Last night I couldn’t get to sleep and my mind kept racing through various old memories. There was one that I just couldn’t get out of my head and I figured this morning that there must be a reason for that. So I’m writing it today so that you will share it with your single female friends and moms will share it with their college-aged daughters. I thank God that things turned out the way that they did in the end, because I know now that they could have gone very differently.
I know it’s a long story, but I sincerely believe that it could help someone from making a stupid mistake that could cost her life.
My husband and I have been together since high school. But through college and law school we experienced a lot of ups and downs. When I was in law school I lived by myself in an apartment in Bloomington. My boyfriend (Kevin) and I were having a rough patch and I started spending a lot of evenings and weekends on AOL (yeah…that’s where us old people used to talk online). I posted in some IU student forums and “met” a guy that we will call Rob there.
Rob was incredibly nice through all of our chats and I thought we were friends. I complained about my boyfriend problems and he was always right there to tell me how great I was and how my boyfriend didn’t deserve me. I started sharing more and more personal information with him, like the apartment complex I lived in and what classes I was taking.
One weekend my boyfriend and I “broke up” (which wasn’t too odd for us to do about every other month) and I was so mad that I told him I was going to start dating Rob. So I messaged Rob and asked if we wanted to do something. I have no idea what could possibly have been going through my mind. But for some reason I thought it was better for us to see each other on my “home turf” rather than going out somewhere. Stupid, huh? But it made sense to me at the time. And I wanted to impress him with my cooking.
I told him where I lived and he came over for dinner. It was very nice and he was very nice, just like he was online. After dinner he made it clear that he wanted to be more than friends, and I told him I wasn’t comfortable with that and that we should probably call it a night.
The next day I felt terrible and I called Kevin and apologized and he drove to Bloomington and we made up and I thought all was right with the world.
I saw Rob online as usual and tried to explain that Kevin and I had gotten back together. I thought he would be happy for me because he claimed to be my friend and “only wanted what was best for me.” But he got very angry and started harassing me through AOL. It got so bad that I had to call AOL to have them block him from being able to message me.
It didn’t stop there. He started calling me and harassing me over the phone and saying I should give him just “one more chance.” I always hung up. It got to the point that if I saw “private number” on the caller ID I would not answer it for fear it might be him.
One night I saw a call coming from a payphone (remember what those were??) and answered it. It was him asking if he could see me. I told him “no” and that I didn’t want him calling anymore. Not 5 minutes later, there was a knock at my front door. He started yelling at me through it, telling me that he called from the payphone in the parking lot so he knew that I had to still be home. He was incredibly insistent, but I just sat there making no noise.
I was scared. But not as scared as when I looked up and saw him staring at me through the sliding glass door. I immediately ran to my bedroom and called the police. They were there within a few minutes and took all of the information I gave them. They told me that they would go and find him and I could press charges.
Except the couldn’t find him. Everything that he told me about himself was fake. The reason his phone number always came across as private was because he was blocking it so I couldn’t know his real name. They even checked the IU records for someone with the name I gave them, and there was no student by that name.
I got lucky that he gave up after I called the police. At that point he probably was afraid that if he continued to come around, they might find him. I can’t help but wonder now what could have happened that night of our date. Or if I had not had my sliding glass door locked. Or if he had decided my calling the police was not a deterrent.
I haven’t thought about this story in many years, but the fact that I couldn’t get it out of my head tells me that I need to be sharing it right now. It’s easy to be taken in by charming people. But charming people are not always good people. And charming people usually know how to lie and get what they want. Be smart about giving out your information and never, ever allow yourself to be in a secluded location with a stranger no matter what you think you know about him!