Last January, my began an online affair with a military romance scammer. Previously, She had come out of an illness where she was bedridden and I had to take care of her day and night. This lasted for over a year. A few months after this I was diagnosed with a life threatening illness. She began talking to this phony soldier online. This is someone she never actually spoke with. She fell in love with a stolen picture of a soldier via instant messaging. He began grooming her, asking questions like “Tell me about yourself” She would be vague and say things like “I’m just a down to earth girl.” He would ask her “What are you looking for in a man?” She would say “I don’t know how to answer a question like that.” He began to “love bomb” her with flattery and romance, he would say, “You are so kind and beautiful, I can’t wait to call you my wife” She would say “I have a husband” he would say “We will figure that one out later” and pour on more flattery like “You are my dream come true”. She began to respond with things like “The things you say make me feel tingly all over” and “I wish I had met you before I met my husband.” Then the affair was on. Every sentence began or ended with pet names. She was “Babe, Honey” and he was “my love”. She began to act like someone who was limerent. Floating around in a romantic “high” all the time. I began to suspect she was having an affair. But How? Where? When? We were together 24/7? Soon, she became hyper romantic and hyper sexual towards me. Telling me she loved me 20 times a day, demanding sex 3 times a day. I loved her so I tried to keep up. I thought she was losing her mind. It’s not normal for a 58 year old woman. About this time, she told me “I’m going to have to blacken my teeth and let my hair get gray, I have lots of men trying to friend me on Facebook” I said “You are a married woman, I trust you to do the right thing, I love you.” She said “I love you too.” I told her, “Everyone has their day, you look very beautiful, be careful on Facebook, and if anyone gets out of line, shut them down.” She promised she would. She didn’t, they were all flattering her and as she never dated much before we were married, she enjoyed the attention. On the same day, I also warned her about fraudsters on Facebook and that there were false profiles and not everyone was who they pretended to be. She began to transform before my eyes at this point. Lots of new clothes, she went from short hair to long hair, (something she had never done), Granny gowns and support bras to baby doll lingerie, and padded push-up bras. Lots of costume jewelry, she began riding her exercise bike like crazy trying to lose weight like never before. She became much more aggressive sexually than she had ever been. One day smiling she asked me “Do you think we should get a divorce?” I said “No baby! Why would ask such a thing I love you!” She said “All our friends are divorced, and they seem happy!” She claims to not even remember this discussion now. The same day, someone tried to call her on Facebook Messenger and she tried hiding the phone, smiling an embarrassed smile. Soon I was on an emotional roller coaster with her. One day hyper romantic and sexual, the next critical and nitpicky, insulting and emotionally abusive. Back to hyper romantic and sexual, she began calling me “baby cakes and treating me like a sick child she was responsible for and protecting from a terrible secret. Soon, she began showing me pictures of her online “pen pal” (i.e. the romance scammer) I was naive, didn’t believe that anyone could fall in love on the internet it just seemed absurd. She soon was getting me to take pictures of her on her phone unknowingly she was sending them to her new “love”. One day I walked by the kitchen table and I saw a flash, it looked like she had taken a “selfie” of her chest in a sexy nighty. She said she was just looking at Facebook and accidently hit the camera button on her phone. I naively accepted her explanation as I loved and trusted her. One night, I thought she was texting the kids sitting across from me and she was carrying on a highly sexual conversation with this (Sgt David Jones) character. I found out later that this was when the discussion took place because she asked me at the time “How do you spell “passionate”? ” I told her, the real discussion went like this Scammer: “Do you like sex?’ Wife: “Yes, I’m a very passionate person, my husband calls me his hot pepper, I am Hispanic you know”. She said “How big are you?” He promptly sent her a picture of a penis he had stolen off of craigslist I assume, and said “I want to F— you really hard.” All this right in front of me! We began hemorrhaging money for no apparent reason and so I got an additional part time job to keep up with her spending. This was a serious mistake as it freed her up with more time to herself to send the scammer more money. He asked her to marry him twice, both times she said “yes.” He said “Divorce your husband” she said “no, my husband is ill and you will have to wait for me.” He told her “You will be a rich widow.” Once he was able to get her to fall in love with him, he began asking for money, first 800.00 for a passport as he was stuck in Ghana and needed to get back to Afghanistan or be awol. After that, it was to purchase leave time so they could “be together” She sent him money over 21 times, all on credit card cash advances, we are now bankrupt. Many of these accounts she opened herself without my knowledge or consent. Many were mine and she was on the account as well being my spouse. I got a fraud alert on one of my credit cards and she began suspiciously asking for time to visit her sister on a weekend where I would be out of town. This all happened the same day. She also asked me to go fill up her car for her for the trip. I began to get angry, realizing that she was asking me to fill up her car so she could go meet a “lover” somewhere. I broke into her Facebook chat and discovered the following conversation.

Wife : Where R U my love? I worry about you!

Scammer: I am here.

Wife: I love you so…I can’t wait to be with you.

Scammer: I love you too babe, soon we can be together, I can meet you at my house in New York or in Austin.

Wife: No I will be in Mineral Wells my love, do you understand?

Scammer: I can do that, I can’t wait to see you and hold you through the night.

Wife: I can’t wait for you to make love to me.

Scammer: Awww I want to F— you!

Here my wife of 37 years who had saved herself for marriage to me was arranging to have sex and run off with a man she had never met in person. Absolutely incredible. I blew up, ordered her to leave and told her she was an idiot! That this man was not coming, he did not want a casual sex partner or a wife, he just wanted money and she was stupid enough to send it to him. I further told her that he was not coming, and that all she would hear from him is how he needed more money for the trip. She said “He’ll pay the money back,” and “No he won’t” and drove away. I had a heart attack on the spot and had to be taken to the hospital. She went to her sisters and kind of “snapped out of it” and sent me a text “I believe you”. Broke it off with him saying “You hurt me, you are not real!” , Don’t ever contact me again. Then she said she wanted to reconcile. We have been trying to do that ever since but she keeps saying things that makes me believe that if she ever had any kind of moral compass, due to the psychological damage inflicted by the scammer, it is gone. She says things like “Well, I guess you will always be the only man in my life.” When I waited on her hand and foot for a year when she was bedridden I barely ever got a thank you. He gives her romantic BS and she says “You are so kind and sweet to me my love.” unreal! I asked her if she knew it could be fatal to me with my heart condition if I discovered her affair. She said “yes, I did, but it didn’t stop me.” I proved to her that he was on 10 dating sites and put her in touch with a single woman he was dating online at the same time he was talking to her. She was always paranoid about my cheating on her even though I never did. I Asked her if she would have broken up with him if she knew he was cheating on her. She said yes, I said it was ok for you to cheat on me but it was not ok for him or me to cheat on you? She gave me a puzzled look like she never realized that she thought she was the only one who didn’t have to live by the rules of monogamy. She doesn’t seem anywhere as enthusiastic about our marriage or as passionate about reconciling as she was her affair. She doesn’t want to talk about it, she just wants me to “get over it and move on.” What has happened to my wife? We weren’t fighting when this started, we were best friends and lovers, we were a normal married couple, we were always together, I am mystified at the way her mind was warped by online brainwashing!

David White