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My ex constantly messages me on social media. Is that stalking?

Breaking up is hard for most people. For some, it can feel next to impossible to move on. This does not mean you should put up with annoying or harassing behavior that makes you feel uncomfortable or afraid for your safety. Laws in Arizona should protect you from stalking, but you might feel confused as to whether the behavior you are experiencing with your ex qualifies as such.

For now, your ex has limited the harassment to social media and electronic contact, which you find annoying but not particularly harmful. You might have asked for the contact to stop, without any favorable results, but you are not overly worried. However, over time, you notice that the tone and frequency of the messages are changing, turning from irritating to alarming, including the following:

  • Constant texts and phone calls at all hours, to the point where you turn your phone off at bedtime and have received numerous text messages by morning
  • Comments on your social media posts and photos, including older ones
  • Obsessive or intrusive behavior toward your friends on social media that ranges from embarrassing to concerning, especially toward someone who might be considered your romantic interest
  • Suggestions and threats on social media that something bad will happen if you do not answer or take your ex back

As you are already beginning to see, stalking behavior can often escalate. Your ex may obsess over you on social media today, but could follow you home from work or show up at your doorstep tomorrow. FindLaw defines stalking as any unwanted, repetitive behavior or pursuit that makes you feel intimidated, threatened and afraid. Therefore, receiving numerous texts, emails and messages on social media can count as stalking. It may help to save screenshots of the harassing messages to show the court when you seek a protective order.

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