A creepy acquaintance continues to contact me, even though I've asked him to stop.

Advice on manners and morals.
Feb. 19 2009 6:43 AM

The Fixated Fiance

He's engaged to an acquaintance of mine, but the persistent creep won't let me be.

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Dear Prudence,
I am a university student, and a few months ago I met the fiance of an acquaintance at a social event. He was friendly and seemed like a nice guy. I didn't think anything of our encounter, but he soon found out my phone number and friended me on a networking site. A red flag went up when I got his first instant message, but I talked to him and was cautiously friendly. He told me how interesting I was and asked me personal questions. Over the weeks his texts and instant messages, which I only rarely responded to, became uncomfortably frequent, so I told him that I respected his fiancee and thought his behavior was inappropriate. He was shocked and emphatically assured me that I had nothing to worry about and that he just really enjoyed meeting me. He then told me he couldn't wait to see me again and would make sure that his fiancee was there. After we finished talking, he sent a text message saying, "I just wanted to say goodnight." This freaked me out, so I blocked him online and ignored his messages. It worked for several months. Recently he e-mailed wondering if I was OK and saying that he was looking forward to seeing me at a certain school event that I will be required to attend. I didn't respond, but now I'm terrified to see him. Do you think I'm being paranoid? How do I avoid him at this event?

—Leave Me Alone,

Dear Leave Me,
There is something insidious about this guy's behavior, and your internal alarm system is smart to keep warning that you need to get him out of your life. If he had been the kind of lout who simply came on to you, you could have brushed him off, and he'd have moved on to other targets. But he has a creepy mind game going, in which he buzzes around you, apparently fantasizing that you two have a relationship, then professes to not understand why his interest would make you uncomfortable. Cue the staccato, squealing violin music. Although laws vary from state to state, this guy is harassing you, and you need to create a record that you have unequivocally told him to cease contact. Collect all the evidence of his communications that you still have. Reply to his e-mail by stating that he is not to communicate with you in any form. Say any further contact from him will be harassment, and you will take the appropriate action with the authorities. Then go to your event with a friend, ignore the creep, and try to have a good time. If he approaches you, just repeat calmly and quietly, "I've told you to leave me alone" and walk away. If you hear any more from him, the next step is the police. This is also something you should tell your parents—you need people to talk to about this, and they might want to look into getting a lawyer if you keep getting contacted. You have resisted the temptation to tell your acquaintance about the lunatic she is planning to marry. Let's hope someone clues her in, but it shouldn't be you. You don't want to do anything that would get you further involved in this jerk's real or imagined romantic life.

—Prudie

Dear Prudie:
I am a female involved in a four-year-long polyamorous relationship with a married couple. We are all happy and love one another very much. They have invited me to move into their home, and I would like to. The problem is that their two teenage children are beyond angry with the relationship. Even though they are not losing anything as a result of the relationship, they blame me for breaking the family apart and are very rude to me and their parents as a result. We don't want to break up to appease their children, who will be out of the house and on their own soon enough. But I can't imagine putting myself in the middle of such an uncomfortable living situation. Any suggestions for getting these teens to learn to accept me and the relationship?

—Three Is Not a Crowd

Dear Three,
Teenagers are just impossible these days. Mom and Dad go out and get a perfectly nice girlfriend to share, and the kids totally destroy the great erotic vibe you've all got going with their insolent remarks like, "Ewww, gross!" and "Why can't you be normal like other parents and just get a divorce or something?" They sound like complete downers who don't even understand the stimulating couplings and triplings that could take place when they have their friends sleep over (before the friends' parents hear about this, and all of you end up explaining polyamory to social services). It's too bad these rotten kids don't understand that their parents' need to fulfill their sexual appetites takes precedence over providing them a stable home. But since the teenagers are doing nothing but making life unpleasant for your happy threesome, my only suggestion for you is to find a couple who had the good judgment not to have children and leave this family alone.

—Prudie                                                                                                   

Dear Prudence,
I received a beautiful bouquet of roses at work on Valentine's Day. Although the card was not signed, I immediately text-messaged my long-distance boyfriend and thanked him for the flowers. But during our nightly phone call, he informed me that he was not the sender. Flabbergasted, I reassured my annoyed boyfriend that there was no one else who I could imagine sending me flowers, except possibly my forlorn ex-spouse, whom I divorced several months ago. My boyfriend was so upset that he stated his own Valentine's surprise for me was "ruined," and I did not receive anything from him. Although I apologized for assuming the flowers were from him, our conversations now feel strained because of this misunderstanding, and I don't know what to think of his behavior toward me for my honest mistake. I don't know or care who sent the flowers, and when I found out they were not from my boyfriend, I threw them in the garbage. How should I have handled this situation to avoid him being annoyed with me?