DEAR ABBY: I am a 23-year-old woman who has always had a hard time letting people down or saying no. A few months ago, I met a man online who lived across the country, and within a week he was telling me he loved me. I'll admit now that I have some emotional and relationship problems because of my past, and I enjoyed hearing it. In fact, I embraced it and told him I loved him in return. Now that I look at it, I realize I was only in love with the idea of being in love.
We had several problems in the first few days, but we worked them out. Two weeks after he first told me he loved me, he proposed. We had never even met. Being the person I am, I said yes. He told me he was going to buy plane tickets for me, as soon as he could find a place to live. (He was living with his parents.)
I called him later that night to tell him I was deeply sorry, but I could not accept his proposal nor move to be with him. He became irate and told me he had already bought the tickets, and unless I was on that plane he would sue me for the money he'd spent. I feel horrible about it, but he has shown me no proof that he bought them.
Now he's threatening to send some indecent pictures that he somehow managed to get from a past lover of mine to all my family and friends. I'm grateful to have gotten out of this relationship before I made a serious mistake and actually got on that plane. Can he sue me, and how should I deal with his threats about the pictures? -- NOT IN LOVE IN THE USA
DEAR NOT IN LOVE: Your online suitor appears to be both vindictive and an extortionist. Neither is a desirable quality in a mate. Ignore his threats about posting the pictures. You are lucky that your common sense kicked in before things went any further. Can he sue you? If he bought the tickets, he might be able to take you to small claims court.
However, the larger lesson here has to do with the revealing photographs of you that wound up on the Internet in the first place. Let this be a warning to others: The danger in posing for x-rated pictures is that in the cold light of day, they can be a huge embarrassment.