About six months into dating Joseph, I realised that our relationship wasn’t working out. Joseph was a good guy, but I didn’t feel all that emotionally connected to him. I saw him more as a friend than a romantic partner, and I knew that I couldn’t be with him in the long run. I was keen to fall in love and settle down, and Joseph just wasn’t the one I could see myself spending forever with.
Joseph didn’t take news of the break-up very well. At first, he cried and asked me to give him another chance, telling me that he loved me and couldn’t be without me. But when I stood firm and made it clear that it was over between us, he got mad. I would’ve continued to stay friends with him, but because he was so angry I decided against it. After splitting up, I wished him well and told him that we needed to move on with our lives. Not long after, weird things started happening…
As I hadn’t been in love with Joseph, getting over him was fairly easy. A couple of weeks after the break-up I started hanging out with new guys and socialising the way any single woman would.
One evening, I was at the cinema waiting for a male friend when I saw Joseph. He walked over to me and started a conversation, but it felt awkward so I excused myself to go to the restroom. Ten minutes later I went back to the cinema lobby; Joseph was nowhere in sight and I breathed a sigh of relief…. After the movie, my friend and I went for dinner and I spotted Joseph again – he was alone and standing outside the restaurant, apparently waiting for me to leave. I pretended not to notice him, and when I finally did leave the restaurant, my friend and I ran through the crowd to try and avoid him.
The following week, I saw Joseph again, this time standing outside the MRT station at my workplace. He didn’t work in the area so he had no reason to be there. When he saw me he waved; I forced a nervous smile but didn’t go over and speak to him.
Twice more over the next month, I spotted my ex again, but in the most random of places – while shopping with my friends in town and while buying my breakfast at the coffee-shop near my block. Both times I pretended not to see him. But a few days later I sent him a text telling him that I knew he’d been following me, to which he replied: ‘I don’t know what you’re talking about’.
More creepy acts
Thankfully, after sending him that text, I didn’t see him for several weeks. By then I’d practically forgotten that he even existed.
But one morning when I got to work, my supervisor was waiting for me, and she looked angry. She told me that she’d received an anonymous email that had contained screenshots of texts that had apparently been written by me. The texts were complaints about my job and my supervisor. When I saw them, my blood ran cold.
Those were texts I had sent Joseph months earlier when I was going through a bad period at work. But I couldn’t admit that I’d written them, so, thinking quickly, I professed my innocence and told my supervisor that it was an ex trying to get me in trouble.
I insisted that the screenshots were doctored because I would never have written such horrible things about her. I reassured her that I would deal with it and apologised if the email caused her distress. She seemed not to believe that I hadn’t written them, but she accepted my apology and warned me not to bring my personal problems to work.
Now I was seriously scared. Thankfully, those were the only text messages I’d sent Joseph about my job, so I didn’t have to worry that he would send more to my supervisor. But the fact that he was now trying to get back at me for dumping him unnerved me.
Around this time I’d just started dating someone else. I didn’t tell him about Joseph because I didn’t think it was fair to involve him. But when I spotted my ex one night when I was on a dinner date – he was sitting a few tables from us and staring at me – I told my new guy everything. How did Joseph know where to find me that evening? Had he been in contact with one of my friends? Had he hacked into my Facebook account or followed me all the way from my house? My date told me to report Joseph to the police before the situation got out of hand. We left the restaurant in a hurry and didn’t look back.
Making a police report
Later, I made a police report. I didn’t want to get Joseph into any kind of legal trouble; I just wanted him to leave me alone. The police officer told me that they could give him a warning but also mentioned that, because Joseph had not harmed or threatened me, it would be difficult for the police to interfere. Nevertheless, I insisted that they take his personal details down, in case he tried to hurt me in the future.
When I went home, I sent Joseph an email and a text message, and I copied my parents on both. I told him that I was aware that he’d been stalking me and trying to get me in trouble at work and that I’d already reported him to the police. I warned him that if I saw him anywhere near me again, I would not hesitate to file a restraining order against him. I said enough to scare him, and I must have done a good job because I never saw or heard from him again.
I’m glad that I stood up to Joseph. It was a scary few months and I dread to think what would’ve happened had I not put a stop to his creepy behaviour. I’m sure he would not have harmed me physically, but I know that jealousy and anger can do horrible things to a person, and I wasn’t about to risk my safety to find out how much worse he could get.
*Names have been changed
Text: Melissa Wong/Her World