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Advice needed - attracted an old man stalker

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burnedcanuckEMS posted 4/6/2014 10:16 AM

I have debated posting this situation but now I know i need some advice. Here's the situation, I live in a small village of about 800 people, its a friendly community and very safe in general. I am an outside enthusiast and there's nothing I love more than throwing on my runners and going for a good walk around town - last summer I was averaging 5 - 7 kms a day.

I have been cooped up all winter because its been horrible here, and finally a couple of weeks ago it was nice enough to go out and walk so out I went. On my travels I ran into this older gentleman and he wanted to talk. We chatted a few minutes and he told me his life story - he is 74, lives in the villa, had a stroke and walking daily is his rehab. He was married but his wife died a few years back of cancer and his two daughters and grandchildren all live in the US. He is lonely and wants friends. My heart broke for him and he asked if i would go for dinner out of town sometime, I said maybe a coffee here in town. He wanted my phone number so I gave it to him. I should have known this was a huge mistake.

Two days later driving home from work my phone started ringing. I didn't answer because I was driving. Over the next 15 minutes it rang four more times!! It was him every time. Red flags started going off but I still wasn't overly concerned.

Last weekend I had attended a funeral service in town and decided to walk since it was only a few blocks from my home. On my way home I ran into him and of course he wanted to chat. We talked a few minutes and then my fire chief drove up and wanted to speak to me. Most people would take the hint and carry on. Not this guy. He says "I will wait" and stood there across the street staring at me and listening in on the conversation. After I was done he wanted to visit some more, finally I told him I was busy and had to go.

Well now its ramped up to a level I might call stalking. Not only does he call repeatedly he has been trying to lure me into going on a road trip with him! He said "if you aren't doing anything this weekend maybe we can go tour the countryside", I told him no, I had to go to my home town a couple hours away to get my other vehicle and so he wanted to drive me, which I politely declined. Then I blocked his number but now my phone doesn't ring it goes straight to voicemail. Things like "wondering what you are doing, call me back", "I am out walking and wondering if you are out here somewhere" .... etc etc

The other day he drove past me in my car and I could see his head do a 360 turn and he slowed right down. I drove off in another direction. Yesterday things went to a whole new level. I wanted to go walking but decided I better do a loop in the car first. Of course his old age villa is right at the end of my street, and there he is on the sidewalk. I see him looking at me and i make an immediate decision to peel off down the nearest back alley. He totally noticed. Then when I came out on the next block I could see his white and blue jacket poking out from behind a tree. He was hiding and watching me!!

I am scared and weirded out and don't know how to handle it. I know I can't avoid him forever and I miss the freedom to walk outside and feel safe. I have always walked alone because I get a much better cardio work out when I don't have the distraction of another person yakking at me.

He is 30+ years older than me and although he said he only wanted to be friends he is being way too clingy and obsessive. My intuition is screaming at me that this is not a good situation. How do I deal with this?? Its a small community I know I am going to see him again.

And to top it all off I keep hearing my IC's voice in my head telling me I have an issue with feeling sorry for older broken men!! I know its true and once again my good heart has gotten me in a bind!! Any advice is truly appreciated.

[This message edited by burnedcanuckEMS at 10:23 AM, April 6th (Sunday)]

traicionada posted 4/6/2014 11:31 AM

How about a clear "No, thanks!". You haven't established clear boundaries but rather given lots of excuses. Just a thought...

Must Survive posted 4/6/2014 13:17 PM

You are missing out on the things you enjoy because of him and the situation.

I would go for walks when you want. The next time you see him. Be polite but firm, and blunt because he doesn't get it.

Say that while you did briefly chat, that was all. You enjoy walking alone. You also have determined that it would not be wise to have coffee or anything else social with him. It is a woman's prerogative to change her mind. You can encourage him to put effort into some of the more age appropriate ladies at this villa.

Smile, wish him well and walk on.

burnedcanuckEMS posted 4/6/2014 13:33 PM

Update! First off thanks for the advice, I knew SI would steer me in the right direction. I decided to go out for a walk after I posted. About 5 min in, my phone rang, strange number but local and I answered. It was him!! I thought of Traicionada's advice and just told him flat out "I am not comfortable with this, you need to stop calling me.". He seemed shocked, and I could hear anger in his voice. I told him its just too much I am not comfortable with him always wanting me to do things with him. He had the gull to ask me "do you have problems with your ex-husband"!!!! I told him that was not up for discussion, And perhaps he should make some friends his own age!! He said he thought I was really nice and apologized for crossing the line and making me uncomfortable. Now I suppose time will tell whether or not he leaves me alone.

Big lesson to be learned here. I ask myself how can I have healthy boundaries in a relationship if I have trouble establishing them with a stranger??

cayc posted 4/6/2014 13:44 PM

Big lesson to be learned here. I ask myself how can I have healthy boundaries in a relationship if I have trouble establishing them with a stranger??

Well, with decent people you don't need to establish healthy boundaries because they'll exist naturally, i.e. that person won't be constantly trying to overrun your comfort zone. I would venture to say that if you find yourself struggling to maintain boundaries with a person, that's the sign that you don't need them in your life (if it's a personal relationship) or that you limit contact with them (if it's a work scenario).

I like the way you handled him though. People like that, you can't give them any wiggle room. You just have to shut them down entirely.

Sad in AZ posted 4/6/2014 15:38 PM

Let's face it; it's never going to be a healthy relationship when you start out 'feeling sorry for someone'. Whenever that happens in the future, STOP, end the conversation and move on.

miadianna posted 4/6/2014 16:44 PM

I've encountered this type of person and situation and it's a nightmare. There is a man who has been driving past my house at least two times a day looking for me every day since 1995 and there is nothing I can do about it until I move away. I used to work for him and refused his friendship but he still wants to talk to me. I haven't talked to him, not even said "hello" in many years. The street is public property, he can drive in front of my house as much as he wants. He walks his dog in my neighborhood, runs in my neighborhood, even though he doesn't live here. I'm a very private person, it's unsettling.

Mousse242 posted 4/6/2014 20:51 PM

My guess is that he is very lonely and you gave him some attention and he's now fixated on you.

You need to be firm. Just answer no. Not "no because I'm busy" or "no I have other plans"... Just plain No. Do not apologize "I'm sorry but no." Just no.

Read a book by Gavin De Becker called The Gift of Fear.

Be clear on your boundaries. You can likely outwalk him and you may want to do that or for a while change up the times. If he still persists, contact the rehab home he is in and speak to someone there about him.

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