She's a Fake, He's Sheltered, and the Money Is ...

Dear Dategirl, Does this sound normal? Two people have been in a relationship for about six months, and about two months into it, they begin calling each other husband and wife. They are on the phone with each other every chance they get, but have never physically met—they've only seen each other's blurry online photos. The so-called husband is my son. He claims they've never met in person because she's "too busy." This woman has a 3-year-old son and works at three different restaurants, yet my son—her "husband"—doesn't know the names of the restaurants or which one she would be working at on any given day. His "wife" supports her son and helps her mother and father, who work six days a week, 10 hours a day, and do not speak English. I have spoken with her several times on the phone and she called me mom; her son called me grandma. I find it odd that they've never met, especially given that they live less than five miles from each other. I even offered to baby-sit! I ask him why he doesn't just go over and see her, instead of being on the telephone all day and night. I suggested that she might be physically challenged and afraid to meet him, but he shot that idea down, insisting her hectic schedule was the only thing keeping them apart. I knew when my son found a girlfriend, I wouldn't be a part of the picture—and I don't want to be—but I can't make him see that this is not a normal relationship. He has never been on a first date, and he's already calling someone he's never met "wife" and acting like he's totally committed. If I press too much, I get told in a nice way to butt out. If I continue to ask, he'll shut me down completely. I don't want to butt in, but I don't want to see my son hurt, or worse. The whole situation is disturbing. I was hoping their relationship would run its course, but now I am being told they are talking about moving into an apartment with each other, and marriage and children are in their future, too. Do you have any advice? Nosey Mom Well, one positive is that you don't have to worry about them moving in together anytime soon, because this woman—his "wife"—is obviously a fake. If you want to read a very familiar story, type "online dating scam" into Google and read one or two of the approximately 37,000 articles that'll pop up on the screen. Look up the story of JT Leroy—the interwebs are rife with such duplicitous treachery. Try to find out how much money your son has given this wife of his. Oops. You hadn't even thought of that, had you? Odds are, he's given her quite a bit. Her whole sob story about working three jobs, supporting her kid and elderly, non-English-speaking parents...please. A fairy tale concocted to gain sympathy and cold, hard cash. Of course he's never met her—he's never gonna! She's probably 50 and 500 pounds and living in Russia or Florida or some other exotic locale. She most likely has eight or nine online husbands and spends her days not slinging hash but reeling in hapless suckers like your poor, deluded son. I feel for you, Mom. You don't mention how old your baby boy is, but he must be extremely young and/or very sheltered, because he sounds about as streetwise as a blind kitten in a wet paper bag. In short, perfect prey for scammers like this one. Sadly, because you're his mom, he's less likely to listen to reason when it's coming from you, so maybe clip out this column and leave it lying around. Once he figures out that his great big love is a great big lie (and, sadly, that might take some time) he's going to be devastated. Humiliated. Angry. Depressed. Do both of you a favor and refrain from saying "I told you so" even once. Please. Dating dilemmas? Write Dategirl at dategirl@seattleweekly.com or c/o Seattle Weekly, 1008 Western Ave., Ste. 300, Seattle, WA 98104.

 
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