Dear Lovehacker, my wife of 17 years has been Snapchatting a singer from a well-known Texan A Cappella group. He has said he will fly her to LA to marry him and take our four kids in. This guy is 25 and my wife is 42 -- it's not about the age, it's just hard to believe this from a guy who will not video chat or send live videos. And he can't call because he's afraid to talk. This guy is in a band that travels the world, and I can't convince her it might be false. She is wanting to divorce me. I just don't know what to do. Should I let it play out or what? Thank you, Will.
Oh boy, there's just a lot going on isn't there?
I think your instinct is correct. It sounds like your wife has gotten herself into a catfish situation. The fact that this guy won't have any kind of real-time conversation is a huge red flag.
It can be hard to convince someone who wants to believe something so badly. That's why MTV was able to build an entire show around people getting catfished. In fact, this is all rather reminiscent of the gentleman who thought he was dating Katy Perry for six years.
A 'catfish' is someone who uses the anonymity of the internet to create a fake online identity. Usually, the aim is to lure somebody into a romantic relationship; either to fleece them out of money, for personal gratification or simply to mess with their heads. It's a terrible practice that can lead to heartache and financial ruin.
If you really want to help her, look into the social media accounts being used to contact your wife. Do they seem like they're official? You'll probably find that they seem a little off in some way or don't have the amount of followers someone of his profile should have. Just be prepared for some excuse like its his "secret account" so he can "be anonymous" online.
Other things to look out for:
- Asking for money
- Asking for gifts to be sent to a PO box
- All photos sent are official or can be found on their social accounts, as opposed to candid spur of the moment shots. Try asking them to send something specific, like holding 4 fingers up with their face in the shot. I bet they won't
Sadly, if your wife doesn't want to help or to be convinced, there may not be a whole lot you can do. She might just need to make this mistake on her own.
What you need to work out is whether she deserves your help after "cheating" with a random from the internet. I'm all for second chances, but she isn't looking to repair your relationship. She wants a divorce so she can move to LA with her faux a cafella.
Is this a person you want to be with? A difficult question, I know. This whole situation is of course more difficult when kids are involved. But their lives could be significantly impacted by their mother trying to run off with them.
Also, you have no idea who this person is. It may just be a scam artist or someone messing around, but there's always a chance that they could be dangerous. You need to think about protecting your family.
Lastly, I'm wondering if this is the first time something like this has happened? Is there an established pattern of behaviour? If she does come to her senses, is she likely to do it again? Would she be willing to work hard to regain your trust?
These are all important things to think about. In the meantime, do your best to look after your kids and protect them from all of the potential hurt.
Lovehacker is a weekly relationship and sex column where our resident Agony Aunt answers your questions. Need help? Drop a comment below or email [email protected].