managed that) and asked them for information. He even emailed my work when I was promoted (he found out because it was in the press).

If you’ve got this far – thankyou. Here is the current situation. I am quite active on twitter – personally and professionally. He has just opened a twitter account and has started following me. He follows 12 people – and I am the first one he followed. The others are all big public accounts (like BBC or Reuters or Barack Obama!). Point is, I was the first account he searched for and the only ‘real’ person he is following. That unnerved me – we’re talking about a relationship that ended over 14 years ago! He then tweeted me to congratulate me on the birth of my twins. I blocked him immediately.

I’m left really shaken. I have a lovely life now, wonderful DH and happy family and I don’t want anything to rock that. I feel a few steps away from being stalked – but definitely along those lines.

Am I over reacting? Is there anything I could/should do? DH is wonderfully supportive – but the confident person he knows is not the messed up frightened person that ex-BF is pursuing – IYSWIM. Would appreciate thoughts – although I realise there is probably nothing I can actually do.

OhMyBridget Wed 06-Nov-13 09:33:51

I think, that it is most likely that he has heard how well you are doing and, it is most probable that he has not progressed withib his own life.. professionally or personally and is latching onto the idea that you were his 'best bet' and I taken an interest in your life. If he's a pathological cheater my guess is soon someone else will catch his eye and he'll forget you again. Keep an eye on things but don't let it scare you- You've said it yourself, you are not the same person. x

onetiredmummy Wed 06-Nov-13 12:00:38

You could well be his 'one who got away' if you know what I mean & he is now looking at a what if situation.

He will find somebody else to fixate on, you're doing the right thing blocking him & no responding. If you find its frightening you or making you change your behaviour then possibly contact your neighbourhood police team if you feel threatened by him.

Otherwise ignore & carry on.

Lweji Wed 06-Nov-13 12:30:10

I'd make a record of those attempts and anything else.
If you feel at all uneasy then you can contact the police for advice and to register your concerns.
Otherwise, always ignore him and block, as you have been doing.

FairPhyllis Wed 06-Nov-13 13:53:18

What sort of period of time has he been making attempts to contact you over? If it's over a period of years I would be quite concerned. Did he email you directly at work or did he get in touch with someone else, trying to get information about you?

Women tend to underreact to situations like this. If I were you I would message him on Twitter saying clearly that you don't want to have any further contact with him, and that if he contacts you again you will involve the police. And keep a record of all his attempts to contact you. Then if he does it again, tell the police your concerns.

blessedwolf Wed 06-Nov-13 14:33:26

Thankyou for replying.
Bridgit and Tiredmummy - you are both probably right about the 'one who got away' thing. I do know that his recollection of the relationship is very different from mine. And so I know blocking and refusing to engage is sound advice. Although I will take Lweji's advice too and make a full record of this.
But what really concerns me, as Phyllis says, is that our relationship was a long time ago. He contacted my cousin after a year. FB contact was probably 6 years after the relationship ended. His email was sent to my work about 10 yrs after we split. It was sent to a general info@ address which, ironically, I monitored which is how I know about it. Frankly it was very odd. It was sort of congratulating the company for promoting me and saying how good I was and depicting himself as a sort of mentor when I was younger. Had someone else received it they would almost certainly have cc'd me on the reply and so he would have had my email address. There were a few other attempts I've not mentioned.
I have blocked him but am watching his twitter account. A tweet he left today suggests he's noticed I blocked him.
I am feeling calmer now but I still don't think this is normal behaviour. To keep trying to make contact over so many years??
I will investigate how/whether to notify police. Thanks again.

OhMyBridget Wed 06-Nov-13 14:40:20

ah that is a big time scale.

tell him you'll contact the police if he makes any futher attempt to contact you or monitor your life.

bloody weirdo!

FairPhyllis Wed 06-Nov-13 14:59:22

OK, so it's over a really long period of time, it's repeated behaviour, he was abusive when you were with him and it's making you feel really uncomfortable. I would tell him to not contact you again and that if he does you will go to the police.

You could also call these folks on their helpline number to see what they think but I am pretty sure they will confirm that you are right to feel uneasy, even if this contact isn't happening very frequently. The NSS say that they define stalking as a range of behaviours that are repeated, i.e. happen on more than two occasions, which would fit your case, and he's contacted your work and your family and friends.

From everything I have ever seen about how to respond to this type of behaviour the most effective thing you can do is to act hard and fast, i.e. state clearly that you don't want any contact with the person, then police immediately if they ignore that. Good luck.

ITCouldBeWorse Wed 06-Nov-13 18:56:56

The book 'the gift of fear' has a really good section on dealing with this sort of situation. Is by Gavin de Becker and might be worth a look.

SandyDilbert Wed 06-Nov-13 19:39:22

could you make your twitter a/c private for the moment - he could easily set up another twitter identity and follow you - he doesn't even need to follow you to see what you are saying, even if you have blocked him he can still see your tweets.

blessedwolf Wed 06-Nov-13 20:02:07

The fact that nobody's said that I'm over-reacting is both good (I'm clearly not going mad or being paranoid) but obviously bad too (this is a very real worry for me now.)
I will check out the book you've mentioned ICBW - thanks for the recommendation. And Sandy - I didn't realise he could still see tweets if I'd blocked him. I will make my account private for the time being. (I've not tweeted since he followed me just in case.)
Fairphyllis - thanks especially for those links. It's very reassuring to know that professional help is available. On past form I suspect he will disappear for a while and then reappear later on. But I am hearing your advice that a clear warning and 'threat' of police involvement might make this the end of it.
thanks again one and all.

FairPhyllis Thu 07-Nov-13 10:48:46

Keep a record (screenshot or whatever) of any message you send him so if he pops up again at a later date you can show the police you told him to naff off.

No, you're not overreacting. The test of whether his behaviour is a problem is how it is making you feel, not how "extreme" it looks. He doesn't have to reach the stage of boiling your pet bunny for you to be able to tell him to back off.

Also I would check your tweet history to make sure there's no info in it that you wouldn't want him to know.

SandyDilbert Thu 07-Nov-13 13:04:02

and you can also screenshot his tweets too - and keep them as a doc file if you need them. He can easily tweet all sorts then delete v quickly.

Yes, definitely send him a message telling him not to contact you in any way or the police will be informed. He may not mean you any actual harm (ie not be intending to attack you or even show up on your doorstep with a bunch of flowers) but behaviour like this is either unbalanced or malevolent - his intention might be to make sure you never forget him because that feeds his inadequate ego.

Remember that this man has no right at all to contact you in any way. He's not the father of any of your DC. If he doesn't back off after a police warning, legal procedures against him can be ramped up and, if necessary, he can be sent to prison for stalking and harassment.

Oh sorry, meant to say: if you have an email address for him, set up a new one for yourself on Hotmail or Gmail to send him the message telling him to fuck off out of your life, and then delete that email account.

blessedwolf Fri 08-Nov-13 09:59:58

Thanks for this advice - which I have acted on. I've screenshot his tweets and have tried to make my twitter account as private as possible.
Since blocking him, he has tweeted once (about leaving things in the past - so a veiled reference to me I think) but has not tweeted since. So I'm fairly certain joining twitter was simply an attempt to connect with me.
I know this makes me sound so big headed and me me me - and I'm not like that usually at all - which is partly why I asked here for objective advice.
I really don't want to contact him personally - that has never ended well in the past. So DH has sent a message clearly asking for ex-BF to back off and stay away. Hopefully that will be an end of it for now - but I will contact police if he persists.
Thanks again - I will now try to stop blaming myself for a) ever starting a relationship with him and b) allowing him to still have this frightening hold over me.

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