Romance Scams And Risk Of Divorce

When A Married Person Is Scammed It Can Lead To Divorce

Does Being A Scam Victim Lead To Increased Risk Of Divorce

What Are The Probable Outcomes For Married Romance Scams Victims?

Extensive research has been conducted regarding factors contributing to the breakdown of marriage, focusing on problems such as infidelity, domestic violence, money problems, and mid-life crises.

A new study explored a new question: does crime victimization contribute to the dissolution of marriage?

Unique information from a national panel survey, the National Crime Victimization Survey, was analyzed in a longitudinal format to determine whether married crime victims were more likely than non-victims to become divorced or separated in the six to twelve months following the crime.

Logistic regression analysis indicated that crime victims were generally more likely to experience marital disruption.

Robbery victims were 2.7 times more likely (significantly so) than non-victims to be divorced or separated within six to twelve months of the crime, while this risk was non-significantly higher for burglary, assault, and theft victims.

Those victimized by their spouse were nearly nine times more likely to later be divorced or separated.

Assault victimization had a more detrimental impact on marriage for women than for men. Otherwise, the effects of victimization were similar for men and women.

Unfortunately, there has previously been no research conducted for scams, online crimes, or financial fraud victims.

Theory – Possible Effects Of Victimization On Marital Disruption

[from the Study]

One can conceptualize several mechanisms by which victimization might affect marital stability. Victimization could entail multiple losses for the victim: a loss of self, interpersonal loss and institutional loss. The loss of self includes feeling different, a sense of detachment that may lead to disconnection from others, and a crumbling of the self (Herman, 1997), along with experience of emotional distress, difficulty in coping, and pursuing destructive coping strategies, such as
self-isolation or the abuse of alcohol and other drugs (American Psychological Association, 2000). The loss of self may interfere with the victim’s ability to connect to their partner and to express emotions.

Interpersonal loss includes damage to the victim’s ability to trust others and the resulting harm to their relationships. This could diminish the intimacy, communication, and emotional bond between the husband and wife. Finally, institutional loss could include financial loss resulting from the crime (loss of wages, medical bills), as well as a loss of status in the community. The victim’s partner, as well as outsiders to the marriage, may blame the victim for being in the wrong place or participating in dubious, risky activities that lead to the crime. Society, family members and even perpetrators of domestic violence have participated in blaming the victim (Henning and Holdford, 2006). More specifically, some husbands of sexually assaulted women may come to believe that their  wife did not resist the assaulted sufficiently vigorously, and thus the sexual contact was not entirely involuntary.

Maintaining the marriage would be especially difficult if a husband blamed his wife for contributing to a sexual assault, because it would undermine mutual trust and increase conflict.

Finally, it might be speculated that when a woman is victimized, under circumstances where she believed her husband could have helped but failed to do so, it  could reduce her respect for her husband because he failed in his traditional role as protector. This would be significant to the extent that some paternalistic  features of marital relationships have survived into the present, notwithstanding the spread of feminist ideas of gender equality. Similarly, the husband’s own  victimization could reduce his wife’s respect if she perceived the event as evidence of his weakness or timidity.

In SCARS Experience

We have not conducted a formal study of this challenge for married scam survivors, however, our experience and anecdotal data suggest grave concerns.

Let’s look at what a Romance Scam means in a marriage.

Whether intentionally looking for infidelity or just being open to attention, when a married person is lured and manipulated into a romance scam most outsiders and their spouses would view it unfavorably. In fact, most (we believe) would look at it as an act of infidelity equal to a physical affair during the marriage. Of course, we know that the extreme manipulation that online criminals employ can lure the most unsuspecting victim into a virtual romantic relationship.  We refer to this as an Internet Infidelity – click here to learn more.

After The Discovery

Eventually, the married or committed romance scam victim will discover the truth, but then what?

This is one of those extremely difficult moments for any victim. Do they tell their spouse all, or some, or none?

Based upon our experience, this depends on several factors:

  • How deep was the relationship and how committed the victim became to ending it.
  • How significant were the monetary losses?
  • How much denial controls the victim after the discovery of the scam.
  • Or how much anger or rage controls the victim after the discovery o the romance scam.

The answer to these questions are very difficult for a new scam victim to answer, but they must be answered because they point the way for the victim’s future.


Sadly, in our experience over 65% of married romance scam victims will result in divorce within 2 years.

In one case – in November 2018 – one of the victims that were involved in a romance scam while married, when she told her husband just the basics, everything was under control, but when she told him the truth about the total amount she lost – he murdered her.

In all cases for married scam victims, we recommend that you local a professional trauma counselor to explore the experience and the trauma. Make the marriage issues a part of the counseling, and we suggest letting the counselor introduce the issues of the scam during a joint counseling session. Make sure that you get the help you need immediately – do not be afraid.

If your husband or wife asks, you can tell them you were scammed, but read our guide on this here: How To Explain To Others

Always Report All Scams – Anywhere In The World To:

Go to to learn how

U.S. FTC at and SCARS at
Visit to learn more!

TAGS: SCARS, Information About Scams, Anti-Scam, Scams, Scammers, Fraudsters, Cybercrime, Crybercriminals, Romance Scams, Scam Victims, Online Fraud, Online Crime Is Real Crime, Scam Avoidance, Married Scam Victims, Internet Infidelity, Scam Victim Divorce



SCARS the Society of Citizens Against Relationship Scams Incorporated

By the SCARS™ Editorial Team
Society of Citizens Against Relationship Scams Inc.

A Worldwide Crime Victims Assistance & Crime Prevention Nonprofit Organization Headquartered In Miami Florida USA & Monterrey NL Mexico, with Partners In More Than 60 Countries
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The Issue Of Race In Scam Reporting
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