I Married My Stalker

Hindsight can be a big kick in the pants.

Woman realizing she married her stalker fizkes, rcphotostock | Canva

Hindsight can be a big kick in the pants and relationship blind spots can be huge. When negative actions and boundary violations creep up on you slowly, it doesn’t set off the alarm bells that should be blasting like a tornado siren.

In my case, I was very young the day I met my ex. I was a 9-year-old in the 4th grade. I had no idea what a red flag was or what the word boundary meant at that age. This led me down a path of poor choices and non-existent self-awareness of my part in our relationship problems.


It wasn’t until my current partner said to me, “It sounds like you married your stalker,” that I even considered this viewpoint. His stalking behaviors were some of the biggest blind spots I held onto.

Blind spots are normal for a narcissistic relationship. You are required to not see the negatives so you can remain in the relationship. If your eyes were wide open the entire time it would be too painful to stay. Cognitive dissonance is the name of the game in codependency, and I played it very well.

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Here are 3 stalking behaviors I missed in my marriage:

1. Constant communication

It began slowly. Once we transitioned from friends to romantic partners, the stalking began to creep into our dynamic in small ways. A phone call every few days turned into dozens of calls each day. When texting became a thing, I would receive hundreds of texts each day. This went on for nearly the entire 20 years of our romantic relationship.

It’s deceptive because it became a routine. I never considered this stalking because it was how it always had been. It just was. He had an insatiable need for communication.

I recall one troubling instance early in our marriage. He had been given a satellite phone by his unit for contact while he was on a mission overseas. He called me so much that it was confiscated from him after repeated warnings to stop using it so much. It resulted in zero communication for almost a full week. It was an odd feeling at first. I hadn’t been able to be away from my phone for many years at that point, but it became peaceful and I was disappointed when he was given phone privileges back. (Of course, I felt guilty for being disappointed. I didn’t realize at the time that it was normal to feel that way. )

Constant contact translated into his parenting style as well. He attempts to constantly contact our kids. Many times, our youngest had hidden his phone and “lost” it for weeks on end to avoid having to answer the endless stream of calls and messages. No amount of therapists have been able to slow this activity. It remains to this day.


2. Calling neighbors, friends, police, and coworkers to come "check on me"

The first time my husband called someone to 'check on me' when he couldn't reach me, I was confused but also a bit happy. I felt as if he truly cared about me and was worried about my well-being. After a dozen or more times, it became a nuisance.  I have had more people check on me than I like to admit — not because I needed checking up on. Not once has there ever been an actual emergency. His reasons for the check-ups are always similar:

Reason = He was worried something had happened to me or the kids.

Cause = I didn’t immediately answer my phone or emails.

The progression of contact is this: 1. Phone call 2. Texts 3. If no answer then an email is sent 4. More calls 5. More texts and calls from work lines as well 6. Emails from all email accounts and more calls. If all of those fail to make contact within 30 minutes, then he calls someone to come to the house. If he can’t get someone we know, he'll call the police.


The majority of the time I couldn't get in contact, it was because I was taking a shower or in the middle of a task that didn’t involve being near technology. I learned I needed to announce all of my plans so he wouldn’t have a meltdown if I didn't respond to his messages within minutes. This is a technique used by many abusers to control their targets and keep them in line.

3. Showing up unannounced

This behavior isn't that alarming if you're in a normal relationship. Typically, a husband or wife can show up at home whenever they feel like it because they live there as well. That isn’t what I’m referring to. My husband would sneak back home after telling me that he wasn’t going to be there to try and catch me in the act of doing something. (What exactly? I'm not sure.) Funny enough, all he caught me doing was raising our kids, cooking, doing yard work, and cleaning.

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Here are 3 other alarming behaviors I overlooked in my marriage:

The stalking was accompanied by aggressive and controlling behaviors that were designed to let people know that I was his. His property. I wasn’t a person, I was a device. I made a good girlfriend/wife appliance.


1.  Not allowing me to speak to or look at other men

When we went out for ice cream and a movie, he would stare at other men and stand between us. I wasn’t allowed to look at the men or he'd feel like I was inviting them to speak to me. If he thought they were looking at me he would tell them to stop or ask, “What are you looking at?” It was embarrassing, but he talked it away by proclaiming it was only because he loved me too much and would die if I left him for another man.

2. Frequent demands for public displays of affection

I was required to kiss him or allow him to grope me in public whenever he pleased no matter where we were. Whenever I was uncomfortable, he took it as a sign that I no longer loved him and wanted to break up with him.

3. Verbalizing disappointment

I don’t know how many times I heard that I was a disappointment — too many to count.

  • “You’re so much better than that. I can’t believe you stooped so low.”
  • “I thought you were different. I guess I was wrong.”
  • “It feels like you tricked me. I thought I was getting a better person for a wife.”
  • “I thought higher of you before that. I need to rethink this relationship.”

A few months earlier in therapy he had “discovered” that he felt loved the most when I was in good shape. So he made a rule that I had to work out three times each week. It was not a suggestion. The harassment and verbal abuse for not hitting the three-workout/week mark was terrible and I was desperate to avoid it. I also was excited he was finally going to therapy again and didn’t want to rock the boat. I know now that this was all crap and was yet another manipulation and control tactic, but I didn’t know it then.

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Hindsight is 20/20

Years of trauma coaching, therapy, and healing have wiped the dust from my eyes. I thought I had been married to someone who was simply a little obsessive and needy but I had been married to an emotionally abusive stalker. We are now divorced.

Sadly, my ex has continued this behavior with his new relationship and our kids and occasionally still with me. Even after being many years out of the marriage, he still lurks.


Just a few weeks ago I had the police at my door after he didn’t get a response to a text on our shared parenting app — a text that didn’t require a response. The reason he gave law enforcement: “She is court-ordered to maintain contact with me every 24 hours.” Which of course isn’t true. No order like this exists, and I don’t know a court on the planet that would order that a woman can’t go more than 24 hours without contacting her ex-husband.

If you think you may be experiencing depression or anxiety as a result of ongoing emotional abuse, you are not alone. 

Domestic abuse can happen to anyone and is not a reflection of who you are or anything you've done wrong. 


If you feel as though you may be in danger, there is support available 24/7/365 through the National Domestic Violence Hotline by calling 1-800-799-7233. If you’re unable to speak safely, text LOVEIS to 1-866-331-9474, or log onto thehotline.org.

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Cecilia Williams is a Narcissism Informed Life Coach who specializes in trauma, Cluster B disorder issues, and toxic family dynamics using Brainspotting and Somatic Reprogramming techniques to promote healing.