The Creep Factor

3 Oct

Letterbalm Clingy GuyDear LetterBalm: I’ve been dating a guy for the past couple of months. We do have a good time when we’re out, but “Dennis” does things that irritate me and make me uncomfortable. He constantly texts me and sulks when I don’t answer or my text isn’t bubbly enough. He has to be touching me all the time – he grabs my hand, puts his arm around my waist or shoulder, plays with my hair. Dennis says he wants to be with me all the time, he gushes over me and doesn’t seem to have friends or interests. His behavior is stifling, and it’s creeping me out. I’ve been postponing telling him we have to stop dating because I don’t think he’ll take it well. What can I say?

–Not Touchy-Feely

Dennis may, indeed, be an overly affectionate, touchy-feely nice guy who wants nothing more than to show you how he feels about you. You can continue to see him until his cloying, unhealthy and obsessive behavior drives you to the point of distraction and you scream STOP! Please, please pay attention to your instincts. You’re uncomfortable, and in this age of stalking, identity theft and worse, you can’t be too careful. Do you want this man in your life? He may not be a stalker or a controller in the making, but do you want to take the risk, especially since you’re not emotionally invested in the relationship? Once you decide, Ms. L.B. advises you to take a few discreet precautions before you have a conversation with him. If Dennis has had access to your keys, change your locks. To forestall e-revenge, review your devices (and banking/passwords) and Facebook settings or have a trusted techie friend do so. Be kind but direct and firm and be prepared that Dennis may not take rejection well and may persist in unwanted attentions. (Keep detailed records – date, time, incident – to document this behavior in case you need them.) Be sure to talk with him in a public place and have a couple of vigilant friends in the vicinity:

Dennis, you’ve certainly shown me generous devotion. But I’m uncomfortable with the level of attention you show me and want from me. All the touching, the multiple texts every day that you expect me to answer, the constant reassurances you ask for – all this is too much for me. We’re on different emotional levels, and this will never change. It shows that we aren’t compatible. You deserve a woman who matches your level of closeness, who thrives on the devotion you show her, who truly appreciates you. That woman isn’t me and never will be. Dennis, we need to get on with our lives, so we must stop seeing each other right away. We must part with our best wishes to each other.

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