1st May, 2018
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.