For over a year, an extended family member hasn’t stopped coming on to me, trying to get me alone, privately phoning, texting, and emailing me, and making me feel very uncomfortable. I don’t know how to address this with my parents, because I am scared of how much more awkward and uncomfortable family encounters may be/become, but I am seriously starting to freak out. How can I address this?
I am very sorry that someone is treating you like that. It is not okay and it is not acceptable. It is unacceptable for anyone to keep harassing you once you have told them you aren’t interested, and the extended family thing sends it to a whole different level of wrong. Let’s get that clear from the jump, it is not okay and you should not put up with it.
You are absolutely right in your instinct to tell someone. In Matthew 18, Jesus talks about what to do when someone wrongs you. Step one is to address it one on one, next, verse 16 says, “But if they will not listen, take one or two others along, so that ‘every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.’” Telling someone is the next step, and your parents seem like good candidates (I don’t know your parents, but assuming you have a pretty good relationship).
This situation seems like it is as awkward and uncomfortable as it can get for you. I think it needs to be made more uncomfortable for the person who is actually to blame- the person who won’t leave you alone. Just because something will inconvenience someone else does not make it bad, You want it to be inconvenient for this person to make you uncomfortable. You want a little bit of tension in the air when they walk in the room and everyone is keeping eyes on them to make sure they behave.
There are not two sides to every situation. Sometimes one person is wildly misbehaving and the other person is just the victim of that misbehavior. I don’t care if you tried to be polite in texting him back instead of just ignoring him, I don’t care what you wear, it is not your fault that this person is behaving like a jerk.
Go to someone you trust and get this out in the open. Don’t let a desire to be not make a fuss drive you to not stand up for yourself. You are being treated in an unacceptable manner. Make a fuss, make it awkward for people to just ignore it. That is the way to get to the other side.
-Matt from The Bridge