The TV show The Bachelor has been a must-watch staple for many years, as many think it’s an interesting perspective on how relationships play out in the real world. Although real life dating is usually free from #sponcon and weird challenges, it’s still interesting to watch the competitive nature of dating play out on screen.
And recently two stars from The Bachelor franchise have reminded us of another chilling aspect of modern dating: stalking.
Colton Underwood, a former professional football player for the San Diego Chargers, was the lead “Bachelor” on Season 23 of The Bachelor. His season became infamous, after contestant, Cassie Randolph quit the show at the end of the season, and Colton dumped the remaining two contestants, Tayshia Adams and Hannah Godwin, to pursue Cassie who *had already quit the show.* In hindsight, this was the first red flag that Colton couldn’t take no for an answer.
After hopping a fence and declaring his love for Cassie, the pair decided to make a fair go of their relationship and in Bachelor-terms, they lasted for a long times, dating for a full two years.
Cassie even stuck by Colton’s side earlier in the year, when Colton contracted COVID-19. The former football player recovered at Cassie’s family home in Huntington Beach in March while he recovered from the infectious disease.
According to sources, Cassie was hoping to break up with Colton before he contracted COVID-19, but stuck it out until he had recovered. The couple split up in May.
Then, on September 11th, Cassie filed a restraining order against Colton in a Los Angeles Court.
According to Cassie, Colton had taken the break-up hard and resorted to scary and unsettling behavior. Cassie detailed out disturbing and harassing text messages from Colton, one of which said he would “hold her accountable” for breaking up with him. She also said that he lurked outside her apartment in Los Angeles and had been seen loitering outside her parent’s home in Huntington Beach.
Things got really dark when Cassie revealed that she’d discovered a tracking device stuck to the bottom of her car, which Colton later admitted to having placed there to keep watch over her whereabouts.
Underwood was ordered to stay 100 feet away from Cassie until the first court hearing on October 6th.
The relationship between Cassie and Colton is actually one of the most common ways people encounter stalkers. When a relationship goes sour, and one party cannot accept being dumped, they might turn to stalking.
Did you know that stalking affects 6.6 million people in the United States every year and that 75% of the time the victim knows their stalker. In 25% of all stalking cases, the stalker is a jilted ex-lover.
So why can love turn to stalking?
In the case of Cassie and Colton, it was very clear from even their Bachelor days that Colton’s feelings for Cassie were greater than her feelings for him. Even though she gave the relationship a fair shake, at the end of the day she just wasn’t that interested in him. When love is rejected, it doesn’t disappear.
In fact, those emotions can become even more intense and unstable. Here are some of the factors at play that can create stalking.
Any form of rejection can be really tough for many people, but romantic rejection can be especially damning for some. When someone with poor self-esteem funnels all of their energy into another person, when they are rejected, they can feel like the rug is swept from underneath them. Sadness can turn into anger, and the stalker may believe that they’ve been “played” or “toyed with” by their ex romantic partner. Abandonment issues and poor self-esteem can make it impossible to reason with a stalker.
It’s easy to get obsessed with a romantic partner, and when this obsession is reciprocated it’s usually considered to be romantic! After all, the paradigm of “can’t eat, can’t sleep, can’t think about anyone else” is the bedrock of many modern love stories. But when this level of affection isn’t reciprocated, this obsession can become dangerous. Thinking about someone non-stop can be like a broken record playing in a stalker’s head. They might impulsively look them up on social media, analyze their whereabouts, and obsess over the possibility that their ex might be hooking up with someone else. Then this can turn into obsessive and dangerous behavior, like following an ex-girlfriend or boyfriend around, or hanging out outside their home.
In some cases, a stalker might be completely detached from reality and think that they are entitled to this person, no matter how the other person feels. A good example of this is many celebrity stalking cases, where a complete stranger believes that they are entitled to be in a relationship with a famous popstar. In some cases, they can feel so entitled to this relationship that they will even intend to harm the celebrity if they can’t get their way. For instance, John Lennon was murdered by a stalker and so was Rebecca Schaeffer, a young actress who was killed by an obsessed fan.
Many stalkers are narcissists. In some of the texts from Colton to Cassie obtained by the court, Colton ranted that Cassie was “a selfish person who isn’t ready to be loved.”
“It’s crazy to think we used to be in a position of love,” he texted her. “I ask myself all the time how someone who I loved and loved me could do the things they do and say the things they do.”
This is all of the makings of a narcissistic person. Being unable to recognize how someone else is feeling and only thinking of your own feelings is classic narcissism.
How To Protect Yourself From A Stalker
If someone is already stalking you, it’s important to go to the police and file a restraining order against them. But stalkers often follow a pattern. If someone has stalked a previous partner, they are much more likely to stalk their next partner as well. Did you know that you can use a public record search, like Instant Checkmate to search criminal records? Stalking is a crime, and a charge of stalking or harassment may appear in someone’s background report. Always background check date before getting face-to-face and make sure you stay safe.