Be cautious when moving to a new city to be with a man
By Tom P Blake Finding Love After 50
The Internet makes it possible for a single person living in a remote area to meet someone in an area like Orange County, California, where available singles are more plentiful. Such was the case with Beth Ann, who asked that her last name be withheld.
Early last year, Beth Ann lived in Modesto. She was 56 and single. “Modesto is rural so most of the men are of the ‘pickup trucks with gun rack-mentality,’” e-mailed Beth Ann. “I was born in a city environment, so I was hopefully wanting to meet a ‘gentleman’ who not only wore blue jeans, but had a suit or two in his wardrobe and ‘cleaned up well.’”
With limited dating in Modesto, Beth Ann used the Internet to meet Ben, not his real name, who lived in Santa Ana.
“We wrote back and forth a lot, talked on the phone and he came to see me. He paid for me to fly down several times to spend extended week-ends with him. He introduced me to his grown children, you sort of feel safe when they do that. He discussed in front of them me coming to live with him,” said Beth Ann. After a few months, Beth Ann left Modesto and moved in with Ben.
“I gave up my job of three years, my two beautiful cats--because he had a parrot and wouldn’t allow them--an apartment and a lot of friends,” said Beth Ann. “His daughter even adopted my cats so I could be comfortable with their (the cats’) new home. Fortunately, I got a job right away.”
So far so good. Two singles meet over the Internet. They take time getting to know each other. Trust is established. They want to build a life together. She uproots her life and moves 300 miles to be with him.
Beth Ann said: “I think he got secure with my being gone working all day and he was semi-retired, so he ventured back on the Internet and hooked up with another lady for the daytime hours. I found out because she left seductive voice mails in the middle of the night after he was asleep and I heard them. He said… ‘oh that is a poor lady who is fat, no self-esteem, and I’m just helping her.’”
Who can blame Beth Ann for being suspicious? She had lived with Ben for only two weeks.
“While he was out with her, I accessed his computer. Seems the e-mails were a carbon copy of what he had sent me with the name changed.” said Beth Ann. “When he found out I had checked his computer, he stormed into my office and told me my stuff was out on the steps of his home and to never come back.” Ben didn’t allow Beth Ann to gather her necessities. She was locked out in a strange city and terrified.
She said, “It took me nine months to rebuild my life, get my own apartment and finally become reunited with all my belongings. He had my jewelry and all the things I had in my safe deposit box in his house.”
Beth Ann says she has learned a valuable lesson: “Don’t trust what someone says online. If they are so good, why are they looking out of their area for someone? I saw no red flags because it seemed so normal. If my story helps just one woman not jeopardize her job, home, or financial security, I will be happy.
“He asked me to come down here and move in with him. If he had been truthful, and suggested I get my own apartment, that would have been more upfront. We could have dated and if it didn’t work, then fine…I think I’m a very intelligent woman, but in matters of love, we become very ignorant because we WANT to believe someone loves us.”
Before uprooting your life, evaluate the possible consequences. Being alone and lonely is one thing, but making a decision to be with someone and having it backfire is far worse.
READER COMMENTS AND TOM’S RESPONSES
Judy, Dana Point: “Usually, I agree with your point of view. But in your last column, you wrote, ‘Men advise women to avoid seeking younger men.’ It’s okay for men to date younger women, but not the other way around? Double standard?” Response: Whatever works, go for it.
Robin, age 46, Buena Park: “Here in California, I have found men’s desires to be for superficial traits rather than personality traits. Most Internet men won’t give a woman the time of day without a photo. They say it’s so they can put a name to a face. I feel we are being judged solely on looks.” Response: It’s not just in California, photos are demanded all over the United States.
Beth Ann, San Clemente: “Your last column made me realize how seldom we hear from the males in the reading audience.” Response: If enough men respond, I’ll do a column on why they don’t participate more.