The Real Story
Updated November 24, 1998

November 24, 1998 - I found Tim while scanning some internet "photo personals" He sounded very warm, down-to-earth and sincere, and looked to be very attractive. I sent a short letter and recent photo of myself. When I signed on the next day I immediately received an "instant message" from him...he had already placed me on his AOL buddie list. I felt funny about this but as I chatted with him I felt more at ease. He seemed to be a gentleman, intelligent and interesting to talk to. We started exchanging Email daily and soon had exchanged phone numbers. He lived 300 miles away but we met about a month later and began dating. In many ways he seemed like what I had always, fun, sincere, attentive, secure, and he earned a good living as I do. I was bothered first by his increasing obsessiveness towards me. He called about twice a day, sent lots of flowers and cards, and showered me with compliments..started talking about the future and marriage....sounds nice but it was over-whelming. I told him I needed some space but I am so fortunate that I found out soon that I needed more than space....I needed out. I found out he had lied to me about some things that if he had only been truthful about I would have been able to deal with. He had lied about his age, how many times he had previously been married, and how long he had been divorced. I ended it immediately but had to deal with his tears, harassing phone calls and continued Emails...he did not want to take no for an answer and I had to get down-right rude..not my style. It was frightening for awhile...fortunately, he finally respected my wishes and it did not progress to a stalking situation as I had feared.....I will definitely take more caution next time.

October 1, 1998 - This is an absolute gem this site. I think it is really important that everyone who is even chatting "just for fun" should get warnings like these.

I have a few interesting stories to tell. I am really grateful for what I have learnt online. But then again, I did not get done over as much as others. This is also about my best friend.

I began chatting around November, Dec. of 1994. I was newly 18, the legal age in Australia. Chatting is what drew me online. I wasn't searching for a mate. Shortly after I began using IRC, I went on my first no-parents holiday to celebrate finishing high school. Suffice to say I made some pretty bad errors of judgement on that trip and came back much worse for wear. IRC became my lifeline.

I built up a good "community" of friends on my own channel, and my real life best friend was included too. The first experience - I had met these guys who chatted online togther - they were real life friends. From a few things they had said and their insistance that we meet I was put off, but my friend went and met one of them despite my advice. Nothing bad happened but he was the drop kick I guessed he was. And was extremely rude to both of us online after he didn't get what he wanted.

Bev then began ringing the American guys on our channel. She started having phone sex with one of them while the other one,(let's call him Bronze), was professing his undying love for her. He was living with his GF pf 5 years, but was unhappy. Soon he had moved out and was making plans to come to Oz. Within a few weeks of meeting online he was visiting her here, and was proposing. Knowing how desperate my friend was for love, it was VERY difficult for me to tell her that it was a suspect situation. I had the added problem of it coming across as me being jealous. I had big concerns about the fact that he had just ended a 5 year live-in relationship. And that he was willing to give up his life for someone he barely knew. My friend was smitten and very upset when he left after his 2 weeks vacation. Withing a few weeks (11?) he was back and he stayed for 18 months.

This is the period of my friends life of which she hates to be reminded. This 23 year old man was allowed to move into her family's home. She was just 18. Her parents were scared of losing her. Noone liked him, he was extremely rude and unfriendly. At the start people bent over backwards to befriend him and got insulted for their efforts. He sat at her home while Bev and Bev's parents worked, paying NOTHING for his own upkeep. Bev bought food for them. I now believe he delibrately set out to alienate her from all those she loved, so that he could have her for himself. She defended him, saying he was lonely, he felt uncomfortable in her house, he parents hated him and so he couldn't win with them. He treated her with disrespect after the original love buzz wore off, then he refused to have sex with her anymore, and started going out without her when before he had refused to get his lazy bum off the couch. The relationship degenerated, and he came to a point where he said he was going back overseas to get to know his dad, but that someday they would be togther again. My friends self esteem in shatters, we begged her to just END it totally with him before he left (we being me and her mum). But he left her with hope and so she waited for a year for him to come back. Eventually, this 25 year old man managed to break it off a week before the first anniversary of him leaving. A WHOLE YEAR! Two weeks later she rang him and a chick answered the phone. When he got on the phone he told her it was his girlfriend.

I know there are red flags all over this story. But what I really want to point out is to please please listen to your family and friends. I didn't voice my opinion loud enough for my friend at the start. I suppose she got the message after I physically removed him from my house one night for his behaviour. She apologised to me on several occasionas for his behaviour, but didn't see that if he can be uncaring about the way he treats those who you love, he can be uncaring about you. Her parents disliked him intensely, her sweet unjudegmental Grandma came to actively dislike him, and still to this day when she sees old acquantices they ask if she is with him still they express delight when she says no.

Maybe if it wasn't for the intensity of the online relationship AND the fact dumping him would mean sending him back across the world this very destructive relationship would never have lasted, or even began. So I beg of people, keep your head about you!!!

My story - I had some good emotinal relationships online but they were gradual evolvements. I never had any intention of finding a mate and when i "clicked" with someone I never had intentions of flying around the world :) But one guy I had a deep friendship with hurt me deeply. It was quasi-romantic, he was 24 with 2 children. Recently seperated. We spoke everday. Then one day he is online saying that his wife is moving back in and they are pregnant. He private messaged me saying that he still hoped we could chat and be good friends. I was happy for him but a little saddened. Of course things changed, and I got to know his wife better. I really liked her.

Many months later, from a mutual friend I found out that his wife had never actually moved out, just slept in another room. He gave me the impression that it was totally over. I know he just needed someone to lean on, but I thought we had a honest relationship. Worse still was the GUILT I felt. It must have hurt her that she felt he wasn't supporting her yet here he was sweet talking some 18 year old hussy on the net :( What could have been done different in that situation? I don't know, except it underlines that despite the pereceived strength of your onlien relationship, it doesn't really mean a lot in the real world. Your actions online could be affecting a very real 3D person in the life of someone with whom you are chatting - really think about that. We did mean something to each other but I would never got in like that had I known he was still involved with his ex (let alone getting her pregnant!!)

Please change names if you use this, i know it is very long but maybe there is something in there that hasn't bene said as yet.

Wild's Reply - Consider it done. You sound like a very level-headed person. I'm sure you've both learned so much from these terrible experiences. I hate to hear about them when they happen, but know that you'll both be the best possible people to warn others, because of your own experiences.

August 17, 1998 - I just came across your web site today Wildxangel, but wish to God my son had seen it a month ago. At that time, he was a true internet novice, having been on line for less than two weeks and just discovered the chat lines. He was an innocent baby although about to celebrate his 24th birthday. Because he had not seen your web page, he is now charged with two felony counts, faces a potential of many years in prison, and faces the potential of forever being branded as a sex offender. And he truly is not.

The girl he met on the chat line claimed to be 18 years old. The chat line eventually led to the girl spending a weekend with him in his apartment. Her actions and appearance matched her claimed age. But when he returned home from school on Monday night, the girl was gone. In her place were two policemen who promptly took him away to jail. The girl, obviously, turned out to be a minor and had run away from home. She had been traced to his apartment through telephone calls she had made to him from her home.

I would like to know if other men have had similar incidneces of having been lied to by young girls pretending to be grown women. His mother and I are also asking for prayers to keep our son from paying such a price for what he thought was a innocent love affair.

You can read more about our on-going story at: Jerry's Story - (Opens in a new browser window)

Wild's Reply - People - this is STILL happening! We must DEMAND that sites offering chatrooms MAKE THEIR CHATROOMS NON-ACCESSIBLE TO MINORS!!! - it is NOT hard to do - the chatroom on this site is protected from access by minors! Visit this site, see if there's anything you can do to help!

August 10, 1998 - I am a very recent widower (24Feb98 my poor Babe was KILLED by a speeding teenager 2 miles from home). I am not much for talking with people about my pain so about 3 months after she was killed I found a widow/widowers site on the net and signed on and only posted (I have never logged into a chat room on line) a few times with an explanation of how I had come to be there. Since I am ANGRY to put it mildly most of the posters did not want to see such anger so I mostly read other posts. A widow my age (55 at the time 56 today) was in such apparent despair that I feared might commit suicide so I started posting privately to her giving her encouragement Being that I was (am) emotianally hurting and vulnerable at this juncture in my life it was incredibly easy for me to fall into an emotional connection with her since I viewed her as someone in the same if not worse emotional chasm that I found myself. Cliche "long story shortend" I flew from east coast to west coast to meet her and go to widow get to gether and berievement group meetings. She actually has an online book selling business with a "glamour shot photo of her self" (scant resemblance). About the only truths she spoke were that her husband really had died from cancer. I had procured cheep airline tickets which required me to stay over a weekend. Within 36 hours it became obvious that she had visions of me (the white knight) rescuing her and that she was a pathalogical LIAR! When it became obvious that I was not the white knight she suggested I change my tickets and leave early which I did. To be fair much of the misunderstanding was undoubtedly my fault; she really was hurting "I think?" but her penchant to prevaricate was, I think, not a result of her husbands death. Moral I was truthful she was not, although I am a man I fell into the same traps you have covered, fortunately I was able to extricate myself for less than $1K wasted and a one hellofa LESSON LEARNED. Wish I had stumbled onto this site before it happend. Many of the "watch out fors" you mention were there. She occassionaly posts to the site I met her on (I don't but I do read it) and in hindsight I see in her current posts the types of things you point out; I picked up on them before I read your column but subsequent to my trip. Just thought I would send you this to let you know that it does not require a personals meeting chat room to get BURNED.

Wild's Reply - Well, first let me extend my thanks for your submitting this, and my sympathies to you for your loss. Yes, you are angry - you have every right to be. Having said that, I want to address a couple of issues - as they seem to recur here (the net) more than anywhere else I'm aware of. The first is what I call the "I'm gonna do it" method of getting someone. In every instance where someone I've ever talked to was suicidal, and I fell for it hook line and sinker, not once did the issue of suicide ever come up again, until I found myself feeling very used and resentful - suddenly they were about to do "it" again. It's lame, it's unfair and it's incredibly cruel to play on the deepest emotions of another person by letting anyone believe you are about to kill yourself as a means of getting their attention, and keeping it. I suggest that anyone who finds themselves dealing with someone who's threatening suicide, and clings to you as the lifesaver they have you believing you are, refer these depressed people for psychological counselling ASAP. If they aren't interested in help, why did they even bring it up? Most of us lack the clinical skills to even begin to deal with these seriously disturbed people - what makes us think we can stop them? In fact, it's a ploy - a technique they may have found helpful once when they may have really been low, and if it ain't broke don't fix it. I don't bother with suicidal people on the net anymore, the last one really had me going - to the point where I contacted police in that person's state and they, in turn, contacted that person. That person was angry at me (to be mild) that I did that. They were consumed with being angry and resentful and forgot about being suicidal and depressed. My take on it is their full of it and I have nothin but disdain for people who would use that to harpoon someone else and use their emotions and deep concern to their own advantage.

I'm sorry that at a time when you needed to merely be with someone who had something tragically in common with you, you found yourself the victim of a liar.

August 03, 1998 - Well, I guess I add my name to the list of people who were too trusting and naive when meeting someone.

I met a man one night in VP..unlike most of the others, he was using a real pic instead of an avatar. Looking back, I wonder who the picture actually belonged to! We struck up a conversation, and he was such a refreshing change form most of the men I had met. He did not try to engage me in sex talk at all, and we really "connected." I suggested we continue our chat thru ICQ. He said he did not have it yet, as he was "new" to computers and online. He did hail me the next day. We conversed thru ICQ and VP for several days, and all the while I was absolutely enthralled that I had seemingly met a man who was kind, gentle, respectful. After several online chats, I was feeling comfortable, and suggested we talk on the phone. He refused, saying it was "too soon." He wanted to know me better, he said. A small red flag appeared on the horizon. But offsetting this at the time was a man who was so seemingly attuned to me, all the while creating a persona of a Texas cattle rancher. He was shy, sweet and so thoughtful. When he could not make an arranged time for us to talk, he would always leave me an ICQ message to let me know why. One time it might be thunderstorms, and the next might be that he would have gone to a friends' house to "rope some calves." As our friendship progressed thru another couple of weeks, I asked again if we could talk on the phone. I was told no, but now there was an additional reason. He was beginning to care deeply for me, and he wanted to make sure that his feelings were for e, and not "for someone that I once wanted to love." He went on to say that he was burned in an online that lasted 9 months. After bi-weekly phone calls, and arranging to meet, his woman friend dropped the bomb on him that she was married. He was devastated, and now he would be even more careful with me. Again, I bought it. The 4th of July weekend passed without me talking to him, because of a never before mentioned "family reuinion". Never mentioned because he thought he "could get out of it, but his Mother insisted." And of course, no phone calls could be made, because I did not have his number, nor he mine.

He lightly chastised me for not trusting him when he returned, but I had already started to investigate what he had told me about himself. Of course, I had sketchy info, all of it being the rather small town in Texas he said he lived in, his name and date of birth. There was no telephone listing of course. National database search turned up no match on the name and birthdate, either. Big Surprise.

I missed him by 9 minutes one night, having arranged to "meet him" at a certain time. I was 9 minutes late, and he had already logged out. As I sat there, becoming more frustrated and upset, I realized that I could not continue as I had done. I sent him a long email, (email address was an anonymous provider, naturally) telling him about my mounting suspicions and fears. What I had done in terms of trying to establish his identity. And finally that I needed to hear his voice. I pleaded with him to call me, even being dumb enough to give him my number. Well , you guessed it. I had a "Dear John" message on my ICQ the next day. Telling me that he couldn't understand why I had done a search for him. That since I couldnt wait and let him do this his way, he would be on his way out of my life. Needless to say, I was devastated. I found out 2 days later that he de-registered his ICQ number. I emailed him to ask why. (emails were now the ONLY way I had to reach him). He replied that he felt it necessary so that we could both go on with our lives. There have been a couple more emails, the last one saying he would be going to Houston "for awhile." This would be an impossible task for a cattle rancher to just pick up and leave his property for a reason as yet unknown to me. I have cried a river over this, still wanting to believe that he was real, but time has shown me that this was just a "game" to someone.

Wild's Reply - Fact: He's a liar. Bottom line, either he's full of crap or he's married. His story about having to go out of town for a reunion then the crap about going to Houston being tough for a cattle rancher.. oh puhleeze! Either way, his conduct and behavior are reprehensible and deplorable. I'm sorry you were so hurt, and cried over him. He certainly isn't worthy of even that. And as far as your name on the list of those who were deceived - my dear, you are in excellent company - the club's membership includes me and every other person who's been through this sort of thing =)

July 15, 1998 - My story takes place over the course of 4 months. We live very far apart, I being from Canada and he from Colorado. We met in a chat room and from there things moved quickly. He invited me to spend the spring break with him. We soon started talking on the phone but it didn't cost me anything as he invited me to call collect. He told me he was an attorney and money was not a problem for him. There was one thing that should have sent up a red flag that being we would talk everyday both online and on the phone and then days would go by and I wouldn't hear from him. Next thing I knew he would call again with some excuse such as he was on a ski trip. One month went by and we were making plans to meet. The first meeting we arranged was in conjunction with his business trip to New York. He was to come to my city for the Easter weekend. Two hours before he was to arrive, he called and cancelled saying he was so busy he'd never make the flight. He called the next day and suggested that we arrange to meet in New York after the case was finished. He cancelled that at the airport while waiting for his flight back home. Another plausible excuse - he ran up his credit card. He called several times once he got back home the last time to inform me he was going to another city to work on a case. When I didn't hear from him for three weeks and my messages to him went unanswered, I decided to do some checking. His actions and his words didn't match and I knew there must be a reason for this. I called the State Bar Association and discovered that he was disbarred seven years ago! I wanted some satisfaction at least to let him know that I was on to him. I managed to find where he was and called him. He must have been a really good lawyer because he managed to talk his way out of it and smoothed things over beautifully. We then made several other attempts to meet and each time he would disappear again. I should add that I am considered a very cautious person by family and friends but this guy is very smooth! The final straw came two weeks ago. He claimed he was under stress from financial problems with a company he used to own. In an attempt to cheer him up, I sent him some flowers. He called to thank me for them and the next day he called from his car phone to say he was going to another city to work on a case. I have not heard from him since and yes, he still claims he's practicing law! I have finally realized that I will never solve this mystery and I'll never get the answers I need to close this chapter in my life. All I can do is move forward and have done this by blocking his calls. I'm sure he must be stringing others along too and I hope that they read this and find similarities.

Wild's Reply - I totally commend you on realizing when to say "enough" and walk away - even though you leave behind a mystery. Your ability to move on when the situation gets worse is something I wish so many others had. Thank you for sharing this, I hope that it helps others to see they aren't alone in wondering about people when the stories just plain get old - and it's okay to just move on.


Copyright 1998 Wildxangel - All Rights Reserved