A Crash Course in Dating Red Flags

Since we’re on a bit of a Red flag Roll, here’s another blog post I read this morning that is FULL of them. Single Dating Diva has been gracious enough to let me deconstruct it. She’s not going to curl up in the fetal position and cry in the corner and run to twitter and tell everyone about her omigod “haters” and lock up her tweets. She’s got guts, so let’s keep that in mind when we’re commenting.

Okay. Read the story here first.

Ready? Okay.

So my “friend” and I have been friends for a while.  We met as colleagues but he was in the land of far far away and I was here in Canada.

Now, I’m going to take this to mean that they never actually met. SDD has confirmed this. By the time this all went down, they had known each other via work for a little over a year. The “romantic” development began the spring of this year.

We have been through various ups and downs together, as friends.  We’ve been there for each other through some of our hardest challenges.  This brought us closer together and created a very trusting and loving relationship….  It was great, since we had the solid friendship base it was an easy transition into romance.  There was love there already.

As we discussed yesterday, many women have a tendency to idealize relationships and dynamics. Their FWBs are “good friends” who “respect and care for them.” Reality? They’re just guy who don’t treat them poorly.  There’s no tangible or hard evidence proving this alleged loyalty and respect. It’s all in the woman’s mind. That’s especially easy to do when you have no first hand, in person experience dealing with someone. So, while SDD believes that they have been through ups and downs, she doesn’t know him well enough to have a baseline of his behavior. Establishing that takes time. It also takes face to face interaction. A lot of it. This bond that she and this friend of hers developed likely didn’t actually exist to the depths she believes it did.

We also decided not to mention it to any of our other colleagues so as to not create a weird situation in case it didn’t work out.  Actually, I didn’t really mind telling people, but he was adamant we didn’t.

Bam. There’s the first real red flag. Why was he “adamant” that she not tell anyone?

All was great and, he being the type to “shout it from the rooftops” that he was in love, he did.  But he didn’t mention any names.  He wrote publicly that he had met someone very special and only had eyes for her.  No one really asked who it was…I was asked by one of our colleagues and was forced by him to lie (sorry!).

And there’s the next red flag. So, he’s adamant that she not tell anyone, but he runs to Facebook and announces it? Inconsistency. Plus, the announcement was vague. No names. That’s convenient.  When men make public declarations like this, usually if not exclusively it is for the benefit of the woman he’s dating. Guys don’t typically get all mushy in public. In private? Sure. But not in public. If he does it in public it’s because he’s trying to prove something to the woman he’s dating or someone else.  Finally, nobody asked him who the lucky lass was. Know why? They probably already knew. Or they didn’t care, as this guy has a habit of falling in and out of love.

The reasons why a man will ask a woman to hide something are that he’s either very private, embarrassed by something about the relationship OR he’s being dishonest in some way. Since he ran to Facebook and announced this, the “very private” excuse doesn’t cut it.

He would call me his “missus”, he sent me love songs, talked about the future, even talked about buying furniture together for one of his homes.  So he booked his flight here to visit and when the day came for him to come he was so excited, sent me several text messages and then he had problems getting on the flight.  So he supposedly spent the entire weekend looking for a way to get here “because I was worth all the hardship and trouble” he said.  He wasn’t successful.

See, this sort of behavior feels really childish. Especially the effusive compliments. I’ll take Spring to mean May or June. So then they’ve basically been flirting for 3 months. Maybe 2. Somebody talking about buying furniture with you after dating 3 months, let alone”dating,” should raise that red flag. We don’t know exactly what was said. He could have made a joking reference to needing her help shopping for a couch. Who knows? In any case, 3 months of non-in person interaction is not nearly enough time to have such conversations. I don’t care what anybody says. When I hear these stories of people meeting over the internet and never meeting for a year but falling in love, I roll my eyes. Something is off about that. It might work, of course. But only because the two people are of the same emotional/social maturity level.

So he cancels this trip that he was super excited to take. Hmmm…red flag.  Then he evades her for the next few days. That, my friends, is when her internal warning system went off.

But instead of just dropping him and letting him show her if he was being genuine, SDD decided to “trap” him in his lies. Which, for future reference  ,is a giant waste of energy and time. This is something women do because it makes it seem like they are taking control of the situation. Except they’re not. They’re hoping against hope that they haven’t been duped.

The next day he sent me a message that someone very close to him was very ill and in the hospital.  So he couldn’t talk.   Each day that went by, I was more and more patient.  But he started speaking to me less and less.   Even responses to my emails were becoming a rare treat.    He said it was because he was spending all his time at the hospital with this person who was ill who the doctor’s gave a negative prognosis.  I tried to be loving and supportive and told him I would fly there to be with him even if that meant I was sitting in a hospital all day.  I didn’t care.  That’s what you do for your friends and those you love without thinking twice.

No. That’s what you do for someone you actually know because you’ve met them in person. This is how women get scammed online. They believe the unbelievable. We’ve all been there. I’ve been there.  When all the pieces fall together, it’s  a punch to the gut.

A few days after that, I was online and saw pictures of one of our other colleagues (who was even further away from him geographically than I was).  So I looked through the pictures and saw him in one of the pictures with her. Hmm, I thought, that’s strange, he was spending day and night at the hospital with this ill person.  So I sent him a message asking him if she was in the land of far far away and that I saw him with her.  His prompt reply was that she was there for “business” and promised he would take her for lunch and that I should “not panic”.

This is why I say that trying to “catch” someone in a lie is a waste of time. They’re just going to lie, and you’re going to believe them because you want to. If you were ready to not believe what they say, you’d have ditched them by now. That’s why you don’t ask leading questions. When you find yourself at that point, you just leave. She had photographic evidence that he was out and about at a time when he said he was stressed out by a sick loved one. Case closed.

The reveal? He was dating someone else who lived out of town. Shocker.

But a couple of days later, I woke up in the middle of the night and I felt the urge to go check the other woman’s account.  So I did.  Lo and behold pictures of them together doing various activities looking quite happy together.


Funny thing is that if he had been honest from the start with me we could have at the very least salvaged the friendship.

If SDD took anything from this situation, it should be that there was never a friendship to begin with.


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41 Responses to “A Crash Course in Dating Red Flags”

  1. LostSailor Says:

    Can’t disagree that there were plenty of red flags here. Keeping a work-related romance quiet is generally a very good idea; announcing a relationship on Facebook isn’t keeping anything quiet. Missing making the first trip, withdrawing in communication, the “sick friend” in a short space of time are enough red flags to host a May Day parade in Red Square. No need to lead out a string here, no need for stalking his (or the other woman’s) Facebook. Just call it a lesson and break it off.

    But where I agree the most is that there was any relationship at all; at best you were something slightly more than pen-pals. SDD, I think, assumed a romantic relationship where none existed. One reason why I wouldn’t date anyone outside of my local environment, which for me is NYC. Actually, I’m reluctant to date anyone outside of Manhattan; the very few woman I’ve tried to date who lived in nearby Queens (no Forest Hill, thanks) or Brooklyn have not worked out well. If it’s difficult to meet in person on a regular basis, it’s just not going to work unless there is an extremely high level of chemistry and attraction, which you can only tell by meeting frequently in person.

    The biggest red flags were that this guy would express his undying love, etc. when they had never actually met. That’s just several levels of strange for me. I usually don’t approve of the word, but here it fits: this is just a bit creepy.

    • fuzzilla Says:

      >If it’s difficult to meet in person on a regular basis, it’s just not going to work unless there is an extremely high level of chemistry and attraction, which you can only tell by meeting frequently in person.<

      Yeah, exactly. I don't tend to date suburbanites not because of any geographic character judgment, there just better be an ultra-compelling reason to deal with shitty logistics right off the bat.

      Moxie nailed this one. I think one of the most important dating lessons I've learned is not wasting energy "trapping" someone in lies or wanting him to feel shitty for hurting me or whatever. If you have those feelings, you should know you've reached a point where no good can come from any further interaction. Don't step in dog shit more than once. Press the "stop" button and remove yourself from the situation. Done.

    • Howard Says:

      Really hope all the advice here helps! But lists are just a small part of the solution.

      In the end, we know, hotness trumps everything. The current way, a lot of us see hotness is bound to get us in trouble. The only meaningful solution is to redefine hotness in our minds. Nothing wrong with a little excitement. Just remember, we all eventually draw the line somewhere. Maybe we should start drawing that line a little closer to places that don’t endanger our emotional well-being.

      Internal transformation seems to be an off-limits topic on these blogs where everyone blames everybody else, and people gravitate to gut reaction type solutions. My sense is that the hard work of transforming, is the only real solution to most of these problems.

  2. Karen Says:

    When he made some announcement on FB that he had someone special in his life.. he was able to “generalize” this and ANY woman could have believed that it was her he talking about. Game On.

  3. Ashley Says:

    Moxie, how does he demonstrate this: “letting him show her if he was being genuine”? If you have what you thought was a legitimate flirtation (with someone in person/by text/email), and then they go a little MIA, so you drop it, how can you tell what’s life and what’s a red flag?

    • Andthatswhyyouresingle Says:

      He’d demonstrate it by taking initiative rather than her having to constantly chase him down.

  4. Gorb Says:

    I don’t know how this woman was so deluded. Seriously?

    She only has herself to blame.

    • Andthatswhyyouresingle Says:

      I was in a situation like this as recently as 2 years ago. When you’re in it, even if everybody is telling you how phony the guy is being, you still hang on hoping everybody is wrong. You believe everything they say because you want to. In my situation, the guy actually wrote a post for this blog talking about how much he valued our “relationship.’ (I’d actually met him in real life a few times and knew him for a few years.) Thankfully I never published it here. I think he was doing what SDD’s guy was doing – blowing me off continuously hoping I’d take the hint and go away so he wouldn’t have to cut me off himself and risk incurring some feared blog wrath. But hewould take any opportunity he could to get me to write about him.

      This guy probably was thinking the same thing. He sounds like an attention whore, probably knew about her blog, and loved the idea of her publicly praising him in some way But when he realized she was more invested than he was comfortable with, he had to cut things off. When she wouldn’t go away, he had to push her away so she could believe she left him on her own. Which is what she’s telling herself. But that’s not what happened. This guy ditched her long before she implemented her “string theory.’ She’s just trying to regain her control.

      • K Says:

        Right, and I think another thing is that these things that are based mostly on internet communication (email, IM, skype, chat, whatever) really have a way of creating a false sense of closeness. You can easily start to feel like someone is your soulmate or something when you aren’t interacting with them on any kind of regular basis in “real life,” but are just communicating by typing words. The way you can interact with someone through online communication is completely different than how you would interact with them if you saw them regularly, and it’s so easy to get to this weird fantasy place with a bogus sense of intimacy. Honestly, you say and talk about things you would never do in a normal dating relationship.

        Even through this type of communication it’s easy to spot inconsistencies and lies, but because you’ve poured out your souls to each other in your long-distance online communications and feel like you’re meant to be, you try and push those lies aside and focus on this amazing thing you think you have together. That’s when the critical thinking needs to kick in, particularly if the guy is NOT making an actual, regular, effort to see and date you (create a legit long-distance relationship). That’s when you step away from the computer and go out in the real world to expand your options, or at least try online dating with guys who actually live nearby and want to see you in person.

        • Crotch Rocket Says:

          Agreed, and I will add phone conversations to your list, not just online: it builds a false sense of intimacy if it’s your primary/only means of communicating with someone. People are just different in person, which is why everyone should make getting face-to-face as soon as possible.

          I worked in corporate sales for years, and one of the most important things I learned was that you can maintain a relationship over the phone/email, but only after you build it in person.

    • Angeline Says:

      To me the sad part is her replies to you (Gorbachev) and others that you just don’t have her perspective looking in from the outside, she’s the one who knows how it *really* was.

      That and this ‘string’ theory, means that not only did she invent it all in her mind, but that she will continue to do so, and has done so before, thus this elaborate and pointless ‘method’ for catching it.

      Even if this string stunt was effective (it wasn’t), even if the catching of someone in a lie or series of lies brings them up short and makes them Change Their Ways (it won’t), it’s not good FOR YOU to engage in it. So the OP lied as well, or didn’t own up to what she knew, in order to draw him out into more lies. How is that good for you? It’s all a big clusterfuck of lying and rolling around in the muck.

      You can be bouncy as a Superball, eventually some of that is going to stick to you. “I bounce back quick” is another way to say, “I avoid any introspection into how I contributed to this.”

  5. VJ Says:

    Umm depressing is my overall reaction here, again on too many levels to count. Anyone might be this gullible at any age, but over 30 something? That takes some awful willful set of self delusions and deceptions. The guy here (and yes ladies, it might have easily been the woman too) is perfectly willing to supply the fuel for the fire. After all he may be stringing along quite a few ‘marks’/paramours. But that a self possessed person of some experience & intelligence could so easily fall for this scam tells us something about our limitless capacity for ‘cognitive dissonance’.

    All the bad freaky flags were flying, and yet people still walk into lairs full of trouble & strife, willingly & hopefully.

    It’s not that there’s no hope anywhere. It’s just that you’ve got to see it to believe it. Right there in front of you. Without that? Everything else is fictive dreaming of imaginary lives & futures. Sadly one of the clues here that may have been missed is ‘picking furniture out for one of his houses’. Sorry SDD, that was a clear give away. Let’s count the ways.

    1.) We once picked out a house in about a day. We knew our minimal requirements and what we could spend, where we needed to be, and put some money down on the 1st acceptable place that we could find. It’s not that complicated, when you’re starting out.

    2.) Picking out furniture however is substantially more complicated. It’s got to match & go with the rest of the decor, room, style & color palate. You really need to be there to do that, and yet SDD had Never (?) met this Mr. Wonderful in person. Huge red flag, flying over Red Square, being handled by the Red Guard of the Red Army. This was the Big ‘red wiggler’ worm he’d likely dangle before many of his marks, in addition to all those (promised) vacation commonalities. All the hallmarks of a facile con-man (& women), painting you an appealing picture of what might be in the distant future if only you’d believe in the ‘magic’. And it’s a mutual sort of delusion too, you have to be willing to accept it and sign on to it for anything of it to work its magic!

    3.) Again it’s all but incomprehensible that anyone over the age of 30 falls for this schtick so badly & completely. But hey, it happens & hopefully people can learn from it. If you’re a real pro? You’re really careful about what’s going up on FB & social media.

    4.) So who to trust? Why not try the Over performers here? The steady, dedicated souls who ‘under promise, but over perform’? The ones who tell you that when they’ll meet you, they’ll do so even with a broken ankle, freshly set. The ones who’ll forgo their funeral/family obligations to come to comfort you or ‘make something right’. But no, everyone falls for the infinitely more attractive cons that sooth our egos and make us believe that we’re truly with someone Special and more worthwhile, (Houses, as in Plural!). We Want to believe that. All of it, that there’s a Magical White Knight in Shining Armor to whisk us away from our daily drudgery!

    5.) I’ve been married longer than most of the crowd here has been legally drinking. Reagan was still alive. One of the first things I told my future wife when we were dating was that I was no Knight in Shining Armor. There is no more foolish, dangerous and self deceptive myth than this one, in all aspects of life & delusion. It’s profoundly silly, and yet time after time it still entraps generations of women who should know better. The late Helen Gurley Brown knew better oh, some 50 years ago. Hell, even the damn Knights knew better some 500 years ago. So I’m going to try and restrain my impulse to shout or growl ‘grow up’ to anyone here.

    So here’s a hard & fast rule: Whenever anyone tells you of such folly? Immediately suspect them. Be suspicious of any ‘bright & shiny object’ that seeks to either divert your attention or ‘pull you in deeper’ based on just mere suppositions (lacking proof or evidence) or ‘swell sounding stories’ that seek to flatter & enrapture. Things being dangled in front of you in hopes of this brilliant distant future you might share, but based upon tissues of fabrications, or hopeful delusions that might be ‘secretly’ shared by just you two. Sure some of this is and can be natural in many real ‘love relationships’, but reality is almost always harsher & grittier. Always look to the evidence of Character in the other. Things being done to benefit others when no one’s watching. Things being done for the sake of charity, humanity or ‘good works’ that no one knows about. Not ‘secrets’ about wealth or imagined riches or ‘secret royalty’/rich relations. They’ve been part of scams since the beginning of recorded history. Going way back to the days of the Knights & before!

    Ditto for anyone who claims to be more devout than you or others too. Geez it’s a very long list of scams! Cheers, ‘VJ’

    • fuzzilla Says:

      Great comment, VJ. You reminded me that red flag #1 was “he said he likes to be a knight in shining armor for ‘wronged women.'” Translation: He seeks out the vulnerable and easily manipulable, not the healthy. Hmm, why would he do that? (Insert the rest of the story).

  6. Christina Says:

    Ugh. I actually felt bad, reading about all the hoops SDD jumped through to “trap” this guy. I guess it’s always easier seeing it from the outside, because yeah, red flags from the moment he claimed to be the knight in shining armor. It’s ALWAYS the ones who talk themselves up and lay the compliments on unreasonably thick that can’t be trusted.

    I think it would have been okay to play along- although the thing about buying furniture together verges on the creepy- but the moment he started having “difficulty” in actually going to see her in person, should have been the day she dropped this loser.

    The whole deep friendship in which you do everything for each other just isn’t plausible when you’ve never met in person, and your friendship really hasn’t had to withstand much, if you’re not involved in each other’s “real” lives.

    Yet one more cautionary tale about the online “relationship” that’s a mere figment of the imagination.

  7. Ashley Says:

    I would have raised my eyebrow at the vague facebook status. That reminds me of a time I met this guy online. He lived an hour away but he made the trip to meet with me a couple times. We hit it off but I noticed he was talking to several other girls who I wasn’t sure if they were friends, flings, family, etc….I had no idea. Well at my age 21 state of mind, I thought asking him to be exclusive with me would fend off any other females. He agreed to be exclusive but he was very weird about changing his myspace status. He kept making up excuses about forgetting and “I tried but it didn’t work.” Red flag. We ended up getting in a argument and I called it off. A couple weeks later he said he missed me so much and thought it was stupid and told me he would change his status online. Stupidly, I took him back. He wrote a message on his profile “I love Ashley!” A week or so after I took him back, I found out that he was seeing another girl named Ashley as well! How about that?! I still have to admit I find it kinda funny but sad and pathetic as well. The slick bastard was seeing two Ashleys.

  8. GuyDatingAbroad Says:

    From the blogger’s original post: “He called himself my ‘knight in shining armor’ and said that if anyone ever tried to hurt me he would hurt them.”

    Can we really believe what we are told in the dating world? When we are dating, we can all be thieves of hearts, and as the saying goes, there is no honor among thieves.

  9. DrivingMeNutes Says:

    SSD is correct that the way to draw out a conman is to pretend to believe it. It’s a classic sting. But, that’s not what happened here, obviously. When you get your evidence, you make the arrest and begin the prosecution. Here, in the face of photographic evidnce, she was still asking questions.

    I don’t understand the con, though. Normally, con-men are motivated by something tangible – either money, or sex. I’m not sure what this guy was getting out of this. It’s hard to catch a con man if his motivations are incomprehensible. In that sense, I can see why she may have been fooled. Why would he go through all this trouble if they never even met?

    Which brings me to the final point. She wasn’t conned. She didn’t lose anything. She didn’t give him money. They didn’t sleep together. They never even met. This relationship – including the cheating, and her sting operation – are all essentially a product of SSD’s imagination. This is like those people who got taken by Bernie Madoff who, even if they found out it was a Ponzi sheme, still thought they were entitled to the millions in “returns” he was “holding” for them. It’s like they can’t fully accept that it was all an illusion.
    Moxie is exactly right. There never really was a friendship.

    • Andthatswhyyouresingle Says:

      My guess is that this guy was never terribly interested in SDD. He continued with the ruse because they worked together, hoping if he backed off/canceled on her she would take the hint and go away and things would die a natural death.Where he went wrong was going overboard with the things he said. Instead if just canceling the trip, he had to go further and tell her how he would try to find a way because “she was worth all the trouble.”

      When he snapped at her, he was angry that she wasn’t taking the hint and just going away.

    • Selena Says:

      I was sad when I read her post because I believed they really did have a long friendship. I was quite surprised to read Moxie’s proclamation that they had never actually MET IN PERSON! Yow. In that light, I agree – this whole ‘relationship’ existed in SDD’s head – but not without some help from far, far away guy. His motive I would surmise was the same as hers, he was enjoying the romantic attention, without any of the responsibilities that come with a ‘real’ relationship. When it came down to actually meeting her in person…smack! into the wall of reality. Cancel. Lie.

      I’m also not buying her string theory. She wasn’t giving him enough rope to hang himself – she let weeks of non-communication go by hoping against hope that what she knew in her gut wasn’t true. Even upon finding the photographic evidence. Sad about losing a friendship? As the saying goes, “with friends like this, who needs enemies?”

      Take away: If he/she isn’t right in front of you it’s an imaginary relationship.

      • Amy Says:

        This: this whole ‘relationship’ existed in SDD’s head

        Very sad. Glad she said she is the type that rebounds quickly.

    • fuzzilla Says:

      That’s a good point that it’s not terribly clear what was in it for him. I’d guess he did want to date her, but then someone else came along that he liked better/who was more convenient for him. Shit happens. Then, rather than do the right thing (which would be stating what happened as plainly as I just did), he trotted out a bunch of bullshit about sick people in hospitals and airline drama and whatever the fuck. The motivation for the bullshit stories was probably to try to convince her everything was her fault because he’s too immature to own his own behavior. Also he apparently still wants her approval and attention even though he doesn’t want to date her (attention whore).

      • Snowflake Says:

        I want to think it was the ego boost for him – that was what was in it for him.

      • Selena Says:

        How did they plan to date when he lived in the land far, far away? In the year and half they ‘knew’ each other as colleagues they had never managed to meet. Even if this situation didn’t play out the way it did, how often would they have ever actually spent time together? And the other woman who visited him lived even further away from him than SDD. He wasn’t in a position to “date” either of these women.

        • fuzzilla Says:

          Your guess is as good as mine. There had to be something in it for him. Just attention and ego boost? We can’t know and it doesn’t really matter if his actions are shitty at the end of the day. I was just intrigued by DMN’s comment of “can’t catch a con man if his motivations are incomprehensible.”

          • Andthatswhyyouresingle Says:

            People grossly underestimate the power of attention and adoration.

            Things could have started innocently and then he realized she was taking it more seriously than he was and he just tried to extricate himself from the situation. He did it poorly,though. He should have just cut it off rather than drag it out.

            • Selena Says:

              That is my take also.

              To me this whole thing sounds like an “electronic flirtation” that the guy took too far and SDD went right along with him. Why he didn’t put the breaks on it like a grownup is beyond me.

  10. Trish Says:

    Letting out more string each time? The ball of string concept seems like less of an activity of getting this guy to hang himself and more of an activity to give the guy continuous slack.

    I think a rubberband, rather than an imaginery string, could be a better practice if one isn’t sure about red flags and when to bail.

    She should wear it on her wrist, and when she has a sense something isn’t quite right she would snap it. After letting out a yowl, hopefully she will make the connection from that very first physical discomfort that she could be in for a world of hurt if she continues, and that now is the time to walk away.

  11. Jack Says:

    “Funny thing is that if he had been honest from the start with me we could have at the very least salvaged the friendship.”

    Funniest thing I’ve read all day. What friendship? You cannot possibly be this misguided.

    Please learn and move on. There were plenty of red flags here, and to be honest, you don’t need anyone to tell you what they were. The question is, are you going to look out for yourself and be honest with yourself next time you see red flags?

    Screw all your warm and fuzzy feelings about being “there for each other”. If a man wants you, he will come after you hard. He will move heaven and earth to get to you. This guy was running WEAK game on you and it worked.

  12. Crotch Rocket Says:

    he was in the land of far far away
    Perhaps I’m reading too much into the wording, but starting the story with a quote straight out of a fairy tale? Not a good sign of things to come.

    We have been through various ups and downs together, as friends. We’ve been there for each other through some of our hardest challenges.
    Um, no. He’s been there, while you’ve been here. You didn’t go through these unspecified challenges “together”; you went through them over the phone, email, etc. IOW, you had a pen pal.

    This brought us closer together and created a very trusting and loving relationship
    Perhaps in your head, but you were just as apart as you started: you here and him “far, far away”.

    we had the solid friendship base it was an easy transition into romance.
    You mean it was easy for the fairy tale in your head to transition to romance. The actual relationship, if it existed at all, did not change. You’re still pen pals.

    We also decided not to mention it to any of our other colleagues so as to not create a weird situation in case it didn’t work out. Actually, I didn’t really mind telling people, but he was adamant we didn’t.
    See what he did there? You wanted to tell people, but he said no, and you then convinced yourself that you agreed with him–because that was the only way to keep the fairy tale in your head going.

    All was great and, he being the type to “shout it from the rooftops” that he was in love, he did. But he didn’t mention any names. He wrote publicly that he had met someone very special and only had eyes for her.
    The instant I read that, my automatic reaction was “without names, you don’t know who he was talking about.” You wanted to believe it was about you, but so did the other woman (or women) he’s playing. And, lo and behold, that’s exactly how the story ends: he was talking about someone else. Two points for the cynic.

    No one really asked who it was…
    That’s a serious red flag. If he’s supposedly such a private person, why wouldn’t they ask? Hint: he has already been introducing them to the woman he’s talking about–in person.

    I was asked by one of our colleagues and was forced by him to lie (sorry!).
    Honest people don’t ask others to lie for them. So, you now know he’s not honest. And why did you decide it was still a good idea to “date” him?

    He would call me his “missus”, he sent me love songs, talked about the future, even talked about buying furniture together for one of his homes.
    This isn’t just a red flag; it’s a giant red banner stretching all the way from here to “far, far away”. No sane, genuine guy is going to profess his love like this before ever meeting you. Either he lacks any social and relationship skills, in which case you shouldn’t date him, or he’s a player feeding you what you want to hear, in which case you shouldn’t date him. Which it is doesn’t matter; the response is the same.

    So he booked his flight here to visit and when the day came for him to come he was so excited, sent me several text messages and then he had problems getting on the flight. So he supposedly spent the entire weekend looking for a way to get here “because I was worth all the hardship and trouble” he said. He wasn’t successful.
    Seriously? You don’t specify where he was coming from, but boarding a plane when you have a valid ticket is not exactly a challenge for a grown adult. Especially traveling to Canada, which doesn’t require pre-travel authorization like the US and a few other ultra-paranoid countries. The only logical conclusion is that he never bought the ticket in the first place.

    The next day he sent me a message that someone very close to him was very ill and in the hospital. So he couldn’t talk.
    How convenient–for him. Want to bet that he was going on vacation with (one of) his real girlfriend(s) and that is why he couldn’t talk to his pen pal?

    Each day that went by, I was more and more patient.
    Um, no. With each day that goes by, you should get less and less patient with his bullshit excuses, unless you have verification of his story from an unbiased third party (eg. media outlets show the airline has canceled all flights from “far, far away” to Canada).

    A few days after that, I was online and saw pictures of one of our other colleagues (who was even further away from him geographically than I was).
    So, basically, he was working two women at the same time, and she was the one that fell for his schtick first. That would have been good news for you, at least, if you had paid attention to it.

    Funny thing is that if he had been honest from the start with me we could have at the very least salvaged the friendship.
    What friendship? He was never your friend; you were just one of his (probably several) clueless marks. And, if he had told you that, you never would have fallen for it. Duh?

    Wishing that others would protect you from your own naïvete is, well, naïve. That’s not how the world works; you have to learn to protect yourself.

    • Andthatswhyyouresingle Says:

      that’s exactly how the story ends: he was talking about someone else.

      I don’t think so. I think he was talking about both of them. Meaning, that posting was meant for both of them to read and see. He *wanted* them both to think he was talking about them. Attention whore.

      • Crotch Rocket Says:

        That’s what he wanted them to think, but he was also posting pictures of him with one of them, and was likely introducing her to his friends when she visited him. So, in reality, he was talking about that particular woman–but he made it vague enough he could convince the other little fishy(ies) on the hook that it was about her(them) as well.

  13. Marshmallow Says:

    Having been here myself, several things jumped out at me.

    The OP doesn’t say where he is from or if he is from her country stationed overseas. If culturally they were very different, it’s highly unlikely he ever would have introduced her to his family.

    If I was a betting woman, I’d guess he was also considerably younger than she is.

    You can post messages on Facebook that only certain people can see. Maybe no one commenters because only she and the other women could see them.

    Even though the other woman spent time with him and had pictures posted, she didn’t exactly win a prize. He didn’t own up to the real reason she came to see him. The OP only knew she was there because this woman posted photos. He would have kept up the rouse if she hadn’t.

    I’m also guessing he didn’t invite her for a visit. She may very well have used work as an excuse but that wasn’t the real reason.

    It’s hard for people who haven’t been there to get it. Everyone wants a grand love story and if you reached a certain age without one, well, it’s really easy to get taken in by sweet talk. You want to be the exception. And men like this know that.

    • Andthatswhyyouresingle Says:

      I don’t think it’s as manipulative as that. I think guys like this are just really immature.

  14. Eliza Says:

    The bottom line is: “Desperation has a way of convincing you that anything is possible”. If you email and/or speak with someone about 2-3 times, you should be willing, ready and able to meet up – face to face…initially on a weeknight and the next time on a weekend. IF there is mutual interest. If the man (or woman) is dancing around the fact that he is unavailable on any given weeknight or weekend evening due to work, already, and weeks go by–move on. There is BS going on. Unless you want to live a fairy tale fantasy all in your mind or enjoy having a pen pal. That’s all it is. A way to feed that person’s ego. Plenty of men AND women that are attention whores. Or people in negative or toxic relationships–yet they are too afraid to be on their own. So–they live a virtual life and deceive to get off. Very commonplace online.

  15. K Says:

    I think it’s unfortunately pretty easy to find yourself in a “relationship” that only exists in your mind. Especially if you don’t currently have other options going on, and if you don’t see the person much. And if they’ve given you a little bit and you want more. Your mind can kind of run away with it and create something that isn’t real. That said, it’s not too hard to recognize when you’re in that situation and do something about it! You can pull back from it, turn your attention elsewhere, do new activities or online dating or meetups or what have you, in order to expand your options and break the hold the illusive relationship has on you.

    What’s disturbing here is that the blogger doesn’t seem to have the self-awareness to recognize that this was all in her head (They never met in person! His behavior was ridiculous! His lies were so obvious!) Instead she frames it like they really were in a relationship and she was so smart to catch him in a lie (or string of lies). It’s delusional, and it’s scary to think someone, or yourself maybe, could be deluded for that long in the face of such ridiculous circumstances. She’s kind of patting herself on the back for catching him in lies and missing the point that she looks a huge fool.

    We all need to be able to recognize and snap ourselves out of this kind of mental situation before we end up in a cluster-f like this!

    • Eliza Says:

      K: It’s call “denial”….and when someone wants to believes something so badly–they will turn a deaf ear and blind eye to ALL the writing on the wall. It’s that simple. Usually-one overlooks things once their heart is involved, but it IS sad when either a man OR woman overlooks the obvious red flags when initially getting to know somebody–especially when they have never met face to face! I guess being alone for some has a way of blurring their vision and clouding their judgment. ;(

  16. LostSailor Says:

    Having read a bit more of SDD’s blog, the picture becomes a lot more clear. This isn’t a case of ignoring red flags, it’s all about the drama.

    Despite SDD’s claims to not doing long-distance relationships, this one is just the latest in a string of long-distance “relationships,” many in which there was a “serious” relationship even though she had never or very rarely met the man involved. She has a whole post about nurturing a “relationship” via Skype.

    In a post that links to one of her articles on another dating site about “nice guys,” she indicates she ditched her husband because he was too much of a nice guy and thus was boring. Here’s how she describes it:

    Trust me, it’s great in the beginning but then it gets old and boring very fast. That’s what happened to me with my ex-husband. He was a “nice guy” who came along after a string of “bad guys” and I was on my last straw. What happened? Well, he swept me off my feet with his niceness and compliance and romance … then what happened? We got married and it became dull and uninteresting. Grow a pair already! … Life with someone should be interesting and exciting. … Me, personally, I don’t want a nice guy. Nice guys just don’t cut it for me. As you can tell from my dating history, I don’t typically choose the nice guy and I get burned, I know. I will be the first to admit it. But I don’t want a nice guy. They bore me.

    So this isn’t a case where she’s misreading red flags, she sees the red flags, she looks for them. The whole point of the “letting out the ball of string” (in another post she refers to it as “giving him more rope to hang himself”) isn’t to “catch him out,” it’s to draw out and maximize the drama.

    Most of the dates she describes are like this, including the rather over-the-top “heartbreak” at the end of most of them, questioning whether she can ever trust men, and frequent declarations that she’s “quitting” dating. It’s all part of the drama-cycle. Like other “dating” bloggers, she confuses what she thinks is self-awareness (hey, she’s blogging about it!) with self-absorption.

    The problem is she’s not dating men, she’s dating drama. And dating drama is a toxic relationship that will end badly…

    • Selena Says:

      Wow. No mention in her blog about seeking therapy I imagine.

    • fuzzilla Says:

      You know, I really hate the term “hamster wheel of rationalization” because it’s used by people who go on misogynistic rants, who toss it around willy-nilly at just about any single woman who says or does anything.

      However, I think you’ve presented a compelling example of it, LS. It sounds like she’s getting hotter/more successful guys, except they treat her like crap, “but it’s OK, ‘cuz I’m having so much fun! Except when I get burned and cry about it! Over and over again! It’s all part of the fun!” (I mean, I dunno, maybe she got married super-young before she knew what she wanted. Still, mistakes are for learning from, not justifying. If she insists on fun with the bad boys, she should have a string of them on speed dial, have her fun, and forget about them when they’re not around. That’s “sowing your wild oats before you settle down.” As opposed to getting emotionally invested and expecting the bad boys to act like the nice guy she ditched. That’s a recipe for madness).

    • Andthatswhyyouresingle Says:

      We got married and it became dull and uninteresting. Grow a pair already!

      She wrote something else about how men get intimidated by women who make more than them. She also blamed that on why her marriage failed.

      Her marriage failed because she’s immature. I find it hilarious that she DMd after I wrote this post and said I was hard on her and disregarded her feelings, yet 2 days later she is on Twitter talking about how her ex has moved in with his new GF , but that’s ok because she’s ugly. Good thing the internet is private! No disregarding of feelings there!

      I’m seriously gobsmacked at how bloggers like her and Katie from DMDC can sit there and whine about how “mean” I am when they have dozens upon dozens if blog posts cruelly mocking the men they date. Yes, dear, it’s hilarious how you write about that guy with the stammer and the other guy with the anxiety disorder. But if I write a post like this – which was in no way “harsh’ or “mean” – I’m the mean one. I’m the one who enjoys tearing women down.

      These girls humiliate themselves

    • Snowflake Says:

      “it’s great in the beginning but then it gets old and boring very fast.” “Life with someone should be interesting and exciting”

      I must have missed the memo but where exactly does it state that it is ENTIRELY the guy’s responsibility in ANY relationship be it long-term/common-law/marriage, to keep things interesting, fun, lively all the time, ie cater to the women 24/7?

      Just reading that is exhausting in itself. So in her mind she just gets to sit there like Cleopatra and be catered to and everyone has to be at her beck and call and she gets to exert no effort or energy. She has to put in no work into the relationship? WOW?! Must be nice to think that way?! Wait teenagers think that way, that’s right? Oh silly me I forgot.

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