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RSN™ Guide: Romance Scam Infidelity
We All Know What A Romance Scam Is?
You are vulnerable, maybe lonely, and you let a stranger into your life online. Maybe you were ready for a relationship, maybe not.
You made a bad decision and you let the wrong stranger in, the rest is what it is. After the initial bad decision psychology suggests that you were manipulated and it was beyond your control until you reached the point where you regained enough control to end it.
Yes, it affected you. Maybe you let it affect your family and friends, maybe your children too. But you left the scam in the same basic status as when you entered – alone.
Scams That Break Up Marriages
Sadly there is another scenario that is all too common with romance scams, infidelity!
Husbands or wives are contacted by a stranger. Maybe they are not happy? Maybe they are lonely? Maybe they just need to be acknowledged and affirmed? Maybe they just need someone to listen and talk to? Either way, they let the pretty stranger in the door and let it develop into a relationship at the expense of their real marriage and relationship.
These are scams that can go on for years, all the while the other spouse is fully aware of the true infidelity that is going on, and in many cases aware that it is a scam as well. We have seen countless cases of wives trying to understand and support their husbands (disproportionately men are affected by this more than women – but there are women too!)
The spouse not tied up in the scam suffers greatly because they have to watch not only their mate drift away and destroy their lives – yes their combined lives – but with the knowledge that the other partner generally does not even care that they know. We have heard from the wives of men trapped in these fake infidelities tell us that their husband openly talks about how he is helping his online girlfriend with her (his wife). They take family money to send to the scammer, in many cases taking out a mortgage on the family home just to lose it with the scammer. All the while the other spouse is powerless to stop it.
It is one thing when you are alone and are scammed. Not only is it forgivable but these victims were not to blame – they were expertly groomed and indoctrinated after they opened themselves to a relationship.
But What About A Married Man Or Woman?
Can We Say The Same About Them, That They Were Blameless?
Yes, they are definitely the victim of a romance scam. Yes, they too were expertly manipulated – the scammers knew what they were doing to control these individuals. Are they blameless though?
Consider that in a regular romance scam it is just about you and the scammer. That first decision to invite in the stranger in was your decision to make, but most victims had no one they were expected to be faithful to – they were single, divorced, or widowed.
However, in the case of the man or woman who is married, it is totally different. They had a commitment to another person. A rational married man doesn’t get involved with a single woman even socially, they just don’t go there if they want to retain their marriage – same for women. Yet these victims made the choice to cross the line into infidelity and then lost control to the scammers. Can we say they are innocent and blameless?
Obviously, they want the same things all victims want, but knowing up front that they were making the choice to invite the stranger in while they were married is a betrayal of their spouse. Isn’t it?
When we help victims we do not bring these issues up, we support all who need help. That assumes that we can, of course, some victims develop such layers of hostility that it makes it impossible. Regardless of how we feel about their actions, we help them get through the experience and recover. But understanding this is important as much for the spouse that was cheated on as it is for the victim themselves. In many cases, there is a profoundly greater sense of shame on the part of these victims, and a correspondingly great level of anger on the forgotten spouse.
There is also the case where the original spouse refuses to acknowledge their role in destroying their lives, but it manifests in the form of a far greater level of rage towards the scammer.
In many respects, this is like the situation where drug addicts or alcoholics destroy their marriages for their addiction. But, perhaps not so politically correctly, we do not believe it is the same, at least not in our view.
A major part of recovery is acknowledging the people that an addict has hurt along the way. Romance scams are also an addiction and many victims hurt family and friends in the process. That additional guilt is hard to work through, but it is compounded when a victim destroys a marriage or relationship because of a romance scam.
Like many things in life, it is not up to us to place blame or to forgive these romance scam infidelities, it is up to their families. Our job is to do our best to understand the situations and support both sides to the best of our ability. We certainly empathize with the innocent victim – the spouse who was just as much a victim as the one that let the stranger in.
It is for these reasons that we provide separate online support groups for family members and friends of scam victims – to help them cope with, understand, and recover from the scam as well. In this group, we only allow family & friends, not the regular victims, since the family needs to express their voice in these matters without judgment or condemnation from their spouses.
If you are or know someone in need have them join us here:
We Empathize With Those Sucked Into These Scams
This article is written for those who silently suffered. We want them to know that we understand and are here for them. We hope this may also let the victim who started it also understand some of the pain their partner experienced and be able to acknowledge that in seeking the forgiveness of those they hurt in the process.
We do all that is possible to end online scamming, but at the same time to help its victims, whether they had a say in the matter or not.
a division of SCARS
Miami Florida U.S.A.