My story starts and ends like so many others. I was sitting in front of my laptop one evening on Facebook, looking at the posts by friends of mine – up pops a “friend request.” I had had these before and always deleted the request. I don’t know why, but this time was different. I accepted the request from a four-star Air Force general that was supposedly in Afghanistan for the UN. He had been married twice – once divorced and once widowed. His original timeline was that he had been married, and his first wife died – leaving him with a son. The second wife had cheated on him while he was deployed, so he divorced her. He was very friendly and easy to “talk” to. I still do not understand what led me to enter into a relationship with him – totally unlike me. I do not trust anyone, but in this case, I bought a ticket on the stupid train – unlimited trips.

The very first night he contacted me, I immediately googled him and found all his Air Force information plus literally hundreds of pictures and videos. I could look and listen to him and became utterly obsessed with my “dream man.” Things turned serious very quickly with him talking about our wonderful future together and all the places we would go. He gave me his “son’s” email address and asked me to contact him as he had told him all about us. I sent an email to “Jasper” and received an answer pretty quickly. He was 16 years old – in a military boarding school in North Carolina – and missed his Dad very much. He immediately started calling me “Mom” and saying how glad he was that I had come into their lives. Needless to say, there never was a “Jasper” – just a member of his scamming gang.

The first time he asked me for money was about a month after we had started talking – this was for a birthday present for Jasper. He, of course, had no access to his funds. He needed 1,000 for a phone for him and gave me the name and account information for Jasper’s guardian. He would not accept that I would order it directly from Amazon and have it sent – it had to be money. I tried Money Gram and Western Union, but they would not accept it. Cheers to them.

The next time was for his transportation to come home early – this time, it was 5,000. I had to send an email to a NATO address he gave me to request the leave. “NATO” replied with the cost of 5,000 for the transport and new name and account information. I pretended to send it and sent phony bank confirmations that I had done — nothing else on the transport.

When I questioned as to when he would come home, he hit me with 12,500 for paperwork — another new name and account information. Again I sent phony confirmations – numerous times. This went on for about a month until he realized that he was not going to get it. All the while he and I continued to talk several times a day – mostly about money.

Our conversations were wonderful – he professed his love all the time and made me feel better than I had in 25 years since my divorce. I fell hook, line, and sinker. Of course, I would question him constantly about discrepancies between what I had found out about him on the internet and what he was telling me. Anything about his marital history he would answer when he came home – when we were together. Something simple things like his height – he told me has was 5’7″ – I had a picture taken of him with President Obama (who is 6’1″), and he was taller than President Obama. I then read an article where one of his colleagues made mention of the fact that he was 6’4″ – I questioned again and never received a satisfactory answer. I also asked him where he grew up, and he said, Colorado. His AF biography said Milwaukee. I didn’t even bother to question him on that one.

Of course, after the first money request, I was 99% sure that he was a scammer, but in all honesty, I have to give him an “A+” for the job he did. But like many of you know, there was always that hopeful 1% that hoped, beyond all evidence to the contrary, that he was real. He finally became very verbally abusive when he realized that I, too, was a liar with all my fake proof. What I didn’t realize was how much of a void this would leave in my life. For two and a half months, he had been my whole world – morning, noon and night. The loneliness is the hardest to deal with – it is bone-crushing. I have not experienced the grief or anger yet and at this point, would welcome either one.Words do hurt – false words will always hurt you. I felt as though my heart had been ripped out. This person has so taken over my mind that he is still what I think of 90% of the time. I am at the point of considering hypnosis to see if that could possibly erase the memory of this gigantic fairy tale. I know that I will recover from this – I may never be the same, but that is probably a good thing.

This forum has been so very helpful and supportive. Diana’s book was also a huge eye-opener and took away any remaining doubts I may have had. I didn’t mean to write such a long story here but tried to cover the important points without making it verbatim conversations.

My sincere hope is that anyone reading this will never ever send money to someone like this. I was lucky in that respect.