Entries in stalking (5)


After the Breakup: Who’s Through and Who Pursues

When I told my ex-husband that I wanted a divorce, I knew that it would not be easy to overcome the legal and logistical hurdles that would inevitably follow. But I was eager to tend to my emotional bruises and move on to whatever else life had to offer. My ex-husband, on the other hand, was not ready to let our relationship—or me—disappear quietly into the night. Months after I filed the paperwork and I had moved across town into a small, one-bedroom apartment, he continued to pressure me to give our relationship another chance. He sent dozens of texts and emails declaring his undying love. I awoke one morning to him banging on my door, asking me to comfort him. He left a (gaudy) handpicked bouquet of flowers at my office. Most recently, I opened my front door and literally stumbled over a container full of leftover food and a $500 winning lottery ticket (okay, so I kept the lottery ticket). These events took place so frequently that, for a while, I was genuinely scared to leave my apartment, lest I run into him or another “gift” that he left for me.

My situation is not unique. Unwanted pursuit behaviors—which include relatively innocuous behaviors, such as gift-giving or exaggerated displays of affection, as well as more serious types of intrusions, such as stalking or threats of physical violence—occur relatively frequently following relationship breakups.

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Should You Stay “Friends” With Your Ex-Partner On Facebook?

Let’s face it, Facebook has changed the way we experience romantic relationships. The widespread popularity of Facebook has increased the amount of information people can access about their romantic partners - past, present, and future. In addition, Facebook has provided new ways for romantic partners to communicate. In previous posts, I talked about research findings linking Facebook use to higher levels of romantic jealousy and greater relationship satisfaction when going “Facebook official”. But, what are the consequences of staying Facebook “friends” with a partner after breaking up with said partner?

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“Insanimus Guano,” Stalking, and How to Deal with Unstable Ex-partners

My friend Jessica just broke up with her boyfriend of 6 months. Why? Her boyfriend’s ex-wife went crazy after finding out he was dating someone new; she created a scene in front of his house that ultimately required him to call the police to get her to leave his property. Suffice it to say, my friend did not want to be involved with someone who brought so much baggage to the table.

I understood all too well. Sadly, many of my closest friends have had similar experiences. A few of my favorite gems (names have been changed to protect the innocent):

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I’m Watching You on Facebook: Attachment and Partner Surveillance

Facebook helps you stay connected with friends and family, but some people also use it to keep tabs on their romantic partners. Anxiously attached people are more likely to use Facebook to monitor their partners’ behaviors and are more jealous about their partners’ Facebook use (e.g., if the partner is still friends with a former boyfriend/girlfriend). Conversely, avoidant people show the opposite pattern; they monitor their partners less and feel less jealousy.

(A note to you anxious folks out there: if it will help you feel better, please don’t be afraid to spend lots of time monitoring the SofR Facebook page; avoidants are welcome too.)

Marshall, T. C., Bejanyan, K., Di Castro, G., & Lee, R. A. (in press). Attachment styles as predictors of Facebook-related jealousy and surveillance in romantic relationships. Personal Relationships.


Facebook Notifications or Your Crystal Ball?

Are you itching to know when your friends' relationships crash and burn? Rather than waiting for them to tell you about it, a new Facebook app will notify you when they've become single. It's just what all you stalkers were waiting for.

Of course, you probably could have guessed that these relationships were doomed. There's research showing that friends are actually more accurate in predicting breakup than are the members of the relationship itself.1 Thats right-- friends seem to know best; even better than the couple. In addition, friends' approval for a relationship is as good of a predictor of breakup as is the satisfaction level of the people in the relationship.2 So if you want to know if a relationship will break up, it's just as useful to know what the friends think about the relationship as it is to ask the couple members if they are happy in their relationship.

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