Q: Dear Meredith,
Long time lurker, first time writer here.
I met a man through an online video game about 5 years ago. We played together a lot over those years and we became good friends. I'm in my mid-30s and divorced. He's in his late 30s, never married. His job takes him on the road often, and when he ended up in a nearby city not that long ago, we decided it was time that we finally met face to face.
We had a blast that weekend. We got along great and I was sad when it was time to go back home. Shortly after that weekend he told me he was interested in me as more than friends. I felt the same way. The problem, of course, was the fact that we lived in different parts of the country. He asked me to leave my job and my town and spend time with him on the road, promising he'd take care of me. I was a bit hesitant because even though we knew each other for some time, we only really spent that one weekend together.
A month later, he came back to that nearby city and we spent another weekend together. I should probably stop here and mention that we didn't move too quickly physically. We took our time and decided to build a foundation. After that weekend we decided that we would officially try having a relationship.
Now the flags. The first time we met, his company was in trouble and there was a pay freeze. When I left after the first weekend, he was stuck in that city for a while so I lent him some money (not much since I'm broke too) so he wouldn't starve. I'm the type of person that treats others the way I want to be treated. I help out people I care about, no questions asked. Usually when I help people financially, I do so with the mindset that I'm never going to see that money again. I had helped him out before and he had paid me back, so I didn't hesitate to help him again.
His company was also doing away with their cell phone plan. Since I'm struggling myself and looking for ways to save money, I agreed to add his phone to my account and we agreed to split the bill. That would save me about $40/month. He also said that he was going to add my name to his debit card, and we were making tentative plans for me to move with him later this year.
The first phone bill was due a few months later. But he didn't pay it. I kept getting excuses. I was getting a bit peeved and I let him know that I was upset that I was paying for something I wasn't supposed to have to afford. I then asked him how he thought he was going to support me if he couldn't support himself? That's the last time he spoke to me. All of a sudden he took me off Facebook, took me off his friends list in the online game, and pretty much cut off all contact with me while bad mouthing me to other people we knew in the game, calling me every name in the book, saying what a terrible person I was for "making him feel bad." After all I've done for him.
We haven't spoken in almost a month. I'm stuck in a 2 year contract for his phone. He took advantage of me and I'm very upset about it. I want to yell at him, scream at him, and tell him off. My friends tell me I should not have any contact with him and move on. My problem is, I have a hard time moving on without closure. Why did he do this to me?
Should I write him? If so what do I say?
– Left Hanging, Cambridge
A: You've learned a lesson, LH. The right guy will not ask you to quit your job and hang with him on the road. Not after spending one weekend together. The right guy will not borrow money from you after your first date. If he's that desperate for cash, he'll ask his friends and family for help. You would never ask a new suitor/pen pal for money, right? The Golden Rule goes both ways.
This guy is a self-absorbed child. There's no point in screaming at him. It would just validate his ridiculous theory that you're a terrible person.
Don't worry about your reputation on the gaming website. People will see through him -- and something tells me that he's done this before. His online behavior would have us all hitting "report abuse" on Love Letters.
This experience will help you make better decisions. You can be nice without taking major financial risks. You can say no.
Get closure by paying the fee to get out of that cell phone contract. Cut ties. It can't be any more expensive than paying the bill for two years. Then go have a toast (using very cheap wine) with the friends who've earned your trust.
As they say in "The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask," "A puppet that can no longer be used is mere garbage. This puppet's role has just ended."
Readers? Should she yell? Is this how the Golden Rule works? How should she approach him in this online community? Will people see through his act? What are your rules about borrowing/loaning money? Help.
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Meredith Goldstein is a Boston Globe columnist who follows relationship trends and entertainment. She offers daily advice on Love Letters — and welcomes your comments. Meredith is also the author of "The Singles," a novel about complicated relationships. Follow Meredith at www.meredithgoldstein.netand on Twitter. Love Letters can be found in the print edition of The Boston Globe every Saturday in the G section.