Back in my old life, in Colorado as the stay-at-home mother of four children and the wife of a respected investment advisor, religious leader and upstanding member of the community, married for 20 years, etc…I got a kick out a song by Goldfinger. I think it was called “Stalker.”
My teenage son introduced it to me. He used to play it for me, we’d sing along with it in the car, laugh and dance to it in the kitchen, and were entertained by the lyrics every time we heard them.
“Uh-oh-oh she’s following me. Uh-oh-oh she’s out of her tree.Uh-oh-oh she’s off of her rocker. I wanna marry my stalker.”
I just never expected my spouse would one day reveal to me that he had been running a Ponzi scheme for most of our marriage, that he was heading to prison and that I would be left alone to raise our four children. I never expected my unexpected life. And I certainly NEVER expected to one day have my own stalker.
He was probably the only true bachelor I’ve dated. He was 46 years old and had never been married. He also earned the well-deserved title of Stalker, according to my friends, family and children.
“A stalker will look for any kind of attention, positive or negative. A vast majority of them don’t see themselves as stalkers.”~ Jill McArthur
I met him online.
I should have known his type–I saw him looking at me, or my profile online, 30-50 times over the course of several weeks yet he never contacted me. Not one word. I couldn’t figure out why some random stranger would look at my picture or information so frequently. I finally figured it out, though. I think that’s what they call online stalking! Lol.
Eventually, he contacted me. Called me. Asked me to dinner. We met at a restaurant and I confess, when I finally met him in person, I asked him about his propensity to view photos and profiles so often for so long yet never contact the people he was viewing. He told me he was “just bored.”
I guess it’s true: “A vast majority of them don’t see themselves as stalkers.”
After we were seated on our first date, we started comparing notes and realized we’d lived at the same apartment complex while attending the same university. I’d even worked in the office of the apartment complex and had taken his rent! We remembered a lot of the same people. It was 20 years later, so his face wasn’t familiar to me, but I knew who his roommates had been. We had 20 years of catching up to do.
Instead, he looked right at me and said, “I know EXACTLY who you are!”
Chilling. Even, or especially from, a stalker.
My heart sank to the pit of my stomach. I had distanced myself from every part of my old life. I had even moved to a new state where I didn’t know anyone. I lived quietly, under the radar, intentionally. I was trying to make a fresh start for my children and myself, far removed from the taint of a former family member accused of bilking clients out of millions of dollars through his Ponzi scheme. And in that moment I felt it was all for naught.
In my new city, in my new state, living my new life, I met a random “stranger” and my cover was blown.
Bachelor #8 had known my ex-husband and had been on business in Denver, CO, when news of Shawn Merriman’s Ponzi scheme and his criminal behavior broke and our assets were seized. Bachelor #8 had watched it all on the news. He put the details together while sitting in the restaurant with me.
He had a lot of questions. He grilled me about the Ponzi scheme, about how I could not have known what was going on, about my 20-year marriage, and appeared very skeptical of every answer I gave. It felt like Bachelor #8 was “good cop” AND “bad cop,” when all I was looking for was a social experience!
His side of the conversation consisted of comments about how while I had been married for 20 years, he had been doing the very same thing we were doing that night over and over again for the same amount of time. He told me he was sick of dating, tired of first dates, sick of getting to know new people, uninterested in the lives and stories of others, that everyone was the same and had the same story (I begged to differ on that one–I do not believe every single woman has an experience and a story like mine, but that’s just my opinion!) and he abhorred all of the “game playing” that was dating.
I couldn’t figure out why he had asked me out! And why he sat there, telling his date, me, that he hated what we were doing, didn’t want to get to know me, that he had heard everything I was going to say already before, and that he didn’t care about the details of my life.
It was the craziest first date I’ve ever been on, and all quite unexpected as a 42-year-old returning to dating after two decades of marriage.
The evening ended, I went home, walked up to my room and said to myself, “That was one of those ‘catch-up’ dates–what have you done the past 20 years? But I know I’ll never hear from him again!”
He called me the next morning at 9 a.m. and asked me out again for that night.
I couldn’t go. But my stalker didn’t give up. He called or texted me several times a week for the next few months. He asked me out when he came to town. If I couldn’t go out with him, he’d ask, “Why can’t you go? You got a date, don’t you?” And when I admitted the reason for my unavailability, he wanted to know all about the man I would be with and what we were doing–and then he’d text me throughout my date with the other man!
“Where are you?”
“What are you doing?”
“What restaurant are you at?”
“Do you like Mr. A.F.?” (He always named every one of my dates–Mr. A.F., Springville Guy, Tall Guy, Mr. P.G., etc…)
“What are you doing now?”
“You kiss him yet?”
When he asked me a question, and if I answered it, he’d always argue with me about my answer.
One night we went to an Italian restaurant for dinner. On the way home, he suddenly decided he wasn’t taking me home. Instead, he was taking me to the grocery store. The grocery store? I told him I didn’t want to go. He argued with me about that. I told him I didn’t need to go. He argued with me about that. I told him I wasn’t going to go. He just kept driving. He told me I was a single mom and single moms always needed food and always needed to go to the grocery store and buy food. He told me I could shop in peace, and he would follow along and push the cart for me. I had no course but to settle in for the drive to the grocery store. My stalker was as stubborn as they come.
At the grocery store he insisted I shop for what I needed. I didn’t really need anything–except groceries for the dinner I was making for Bachelor #7 the next night, so I finally thought, “What the heck? He won’t take no for an answer, he made me come here, he won’t let me leave until I shop, so I guess I’ll buy food for tomorrow night’s date!” And that’s exactly what I did.
Bachelor #8 followed me through the store, pushed the cart, gave me recipes he insisted I cook (and texted and emailed me several times to see if I’d cooked what he told me to cook–I never had), and even threw a few ingredients I absolutely DID NOT WANT (and later threw away because Bachelor #8 would not let me leave the store without the items he insisted I try) into the cart. After checking out, he loaded the sacks into his truck and drove me home. On the way to my home he instructed me to call my teenage son and tell him to meet us outside to haul the groceries into the house for me.
THAT bothered me. I didn’t introduce my children to the men I dated. I didn’t even let them see each other, usually. I argued against it, but my stalker insisted, so I made the call. I knew better than to try to argue with him.
My son and a nephew came out, met Bachelor #8, hauled in the groceries and were very quiet about him to me, but they did not become his fans! In fact, goodwill toward Bachelor #8 spread throughout the household. I don’t know what was said between brother and sister, but my teenage daughter started patrolling my phone, checking my texts, grabbing my phone if it rang, and if she saw it was my stalker, she would demand I not answer the phone! Bachelor #8 could have used some serious help from Dale Carnegie on “How To Win Friends And Influence People” at the Merriman house. At least with its teenagers!
Off and on, Bachelor #8 would continue to visit my profile. His views crept into the triple digits. I could NOT figure out what he was doing online at my profile so often! If I got online to check messages, he’d start IM chats with me and grill me about men I was dating, or argue with me about something. But he always called when he came to town and offered to take me out. (I should say he was progressively more cheerful and positive as the weeks went on. He was nicer and friendlier with each successive date. He was even funny sometimes. It was just that crazy stalking tendancy that was the issue. That, and the fact that besides me not being interested romantically or long term in Bachelor #8, he and my children would NEVER have meshed. At all.)
Eventually, one night he proposed marriage. In a roundabout way he admitted he didn’t love me, but firmly believed two good people, with the same beliefs and values, could marry, make it work and have a happy life together. I didn’t just say no to the proposal. I told him NO WAY. And of course, true to form, he argued with me about my answer!
He argued for my acceptance of the proposal. I absolutely argued against it. In the end, I told him I believed his theory could work but that I didn’t want to test it myself. I wanted more for me. I felt I was too young to settle for anything less than my ideal. I was holding out for love.
I still believe in love. I still believe in fairy tales. And I’m still waiting for my happily ever after ending. (Boy. I say that so often it’s almost as if it’s my mantra! Lol.)
But maybe, just maybe, if I say it often enough or long enough, it will eventually come true for me.
Finally, the stalking of my stalker, Bachelor #8, ran it’s course. I got busy with other people, and Bachelor #8 went on a date with someone else. (And called to tell me about it afterward.) I didn’t hear much from my stalker after that…until I started this blog.
Bachelor #8 found it, contacted me, and argued with me about my blog. He argued against my blog with everything he had. When all of that failed, he brought up the safety of my children (he knows how to cut right to the heart of a mother, huh?) and every other thing he could think of to dissuade me in relation to blogging.
But in the end, as in many other times in my life, past and particularly present, I had to stand alone and do what I thought was best for me. (And my children.) And do you know what? I’m still blogging. It has been five whole months of writing and my children and I are not only safe, we’re better and happier than ever!
Who said stalkers know best?
I only know this: “But I do know people that have stalkers and it’s not nice.” (Daniel Craig)
On to Bachelor #9.