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by Abigail Van Buren

Single Mother Is Frightened by Former Date's Persistence

DEAR ABBY: I recently began dating again as a single mother. I met a man I'll call "Mickey" at a singles dance and agreed to meet him at a coffeehouse a few days later because I had decided to date him. However, Mickey followed me home. I saw him pass my house.

A few days later, he showed up at a store where I was shopping, although he doesn't live nearby. I invited him over for dinner, and he showed up again within the week, uninvited, and walked into my house while I was taking a nap! When I confronted him about entering my house uninvited, he said he was "concerned about my welfare." (I have systemic lupus.)

Abby, I dated Mickey a total of four weeks. Since then, he has continuously driven by my house and dropped off presents of books, cards, candy, flowers, etc. I have asked him not to come by uninvited or without calling first, but he just dropped off another book. He appears not to understand that his intrusive behavior is freaking me out. What can I do? Is this considered stalking? He hasn't threatened me, but I'm frightened and wish he'd stop pursuing me. What can I do? -- FREAKED OUT IN PENNSYLVANIA

DEAR FREAKED OUT: Tell the man plainly that you are not interested in a relationship and you want him to stop dropping by and giving you gifts. If he persists, begin keeping a written record every time it happens and notify the police, because his behavior could be considered stalking. You should also make certain to keep your doors and windows securely locked so you don't have any further unwelcome intrusions. You may also have to screen your calls for a while, and if he calls, do not respond.