Dating After Divorce? Beware of Romance Scams!
Dear Fearless Love,
Recently, I ended a relationship with a man I met online. We met a year ago as I was ending a 33-year marriage with a lengthy divorce. This new man and I seemed to like a lot of the same things and he was very sympathetic to what I was going through. I wasn’t open to the relationship because I am in my 50’s and he’s 20 years younger, but he said destiny had brought us together. Things moved quickly, yet he wouldn’t introduce me to his friends or family. He moved in with me and enjoyed giving me massages, washing my hair, and reading to me, which, with the stress of divorce, I really appreciated.
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I paid for his child’s school, a new truck when his broke down, all of our vacations and every meal we ate. He always had an excuse or some bad luck story about why he couldn’t pay for things even though he lived with me rent-free. My friends became suspicious. We ran a background check, and found out he had done this before with other women! I am so lost. I thought he loved me and that we were happy. It’s hard to accept he’s a heartless criminal. I feel so used. Help!
The good news? You now know who you’re dealing with – a scam artist. The bad news? You, like anyone entering the dating scene after 10 or more years of marriage, became an easy target for a player, manipulator and scammer. Divorce shakes the foundation of your life. Feelings of loneliness, a lack of love, and a need for validation make you virtually a helpless prey that con artists smell from miles away.
As sad as this reality is, romance scams are on the rise. In 2016, almost 15,000 Internet romance scams were reported exceeding $230 million in losses – the highest amount of financial losses to victims when compared to other online crimes (1). By the time a woman gets to her mid-thirties and older, she’s probably accumulated assets like a car, a house, savings and perhaps good credit. She may have a good job, spousal support, or a pension coming to her. Con artists know exactly how to target a woman’s assets, both financial AND emotional. When he turns on the charm, you may feel this is your second chance at love and happiness. It’s only natural to WANT to feel his (seeming) love, adoration, affection, and attention.
Here’s what to do NEXT TIME to avoid falling prey again:
- Ask the men you date lots of questions (Don’t worry about being perceived as nosey. You’re actually being choosey in the right way by educating yourself!)
- Beware if they are evasive, change the subject, or their answers don’t match what’s stated on their online profile
- Don’t disclose too much personal information about yourself too soon
- Don’t give them your address or money!
- Your goal is to figure out if YOU feel emotionally safe and comfortable with him to progress to a phone call and then to a date
- You are not looking for a pen pal as scammers will keep track of your communication (as well as ALL the other women they’re targeting) to keep you hooked in their game of exploitation
- Try to set up a face to face meeting (video call if he’s long-distance) within the first two weeks
- Do not waste your time with someone who isn’t willing to give you his last name
- Beware of excuses and cancellations AND wanting to move communication to another site i.e. WhatsApp, etc.
- Don’t be fooled by FAKE Facebook profiles
- Do a background check. Start with Googling his full name and his business and looking him up on LinkedIn before you meet (He’s doing the same research on you to make sure he builds rapport quickly!)
- Beware if nothing comes up in your initial internet search or if there are inconsistencies— he may be operating under an alias
- If everything checks out, select a public place for your date where you feel comfortable
- Always provide his contact info and where you’ll be on the date to a trusted friend
- Your safety comes first – always!
- Always trust your gut! If something feels off, it probably is so, trust your intuition
After the divorce or death of a spouse, your hopes and dreams for the future change dramatically, leaving you wandering without a clear direction for a while. Take time to build an amazing relationship with yourself first! Explore passion projects you’re now free to pursue – create the non-profit you’ve always wanted to, write your memoir or go on a cruise around the world taking pictures of exotic flowers and then blog about it! Yes, date, but go slowly and ease into relationships carefully. The best love you’ll receive at this time is the love you give yourself, fearlessly!
You are worthy of a man’s respect, love and protection. It’s my goal to empower and educate so you have the tools needed to avoid people who are incapable of expressing love as well as to support your healing journey when love and the loveless collide. You’re wired to give and receive fearless love! Just beware of these red flags within your new relationships.
From Love Trauma To Fearless Love: 7 Tango Steps for Breaking Free From Narcissists and Predators
Download the Free Excerpt: Lovetrauma.com.