I sent my ex an email, pretending to be someone else, to see if he wanted me back. How did I become a certified stalker?

After being dumped by Elliot, my boyfriend of six months, I soon regretted the instructions I gave him when he ended the relationship: “Unless you’re calling to tell me you realize the huge mistake you made, don’t call me at all,” I’d said in my most empowered voice.

Much to my dismay, he obeyed. Within 36 hours of my firm declaration, I was going into communication withdrawal, holding my cell phone for hours at a time, praying it would vibrate. Nothing.

Not knowing if he would ever call was worse than the break-up itself. I had to know if he was going to contact me, or if it was really over. But after my hardball approach to his request to be friends, I couldn’t just call him up and say, “Hey. What’s up? About that whole not-wanting-to-talk-unless-you-want-me-back thing, um…never mind.”

Here was where a mutual friend would have come in so handy. This caring individual could have investigated the situation, sought out my ex for a little post-break-up debrief, and reported back to me whether I should move on or wait things out just a little while longer. However, Elliot and I ran in different circles, and this go-between simply did not exist.

What if I got a friend of mine to email him, asking whether he missed me? None of my friends would agree to something so juvenile. They were all of the opinion that I was wasting my time pining away as it was. I would have to take matters into my own hands.

Step 1: Turn on laptop. Step 2: Open an email account in a friend’s name. [Note: I decided to go with my girl Danielle, as she just moved out west, and was unlikely to bump into Elliot, which would of course reveal me for the fraud that I was.] Step 3: Send Elliot an email, stating that I [Danielle] wanted to send Rachel [me] on a blind date with a great guy, but I didn’t want to do it if he was going to try to repair the relationship. Could he write back and let me know where he stood?

So there I sat, having sent an email to my ex, while pretending to be my own good friend, in order to see if he wanted me back. This was a new low. Days went by. I began to panic. If Elliot somehow discovered that the email was fake, not only would he not regret breaking up with me, but he would be relieved that he got rid of such a psychopath before I started boiling his bunny rabbit. Frantically, I called my buddy who works as a computer engineer, and asked him whether there was any way that Elliot could somehow discover that the email was sent from my home computer. He laughed for a full minute before responding, “Um, I don’t think you want to know the answer.” I hung up the phone, suddenly paranoid that my call may be monitored and replayed on the evening news.

Now in full hysteria, I decided to call Danielle and fess up to stealing her identity. If Elliot somehow got her real contact information, I needed her to verify my story. After several moments of shocked silence, she said a soft, gentle voice reserved only for addressing people on the brink of insanity, “Honey, you’ve become a certified stalker.”

She was absolutely right. With that simple statement, my sense of self (and sanity) was restored. I am not crazy. I am not desperate. Therefore, I should not behave as though I am both. And I certainly don’t need to humiliate myself on Elliot’s account (no pun intended).

Of course, just when I stopped obsessing over whether he was going to write back or not, he actually did respond. In the most polite way possible, he informed me [Danielle] that his relationship issues were in fact none of my business, and that if Rachel [I] had the opportunity to meet a good match for her, then he wished her the best.

I would be lying if I said that I wasn’t a little disappointed by his message. A small amount of jealousy on his part would have been flattering. It became clear that I was extremely naïve to believe that I would get any true satisfaction out of a dialogue based on deception. In fact, this whole fiasco would never have begun had I just admitted to myself that I did in fact still want to communicate with Elliot, despite the break-up. But it was too late to repair the situation. Having run out of sneaky ways to deny the truth, it was finally time to sign off, and move forward.

Rachel Skerritt lives in Boston and is in fact not crazy whatsoever. Her latest novel, When The Lights Go Down, is in stores now. Visit www.rachelskerritt.com for more information.

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  • Kay

    I remember doing things like this back in the day. But after a while, when I decided to feel like calling an ex, I started thinking about what made them an ex in the first place, and I could never make myself dial their number. I would make myself busy with interesting things so I didn’t have to think about them, and pretty soon it got easier. Usually when you are not thinking about your ex in any way, shape or form, they will try contacting you. But by that time you won’t care.

  • Jen

    This was so funny, love your writing. So honest and right on. Every girl goes through one stocking phase in her life, lets hope just one :)

    Jen