I met a man in his 40s online in a chat. We hit it off and started talking everyday despite living in different countries. We planned on meeting after I completed my semester of school. It started out passionately but I never understood why he asked me if I was with other men (in chats or in person). He was also controlling and jealous when I spent time with my friends. Deep down I knew there was something wrong with him to act this way, but he blamed the distance.
After about a year I found out he was going on live sex cams with other women. He lied when I confronted him and only admitted when I showed evidence. I should have ended it then but I wanted to forgive him since our situation was unique.
After meeting, his lying, it didn’t work anymore. I attempted to end it several times but he kept saying he loved me. At the end, he said he’d be online but wouldn’t show up. After making me wait for 2 weeks he ended in a cowardly email claiming he needs to spend time with friends, doesn’t want to spend time on the internet and that he didn’t meet any woman. I demanded a face to face chat. He agreed: said he wanted to stay friends, I’d always be welcome at his place, he was still planning to see my city/would see me, and that we’d chat longer the next day at a specific time. I was relieved it was over but glad we’d stay friends. However, I never heard from him again. Each day I wait to hear, but he never contacted me. He reactivated his facebook knowing I’d see it. The pain of his silent treatment nearly killed me.
I don’t care that it’s over romantically, I just can’t get over how he lied to me the last time we spoke. Even though there were red flags from the start, it makes me feel sick that this person used me, controlled me, and ended it like I was meaningless. I allowed myself to be in this situation, but I never imagined he could be so awful. It’s been over 2 months, the pain has lessened but it still haunts me. I have trouble sleeping and I’m angry all the time. That he’s out having fun or with other women pisses me off since he controlled me in the start, forcing me to be online with him when I could have been out with my friends. I take responsibility for allowing myself to be manipulated by this person, but I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to trust someone again. I hate myself more than I hate him. I don’t know how to stop thinking about this person who clearly doesn’t think about me anymore. I know these are his actions not mine but I feel like he took the little confidence that I had in myself and I’ll never get it back.
A. You’ve learned a valuable lesson. As usual, life lessons come at a price. You trusted someone who was not deserving of your trust. We cannot always be sure who to trust or not to trust. There are times that we will be fooled, especially if we lack life experience. However, we should be learning who to trust and not to trust from early childhood. By the time we reach adulthood, we should have a fairly good working model of trustworthiness. You were fooled, deceived, and hurt by this man. The important thing now is how to change your model to prevent your being fooled by someone else in a similar circumstance.
Internet relationships are becoming very popular. It’s easy to meet someone on the Internet. It’s easy to develop casual relationships on the Internet but it’s difficult to develop a deeper, more meaningful relationship. Your interaction with someone on the Internet is extremely limited.
You were overly invested in this relationship. You trusted this man far too much. Obviously, emotionally you invested too much. In the future, you’ll need proof of someone’s trustworthiness before you trust them and this is a continual process, of a little more proof and then a little more trust, making someone earn the trust that you give them.
This is true not just for Internet relationships but all relationships in general. You were hurt by this Internet relationship but many people have been hurt just as badly and deceived just as badly by in-person relationships. When a person decides to end the relationship they are prepared to do so. But when the other person in a relationship finds out that it’s over, they are not prepared; it comes as a total surprise. Most often when a relationship ends one person is hurt.
Remember there is a life lesson to be learned: Don’t overinvest in a relationship until you have proof of its solidity. You can be more careful and you can reduce your risk but you cannot prevent being fooled or hurt. You can reduce it, but you cannot eliminate it unless you eliminate all relationships.
Alfred Lord Tennyson makes an important point — “Tis better to have loved and lost than to never have loved at all.” He said that a very long time ago and we still repeat the wisdom of his words today. Yes, you can do better to prevent being fooled or cheated by working on your model of trustworthiness. You made a mistake and you were overinvested in this relationship, without proof that you could trust the man that you were involved with. Perhaps, with the very nature of an Internet relationship it is not possible to gain the proof that you need for trust but in that case, you should not trust. You can develop a better model of trust and that will reduce the chances of your being hurt but remember, there is no way to reduce your chances to zero. You can reduce your risk but not eliminate it altogether.
I also think it’s safe to say that you will never trust a man on the Internet to this degree again. In that sense this relationship has helped you to prevent future pain. Tennyson was right when he said it is better to have loved and lost than to never have loved at all. He wasn’t saying that lost love isn’t painful, but he is saying that the experience of love was worth the pain.
I wish you the best and if I can be of any further assistance please do not hesitate to write again.
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 21 Feb 2012
Randle, K. (2012). Getting Over Being Controlled and Lied to by an Ex. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 25, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2012/02/21/getting-over-being-controlled-and-lied-to-by-an-ex/