It was with much reservation that I jumped back into the dating pool a few months ago. After about seven years of on-again off-again online dating, I had given up on it for a while. But I kept seeing these commercials advertising this one dating site.
Then, a doctor I was seeing (whom I see because I’m psychologically damaged from online dating) suggested I try the very dating site I was thinking of joining. Was this a sign from God? It had to be! Or so I thought…
So, I created my profile, uploaded my pictures and waited. I decided this time I would do it a little differently. I would not seek out men; I would let them find me. Primarily, the reason for this was the rejection factor. You send out all kinds of winks and smiles and emails and most of the time never hear back from anyone.
But then, I heard from a guy named Bill who seemed great. He was 59, good looking, and in great shape. At least, that’s what his picture showed. He was a little older than what I’d prefer, but, heck, I’m going to be 50 this year. (Names and other details have been changed or left out.)
It has turned out to be yet another learning experience, which I would like to share, mostly to help other women.
Ladies – when it comes to men and online dating, there are warning signs in their communications with you, and you need to know them. Pay attention – it could be life altering.
His first email read:
“If I made the effort to be your friend first and more, would you know how to treat a man?”
Not your usual email, but ok, everyone is different. Maybe he’s had women treat him badly.
I sent him an email back, and five days went by before I heard from him again. During that time, I wondered why I didn’t hear back from him. Had I said something wrong that he didn’t like or turned him off?
I had told him about my interest in baseball in the 1990’s and how I wrote baseball poetry; this because his profile stated he was a big baseball fan.
Was he in contact with someone else, had he met someone else? These are just some of the thoughts that go through your mind when you don’t hear from someone for days. And most likely, you said nothing wrong. The problem is on their end.
Here is the actual unedited email I received from him finally, and some commentary by me in italics.
I’m sorry I didn’t drop you a line sooner. I find that I lose track more because we’re not in the same community. This is the first time where I’ve found I am writing you first and then looking forward to meeting you. I lost track of your email until just now and a couple of days have passed.
Warning sign #1: An apology followed by a renewed commitment to me. He begins with an apology because we both know it took him the better part of a week to respond to my email. Twice, he makes reference to “losing track.” Is he that overwhelmed with emails from women on the site that he “lost track” of mine? Highly unlikely.
“Losing track more” because we’re not in the same community? Seriously, what does where I live have to do with his response time? Because I live 80 miles away it took him five days to respond to my email? That just doesn’t make sense.
He makes up for the time that passed by going a little over the top with the compliment where he makes me feel special; he wrote to me first, not the other way around. He is looking forward to meeting me. He lays on the charm rather thickly.
My interest in baseball goes back to my Grandfather who always had a game playing either on TV or his transistor radio. I picked it up quickly.
I think your success with your poetry is wonderful. I would like to hear or read it.
I am ready and willing to do whatever I am able to help you know me. Let me know what you want to know about me.
Warning sign #2: He appears overly anxious to please. He is ready and willing for me to get to know him. He seems to want to go out of his way with me. This, so soon, is a sign something is not quite right here.
For now I will let you know that I’ve had extreme difficulty losing my parents last summer, and two friends from high school.
Warning sign #3: Seeking sympathy. The part about losing parents is very personal to write about so early on. Losing loved ones is something normally discussed after meeting; not too many people would wear their hearts on their sleeves to a total stranger in their second email to you.
I am pleased to say that the emotional issues along with my relationship to God have helped me grow and become stronger. That Holy Spirit is my spiritual fitness trainer who is very demanding. Every time I’ve received a spiritual gift, the Holy Spirit gives me a new challenge. That is as it should be because I am also reminded that I will receive just enough grace to successfully complete the challenge and go on to the next challenge. Even if the challenge at hand seems daunting.
Warning sign #4: Holier than thou. This was perplexing to me. While this is a Christian site, this paragraph sounded overtly spiritually intellectual and pompous. I’m a Christian and I don’t mind discussion about the Holy Spirit. But this in-depth speak about the Holy Spirit being a “spiritual fitness trainer” was a little much. It almost sounded “rehearsed”- some good lines.
These were statements that were designed to impress me, the recipient, how Holy he was and how God is such a big part of his life, as was his faith. But it was overkill to me. I found I had to reread this paragraph several times to really get what he was saying.
Last year was as difficult as any. Like I said both my parents, women I went to school with, a woman Carol who was one of the best Den Mothers any cub master could ever ask for, and a neighbor who was really an exceptional friend.
Warning sign #5: Goody-two-shoes. He manages to slip in that he was a Cub Scout master. Translation: I’m a great guy and I need to prove it to you! Also, this is the second mention in the email about his loss. Designed to garner sympathy and reinforce he has been going through a hard time. Of course, he is only human for feeling a loss, and that is understandable. But to discuss it this early with a person you haven’t met?
It is nice we both have an interest in baseball. That is a fun way to start out and build. Music also is a part of baseball games. That is an area where I excel. I would love to share that with you.
I’m feeling very positive about my feelings as I write you. I’ve learned there are times to use my head and there are times to follow my heart. Both are telling me I’m on the right track.
Warning sign #6: Overkill. His head and his heart are telling him all these things, yet he’s never even talked to me on the phone much less met me. Wow – he’s feeling really optimistic about a relationship with me, and all this from someone he’s gotten one email from! He’s following his head and his heart based on my picture and profile? I found this a little condescending and pushy. Why is he in such a rush to have a relationship with me when we haven’t even met?
I want to come to know you better as well. What are your thoughts?
Although I hadn’t analyzed the email quite the way I did here, something was bothering me. A woman’s instinct. Many of us have very good instincts when it comes to men or people in general.
The last time I ignored my instinct, I got into a relationship with the World’s Biggest Loser and wasted two years of my life. That is why I’m so leery now, if a little jaded.
My gut instinct was telling me something wasn’t right with this guy – could he be a scammer? A serial killer? Or just new to dating, and I was reading too much into his email?
His profile didn’t fit that of a typical scammer: widowed, working as some kind of electrical engineer, out of the country at the present time – usually in West Africa – one photo on the profile and always good looking, and ready to start a relationship with you, pronto – often before you’ve even written back to them.
Scammers are looking for targets that somehow, some way, they will get money from. I’ve reported many of them, and found their profiles gone from the dating site after reporting.
Something just felt wrong. Was my gut instinct ever right.
I went on the dating site one day and his account, under the name of Billy**** had been removed.
I sent him a text: “What happened to your profile on the dating site?”
This was his response:
“It was hacked! I’m so sorry. I have to author a new one. I’m very upset about that. I’m shook up about it. May I call you & tell you my email address? I don’t care to do anything through [there] until I know more about what happened. Thx.”
He stresses how terrible it has been for him to have been hacked. Upset. Shook up. Again, looking for sympathy. Blaming everything on the dating site. How could they have allowed this to happen?
I have never known anyone – and I’ve been on all of the dating sites at one time or another – Match.com, Eharmony, Plenty of Fish, Christian Café – to have been hacked. It just doesn’t happen.
I wrote back:
“I have no way of knowing if you are real. Lot of fake profiles on there.”
I got no response to that after an hour and a half. So, I texted, “Guess I have my answer. Bye.”
And I meant it. Now I was 100% certain something was wrong here. I was thinking he was a scammer. But I was wrong.
Around midnight, when my phone was shut off, he sent me this text in response to my last one:
“My profile was hacked. I am sorry you had the hassle. I live in ******* Ohio. I am Bill V******. I use MLGuild because I own these guitars. I play guitar piano and trumpet. ST. ******* Oh, is my parish. I PLAY and sing in Contemporary Choir. Please contact me with your user name. I will not continue my account if they will not protect us from hackers.”
So I wrote back, “MLGuild? That was not your user name. People get banned for many reasons. My gut instinct tells me to avoid you. Something is not right.”
His user name that he had contacted me with was definitely not MLGuild. So why would he have more than one user name? And why couldn’t he keep them straight? I was about to find out.
I decided to do a little detective work, which I am very good at. And let’s face it, now that I had his last name, it would be a virtual piece of cake. I typed his name into an Internet search and hit pay dirt. It took only a matter of minutes to find out he was married.
His father had indeed passed away and there was an online guest book. Most of the guests had written to Bill and Susan (not her real name) in their condolences.
I also found him on Facebook, where it openly stated his relationship status was “married.” I found his wife on Facebook, too, and she didn’t appear to be too concerned about her looks, but that was no excuse to be a lying cheat.
I saw pictures of him with his grandchildren and other family members. I saw more than I wanted to. I felt sad for his wife and his kids that he could do this, and be so stupid about it! Did he not realize once I had his last name, I’d find out the truth? Does he not know the power one has with a keyboard and a computer?
My final text to him read, “Didn’t take me long to find out you’re married to Susan. LOL”
I also sent a message to his wife telling her that her husband had an account with a dating site and that he had been in contact with me, wanting to meet, and I told her I have the proof, if she wanted to see it.
But I have a feeling she has been putting up with this for a while.