DEAR DR. NERDLOVE: I am in a very messed up situation right now. And there’s really nobody I can share this with, so I thought of writing this to you if you could tell me what to do.
There is a woman I am met online, she’s from another country, I am in my early 20s and she’s in her early 30s. We have a 10 year age gap but we don’t care much about that, it works for us. She’s already married but her husband is really old too. He’s in his 60s and she wants to have children but her husband says that he’s too old and it’s not fair to the kids and her as he might not be there for the kids till they grow up. So she’s looking for another man who she can have kids with and maybe live too. Her husband doesn’t mind it.
We two met online last year on March. It wasn’t serious at first, just casual flirting. And I didn’t believe that she was a real person in the beginning cause she was very flirty and women I have dated were very uptight. But anyways it went on. I have severe trust issues, and I wasn’t comfortable telling her my identity. So much embarrassing to tell you, I lied about my name and nationality and also my family’s nationality. I didn’t lie about my age or the course I am studying in my college. She’s a biologist and very smart. I love physics and maths ever since as a kid. We both love science and thought provoking topics. We fit perfectly in every aspect of life. Sometimes she already knows what I am thinking and I know what she’s about to say. We think the same way we like the same things, we want the same things from life. I am in absolutely love with this woman. She’s really a genuine person. I love her personality and the way she thinks. I have never met a woman like that ever in my life. And of course I love her physical attributes too. Women like her are very rare and she’s different than the rest too.
She’s dating another guy right now and asked me if she can and I said of course cause I don’t want her to waste away her precious time waiting for a liar like me. She is in her 30s she shouldn’t delay to get pregnant. But she still wants me and she said she wants me to come to her place. She wants to make a decision then only after meeting me. She tells me everything, even when she was dating that guy she told me she doesn’t like him, and we are perfect. I tried twice to end this all, but she became very emotional and started crying, I couldn’t leave her like that both times. I didn’t tell her truth even then cause it was embarrassing. We promised to not be romantic anymore and she shouldn’t expect to be with me. But it again became the same way it was. She’s so perfect for me and I am to her. Such big lie I have told her is killing me inside.
I mean I care a lot about her she matters to me a lot. When she’s not back home and it’s late night, I call her if everything is alright. And the fact I am lying to this woman is eating me up inside. I feel like the biggest asshole in the world. I told her to meet this summer. But I just couldn’t make myself to tell her the truth, I don’t want to hurt her feelings and break her heart. She doesn’t deserve this. It’s just stupid thing I should have cleared earlier. It’s too late now.
We are talking for almost a year now. I am planning to tell her when we will meet. And I couldn’t make myself to tell her yet cause I am afraid if I tell her she will leave me forever. I never want that. I love her and care for her a lot. Only if she could accept it and give me a second chance. I literally have no malicious intentions with her neither I had any intention to hurt her. It is just messed up. Isn’t there any way that she forgives me for that cause I would never ever lie to her and willing to take care and be with her for the rest of my life.
I really hope she forgives me and doesn’t leave me. I can honestly say I never lied to her about my feelings for her.
Please give me a solution. Every day is going hell for me.
Secret Agent Man
DEAR SECRET AGENT MAN: Hoo boy. When you decide to f--k up, you just go for the gusto, huh, superchief?
So, I’m going to start by pointing something important: this isn’t a real relationship – not a romantic one, anyway. You have never met this woman, you have never spent time with her in person, you haven’t even so much as had a video chat with her. You have no real reason to believe that she’s not catfishing you as much as you’ve been catfishing her.
While I do believe that connections can be formed online with people you’ve never met in the flesh – I’ve made many long-lasting friendships with people on forums and social media where I wouldn’t meet them in person for years or even decades – romance isn’t one of them. This is in no small part because love, romance and just basic attraction aren’t just about the heart and soul, they’re about the flesh. We may be the result of running enough electricity through tapioca to make it self-aware, but we’re still creatures of meat and blood and bone. You may love someone for their mind, but you want them for their ass – and all the rest of them, too. There are hormonal and chemical triggers, scents and tastes too subtle to be consciously detected and a host of seemingly insignificant details that control attraction and compatibility that can only be gauged when we’re with someone in person. Someone’s bone structure and body shape is only part of it; the way they smell, the way they taste when you kiss, the precise pitch and timbre of their voice, the way they behave when dealing with the waitstaff at a restaurant or a clerk in a shop… all of these come together in our lizard-brains and say “yes, you want this person” or “no, this isn’t someone for you”. You can’t have those reactions without actually being in that person’s physical presence.
This is why so many people on a dating app may seem like a perfect match on paper, but end up being as exciting as dry toast when you meet in person. Even when you have great emotional and intellectual chemistry when you message each other, you still can’t gauge whether they’re going to rev your motor until the two of you are actually in front of one another. There’s no removing or circumventing the human part of the human connection.
And that is never going to happen because you f--ked the chances of this happening right into the ground.
I hate to tell you this, big shoots, but the only solution to this problem is that you’re going to need to find a time machine to travel back to last year and slap the keyboard out of your hand. You started this entire relationship with a betrayal of trust and kept it going all this time. This entire relationship is predicated on a series of lies, lies that you have compounded by allowing them to continue. You’re not perfect for her; the person in her head is who she thinks is perfect. She doesn’t know who you are, she just knows the person you allowed her to believe you were.
The fact that your age and your course of study is accurate doesn’t matter; she thinks she’s talking to an entirely different person. That’s not just a minor thing that can be cleared up with an “well this is awkward…” and become something you laugh about together later on. This is a flaw in the foundation of your entire relationship, something so critical that it undermines literally everything else. If you had come clean much earlier… well, the odds of pulling it off would have been infinitesimal, but still not zero.
Over a year though? Yeah, that’s the sort of betrayal that’s going to make her reconsider everything else about her relationship with you and question literally everything. It doesn’t matter that you were real with the rest of it; she will have no reason to trust you or believe that you weren’t lying about that too. And when there’s no trust, there can be no relationship.
The only saving grace here is that she’s got other people in her life – people who are actually there with her. That, at least, can be a salve for all of this.
What do you do? You end this relationship. There’s no path forward here. Confessing now wouldn’t be for her benefit, it would just be for yours. All that it would do is offload your discomfort onto someone else, in a way that’s far, far crueler. It will be kinder to let her believe that the person in her head dumped her than it would be to find out that he wasn’t real in the first place.
If you care for her, then set her free to find someone who actually exists and is who they say they are. Not someone who lied about the most basic facts of who they are.
The guilt and embarrassment and discomfort of it all that you’re feeling? That’s yours. You get to live with it now. Unloading it onto someone else is just needless cruelty for someone you claim to care about. That is going to be the price for the lesson you need to learn.
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Please send your questions to Dr. NerdLove at his website (www.doctornerdlove.com/contact); or to his email, firstname.lastname@example.org