Dear Dr. Romance:
A year ago I broke up with a guy who then stalked me. I finally got rid of him, and then I found out he had a criminal record. I googled him, and found out he lives just a few miles away. and he is currently in jail for four separate DUIs, resisting arrest, reckless driving, and probation violation! Bail has been denied. Needless to say, there is not a shred of doubt left in my mind that I did the right thing by cutting and running as soon as things started getting weird.
I am very upset that he is still, a year later, living so close. He probably won't come to my town, because he has outstanding warrants here, but I can't be sure. How can I keep myself safe?
I'm so glad you got out of that relationship. Googling is instructive, isn't it? Everyone should do it with anyone they've just met, and know nothing about. You may have gotten a restraining or protection order when you first broke up the relationship. If you did not, get one now. Ask your local police department what the procedure is in your community. Call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1.800.799.SAFE (7233) They will answer any questions you have about keeping yourself safe, and your call is confidential. Also, tell all your friends, family and neighbors to be aware of the problem. If you have a picture of this guy, show it to everyone, and tell them to call the police if he shows up anywhere near your home or work. If you have a protection or restraining order, he is breaking the law just by being too close to your home or work, so the police will take him in. Also, be sure they know he has outstanding warrants, it's another reason to arrest him. "How to Keep Yourself Out of a Violent Relationship" will give you more details about how to be safe.
Love Styles: How to Celebrate Your Differences will give you the tools and information you need to understand whether a date can be a good partner.
For low-cost counseling, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org