Spotting the “Romantic Fantasy” stalker warning signs early on can stop a nightmare before it starts.
“Romantic Fantasy” stalkers comprise roughly 25 percent of all stalkers and have a "love obsession." Victims can recall warning signs of 'too much, too soon' – which is not romantic. Watch out for a 'control freak' who ignores your feelings. Someone obsessed with you doesn't mean he loves you, it means he's obsessive.
Beware of two or more of these warning signs: he’s impulsive, obsessive, selfish, doesn’t take no for an answer, has few friends, and has low self-esteem.
• Expressions of helplessness;
• Over-interpreting what you say or do;
• Socially isolated;
• Overly-dependent upon you only;
• A history of relationship violence or stalking;
• Alcohol or drug abuse;
• Actual or threatened suicide attempts are especially dangerous for you (he has nothing left to lose).
Trust your intuition and take the warning signs seriously. If you feel unsafe, you may well be, and should seek help. Your local rape crisis center can direct you to local help.
Songs and movies may add fuel to a stalker’s fire if they advocate persistent pursuit of a romantic target. Harmless for the ordinary person, these types of songs and movies may serve as sinister anthems for 'romantic fantasy' stalkers.
Seeing movies with a hero romantically pursuing a beautiful woman, then finally winning her heart and living happily ever after, is not a healthy message for a stalker’s unstable mind. He’ll fancy himself the star of his own script and cast an unlucky woman as his romantic interest.
Perhaps the woman was too kind to him early on and he heard what he wanted to hear rather than what she actually meant to say. Perhaps she didn’t clearly and firmly reject his romantic delusion – nipping it in the bud before it bloomed in full.In Caribou ME, Christopher Shumway asked his coworker, Erin Sperrey, to go out several times. She wasn't interested in him but was too polite to just say no and instead made up excuses. Finally, she agreed to meet him after work, but went to a friend’s house instead. Shumway also went to the friend’s house and was upset. A few days later, he stabbed her to death.
One of the warning signs is a common gambit used by pick-up artists in nightclubs who search for naïve or needy women – and is also sometimes used by stalkers and rapists: “You look familiar. Where have I seen you before?” Or, “Don’t I know you from high school?” Open-ended questions allow smooth operators to quickly get personal. Gullible targets walk right into such traps by revealing personal information or letting an unwanted conversation continue. Savvy targets don’t.
Other times a woman will reluctantly agree to a date or give her phone number to a man she's not interested in. Maybe she's caught by surprise and feels too awkward to just say "No." But she's merely delaying his rejection later on. Even a benign guy will feel less disappointment sooner rather than later. A deluded guy may never understand why a woman let him get to first base then left him stranded. For him, it's too late to stop now – the game has already begun and he plans on winning.
Pay close attention to anyone’s craving for you – that is one of the stalker warning signs. Even a seemingly innocent and common romantic crush involves powerful emotions that can escalate into a haunting, long-term bombardment of your emotions. Be quick to recognize unusual attention and act immediately.
Similar to Date Rape miscommunication, some men tend to misinterpret women's feelings, and some women tend to send mixed messages. Be sure to send only clear, firm, yet polite messages. Hints do not work! Make your feelings clear – and clearly expect a proper response. An improper response is another warning sign.
If he’s mildly aggressive, you might say, “Thanks, but I’m not interested.” If he’s crude, you can either ignore him with a huff or you might say, Please leave me alone!” However you handle it, politely leave no doubt that you’re not interested.
If you know your stalker, as soon as possible be blunt, clear, and firm (yet polite) as you tell him you absolutely don’t want a relationship with him and never will. Say, "I don't want a relationship with you, and I know I won’t change my mind. Period!” If he ignores what you say, he’s proving your feelings don’t matter to him - another one of the stalker warning signs.
Don’t let him down easy. That makes him think you’re not sure and might later change your mind. Clearly reject him (politely - to avoid his spiteful revenge), but avoid giving specific reasons because he’ll challenge each one.
Remain calm and very polite. The crucial key is carefully balancing between never insulting him yet never being warm to him either. Remain coolly polite. Simply say, "No thanks, I'm not interested.” Allowing no further discussion, do not negotiate. End the conversation. Otherwise, like a spark igniting a raging inferno, the deluded mind of a potential stalker will fan any glimmer of hope into a burning passion that will consume you. See the Top 10 Ways to Stop a Stalker.
See more at The 7 Types of Stalkers and How to Spot Them
If you see any stalker warning signs, you can see if he is also a registered sex offender by checking FamilyWatchdog.us. But, since rapists average 7 victims before their first arrest – many won’t be on the maps. And remember that sex offenders may prowl outside their neighborhood, or are homeless, or – as 24 percent do nationwide – assume false identities and disappear from official view (and may reappear in your neighborhood).