Not long ago, a woman from the Philippines contacted Lovefraud. She had been involved in a long-distance relationship (LDR) with an American man whom she met over the Internet. This woman, we’ll call her Juanita, fell in love with the guy, even though she never met him in person.
Juanita sent her story to Lovefraud—a shortened version is reproduced below. But first, a bit of background. Juanita is separated from her husband and has a child. But although she’d like to find a new husband, she is trapped, because divorce is not legal in the Philippines.
Looking for companionship, she turned to the Internet—which is what thousands of Filipinas do. In fact, the mail-order bride business, matching men from America, Europe and Australia with women from the Philippines, is booming.
Apparently some Filipinas have found love via the Internet, but not Juanita. Here is her story:
Bewitched from afar
I met G online over a year ago. I’ve resorted to this kind of medium because I’m hoping to find someone who could be a good husband and father to my child. Not a few women here in the Philippines have met their current partners through the Internet.
Although we only saw each other through pictures, some videos, and webcam meeting, G managed to deceive me not only through the chat screen, but also through daily phone talks that got me addicted. And although he didn’t ask for money from me, I did buy and send him stuff as my way of taking care of him. He did his share, too. But thinking about his efforts, it’s undeniable that he did those to earn my trust back after I caught him cheating online the first time. I should have learned my lesson from that, but I opted to give him a second chance because I loved him.
[The police arrested the American for chatting with a minor online and then arranging to meet her.]
Throughout his jail time for almost four months, G and I didn’t correspond. When he got out, he emailed me, apologizing for what he did and hoping that I’d still talk to him. I accepted his apology, thinking that his incarceration could have reformed him. And even if he said he had no intention of rekindling our failed affair, he wooed me back, saying he’s learned his lessons and would make it up to me.
Our “second chance” lasted for almost 10 months. He proposed marriage a week before his scheduled jury trial and sent an engagement ring that he crafted himself. He asked that I let him talk to my parents so he could tell them his intention and our plan. This move really made me think that he’s a reformed man.
With our daily phone talks, I didn’t think he would go online again to chat with other women. And thinking about it, he must be laughing so hard whenever he gets to make me believe that he’s being faithful with me—and that he truly loved me.
I discovered that he made another Yahoo account and replied via email to Filipinas who posted personal ads on craigslist. He was able to chat with other Filipinas again and lured three or five of them to have online LDRs with him. He even e-mailed a female best friend who has been in love with him, asking her who would he pick among the 11 Filipinas he was able to snag online.
I felt so betrayed. And I was very much sincere with him to the point that I defended him to my family and friends who disliked him. Apparently, jail time didn’t reform him at all because he did again what got him into trouble in the first place. And it doesn’t matter if he’s no longer chatting with women from Arizona or that he introduced me to his friends and siblings over the phone. Those acts do not erase the fact that he just used me and played with my emotions and vulnerabilities.
Out of anger for learning about his online infidelity the second time, I called him. My phone credits were limited, so he called back and we talked for two hours. He denied registering another account and flirting with other women online. I told him that I’m mad, yet at the same time I pity him because he’s really sick—a pathological liar and porn addict. I told him to stop victimizing women, for he has two daughters whom he would not want to be hurt the way I got hurt by him. Knowing what I know now about sociopathy, it’s doubtful if being sent back to jail and attending classes to modify his thought process and behavior could transform him.
I know by this time some of you are thinking how stupid and ridiculous I am for even spending time to narrate this whole drama. It was an online LDR thing, yes…but somehow, the way we behave online speaks of how we behave offline as well. And I was very much sincere with him, believing that we had a commitment.
I’m sure most of you will tell me to move on and celebrate because I got out of a relationship with a man who is troubled. And I agree with you. But at this time, I’m struggling to do that. And if you ask me why I fell for someone like him…I’ve got no answer to give because it’s hard to rationalize something irrational.
What G did to me is really painful. I could have offered the love I gave him to someone deserving. I really thought my search for my second and last mate is finally over with him, but I was wrong. And from this hurt, I find myself becoming ambivalent—shaking my way towards reaching the healing point because I’m still blaming myself for what happened, for allowing a man like him into my life simply because I succumbed to the loneliness of being a single mom, failing to love myself positively. I long to love and be loved, but not the way he subjected me to. It’s unfair, but I know I need to forgive myself—and also forgive him before I could move on completely.
Dreams come true
Juanita’s story illustrates an important reason why we fall for sociopaths: They promise to make our dreams come true, and we believe them.
This is especially true with online dating. As explained on Lovefraud’s Online Seduction page, when we correspond with someone over the Internet, vital information is missing. We can’t evaluate the person’s appearance, body language, grooming and tone of voice. We don’t even know for sure if we’re corresponding with a man or a woman.
With so much information missing, what do we do? We imagine the person to be what we want him or her to be.
And, according to Dr. Esther Gwinnell, author of a book called Online Seductions, we take it a step further. “Because you have none of the usual cues to bring you back to reality,” she writes, “you may begin to attribute important qualities to the person, especially idealistic and romantic qualities.”
Trapped and lonely, Juanita was dreaming of love, and thought she’d found what she was looking for. The American, however, simply played with her dreams, perhaps just to amuse himself.
That’s why this whole experience was so painful for Juanita. Even though she talked to the American frequently, she was never physically with him. Much of the relationship, therefore, was in her own mind. She couldn’t end the relationship by kicking the guy out the door. She had to kick him out of her mind—and out of her dreams.