[Two Pronged] Is he just after her money?
Rappler's Life and Style section runs an advice column by couple Jeremy Baer and clinical psychologist Dr Margarita Holmes.
Jeremy has a master's degree in law from Oxford University. A banker of 37 years who worked in 3 continents, he has been training with Dr Holmes for the last 10 years as co-lecturer and, occasionally, as co-therapist, especially with clients whose financial concerns intrude into their daily lives.
Last February 2015, I met a guy through online dating. We would talk for hours – every night and every morning. We are very compatible in almost everything.
He is Swiss but has lived in America since he graduated from college and is now an American citizen. He’s divorced twice, with no children. He got divorced last 2000.
From the start he made it clear that he doesn't want to spend for my family (like most Filipinos) and I don't want that either. He wants for us to share equally in everything. I come from a very good family background. I had a very good business until 3 years ago when my staff stole from me big time. Right now, I am not liquid. I have a big inheritance from my parents but we are still selling our properties. He knows about this. I am very honest and open about my situation.
We haven't met personally. He keeps on saying he's coming over soon. Last mid February 2016 he went to Switzerland because he needed to sign a document for a little inheritance and to visit his family at the same time. He invited me to go there but obviously, I didn't have the budget plus it was difficult to get a visa and the timing was too tight to get one. It was a hurriedly scheduled trip for him, too.
He still called day and night when he was in Switzerland and we would talk for hours. He said he likes me very much and cares for me and that we made plans for the future. He said I am his girlfriend and sometimes refers to me as his wife but he never said the “I love you” thing yet. I wonder why?
He wants to live here by the beach and that is exactly my dream, which I have written in my dream book! We have so much in common really. We never had any arguments or fights.
After he arrived in San Francisco from Switzerland, he wants and is ready to move here and start our life together. One thing, I think is keeping him from coming is my financial situation. He didn't say that straight but that is how it comes across.
Now when he calls, he asks ‘what's new,’ or ‘do you have good news for me.’ I asked, ‘what is good news for you?’ Then he said ‘if you sold any of your properties.’ I said, ‘do you mean you won’t come over if I don't get to sell any of those?’ He said no, not at all, but I really feel it is the reason. He wants to sell everything in the US and is serious about transferring here.
This past days he doesn't call every night anymore and when we get to talk it only takes a few minutes to half an hour, which is very unlike him.
I really like him and am looking forward to be with him for good. We have planned what to do in our future.
What do I do or say? Please help me.
Thank you for your email.
Your account of your relationship raises a number of potential red flags. According to you, in the year you have known your boyfriend (let's call him Karl) you have spoken every day, established a wonderful compatibility, made plans for the future. You have been very open with him, including telling him about your business failing and how your inheritance will more than resolve that. He likes you very much, cares for you and wants to make a life together with you here on the beach.
What your account does not mention however is anything much about Karl or why he is the one for you – other than compatibility and not having fights. Agreed, he is twice divorced without children but nothing about his age, his job, how he will support himself when he gets here etc. which leaves me wondering how much you actually know about him that is not just what he has told you but actually independently verifiable.
This has all the hallmarks of a scam. A presumably attractive man gets close to you, establishes sufficient rapport to build a relationship, tells you he is divorced (experienced and available) but has no children (no ties), travels to Europe for his inheritance (burnishing his credentials as a cosmopolitan with at least some financial means). And who is his target? A woman far away, from a very good family, with a very big inheritance on the horizon.
In all the time you have known each other he has been promising to come, actually made in to the airport once but – oops – went to Switzerland instead to fix his “little inheritance” see his family (and perhaps get in a little skiing too) rather than the woman of his dreams with whom he wants to settle down in tropical bliss for the rest of his life.
A second worry must be his increasing interest in how you are getting along with the sale of your properties. The difficulties you are experiencing should encourage his support yet only seem to reduce contact between you.
All in all, this sounds like a situation where you would be wise not to take anything you know about him at face value. He may be genuine but it sure doesn't seem that way and many people would play it safe, or even head for the hills, in your position.
Best of luck,
Thank you very much for your letter. On the one hand, I agree with Mr Baer that it is not wise to believe everything he says simply because he says it. There are just too many inconsistencies (more on that later). On the other hand, I am not so sure that his behavior reeks of an Internet scam. After all, you speak everyday on Skype and thus means you have a face to his name and voice.
And yet…does that necessarily prove anything? The best scams
are those that set your mind at ease, and his calling day and night and talking for hours with you means he spends at least 2.5 hours a day with you, which for normal people means the rest of the time he spends at work.
But as Mr Baer has pointed out, what does Karl do? For all we know, chatting with women for 2.5 hour a day is Karl’s work. Doing so with only 2 other women is less than 8 hours a day yet the potential windfall is staggering: 3 heiresses so in love with Karl because he shares the same dream and speaks endlessly on the phone with them, willing to sign over their wealth to a man they believe loves them “for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer.
But even if he is not part of a tried and tested scam and wants to live his dream only with you, there are still a few things to take note of.
The reason you never have arguments and fights is not because you are so alike but because you stay only at the level of sweet nothings and do not dive into the really heavy stuff. There are two ways you do this.
The first is by avoiding the hard questions. Instead, you ask us. Case in point:
“He said I am his girlfriend and sometimes refers to me as his wife but he never said the ‘I love you’ thing yet. I wonder why?” “What do I do or say (to get him to behave as before)?”
I suspect you ask us because you worry you may not like his answer.
For example: What if you asked him, (instead of asking us), “What can I do to have the same old you back?”
and what if he answers: “Sell your property so I can then move there…"
I hope his response would not only hurt but anger you so much, you would leave him.
Because this is what Karl deserves, unless he understands things have to change.
The second way is more insidious. It has to do with your meta messages (unspoken messages within messages) to each other. Because meta messages are so important, I have written several articles on them:
- Being aware of 'meta-messages'
- [Bodymind] Do mothers really know best?
- Medication can help bipolars
- [Bodymind] Misinterpreting meta messages
- [Bodymind] When parents fail
You said that from the start “he made it clear that he doesn't want to spend for my family (like most Filipinos).”
His meta message was there are conditions to having a relationship with you. It not only includes your being rich enough so I do not support your family, but also your being rich enough so I do not support you.
You responded with your own meta message: “Yes, dear. (“I don't want that either.)”
Another meta message from him, when he stated that he wants for us “to share equally in everything,” is “I am a counter. I believe in tit for tat. I give you something, you bet I expect that you give me something back. This is not going to be a relationship where money is not as important as love and respect. This is a relationship where, before you get love and respect from me, show me the money.”
You did not balk at, or even respond to, his rather offensive meta message above. Instead you became a supplicant, proving your worth by letting him know that: “I come from a very good family background. I had a very good business until 3 years ago when my staff stole from me big time. Right now, I am not liquid. I have a big inheritance from my parents but we are still selling our properties.”
Does it not bother you that he is, in effect, asking you to pay him a dowry?
In fairness to you, you once asked him directly, as in: “Do you mean you won’t come over if I don't get to sell any of those?”
However, when he said no, you did not pursue it. You could have asked further.
In answer to his unconvincing no, you could have added: “Funny, because you sure act like you do.”
However, perhaps you did not need to. Note what you said of his behavior right after you dared ask him your question: “he doesn't call every night anymore and when we get to talk it only takes a few minutes to half an hour which is very unlike him.
This is a meta message of his own. I am warning you: “Don’t question my motives or I will become cold.”
Now, it is your turn to respond. Do you go back to your “yes dear” or do you say clearly and UN-meta message-ly: “Look, unless you change and we really treat each other as equals, this relationship is over.”
There are many men who have dreams similar to yours. Many will be as honest, straightforward and will not believe in the carrot and the stick technique when dealing with you.
Many will realize that they are getting a woman worthy of respect, gentleness and love and treat her as she deserves to be treated. I wish you the strength and confidence to choose what it is you truly want in a relationship that you hope will last a lifetime.
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