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When women are hounded by exes it’s criminalized. When men are hounded by exes it can be seen as comical. Too often guys who complain about relentless overtures from a woman receive pats on the backs because the girl can’t let go, or teased for not being able to put her in check. But stalking can get real very quickly. According to the, 2/3 of stalkers pursue their victims at least once a week, intimate partner stalkers have volatile behavior and weapons are used in 20 percent of stalking cases. And 40 percent of stalking victims are men.

Stalking is more than “she won’t stop sweating me,” its an issue that presents in the form of persistent, unwanted conduct that causes reasonable fear and discomfort. Stalking doesn’t feel like a crush, it feels oppressive. It’s something that should be taken seriously, regardless of gender. If you’re a dude with a stalker, be proactive. Here’s how.

Be Clear

It’s important to be frank about your lack of interest in pursuing a friendship or relationship with this person. While you don’t want to be mean or condescending, don’t give false hope with phrases like, “I’m not in the space” or send mixed messages with your facial expressions and body language. There should be no hugs or smirks, this is not a laughing matter.

Document Everything

If the person reaches out after your initial conversation, reiterate your stance via text. Make it clear that you’d like to cease communication and that you are not interested in any kind of relationship. Begin documenting how frequently the contact.

Talk to the Police

You have to go to the police first, and early on. The longer you wait the more challenging it will be to make it clear that this isn’t just a drama-filled relationship. Reach out to officers to let them know what’s going on, record your initial complaint and figure out how to proceed.

Consistency is Key

You must be relentless in your stance. You can’t indulge encounters, whether they’re private or in a group. You can’t respond to texts. You can’t chat on the phone. You can’t accept gifts. You must make it clear that all interactions are unwanted.