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Letter to Lovefraud: I’m looking on POF, but I’m scared to move forward

A Lovefraud reader found this ad on POF.

Lovefraud received the following email from a reader who gives her pseudonym as “Erica.”

I’ve been in love with a sociopath for 5 and a half years. He lives in Portland and I live here in Vegas so that has been a great thing, however he still haunts me and I’m trying to move on so I’m enclosing a profile from an online dating site and I’d like to get your opinion of the things that he says. I’m scared to move forward because I’m scared that I’ll attract another one. I seem to be surrounded by narcissism and sociopathy and I’m tired and I’m scared and I lack trust to move forward. Donna please share my email on lovefraud.com so that I can get some feedback from other members.

Erica sent a screenshot of an ad from the Plenty of Fish dating site — I assume she is considering responding to it. I’ll address the ad later, but first I want to focus on the main issue of the email:

Erica, if you are scared to move forward and scared to attract another sociopath, then you are not ready to date.

Calculated seduction

Involvements with sociopaths are always emotionally and psychologically damaging, and often destructive to your finances, career, social relationships and more.

With past breakups, perhaps you suffered some heartbreak and your pride was wounded, but you were able to pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and jump back into the dating pool.

Relationships with sociopaths are not normal, so neither are the breakups.

Sociopaths engage in calculated seduction. In the beginning they love bomb you, want to be with you 24/7, make glittering promises about the future. The sex is usually unbelievable. The effect of this extraordinary attention is that you fall, and fall hard.

The attention and affection continue until the sociopath either feels that you are truly hooked, or loses interest. Then the devalue and discard begins. You were once the most important person in the world to your partner, and suddenly you are nothing. Your fall from the sociopath’s pedestal is brutal, and you honestly don’t know what happened.

You may think that you should be able to put the person behind you and move as you may have done in the past. The truth is that, when you were involved with a sociopath, it’s not that easy.

Work on your recovery

If you’ve had a devastating encounter with a sociopath, your top priority must be your personal recovery. Most likely, you have suffered not only heartbreak, but betrayal. Betrayal is very, very painful. Not only your feelings, but your sense of right and wrong has been violated.

In order to move forward, you need to process the pain of the experience. This means allowing yourself to feel the pain however it presents to you — crying, groaning, pacing, putting your fist into a punching bag. We have lots of information on Lovefraud here to help you, both in the blog and in our webinars.

As you work through the pain of your involvement with the sociopath, you may find that it brings to mind other pain that you endured in the past. If this happens, it’s good. Sociopaths hook us by latching onto internal pain from the past that we may not even be aware of. So if the sociopath rips the scab off of past traumas or betrayals, process them as well. The more you can get out of your system, the more prepared you will be to truly move forward.

Trying again

So how do you know if you are ready to date again? You’ll feel reasonably centered. You are able to enjoy yourself. You have family and friends who care about you. Maybe your life isn’t yet perfect, but it’s moving in the right direction.

If you feel fearful or desperate about finding a partner, then you have more work to do.

The online ad

About the ad you found on Plenty of Fish — the guy sounds great. But is he telling the truth? When it comes to online ads, anyone can post anything; therefore, all dating profiles must be regarded with skepticism. 

Let’s analyze this ad. The guy says he’s

  • Athletic body
  • Easy going
  • Romantic
  • Loves outdoors, movies, travel
  • Into running
  • Loves animals
  • Active in many charities
  • Former Navy officer
  • Traditional values
  • Adventurous and open-minded
  • Financially secure
  • Looking to buy a home

Is it possible for someone to be like this? Yes. Is it possible that he is too good to be true? Yes. Is it possible that the ad was posted by a professional con man from Nigeria? Yes.

Maybe when you’re feeling stronger, you’ll be able to communicate with this person and evaluate whether he is what he says he is.

But Erica,  you should not even be looking at online dating ads right now. Please first focus on your personal recovery.


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12 Comments on "Letter to Lovefraud: I’m looking on POF, but I’m scared to move forward"

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Perhaps it was ‘Erica,’ but I am almost certain that I saw another reference to this same ad on lovefraud.com. If I am remembering correctly, one member did go on a date with this person, who picked her up in a rental car and took her out for Jamba Juice, then tried to have sex with her almost immediately. It was not pretty.

Zoe, your right, I went. I still want to decipher the context…ideas?

Hi EricA, I think that you should stay away from this guy — so many red flags: rental car, new to the area -why, if he’s retired? “Adventurous and open minded” probably means, ‘although I profess to love Jesus, I also like/expect deviant/promiscuous sex.’ A Jamba Juice date likely means that he does not have/is not willing to spend the resource on a proper date. Don’t even ask him for his address, just avoid him like the plague. We’ve all met this guy before, and that is why we (luckily) ended up here.

P.S. ‘Anthony’ was a “former Navy Officer” who “cared deeply about the homeless.” Meanwhile he put several women very close to homelessness because of his chronic Theft by Deception via love fraud. Run.

If he is “Financially secure”, then why doesn’t he own a home? That would be a red flag for me. Ask him for his address because you want to send him a surprise (maybe a special card or something). Then look at google maps for the address. If its a PO box he’s probably married or scamming you.

I love the advice ‘re his address!!!

Dear Donna,
Thank you for your NEEDED advice. God, I feel like I’ll never be trustful again. Will I ever really be ready to date again?
Before I received your response, I did go with him on a date; Zoe is correct, he took me to Jamba juice in a rental car and tried to manipulate me into having sex with him when he brought me home by telling me how “beautiful I am”. When I looked up his number out of curiosity, it was one of those internet numbers, ancillary to no one in particular. I asked about the no smoking stickers on the car that led me to believe it was a rental and he came up with an excuse right away. My dilemma is not that I don’t trust EVERYONE, it’s that I don’t trust myself to decipher sociopathy. I think the ad is a good examlpe; I’d love feedback on the ad…
Thanks,
EricA

Dear Erica,

Whenever I have a breakup, FOR ANY REASON,I give dating a rest for six months, and go to weekly counseling, whether I feel I need it or not.

Also, I seek out HEALTHY coupled friends and go on DOUBLE DATES, so I have two extra heads to help me process what is going on. That in itself scares away most sociopaths. Telling you right now that you will date a lot less with double dating, but the quality will be much better.

Forget Internet dating. They attract sociopaths like a flame attracts moths!

Yours truly,

Monica

The POF ad sounded very generic to me; almost as if the guy who wrote it was trying too hard to sound normal.

I have also noticed that many sociopaths like to claim they were these big heroes in the armed forces.

Athletic body
Easy going
Romantic
Loves outdoors, movies, travel
Into running
Loves animals
Active in many charities
Former Navy officer
Traditional values
Adventurous and open-minded
Financially secure
Looking to buy a home

This reads like marketers are searching for a wider range of customers aka Targets!

LOTS OF RED FLAGS!!

This guy is fishing for anyone to chat with him.

He’s got the “animal lovers” box checked.
the out doors people box checked, Military box check, etc etc. Every box is checked = more women to response to his post.

The last line is the biggest RED FLAG:

“Looking to meet an honest & affectionate lady??”

WHY IS THERE TWO QUESTION MARKS (??) AFTER THIS SENTENCE?!?!
That’s not a type o..not with TWO ??.

PLEASE everyone that is either on a dating site or thinking about online dating research Donna’s articles on the DANGERS of online dating by doing a search in the upper right corner of LF.

After reading them you will never want to online date again. It’s best to join a club, group or organization in your city to meet potential mates. There is much more protection meeting someone the old fashion way i.e. meeting them in person & listening to your gut reaction to them immediately!! Also in a group or club you can ask other women if this guy has been a serial dater etc. You can not do that online. There are sites such as Meetup. com etc that list groups, organizations or clubs in your area. I personally will never date online. Way too dangerous.

Oh My. I looked at the POF profile before reading what Erica had to say, and immediately saw red flags. Then I reversed everything he said about himself and bingo! Sociopath:

Easygoing: UPTIGHT controlling
Romantic: overly sexual
Loves “fill in the blank”: Cannot love, feels nothing but boredom, excitement, and contempt
Traditional beliefs and values: I have no real beliefs and values, I do whatever gets me what I want
Adventurous and open-minded: I am impulsive and deviant
Financially secure, looking to buy a home: I likely have near to nothing, and always will

And the fact that he loves just about everything is a dead give away for troll fishing. Throw a huge net and see what comes back.

Erica,

I would stay off of online dating. Especially until you feel you have a solid understanding of how to spot these types, who are thick on these sites.

I met 3 men, ALL of them sociopaths, on online dating sites. I was totally duped by 2 of them. FINALLY, by the 3rd one I caught on quick. I also STOPPED dating for a full year and got my head together.

In my experience with online dating, if a guy has a dog, he will usually say he is into his dog. Or if he volunteered somewhere, he would mention what he does. I think the “love of animals” which is vague, “into many charities” (also vague), and “former Navy officer” would make my hair prickle a little bit. The other thing is that most normal guys are looking for friends or someone to date. They don’t move to a new town looking immediately for a special woman. That is my take. However, all it would take is a phone conversation to find out about his charities or his former or current job. Men are very happy to discuss their lives with you. Sociopaths when lying will just change the subject.

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