Is This a Relationship or a Scam?

Ms. Vicki

Dear Ms. Vicki,

I need you to let me know if I am in a bad relationship that I should let go. I met this great guy online, or at least I think he is a great guy.

He said he's assigned somewhere at Fort Campbell. I don't live far from him, about three hours away in Lexington, Ky. We have been talking for almost two years now, and I have seen him only three times.

On all three occasions, we met in Elizabethtown and shared an overnight visit together. He has never come to Lexington to meet my friends and family, and I have never met any of his friends or family either. I don't even know exactly where he works or what he does in the Army.

Whenever I try to be more specific, he goes into his "secret mission" mode and says everything he does is a secret and he can't talk about it.

I was there for him during his last deployment to Afghanistan. I loaned him money to help him relocate to Fort Campbell and he has never paid me back. I'm always mailing him money or sending it Western Union as a present, and he has never reciprocated.

I feel like I'm ready to give up everything for this guy and he hasn't shown me that he is willing to go out of his way to be with me.

Funny thing is, Ms. Vicki, we are supposed to be in a relationship together, just the two of us in a relationship! This is my boyfriend, and I have seen him only three times.

Now, I'm wondering if he's for real or is he just like every other man -- a cheater. I feel double-sided about my relationship with Chad (not his real name). I want to continue my relationship because I love him and I think every relationship has an adjustment period.

Sometimes, I think maybe he is going through something and I want to help him. Please tell me what you think, Ms. Vicki. Is my man a cheater?

-- Need to Know

Dear Need To Know,

According recent research, as many as one in five relationships begin online, so I'm not concerned about how you met.

However, I feel the need to (in the words of some of my teenage clients) drop some knowledge on you: This man is not your boyfriend and you are probably one of his many girlfriends. He may not even be in the military.

This man is a cheater. Think about it: He lives about three hours from you and he doesn't even take the time to come and see you.

I'm not trying to be harsh to you, but this guy didn't have to do too much of anything to get your time, attention and your goods. From your report, you send him presents and money too. Why? He hasn't been kind toward you in any way.

You have met him halfway between Fort Campbell and Lexington, and you probably pay for the hotel. You don't know anything about his family, his friends or what unit he is in at Fort Campbell -- or even if he really is in the military at all.

This kind of situation is so interesting and crazy to me. Humanity is the only species that doesn't run from danger. Instead, people will sense danger and see all types of red flags and continue to move toward the flashing red -- especially when it comes to relationships.

You are doing too much for this "relationship," and you could even be jeopardizing your safety. You have to explore the reasons why you are willing to give so much in a relationship and receive so little in return.

I think you should stop while you are ahead. Leave this guy alone. I don't know this soldier, but I'll bet he is playing more than one woman. He could even be married.

Either way, you don't need the trouble. Leave him alone and stop sending him money.

-- Ms. Vicki


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