How can I overcome my fear of being stalked?
Q: I am a 28 years old woman who has been living in fear for almost a year now. Two years ago, I had a fling with a married man. He pursued me constantly and somehow a few months later, I started reciprocating. But, I was still sure that I was not going to be in a long-term relationship with him. One day we happened to have sex (no intercourse) and I felt so cheap at the end of it and came back to my senses. I decided to break all my contacts with him. I cursed myself for even getting into such a thing. So the fling lasted only for about 6 months. But, he tried to find out what I was doing and information about me through some of our common friends. When I came to know about this, I stopped having contacts with those friends too. About 8 months later, I got married to a guy who lives in the US. He did ask me once if I ever had a boyfriend and if I can tell him honestly because he didn't have a problem with that. But, I denied having been any kind of relationship before marriage. I thought there was no point in talking about my past and I wanted to move on. Even before I got married, I feared that married man would find about my marriage and blackmail me. Somehow that man got to know about my marriage and sent me an e-card wishing me happy married life. What shocked me is that he had mentioned where I would be living after marriage. This kindled my fears of being stalked. Though he now knows I am married, he still sends e-cards for New Years and my birthday. I don't open them. I know I am with a good guy, but I fear I may lose him if he finds out about my past. Also fear that married man will expose my past to my husband. I have been in the US for the past few months, but I still live in fear. I can't tell the truth to my husband now. Please help.
A:Fears of being stalked can sometimes indicate beginning of an illness, though sometimes this can be simply a transient response to stress. You should seek help from a common friend or a supportive family member and talk to your husband if possible, but that is a personal decision you have to make seeing your own circumstances. However, as you are going through a difficult time, if your mood becomes consistently low, you find yourself completely preoccupied with this issue and unable to find pleasure in anything, or if you begin fearing that people are talking about you or following you or planning to hurt you in any way, you should consult a mental health specialist as soon as possible. Often these can be signs of depression or a psychotic illness, and can be well managed with a combination of medication and psychotherapy.