I thought I was a smart woman.
I take pride in having a great career and being very logical. I guess in the business world I am, however in matters of the heart, the heart can override common sense and logic.
I work and travel a lot – so when I thought of finding a companion, I (hesitantly) tried the on-line dating avenue.
I had given it a couple of chances several years prior to no avail, but I tried a new site that catered to Christians, thinking maybe the quality of candidates might a little better. However, I learned there is really no way to truly know who these people are.
It started with a simple email liking my profile. He had cute pictures – lived a few states away – but I thought 'let’s keep an open mind' – I travel often, and long distance could work. I don’t like to be too tied down. As it progressed, we chatted online through another avenue, not on the original dating site. Note to file – RED FLAG. We also started texting. I did look up the area code and it matched the state he said he lived in. I googled him – found nothing. I searched LinkedIN - found nothing. Note to file – RED FLAG.
This progression continued and plans were being made for him to come see me on his way home from a trip. He indicated that he traveled overseas for work. Note to file – RED FLAG.
We would text, IM, or talk on the phone several times a day. He was very responsive – never anything inappropriate – no red flags there. His story always lined up with what he had said in the past. No red flags of “hmm - -that isn’t what you said before” . It all stayed on track.
During this time, my friends said I had not “beamed” and looked this happy in a long time.
This person really knew how to touch my heart. And the ironic thing is – I even told friends that if I heard this story from someone else – …. Met a guy on line… lived in another state…. Traveled internationally for work…. Haven’t met yet…. --- I would think they were crazy. But in my heart, it really felt so real.
Then everything changed. One morning while working and IM’ing, he asked if I could fund part of a work project. At that moment every cell in my body went on high alert. I knew this was all a sham and my heart broke as it had not broken in a very long time. I told him I couldn’t and had to get back to work. After that he only sent one more text – a very casual note – not like anything we would normally text. I think he was actually testing the waters to see if I had caught on, or if I really just couldn’t at that moment send him money.
In the days that followed many emotions overwhelmed me - I was crushed, mad, completely embarrassed, and heartbroken. I truly thought I was smarter than that - that I could see through acts. And here I was, crushed by a scam. Luckily, I was smart enough to stop things at that point and see right through it. I am also very thankful for the friends who surrounded me with love and support and never let me go down the road of embarrassment. I was the only one being hard on myself.
Will I try again? Maybe sometime in the future. Rest assured I will be ever so aware of every single red flag.
I will do my due diligence, I will ask the right questions, and I will verify the responses I'm given. I will trust my gut, not just my heart.
We hope some wisdom through experience has been passed onto you all. As Julie Spira shared, online dating doesn't have play out like this. Like so many women, the author of this heartbreaking story is well educated and aware. It's crucial to look for the red flags, take things slowly, and ask the right questions.