These images were some of the photos that were used in a romance scam. The man featured in these pictures is a real person, by the name of Per Gunnar Dahl. There is no suggestion that he has any connection whatsoever to this scam, and is an innocent party. From what I have been able to determine, Mr Dahl has a prominent profile in Norway and this is most likely how he has come to the attention of the scammers.
It is likely that email, Telegram and mobile numbers will be changed, but here is a reminder of those details:
Name used Sigvard Aloisio Torvald, Siggy, Sig
Telegram user name @Sigggy Mobile number +16 0422 77 488 Dating site username Looking4vikingman
Unfortunately, real numbers can be disguised and so I do not know where this scammer is located.
I would ordinarily seek permission to use the images, however, I have been unable to make contact with the real Per Gunnar Dahl. It is important, I believe, to share these pictures to warn other women.
The copyright for the images remains with Per Gunnar Dahl.
Just as well I am too stingy to part with my cash. I now have incontrovertible proof that the man (or should I say men) I have been interacting with for the last 5 months is fake!
If you come across a Sigvard Aloisio Torvald then beware – even typing his name feels difficult and wrong as that name is so familiar to me. This person also uses Looking4Vikingman as a username on dating websites and I came across him on Zoosk. I know that he also has a profile on Naturalfriends.co.uk although he doesn’t have an image on that one. He said that he came off Zoosk after we “met” but may actually simply have blocked me so that I could no longer see his profile. The email he goes by is firstname.lastname@example.org. He purported to be Norwegian living in Canada and relocating to the UK. He uses Telegram instant messenger service with the user name @Sigggy and the mobile number he uses is +16 0422 77 488. Unfortunately it is all too easy to disguise a number these days to look as though it is coming from any country of a scammer’s choosing.
I won’t share the profile pictures here as these are of a real person, and so far I have not found any evidence of multiple profiles using the images. If you do come across a man with this name though, please do contact me and send me a picture. I can let you know if it is the same man and also recommend that you do a google reverse image search. Unfortunately for me, this did not throw up a concern early on when I did this but when I used it again today, I got a hit
Make no mistake, this is big business to these people and they keep going as they do make many millions out of it. It is organised crime and very slick.
Early on, he even sent me a copy of his passport, which I found particularly strange. I was already aware though, that a fake passport had been used in one of the #FakeThomas scams and so I was cautious about that. Never completely trust pictures of identification documents that are sent to you. The only foolproof is to see that person stood in front of you.
That is all I have to say on the matter, dear diary. Suffice to say .. I’m off dating permanently!
I have talked at length about the role of the amygdala, and how it is excited when stimuli activates it. I also talked about how, once the stimuli is no longer present, the feelings go away; and that this is the mechanism by which we can feel as though we are in love with someone we have not met.
So why do I feel so sad? Why does it feel as though there is a physical pain in my chest? Is it because 4 months down the line, the feelings had become a habit? It is a well known phenomenon that habits take 21 days to form. Or is it because I have blown it with a good man?
The sad truth of the matter is that I will never know. Yes, I am sure I could have handled what happened differently – but to be honest, if the exact circumstances were presented to me again I would have drawn the same assumptions and conclusions – wouldn’t you? The fact that he may not see it that way is his problem rather than mine. Ok – so it has caused me a problem – but hey …life goes on. Right?
I don’t want to become stuck with this. Is it just me or is there a pathetic irony that the one person that you want to speak to is the one person that you are no longer connected to? I’m not good at keeping silent when I have something on my mind. The last thing I want to do is cause further hurt to the other person involved in this sorry saga. This is drama. I am creating drama. I don’t want drama in my life. I don’t want to be that person causing drama.
So yesterday I took the unprecedented step of deleting our texts, messages and emails. I removed his number from my phone. Ok, so I wrote it down and secreted it somewhere that I won’t come across it unless I purposely decide to do so. I owe it to myself and to him to leave it untouched.
I didn’t share much about my blossoming “relationship” with the people in my life. Not least because scepticism is a mood killer, but also, because well meaning opinions can lead to disagreements.
So what now? How do I move on as quickly as possible from the hurt and disappointment? For that is surely what I have to do as I cannot expect him to forgive me for a third time. I have decided to let serendipity take the reigns.
Did I make a mistake in not trusting him? The truth is I will never know.
If love is meant for me, it can come find me as I can no longer put myself through the dilemmas, disappointments and damage that can be online dating. Yes, I know it works for some. I am just not one of them. So, serendipity it is!
As I sit in front of my laptop with a heavy heart and feeling sick to my stomach, I am not sure I want to share this with you.
Writing though, is a way for me to deal with uncomfortable issues that refuse to stop swirling through my mind, torturing and mocking me. You see, dear diary, I think it happened again.
As those of you who have read with me before, you know the sorry tale about the Fake Thomas that duped me back in November of last year. Once I got over the initial shock, I put my anger to good use and created this blog, my website and Facebook page and groups; all dedicated to warning other women about the perils of dating online.
I have not only put considerable time and effort into this awareness raising campaign, I have parted with hard cash. I have spent literally hundreds (if not a thousand or so) on paid advertising. Ironically, the majority to #Facebook who have a woefully inadequate approach to applying their community standards to clearly fake profiles. I am hoping that the advent of the GDPR regulations will make some difference here – but social media giants have grown into such arrogant entities, I am not holding my breath on that one. But I digress.
Back to the issue at hand
For those of you who have followed my story, you will know that I “met” a man that was living overseas and claimed to be planning to move to the UK. You will also know that in the early days I was at the same time blasé and guarded. I was adamant that I would not put myself in a position where history could repeat itself. When my fears got the better of me I called out “fake” and metaphorically ran away. Not once, dear diary, but twice.
So what hooked me back in? It is difficult to say for certain, but I guess there were two things that influenced my return to the interaction. Firstly, that he did not respond in a typically “fakerish” way. He did not disappear. He did not block me. He also did not reach out to try to persuade me that I was wrong. Over a few days, as I saw him updating pictures of his life I wondered if I had made a terrible mistake.
And that leads me to the second reason. I have so much love in my heart to share with someone. It is not that I need a relationship to define me – I don’t. I think there are few of us that would disagree that finding a good relationship can be life enhancing. And why not? Why do I have to be the one that lives my life alone when all around me live theirs with a significant other? But then, it is not about what others have. It is simply about human connection and sharing the loving heart that I know beats inside me.
Not only that, when we subsequently spoke again, he shared that he was not angry with me – he was simply devastated that I believed he was a fake. I guess that statement really pulled at my heartstrings.
So what went wrong?
Four months down the line, it felt as though we were in fairly smooth waters. At the back of my mind, I was not going to truly believe in this until I could stand in front of him and look into his eyes. After all … I am not gullible. For those of you guffawing at that remark, let me explain why. Online dating works. Not for everyone – but it is the social norm these days. It would not be the first relationship that developed across the ether and geographical distance.
After all, what creates a relationship? Largely it is about choice – you choose to take the chance on someone. You explore whether you share common goals and values. Finally, you decide whether you really like this person and take the risk of trusting them. Spending time with someone, whether it be in the same room, on the telephone, or on an internet chat service – bonds develop.
It was also the only option that the universe seemed to be allowing to unfold. At the beginning of the year I ventured on some real face to face dates. You can read the back catalogue if you care to know how those went.
As for how I have ended up here, writing this miserable story – he shared so much with me. I felt that I knew so much about his life, his hopes and his dreams. And he had a plan. From what he said, that plan included me. I am still not sure whether this has been an elaborate ruse, or whether what he did stemmed from him believing that we were on this journey together and on this basis it was ok to ask for my help.
I have to say, I am pretty devastated. Not because I may have been caught out again by a fake, as I am not convinced that he is (I am just not ready to believe that yet). But because I had allowed myself to believe that I had finally found someone special to share my life with.
It is not only heartbreaking, it is bloody embarrassing. I had started to share my excitement with friends and family. I have not spoken to anyone in my day to day world about what has happened. It is too raw. Sure, they may be aware of this blog, and they may pick it up and read it. I’m ok with that. I do not though, want anyone’s pity, well meaning opinions or any well intentioned advice. I simply want to lick my wounds with dignity.
I made my choice – I decided to trust. That it didn’t work out is unfortunate. This will not beat me. I do think though, that I am off dating for a while!
For those of you who haven’t guessed already, here is what pushed my buttons enough for me to walk way
Throughout the four months that I have been interacting with this guy, he had told me about a contract that he intended to bid for. It was worth a lot of money, but he had to find 50% of the mobilisation costs, which was up from the typical 30%. This amounted to some 1.2 million dollars. He shared a lot of information with me, together with contract documents. I did find this a bit strange – but hey everything looked legit.
He was short of a couple of hundred thousand .. and he told me that he had reached out to friends and family and that he had whittled the shortfall down to 67,000. The other detail isn’t really relevant, as I am sure you get where this is going.
A few days ago, I received an email from him – full of woe, and saying that he felt terrible, but if his last ditch attempt at raising the additional funds failed – he might be asking me to help him out. My return email was very clear – No. Regardless of whether I had that kind of money or not, I would not give him money based on the fact that we had not actually met.
He apologised, and told me that he had spoken to his sister about my response, and she had told him in no uncertain terms that she understood my reaction.
Needless to say, the discomfort that I was feeling would not go away. I had just started to settle down about it when I received this message:
Hi sweetie, can you raise $2-3,000 for me? I will refund.
It goes without saying, I have cut all ties. I do not want to believe that someone could enter into a deception for 4 months, but I have to face facts. I just don’t want to believe it. Regardless – he is gone.
Revisiting some of my older blog posts, I came across this:
Who knows what the future holds for any of us – all I know is that sometimes you have to take a leap of faith and just jump off that safe bridge, and trust that whatever you find at the bottom – you can handle it; good, bad or indifferent.
It is a lovely (nearly) sunny Sunday morning, and all is good in my world. Ok, so I am getting over a virus but my sore throat has now gone and my coughing isn’t so bad when I am up and about and moving around.
I’ve exchanged a few chatty messages with a couple of new guys – one that I really like, but who lives a tad far away. No matter – we are going to try to meet up the next time he is within reasonable distance for business. The other, just a short train ride away, but so far meh!
I have four dates under my belt now, or five if you count the second date with no. 3. The Fourth one didn’t go so well – I mean, technically it was fine – but I couldn’t wait to get out of there. I had nothing in common with this guy – at least, I have no way of knowing if I had anything in common with him as he quite literally dominated the conversation and talked nonstop from the second he sat down to the moment I made my excuses to leave. (When I say conversation, I am being generous – a conversation requires that both parties have a turn to speak).
Fifty minutes in, he thought to ask me a question. I started to answer, but this was soon kicked into touch as he then went on to tell me his version of what I had just shared with him. Thirty minutes into the coffee date and I couldn’t wait to get out of there, I was so bored. I resolved to at least give it an hour, and in the event, it took 1.5 hours before he stopped talking long enough for me to say “I have to head off soon …..”. He looked surprised at this; maybe he thought we were getting on like a house on fire – but then how would he know as he was only paying attention to himself and his relentless (boring) chatter.
Outside of the venue, he asked me which way I was walking, and so I hastily pointed in the opposite direction to they way he was facing (and where he had parked his car). I thanked him for the coffee, and started to move away. At this point, he leaned in to kiss me on the cheek – so he kinda missed, but his lips fleeting brushed my skin. Awkward!
So, I suppose 3 out of 4 is not bad. Three guys were lovely dates and I enjoyed spending time with them. Ok, so the first two I did want to take further – but never-the-less, I am glad I met them. Number 3, I enjoyed a second date with, and would be happy to continue dating and exploring. So far so good, but I remain ‘window shopping’.
It was during an interesting conversation with distance-chatty-guy last nigh that I coined the term ‘window shopping’. The message exchange reinforced my view that ‘dating’ means different things to different people. It was during this conversation that I coined the term ‘window shopping’. He knew from our conversation that I had been on two date with No. 3, and he had responded to let him know if and when No. 3 bites the dust.
Now I thought that ‘dating’ meant that you could legitimately meet up with more than one guy; that there is no commitment made to an exclusive relationship until you both decide that is what you want to move onto.
It was also endearing to learn that men find dating anxiety-inducing too.
Men find dating nerve-wracking too
Although, it has to be said that dating no longer holds any fear for me. As I said to distance-chatty-guy, I have my ‘armour’. This is a little black dress that I feel good in when I wear. I dress it up or down depending on whether I am meeting for coffee for for an evening drink. I would not ordinarily wear this dress during the day, but it looks good with a gorgeous scarf that my sister gave me for Christmas – and hey, we all need a confidence boost to get over those first date nerves.
Well, time for me to get on with my day – and get cracking on finding date number 5!
Oh .. on checking the date for my diary, I am reminded that it is my late mother’s birthday! So happy birthday, mum, I hope you are celebrating ‘wherever’ you are.
So, it has been a while since my last post. I am happy to report that I have enjoyed 4 real live dates, (two with the same man) and I have another to look forward tomorrow. It seems as though I have benefitted from the typical ‘January Sales’, as prior to Christmas there wasn’t really very much happening!
Here’s my recipe for surviving that first date!
Arrange to meet quickly; don’t overcook the introduction
Choose comfortable but smart clothes; so you can focus on the cooking rather than fidgeting with your hemline/neckline
Choose a familiar venue; so you don’t have to worry about the ingredients
Don’t drink too much; you don’t want the dish to spoil through over cooking
Always know how you are going to get home; you don’t want to end up with ‘food poisoning’ due to poor planning
Always send a polite thank you text – even if you don’t plan to see your date again; good manners cost nothing and karma influences the overall banquet
I measure success by a) whether I enjoyed myself and b) whether they ask to see me again. It does not matter whether I don’t want to see them again, as the goal has been achieved. I am not expecting Mr Perfect to fall into my lap right now – but I can honestly say that each of the three men that I have met up with have been very nice, and I enjoyed their company. I certainly don’t start my date hoping “this is the one”. I look forward to getting to know the person, and seeing if there is a spark. No great expectations means no great disappointments.
The hardest part is breaking the no-date-yet syndrome
Now that I have enjoyed a number of successful dates, it feels so easy. Each of the men that I have met, I have agreed to meet quickly; this meant that there was no fear. I wasn’t fretting about whether I looked good enough, whether I was slim enough or whether I would have anything interesting to say. Why? Because I wasn’t over invested before I met them.
The nice guy that I had been chatting to since before Christmas, and whom I “ditched” once it became clear he didn’t seem prepared to take a chance because of the distance; now that smarted – because I had allowed myself to become a little invested in him. Although a little sad, as I would have loved to meet him for real – I soon got over it.
Just the beginning of the story
One thing that has become clear to me, is that when you get to my age, although lots of men want a significant relationship, they are unsure (or sometimes very sure) about wanting (or not, as the case may be) a full on relationship. The guy that I have seen twice, although separated for a number of years, is only just finalising his divorce. He said to me:
I don’t really know what I want. I want a significant relationship, but I don’t want to live with someone.
Seems to me he verbalised clearly what he wants. Perhaps he felt he needed to qualify that with “I don’t really know what I want” in an attempt to manage any expectations of his date. Or maybe, it is simply true. My response was:
I don’t know what I want either, but I do know what I don’t want.
That may seem a contradictory statement, but it makes sense in my own head. What do I mean when I say this? If I had to put it into words (which of course, I do seeing as I am referencing it in my blog), it would be that I am clear on what I don’t want but that I am open to options in terms of what I do want. Is that any clearer? No? Ok, let me put it this way:
I would never date a married man
I would never date a man because of what he has
I don’t want a man to “take care of me”, if I found one that was caring and supportive, that is different and very welcome
I would not date a man that I did not find attractive, just to have someone to hang out with
What does dating mean to you?
I pose this question, as within a few minutes of meeting, one of my dates and I had a debate about what “dating” actually is. Whereas I consider that dating is a social relationship where there is a potential for romance, but where you are not (yet) exclusive, he thought dating was rather an American perspective, and for him it was “going for a drink”.
Does this difference in terminology matter? I suppose it might if the two people concerned wanted different things. Some people really do go into this with the idea that the only thing they are looking for is a life mate.
For me, if I find someone that I consider to be so special that I want to commit to them – then that is a bonus. However, I do not plan to remain a romance free zone just because I haven’t found “Mr-Right-For-Me”.
Late to the party
What is interesting for me, is that this is the first time ever in my life that I have ever actually ‘dated‘. In my younger years, once you started meeting up with a guy, you pretty much were “courting” and in a relationship. When I got with my ex, it was pretty instantaneous. Perhaps that was because we had a history (we were together in our late teens/early 20s)? I can’t really be sure on that as I don’t have a lot of experience to go on.
So for now, I am really enjoying my new found dating status. In the past few weeks, I have learned a lot. Although my dating guru counselled me to stick to one hour for the first date, so far they have been: 2 hours, 3 hours and 6 hours (yes really!). I feel confident enough to not have to put a time framework around a date, as, if I felt really uncomfortable, I would simply say my goodbyes and leave.
I have discovered though, that I prefer a daytime coffee date for a first meeting. If the interaction is going well, I am happy to extend that to a drink. I also now know that for an evening date, I need to be disciplined and not go beyond 3 drinks. Not just because I don’t want a hangover the next day, but also because you don’t know your date tipsy, and even the nicest guy can become a little louche under the influence. Although the image in my head was the latter half of the date – I gave him a pass (after all, he had forewarned me that he sticks to ale for a reason!); and so we enjoyed a second date last night.
So, dear diary. All is well in my world. (Except for a raging sore throat – the pitfalls of venturing out and about!).
I would love to hear your dating stories – why not drop me a comment or an email?
It has been an interesting few days. I have enjoyed a couple of dates – both were successful in as much as both expressed an interest in seeing me again (a confidence boost I can tell you). I also got drawn back in to all things fake when approached by someone concerned about her friend who had updated her #Facebook status to say that she was “in a relationship” with a profile that we both know to be fake. This because, the profile is using #CaptainThomas ‘s images.
After a lengthy discussion, I agreed to send a message to the lady in question with links to my website, blog and Facebook page. I did not get a response, however, a quick check showed a status change, back from “in a relationship …..” to “widowed”. I do hope that this lady is able to reach out to her friends to support her, as I am sure she is feeling rather lost and bewildered.
What is love and what does it mean to YOU?
After some harsh words (on my part) I asked the man in question what he wanted. He replied with this – no words, no bullshit. They say a picture can paint a thousands words… well this “sticker” image cut right through to the core of what we are both looking for.
After a few days of not being in contact, I was sent this image this morning. This from a man who simply wants to be part of my life. Again, no words, but a very simple message.
Who knows what the future holds for any of us – all I know is that sometimes you have to take a leap of faith and just jump off that safe bridge, and trust that whatever you find at the bottom – you can handle it; good, bad or indifferent.
Not everyone in the world is a stand up person
On checking my email, this morning, I was reminded that the cheats, fakes and scammers aren’t just in the dating world.
This is what I received:
It is a while since I have received emails like this – but I guess that is because the spam filter on my business email is not as well defined as my gmail accounts. It is a salutary reminder that fakery is all around us – and we can’t take it personally. We haven’t been targeted or singled out. Many of these attempts are random – in the hopes that they will hook in one or two that will take the bait.
2018 – a year of new beginnings
Many of us start off a new year full of hope: that things will go our way, we will get slimmer, drink less, be more assertive, get richer, find a better job …..find love!
Let me share with you, dear reader, something I wholeheartedly believe. That the exquisiteness that is life is in the journey. The destination is never guaranteed – just enjoy the journey along the way! If you do that – the destination becomes somewhat irrelevant.
Well dear diary, it has been a while since I posted to you. I decided to forego all things social media during the Christmas/New Year holidays and wasn’t sure whether I would come back to all the fakery or leave it well and truly behind me.
Unfortunately, that is easier said than done, as I continue to receive messages from people who are either being duped by, or know someone who is being duped by fake-Thomases. Not only that, I continue to find many fake profiles approaching me on the various dating websites that I use.
Sadly, I also have to report that I may have been conversing with yet another fake for the past three weeks. More on that later.
On an upbeat note, I am happy to share that I have no less than 4 dates lined up this week! Yes – you read that correctly – I have managed to break free from my dateless status. The first is this afternoon, and I have been primping and preening. Unfortunately, I should have read the label of the product that I bought onboard during my recent cruise – thinking that I was using a dead sea facial mask, the stinging alerted me to the fact that I might have got it wrong!
I am horrified to say that I now have a very angry red patch down the centre of my face! I’m hoping that my priming base and foundation can cover it! I can’t cancel as I promise I wouldn’t – as this one has been a long time coming and I have been decidedly flaky about it. All of the others were arranged within a short time of chatting and certainly on the first day. Best way – keep it short and sweet. Time to make a decision whether to pursue after the initial meeting.
So, what of the other potential paramours I blogged about?
Well, I am sad to reveal that I have come to the conclusion that Dishy-guy was indeed a fake, even though he IM’d me a copy of his passport (who does that?) and updated pictures from his supposed ski-break over the New Year. I wanted to believe that he was real and that he was indeed moving to the UK in April. I never really settled in my mind that he wasn’t fake – and yesterday I just had to make a decision and call his bluff. I am not entirely sure I am right – but hey – if he is a regular, stand up guy he will understand where I am coming from and call me when he actually moves. Won’t be holding my breath on that one! I will blog more about that later, as it is quite interesting the tiny nuggets that kept me from trusting him.
Although the last communication from him has me thinking I have made a terrible mistake!
10th January 2018 (22:44)
Just returned home from my very first date! Yes folks … I actually had one. It was pleasant enough and I certainly enjoyed myself. It made up somewhat for the disappointment earlier in the day when I turned up for what should have been my first date during the afternoon, only to discover on arriving that he had got mixed up and thought we were meeting tomorrow!
He called me and apologised profusely – and we had a long chat on the phone – our first actual conversation as all our communications have been via text and voicemails. This is the one that I have been exchanging texts with for a few months now – and the one who is 15 years younger than me. He persuaded me not to give up on him, and although I had to refuse his invitation to meet tomorrow (I already have a date planned, and after today I decided two dates in one day is too much!) I look forward to meeting him soon.
I have a further two dates this week – one definitely confirmed and the other I need to check on as we have not spoken since. So WOW, yes – 4 dates in 4 days!
So with the exception of the younger guy, all the other dates were made within a short time of exchanging messages. No messing – straight in there. I really do think this is the way to go.
I am sad to report that the one that I really liked has gone by the bye. He lived a bit further away, and although I was willing to give the distance thing a try (only 3 hours down the motorway), it seems he was not. I know he had been unwell, but it felt as though he was cooling on me. I kept telling myself to let it go – but then he initiated contact again – and so encouraged by my dating guru (the only friend I discuss my sorry tales of woe with) I decided to be bold and ask to meet.
To make it seem casual, I messaged him to say that I was visiting family an hour from him, and hoped that we could meet up. I kept checking WhatsApp to see if he had picked up the message – and eventually he did. I did not get an answer though, and although I thought that a little strange, I wondered if he was giving it some thought.
Now – I have no issue with ANY of the men that I am conversing with logging into whichever dating site they use. After all – I still do – it is the nature of the game. But when at 10pm I saw that he was logged into the dating site that we had started communicating on and had STILL not responded, I got pretty pissed off. More-so with myself as I had allowed myself to start to bond with him by the nature of our conversations and the length of time we had been chatting.
Needless to say, I hurried off a message to say that I got the message and wished him well. I didn’t wait around for a reply and cleared all our messages from WhatsApp (of which there were many), blocking him in the process. I also unmatched with him on the dating site.
I was a little sad, as I really liked this guy. When I also ditched the Viking I was even sadder. Moreso it felt, then when I discovered Fake-Thomas was not real. (or maybe with the passage of time I have forgotten how upset I was initially).
Tomorrow’s date is with Tommy-2-houses, as my guru has so kindly nicknamed him. He is quite a bit older than me but I like the look of him (although he has admitted the picture is a little out of date) and when he called me we got on like a house on fire and the conversation flowed for over an hour.
I am not expecting it to develop into anything – but I am proud of the fact that I am going out of my comfort zone a little. After all – nothing much was happening with the approach I was taking and so why not? I may even be surprised and find that I fancy him after all!
Oh dear! I think I might have just blown it with someone rather dishy:-(
My fakedar is so sensitive that I am no longer giving people a chance. This profile, a really cute guy, messaged me. I was about to make a joke about him being too cute to be a genuine profile when I saw the detail in his message. I mean …. it was long. Of course, my initial response to him confused him somewhat and he asked me to explain. I tried to keep it light and briefly told him that I had recently been duped, and so I was ultra cautious online, and there were things about his profile that were red flags to me.
Firstly, he claims to be Scandinavian, living in Canada, and moving to the UK in the spring of 2018. Ok, so that would take care of any grammatical issues.
Secondly, was the very long message he sent to me. Regular guys don’t do this – they say hi, or you’re gorgeous …. or maybe even something a little rude. They do not send chapter and verse as an introduction.
But then I took a look at his profile – and boy, that was very long and detailed too. As I read it though, it slowly dawned on me that maybe on this occasion I had got it wrong! The things he wrote about were very specific and he talked about his siblings, about his job, and about his plans.
Maybe it is time to take a break from online
It seems, dear diary, that I can no longer discern between a real profile and a fake one. Not surprising really that my fakedar is hypersensitive – I mean, I am coming across up to 5 fake profiles every day.
The realisation that I can no longer trust my own judgement brought me to tears. Only for a few seconds but nonetheless, as hot tears prickled my cheeks, I resolved that I was just going to leave it alone.
I am not finding what I am looking for – and I have been full-on participating. Checking out profiles, clicking and swiping – giving guys a second look when I don’t get that gut feeling that yeah, I would like to get to know them better at first glance.
Cancelled guy doesn’t seem to be speaking to me anymore, although he said he understood my reasons for cancelling. (No, I didn’t tell him about my hangover, but gave a more acceptable – and actually truthful scenario as the reason for my backing out). He hasn’t picked up my last two messages – and who can blame him? I know he works through the day and maybe he just didn’t get to them – but hey – I’ve binned guys for being flaky too.
Is there ever any point to compromise?
Of course, there is nice guy – and we chat a lot. I’m not sure though – that there is enough of a spark between us to take it any further. We had agreed to meet, although a date and time has not been set in stone. He’s not the pushy type – but hey – it would be good to know he isn’t just going through the motions.
And then there is cute guy. I actually quite like cute guy, and he is pushing to meet. Everyday, he tries to persuade me to let him come over. Trouble is, dear diary, we want different things. At the outset of this period of online-dating-dalliance, I was very clear in my own mind what I did and didn’t want. So why am I even considering changing the rules to suit a man that although cute, I don’t actually know? Ok, so yes, he does message me every day. Yes, he would travel the 35 or so miles at the drop of a hat if I agreed to see him. As I have mentioned before, there is a 15 year age gap. Had I met this guy in a bar, and he asked me out – I am sure I would give it a try.
I think though, that when you haven’t met, it is so much harder to know whether the spark is there or not. Photographs are all well and good, but you need to see the crinkle around their eyes, the upturned mouth as they smile – and more importantly, you need to be drawn to them in such a way that is simply just not possible unless you meet in the skin.
So, dear diary, why don’t I just meet him? Well, I had agreed to meet him next week – but then he texted me yesterday asking if he could pop in. I mean, pop in? You do that when you are around the corner – not when you are 35+ miles away. I suppose the answer to that is that I don’t want to have to deal with the disappointment if the spark is not there.
Crazy I know …. the truth is – that we have shared a little too much for it to just be an “oh let’s meet and see if we like each other” deal. I like him. I actually like him. He insists that he really likes me too. I’m not so convinced. I think he enjoys the banter and likes the fact that I am not easily phased if he tries to become a little risque. After all, we are both adults – and I am more than capable of taking him down a peg or two if needed. Which I have – and do!
Ok, so I was a bit naughty this morning and let him think that he could come over – and when he was all “wow” about it … I countered that I hadn’t finished my sentence. He didn’t reply after that. I don’t blame him really … I mean … he can’t make it any plainer. But then, I can’t make it any plainer either what my deal is. He agrees to it and then he tries to change the plan.
So, dear diary, I am not convinced that I will meet him. Maybe then, I should let him off the hook that he seems to be dangling from. I’m not one to be a spoilsport – but yes, I can be a bit of a tease if I have a mind to be. Between the two of us, I rather think it is I who is playing games.
A second bite at the cherry?
Well, the rather dishyguy who I accused of being fake has messaged me again. I have decided to interact with him but just be cautious – as I always am. I mean, nothing ventured nothing gained right? And if he does turn out to be fake, it can only hurt me if I fall for it. That, dear diary, is not something I will let happen again.
Oh, and Captain Lindegaard is back on Facebook. Albeit he has shared that he is keeping his profile private. I don’t blame him. There is a gang of men misappropriating his identity and his images. It incenses me that Facebook, where the majority of the fake profiles are – do nothing to tackle this issue.
I’m also getting a little weary of some of the more persistent messages that I receive on my Facebook page. I mean, seriously, all contributions to the cause are to be applauded – but please, don’t give me a hard time about who I am – anyone who wants to know who I am can check me out by following the links to my websites or my blog!
That dear diary, is all I have to say for now …. as my fingers and toes are cold and I need to go switch the heating on!
Well, dear diary, I have pretty much lost the past two days. Newcastle on Thursday didn’t happen which was a huge disappointment as I had been looking forward to it. Instead, my girlfriend and I headed off into town for a few drinks. My protestations that I wasn’t going to have too much went out the window; one sip of the gorgeousness that is the Margarita cocktail at Macy’s was enough to tip me over into – well, I’m not quite sure what but I have no idea why I hammered it so much that night.
The evening was pleasant enough, as it always is with my friend – we had a bit of a deep and meaningful (as much as you can when fuelled by alcohol) about something that is going on in our lives, and then it was to home – after Cheesy Chips from the not-so-dodgy-kebab-shop nearby.
Well that, my dear diary, was a HUGE mistake. I won’t gross you out with the details, but suffice to say I was regretting the decision to have quite so many cocktails for two days
Yes, you read that right – TWO WHOLE DAYS lost to the queasiness and hungoverness that was me for the next 48 hours. I had to kiss goodbye to my coffee date in a nearby city and I pretty much spent the next two days recovering in bed.
Never again, I lamented – we’ve heard that before, responded the rather cute guy that was the only joy amongst the detritus that was me over those few days. Of course, the joy was at a safe text-only-distance. I could banter to my heart’s content with him without having to get out of bed to clean off the remnants of Thurday night’s makeup. Yes, dear diary – I was THAT bad.
Is there a reason for my over the top drunkeness?
Hmmm …. good question. I reflected on what went wrong. After all, I have always enjoyed a good drink but it has been many years since I got into the kind of state that I was in Thursday. I clearly can’t be trusted around Margarita’s anymore – so they are well and truly off the menu!
Ok, so the past few weeks have actually been a lot of fun in as much as I have enjoyed writing, and I have enjoyed being focused on a project – the #FakeProfileFightback campaign. I have played to the humour of my woes of dating as a middle aged woman, and I have continued to report fake profiles when I have come across them – yesterday, I reported no less than FIVE fake profiles on Match.com. I also came across a fake profile on Tinder – but simply unmatched as the only proof I had was the fact that he was 3.5k miles away, and the rather inane message. It went like this:
What a beautiful smile you have on your face no doubt, if someone can see through the heart your heart must be as beautiful as the smile on your face.
Uggh. I guess one of the saddest things that has come out of my dupee-status is that it is now near impossible for anyone to say anything nice to me. Yes sure, I believe I am a good soul, and what you see is what you get. That said, this guy does not know me from Adam, and that is not the typical first message one would receive.
Indeed, first messages are a really good indicator of whether the profile is fake. Too much detail. Poor English. Good English but the misuse of s on the end of words – essentially rendering the word plural where it does not make sense to use a plural word. I could go on; let’s leave that one there for now and get back to my original question.
What is going on with me?
The answer to that is I am not really sure. Now that the frantic writing and posting has slowed down, I guess I am actually feeling quite disappointed that, despite spending a considerable amount of money on paid memberships to dating sites, I have yet to have one date. Ok – so I did have a date Friday that I had to cancel – that though, was not from a paid for site.
I also had the opportunity to meet up with cute guy, but to be honest, although I like him and I enjoy the banter between us – it is clear we want different things. I protest that I am happy just to have a little fun meeting people without any expectations – but to be honest my heart is not really in it if at the outset the object of my interest is not looking for at least the potential of a relationship.
Ok, so I do believe that cute guy is actually much nicer than he lets on and is hiding behind his stated objective. He is though, 15 years younger than me – and whereas he has made absolutely no mention of my age, and professes to really like my pictures (which are all very recent), I don’t want to set myself up for disappointment.
There is another side to how I feel, though, one that I am a little reluctant to share. I miss the Captain. Crazy isn’t it? I’m not really sure whether I miss Fake-Thomas or the small interaction I had with Real-Thomas. Whatever pragmatism that came over me when I finally found out that Thomas Falconer was a dupe, it can’t be denied that for nearly 3 weeks I had developed a bond with this guy.
I always knew that I was determined to enjoy the journey no matter how things ended up. Sure, none of it was real – but the emotions and the feelings were, triggered as they were by my over active amygdala.
Where did it all go wrong?
My whole adult life, I have only had THREE serious relationships. Two of those were with the same man. You can read about that one and the resultant fallout here: Lost love.
I do recall proclaiming at 16 that I would never marry. It was not that I did not want to marry, I just hadn’t had the best example of a happy marriage growing up – and it put me off. I’m not going to turn this post into a debate about childhood angst, although that is something I will return to later with my professional hat on.
I recall my father saying to me in my 30s that my best years were behind me – and I really should think about settling down. Sure, I had flings and crushes, but nothing ever lasted very long. I did fall very much in love – or so I thought – with Paul, in the year that my father died.
I had been single for quite a while, having ended my relationship with the second serious guy (after ending my first serious relationship to have the chance to go out with him.)
We met on a night out, and it was one of those connections, that for me, was instant. Initially we spent a lot of time together, and although I was a bit closed off from sharing my emotions, I felt exceptionally happy that I had found this guy, and believed he was THE ONE. Then he dropped a bombshell.
Life can be so cruel
Here was a guy that I was madly in love with, albeit I had not shared with him how I felt. One weekend, when he was staying with me, we were lazing around when he suddenly seemed quiet and serious. I joked:
“It feels as though you are about to say you can’t see me anymore”.
Instinctive though I am, I really did not believe what I was saying – or maybe I just didn’t want to. When he confirmed to me that was indeed what he was saying, the bottom fell out of my heart.
He asked that he could stay for the remainder of the weekend, so that we could enjoy our last time together. Really? I mean really? He had just broken my heart – and yet he wanted me to play nice. In somewhat of a daze, I agreed to go to a park with him. There he tried to entice me to play some kind of bizarre game – I don’t quite recall it, but I remember it reflected how different he was from other guys I had met.
So, to the evening, when it was time for him to leave.
I was so upset I could hardly speak. He went upstairs to gather his things, and when he returned, he found me on the telephone (no mobile phones in those days, dear diary), confirming an arrangement to meet. He asked me who I was arranging to meet, and I lied to him. I made out that I was meeting another man – I wanted to prick through to his heart in the hopes that he would come to his senses and take back what he had told me earlier in the day.
Instead, he simply closed his eyes, and I saw the tears roll down his cheeks.
Why? Why are you doing this when you so clearly care for me as much as I do you?
Of course, these words, screeching though they were, were in my head, and not a sound passed my lips.
I could not look at him, let alone speak to him as he left. As soon as the door was closed, I dissolved into tears. Life, at this point, dear diary, felt so unfair.
I had thought to follow him, but I didn’t see the point, as his mind was made up. Although in a subsequent telephone conversation he had said to me he kept turning around on his way to the train station, hoping that I had come after him.
The bravest thing anyone of us can do when life is tough is – LIVE
I know that he thought he was doing the right thing, and I know that life had felt very tough for him over the last year. What he hadn’t shared with me in the short time I had known him was that he had applied to join the army. He did not want what was happening with me to derail that – as he believed that joining the army was the only way to salvage what he believed to be the remnants of his disintegrated life.
Of course, it didn’t end there. There were telephone conversations, and tears and tantrums. Ok, so I admit, the tantrum was from me not him.
On one particular evening, I was screaming like a banshee down the phone at him. So concerned was he that he asked a friend (the guy he was with when we met) to drive him over from his town to mine. Knowing that he would come, I put on a great show of hauling a case downstairs and filling it with clothes.
When he arrived, he checked I was okay, took in the case, and asked me where I was going. I rather haughtily informed him that I was moving to London (I had lived in the south previously for 7 years, so it wasn’t that ridiculous a statement, dear diary).
I don’t recall what he said to me, but I do remember that he left. My little ploy had not worked. He hadn’t changed his mind, and we were still broken up.
Oh well (I thought), I’m already packed – so I might as well move to London after all!
And that, dear diary, is how I came to move back down south!
Second time round was not so good
I might have lived in the south for 7 years quite happily three years previously, but when I returned – living and working in London – I hated it.
I hated that it took me so long to get to work, I hated my job, I hated sharing a house with people I didn’t know, and I hated being away from him. Of course, even if I had stayed in my home town, I would have still been away from him.
Within six months, I was so depressed that I just had to come home. One morning, as I sat drying my very long hair, I just could not face the commute into Victoria Street where I worked. Instead, I gathered my belongings together and booked a cab. As the driver took me to Kings Cross we chatted. He said to me, wisely, there are other jobs and other places to live. My mind was made up – I was going home.
So I arrived back at my house, which fortunately I had not rented out this time, and dumped my belongings. I then walked the short distance to my parents house and let myself in. As I greeted my father, he said:
Hello, what are you doing here?
I got depressed so I came home.
Fair enough, put the kettle on will you?
And that, dear diary, was the extent of that conversation.
Over the next few weeks I did the round of the employment agencies, and secured myself a temping PA role at a major pharmaceutical company about 20 miles away. I was due to start work on the Monday, and I was just keeping my head low. I had not washed my hair or bathed for some days, and I certainly wasn’t expecting any visitors.
Life can throw up the most amazing surprises
I recall it was 10pm when I heard a knock at the door. Who on earth could that be? I wasn’t expecting anyone, and I certainly wasn’t going to open the door with greasy hair and clothes that could do with being in the wash pile rather than on me.
I resolutely ignored the knocking – but it continued, and continued – whoever this was had no intention of leaving without seeing me. So, I dragged myself up from where I lay on the settee – and as I approached the door – I quite simply stopped in my tracks.
Even through the frosted glass windows of the door, I recognised that frame. I would know it anywhere. Why? Because, dear diary, I had been in love with him since the day I met him!
For a few seconds I was frozen. What!?? How could I open the door to him looking (and probably smelling) as though I hadn’t washed in weeks??
Of course, I did. And there he stood – that stupid cheeky grin on his face, and holding a bottle of red wine. I think I said something along the lines of “what are you doing here”. I don’t remember the response, but of course, I let him through the door.
That he turned up at my doorstep was simply bewildering. After all – how did he know that I had returned from London? Ok, so he may not have quite believed me when I proclaimed I was moving to London – but we had spoken on the telephone and he knew that I was actually living there. To this day, I still do not know how he knew I was back home. After all, it had only been a few weeks since I returned. Of course, he could have telephoned my aunt (where I was first staying) as that is where I called him from. Or perhaps he didn’t really believe that I had moved to London! Who knows. As I say, I never did find out.
The twitching of the eye and the stumbling words
Yes, dear diary, that was me. As I sat on one settee, and he on the other – I quite simply was twitching of the eye, and stumbling over my words. I was also repeating myself, which he teased me about. I was also throwing cushions at him.
Somehow, we ended up on the same settee. I tried to push him away from me as I was soooo embarrassed about my greasy hair. It was very long at the time, and although it definitely needed a good wash, it did hang rather nicely! So, it may have looked nice, but it certainly did not smell nice and I did not want him getting too close to me.
He laughed at this, as he recalled how I had always had a thing about how clean my hair was. It wasn’t long though, dear diary, before I was in his arms and tasting the sweet kisses of the man I had not stopped loving in the time we had been apart.
I pushed him out of the door, ignoring his pleadings to be allowed to stay the night. No – I will see you in the morning as arranged, I told him resolutely.
That night I hardly slept, and the next morning I took special care to make sure my hair was squeaky clean and I looked as good as I could. The frizzon of excitement as he drove up the next morning made me dizzy with anticipation. As he fussed around me in the car, making sure I was comfortable, I really didn’t know what to think.
He drove us to the lake district and we had a lovely day. We ate a nice lunch, we played some pool, and then later still he teased me for proclaiming what a wonderful view the mountains made. He had a prior arrangement with friends, and so had to get back to meet with them in the early evening.
When we arrived back, and as I gathered my things – he asked if he could come over after he had met with his friends. I hurriedly told him that I didn’t think that was a good idea as I flounced out of the car. I telephoned my girlfriends and arranged to go out with them that evening. I had half expected him to turn up (as he had done on other occasions), but he did not.
As I lay alone in my bed, I reflected on why I had given him the cold shoulder. Why I hadn’t encouraged him to come over once he had met with his friends. I suppose the answer to that one is that I couldn’t cope with him turning up like that. I had been in a very low mood – and I guess I simply pushed him away. Did I want to get back with him? Hell yes! I had since the day he broke it off with me.
So as the day progressed … I hovered anxiously near the phone. Wanting to call him (as I knew he would be staying with his mother and step-father) but not daring to. It took me THREE hours to pluck up the courage to call.
His mother answered the phone, and although we had never met, she knew enough about me to know who I was. I had just missed him – he had quite simply just left a few minutes before to return to his army base. Hang on, she beseeched – and she hightailed after him and brought him back to the house to speak to me.
To say he was surprised to hear from me was an understatement. The best I could do was mumble:
Don’t be a stranger.
To this he responded that he thought I didn’t want to have anything to do with him. I don’t really recall what I said to him, but the next thing out of his mouth was this:
Do you love me?
I had never once told him how I felt about him – and I wasn’t about to now. All I could utter was some profanity which had him roaring with laughter (he knew I wasn’t really one for using bad language).
So, dear diary, we said our goodbyes. Again!
Some months later, we discovered that my father had terminal cancer. This had come as quite a shock, as he had not complained of feeling ill. He had though, returned early from Portugal where he was looking for a suitable place for he and my mother to winter.
Although I was in shock at this news, I went into some kind of “sensible” automaton mode. The one person I did want to share this news with though, was Paul. So I rang his barracks and asked them to pass a message on. When he called me later, it turned out that soldiers with guns had pulled him off an exercise so that he could return to barracks and call me. Oh, that was a tad embarrassing.
As time went on, the surgeons stabilised my father enough for him to return home. He lasted only three weeks.
He died at 3am with his family around him. Not I though, I was in the next room – I couldn’t bring myself to be there as his breathing was so laboured, and the stark contrast with the silences as his breathing gradually slowed was too much to bare.
At 9am, I called the barracks, and asked that they could let Paul know that my father had passed away; I also asked them not to interrupt if he was in the middle of something.
Within a very short time, the phone rang and it was him. His CO had offered him the use of the phone in his office, but he had said that he wanted to take the call in private.
We talked, and he asked me to visit him. I responded that it really wasn’t possible for me to do that as I needed to be with my family, and so he arranged to get leave and came up that weekend to stay with me.
My father knew about Paul, and now and then he would ask me about him. In his hospital bed, he asked me if I had spoken with him, and I told him that I had. He replied “everything will turn out ok then”. My brother said to me later, he just wanted to know that you would be alright.
So, dear diary, it was a very strange weekend for me. My father had just died, but I felt a sense of happiness at having the man I loved beside me.
Rather trepidatiously, I asked him what this meant for us. I will never, to this day, understand why he told me that we were together again.
My happiness was short lived. He did call me a couple of times although unfortunately I was out with friends. I will never know why he did this – but he quite simply stopped calling. No explanation – nothing.
The pain I felt was indescribable. Here I was, recently bereaved, and the focus should have been on my father. Instead, I was hurting over a man who had quite simply dumped me again.
That dear diary, was not the last time I heard from him again. But it was the last time I ever saw him.
A few months later I collapsed at work with stress. I took some time off, and my sister and her husband took me to a nearby camping ground with their caravan and their dog. I spent a few days there but cut it short when the weather turned bad.
What I could not know, dear diary, as I reflected on how weird it would be if Paul was nearby – was that – he actually was.
I had dialled into my voicemail at home – and there was this bizarre beagle howl. This could only be one person. The beagle thing and the howl was a joke between us. When I returned home the phone rang. It was him. We spoke for a while – and then he said something to me that made me see red.
I left him in no uncertain terms what I thought of him – and I never heard from him again. Oh, except that one Christmas there was again a frantic knock at the door at 10pm. In those days, there wasn’t really anyone that I knew who would call at that hour.
This time, dear diary, I did not answer it.
I think it took about 10 years for me to get over what had happened, and to stop secretly hoping that our paths would cross again. Now, as a woman in her mature years – I can see it for what it was. At the time, it felt as though I had lost THE ONE.
Sadly, and I am not entirely sure why – I’ve kept men at arms length Okay well, maybe I do know why.
You will see, if you read my lost love post, that I did have another chance of happiness that came in October 2011. I reunited with my first serious boyfriend. We had been engaged, but grew apart. Or at least, I grew apart from him. The second time around, I ended it again three months after he moved to South Africa.
So, to get back to my original question – what is wrong with me?
I think there is a small amount of sadness that I thought I had found someone special in Fake-Thomas. I mean, if I hadn’t been affected by what happened then I wouldn’t be human, right?
I won’t dwell on it though – I have experienced much worse in my life. After all, it is not what goes wrong that counts – it is how you deal with it.
I am dear diary, proud of the lemonade that I made from life’s lemons on this occasion.