Dear Annie: I was born and raised in America but am engaged to a Nigerian guy I met on Facebook. We have been dating for two years now through text messages, video calls and phone calls.
He claims he has no money to travel here, so his getting here mainly depends on me. I am disabled and on a fixed income because of medical problems. I can't afford to pay for him to come for even one visit. What makes me angry is that he is always finding ways to ask me for money, and when I don't send it, he gets upset but says he still loves me and wants us to be married. But as of late, he has been blocked from Facebook, and I rarely hear from him.
I truly feel as if I love him, and I miss our conversations. I guess I'm wondering: Is this relationship a lost cause? Am I just being foolish and stupid as my friends have said? Should I just accept it for what it is and close this chapter of the book for good? — Waiting
Dear Waiting: You're not stupid; you're simply trusting, probably because you're a trustworthy person yourself. However, I'm afraid your fiance is not. Do not let this man into your heart, home or bank account. You've never met, yet he's demanding you send him money. That's a flag as red as they come. Don't bother trying to confront him about the scam; he'd only use it as an opportunity to try to sweet-talk his way out of it. Instead, report the scammer to the Federal Trade Commission (https://www.ftccomplaintassistant.gov), and check out the FTC's blog post titled "Has an online love interest asked you for money?" You might recognize some uncanny similarities to your experience.
When you're ready to get back on the dating scene, just remember that online dating can be a great tool — when used with caution. Consider filtering your matches so that you only see people who live locally, whom you can meet up with for coffee, in public, within a few weeks of connecting online.
Dear Annie: You were way off the mark with your response to "Miffed," whose husband lied to her about an impromptu meeting with his female associate at a drive-thru coffee shop. First of all, her husband lied. Not a good sign, in my opinion, and meeting in a car certainly doesn't look aboveboard. Secondly, the wife had suspicions for some reason not mentioned, so there is more to this scenario that she did not disclose. Last of all, your comments made the wife look as if she were in the wrong. Shame on you. Affairs start with "innocent" meetings like the one described here. The wife has every reason to be on guard. — SL in New Mexico
Dear SL: In hindsight, I got bogged down in the chicken-or-egg question of wondering which came first, her distrust or his dishonesty. You're right that it very well could have been his dishonesty. No matter who caused the rift, what matters now is that they work together to seek to repair it before the whole foundation of their marriage cracks. Thank you for writing.
"Ask Me Anything: A Year of Advice From Dear Annie" is out now! Annie Lane's debut book — featuring favorite columns on love, friendship, family and etiquette — is available as a paperback and e-book. Visit http://www.creatorspublishing.com for more information. Send your questions for Annie Lane to [email protected]