Dear Rabbi Singer,
A man from California contacted me online. I live in DC. I wrote to him that while he seemed like a great guy, how were we supposed to date being 3,000 miles apart? He wrote and said he was from this area, and he comes back here to take care of his elderly parents frequently. So, we started emailing back and forth like crazy and then talking on the phone. After about six weeks, he said he was coming back here to see me and see his parents, in that order. We met and hit it off immediately. We saw each other several times during that visit. When he went back to San Diego, we continued emailing and calling. He came back here about two months later and again we had a great time together. I was falling in love, and from everything he said and did, the feeling was mutual. I thought a miracle had happened. This went on for almost a year. Then, he said he had something very serious to tell me the next time he saw me. Turned out to be that he is MARRIED. I WAS FLABBERGASTED!!!!
Needless to say my heart was broken. He said he is very unhappy in his marriage, but was not going to leave her. It’s been six months and I still think of him all the time. I wish I could hate him, but I don’t. What’s wrong with me?
So, you see, we did meet shortly after connecting, but that didn’t help. Any advice for healing?
It sounds like you did everything right relating to how to conduct a long distance relationship. Except, of course, that you neglected to ask your love interest if he was actually single. I know it sounds crazy. Why should you even think of asking someone who is actively pursuing a relationship with you if he’s single? Unfortunately, with the anonymity of the internet and the increase of long distance relationships, doing some basic fact finding about a potential relationship partner is now a necessity.
How should you do your due diligence without actually hiring an old school private investigator? Here are a few ideas:
Almost everyone is on Facebook, and you can see their social connections and interactions. You might even have a mutual friend. If he’s not on Facebook or if he has no info or activity, it’s worth asking why. Granted, there are some folks who just don’t like the site, and that’s fine. Just make sure it’s not because they’re hiding something big.
Plug the name into the magical search engine and see what it churns up. You’ll be surprised at what a simple Google search can turn up. Perhaps an old wedding announcement?
3. Background Check
There are dozens of online services that will give you vital statistics and basic information about someone for a small fee. If they own a home, have a credit card, or have registered with some sort of official type of agency, they’ll be in a database which often can be legally accessed. I know it sounds a bit stalker-like, but would you rather waste 6 months with a married man?
4. Just Ask
It’s a really strange and awkward question to ask, so treat it like an old Band-Aid and just get it over with as quickly as possible and move on with the relationship.
Now that you’ve gone through this awful experience with this scoundrel, why in the world would you have anything positive to remember him by? He lied to you, manipulated your feelings, and used you. Forgiving him is commendable. Thinking about him in a longing way is just insulting to yourself respect and integrity. You deserve better. Don’t ever forget that. YOU DESERVE BETTER.