Editor’s note: Lovefraud received this e-mail from a reader who we’ll call “Edna.”
I just had a two-month experience with a guy who, I am convinced, was grooming me for “the big scam.” I had been vigilant after a financial scourge from an ex who was an alcoholic/addict. Recently, however, grieving my mother’s ailing health and in a growing panic from the fires that raged in close proximity to my home, I sought some semblance of levity and allowed myself intimacy with a man, even after becoming very aware of several red flags. He seemed respectable, kind, and generous, was a friend of a friend and he loved the sun, the beach, nice dinners and good music.
I finally ended things last week because I could no longer deny that increasingly tumultuous feeling in my gut. Thankfully, it was soon enough to avoid any financial or emotional fall out. Hopefully this will help your readers.
THE RED FLAGS
- Over the top, grandiose gestures of flattery. Helicopter ride, flowers, wining and dining, wanting to whisk me off to the coast within the first week of dating.
- Tried to move the relationship too fast. He wanted to know if I was his girl within the first week.
- Needy and possessive. He seemed to want to spend all his time with me. Did not seem to have many friends.
- Lied about his financial condition. Bragged about his “properties” in Hawaii and elsewhere, his travels worldwide, how he paid cash for his fancy car. Found out later the properties all belonged to the “soon to be ex” and that she carried the mortgages. All that after claiming honesty was the most important thing to him.
- Called in a crisis. A week into dating, called to tell me he had no one else to talk to, but was in a panic because the “ex” cut off all his cards. I asked how she was in a position to do this. He said she was the primary cardholder. Sensing an imminent request for cash, I ditched him but resumed the connection a week later.
- Overly available – seemed to be available most days during work hours. He claimed to be an investigator who worked on a project basis. I noted that he didn’t return work calls promptly, hence the availability.
- No permanent place of residence. Claimed to be staying at his sister’s place (since 12/08) which was 3 hours in traffic from my place and 2 hours from his “work” place, had no discernable plans to move out (he had four pets and no landlord would take him), called me twice around 8 am from a Motel 6, had an inordinate amount of clothes in his car trunk, and once asked if he could do laundry at my place. His driver’s license was from Hawaii, and still listed the old address from 2008.
- No ATM card. He said he didn’t want one because it was too easy to spend money with it.
- Possible addictions – chainsmoker, potsmoker, binge drinker and lied about not using cocaine. I asked if he ever used cocaine and he said he used to but no longer did. One night after several beers, he wanted to make coffee because “he had no coke here”.
- Attempts to move in. He would leave articles of clothing, dirty laundry next to mine, or his toiletry case in my bathroom when he stayed over. He’d always try to stay “one more night” and would act like a banished peasant when I told him I needed my space. I’d bag his stuff after each stay and made sure he took it with him each time.
- Illegal activity. He tried to get me to stash his pot at my place or break into a vacant beach house and make love by their ocean view living room. I refused.
- Credit Card ploy. He tried to get me to place the b&b room reservations for our trip up the coast on my credit cards, saying he’d pay me later. When I refused, he gave the b&b his credit card number but my home and email address.
- Intrusive requests for confidential information. He asked me twice in different ways, what my mother’s maiden name was. I did not divulge her name. He asked what my billable rates were (I am a professional) and how long the next contract was for.
WHAT I DID DIFFERENTLY
This time around, I did not keep his atrocious requests and behavior a secret. I talked to my friends about it and journalled with rigorous honesty each day, confronting my own behaviors, without judgement. This helped me remain grounded when I’d start floating into romantic fantasy. I continued to read your blogs and website, as well as other books on spotting dangerous men, during those two months. I averted any requests for cash or use of my credit and set boundaries on how much time I spent with him. I continued to include other activites and friends in my life. I did not provide confidential financial information, although I checked my bank and credit card activity daily for fear he may have obtained it surreptitiously. Finally, amazed by the absurdity of having to protect myself from my lover, I ended it.