Bianca Knows Best 

Dear Bianca,

I recently went on a date with a woman I met online. Through e-mail conversations and photos, she seemed intelligent and attractive.

The date started out fine, but toward the end, she asked me if I was looking to be in a serious relationship or just dating around. I told her I would be keeping my options open, and she freaked out. She cried and became very obsessive.

Two weeks have passed, and I made the unfortunate decision to continue seeing her. Now things are getting worse. She calls me multiple times throughout the day and she's becoming more and more obsessed with me. I feel trapped, like I can't breathe.

I know I need to end the relationship, but since she's obviously a little psycho, how should I go about that without putting my life, or hers, in danger?

-- Object of Obsession

Dear Object,

Sounds like you need to borrow a prayer from Jenny in Forrest Gump: "Dear God, make me a bird, so I can fly far. Far, far away from here."

Really, you need to run. Fast. Otherwise you might end up being led around town on this woman's leash, because she's not going to let you have any freedom. If she's obsessed after two weeks, imagine what psychological damage she can do in, say, two years.

Breaking things off will be delicate. Stalkers and obsessive types are the kind of people who could resort to violence when they can't have the objects of their obsession. I'm assuming she knows where you live.

You should start by gently telling her that you're not interested in pursuing a relationship anymore. Tell her you're going through some emotional personal issues and can't handle a relationship right now.

Be certain you don't lead her to believe the problem is with her. Don't say anything that would make her feel that you think she has a problem. And don't tell her that you want to see other people, because you don't want her sitting outside your house in surveillance mode.

Once you've had the talk, stop answering phone calls from her and don't return any e-mails. Cut off all contact and pray she finds someone else to harass.

If she goes into stalker mode, you can always contact the police and get a restraining order. But that can be a lengthy process, so stay alert and be on the lookout for any stalker activity.

On that note, don't re-visit the places where you've taken her out for dates for several months. She may go looking for you there.

For future reference, don't even think about going on a second date with someone who gets possessive and freaks out on the first one. You definitely got yourself into this mess. Good luck.

Got a problem? Bianca can solve it ... or least give you crappy advice that you can choose to ignore. Send advice queries to bphillips@memphisflyer.com.

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