Life · Other

The weirdest and most mysterious online relationship

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Hello and welcome back. Today, I’m coming with another storytime post. I’ve been thinking for quite a while whether I should post this, but I feel like the story is so unusual that it’s worth sharing. Until now, only 3 of my friends have heard about it.

I’ve always been more active online than in real life, so quite naturally I made a few online connections – some of them broke, some of them stayed. But there was one that made me completely baffled and it remains a mystery up to this day.

The first time when my online life outgrew the real one happened when I was in high school, around 6 years ago. I left a comment under a YouTube video and for some reason community liked it enough to bring it to the top and leave it there for a while. One guy saw it and wrote a private message to me regarding what I said. A few messages exchanged, we started talking about random things. He seemed… lonely? Lost? A little weird for sure. In one of his first messages he told me he’d almost died twice due to overdosing drugs. He said he’d nearly killed himself when his girlfriend left him. He seemed like he needed a friend… and so did I. The initially weird story grew to extreme levels though. Between the lines he told me how his parents died when he was a child, how he grew up abroad, living with distant family, how he trained his favourite sport and now lived off it, travelling around the world, taking part in competitions. The sport was very specific and rather expensive to do, only a few do it on an international level. Curiosity killed the cat they say… I googled everything. I quickly figured out who he was claiming to be, he also eventually sort of confirmed it using a name to sign one of the messages instead of his YouTube’s username. However, not all pieces of the story he told me matched the info I could find on Google. And I could find a lot, as the said person was actually one of the best in his popular yet elite discipline. It wasn’t even only about details – some basic facts didn’t match either. Dead parents? Then why can I google thousands of photos of him and his living father? He got injured and sent me a photo of him with crutches? Too bad the photo was taken 2 years earlier and was published by one of sports websites. He says he’s going to an old friend’s funeral in his hometown, and while the ceremony should be in progress, his official Twitter posts about an event he’s taking part in, in a completely different part of the world. And finally, last but not least, dogs. He – the real person I was talking to – had two and loved them above anything else. He kept sending me photos of them… never them and him at the same time though, wonder why. Google has never seen a photo of ‘him’ with the dogs, and he claimed to always take them with him, to whatever part of the world he was going for a competition. You don’t have to be a genius to realise there was something odd about the entire story. And as I started questioning it, he switched to the defensive ‘why do you not trust me when I love you’ mode. (Oh, yeah, after a few months of daily talking he actually said he loved me.)

I had no idea how to talk to him. He was obviously making up a huge part of ‘his’ life, or rather borrowed it from someone else, thinking I wouldn’t notice (? really? how can you not notice that!?). Of course, there are thousands of people pretending to be celebrities. But his case was different, he didn’t straight away claim to be that certain person, it all very slowly grew to eventually get to that point. I know, it was all a lie. But on the other hand… first of all, he seemed lonely and lost, and I didn’t want to hurt a person that had had suicidal attempts before. Secondly, between the lines of that made up story he seemed like a very nice, caring, fragile person. Always supportive and paying compliments. Great friend of animals of all kinds. He also actually seemed like a wealthy person (judging from the background of the numerous dog photos I was sent) – and since he didn’t have a serious job (or at least I doubt he did), he might have been from an environment that could possibly fund a sport like the one he claimed to train. And last but not least, he never tried to use that fake identity for his advantage – it seemed as if he just wanted some bio to go along with his personality, but he never really tightly stuck to that background. I really wanted to solve that situation in the least disastrous way possible. I thought that maybe he’d made that story up to increase his chances of finding a friend to talk to, so I tried telling him how I didn’t care about who he was, as I respected and liked his personality that I saw in his emails. But he seemed to desperately want to stay delusional and believe in the entire story he’d built.

I started university and had less and less spare time, it was also the time when I knew for sure how unreal the made-up story of his lifetime was. Finals came, I had plenty of work and also got ill – didn’t check for emails for a couple of days. He got worried – okay, I get that. He wrote to my Facebook friends, asking about me (he’d found me on Facebook a few months earlier) – woah, wait. He wrote to my friends? What?! I did not sign up for that. I don’t know if he actually did that (none of my friends told me about any weird messages regarding me and I didn’t ask), but just the thought of it was terrifying. I got mad and from that point our relationship started to die out. I wanted to be a good friend, support him regardless of all those lies (yep, good auntie Alphe, supporting a suicidal liar), and in return I also had a friend to talk to – something I desperately needed at that time. But it was too much for me. I felt beset. Slowly but surely, the connection broke after a bit over a year from its start.

Was it a regular catfish? I wouldn’t say so. He seemed genuinely involved in that relation, remembered every detail about me. And not only then; he kept writing to me for my birthday/Christmas/other holidays for the next 4 years, every time only getting a short, generic response – except for the last one which remained unanswered, and that’s probably why he never wrote again. But he still remembered me. I have a feeling that he was so desperate to make a connection with me that he felt like he needed to create a story that would appeal to me and keep me interested. I don’t know, however, why he decided to stick to it when I clearly knew it was all a lie and suggested starting over, without making things up.

It remains probably the biggest mystery of my life. I’m really curious about who he really is and why he refused to ever admit his life wasn’t how he pictured it to be – especially since he actually told me about some dark sides of his past that most people wouldn’t want in their created perfect lives. I’ll most likely never find out.

The aftermath, aside from the left unsolved riddle, also includes my highly increased online privacy awareness. That mostly affected my Facebook profile, I changed all settings to private, visible to friends only (something everyone should do to be honest, and many people still don’t). I don’t use my personal data anywhere online (unless it’s official stuff that I fully trust).

Funny thing though, that didn’t stop me from making new online friends, I was just a lot more careful with them – and it was totally worth it, I gained great friends from different countries that I fully trust, that I can fully rely on and that I met (or am about to meet) in person.

Have you ever got into a strange online relationship with someone?

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37 thoughts on “The weirdest and most mysterious online relationship

    1. I definitely wouldn’t meet a person from the Internet without double checking that they can be trusted, but even when we don’t have the intention of meeting someone, they can be a completely different person than they claim to be. As you said, scary indeed. Sadly, a lot of bad things happen in the world because people trust a wrong person met online. I think I was lucky that my story not only began, but also stayed online – could have been truly disastrous if it had made it into the real world.

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    1. Haha I feel like everyone’s had that episode at some point of their life πŸ˜€ But can you imagine the commitment needed to pretend being someone you’re not for 5 years?

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      1. hahahaha…. he must be really bored! what sick and lonely person! I pity him. Anyway, I admire your patience. If it was me, I have confronted him earlier on.

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      2. I’m not sure if it was patience, I just didn’t want to put a suicidal person in a stressful position… it was a responsibility I surely didn’t ask for.

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  1. An interesting story! Well i used to create a delusion like that guy to desperately draw the attention (or I rather say pity) of someone I like. But later on, I felt miserable 😦 Constant lying is so tired. So i stop doing that after few months.
    I guess this guy is too fragile to break this delusion. He lives with this delusion for so long, and I doubt that he can get out of it. But you cannot help him either, he has to do it himself.

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    1. Yeah, I think you’re right… but it feels so bad when you do your best and still can’t do anything to help someone with an obvious problem.
      A few months? That was already a huge commitment, I think most people get bored after a few days πŸ˜€

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  2. That is a intriguing story for sure. I’d worry that the past life was still impacting the person currently and that they might be unstable.

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    1. You’re probably right, and that’s why I was trying to help. It felt like a great responsibility that I never asked for and that I couldn’t simply escape.

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      1. I was thinking more along the lines of worrying about the serial killer type or straight up stalker; or a prisoner with Internet access.

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      2. Hmm… definitely not a prisoner, those photos of his dogs usually had a background of a luxurious house. It’s hard to say I’m sure of anything from that whole story, but it seemed like the only person he could hurt was himself – a depressed, suicidal type.

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  3. When I was in high school, I got very involved with a Harry Potter RPG group. Super lame, I know, but I loved it. The core group of us became friends, and were for several years… until a handful of people came out and said they’d been lying about their identities (or pretending to be several different people at once). We had been friends for years… why had they played along for such a long time? Many of us who were hurt. It’s so easy for people to become someone else online, and approaching the deceptions are so difficult once they’ve been revealed… I’m a lot more careful with online since then as well, although for myself, I have only made one close online friend since. It’s hard to trust when you’ve been burned.

    I’m sorry you had that experience yourself… it sounds like if this person had been open and honest with you from the beginning, you could have had a really great friendship.

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    1. Well at least we both learnt our lessons, although I really wish no one had to go through it.
      And by the way, nothing HP related is lame. I read the first book at least 50 times (stopped counting after 31) πŸ˜€

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      1. I only counted the first two cause I got them together and the third one wasn’t out yet, so I just kept reading 1&2 over and over and over again πŸ˜€ Then it turned into 1-2-3-1-2-3 and it pretty much continued with all the next ones added on their release until the last one was out πŸ™‚

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    1. It was really sad and I was doing my best to find out what the background story was, unfortunately without success. I think that – just like every other life experience – it was a valuable lesson learnt, definitely not something that would put me off having any further online relationships πŸ™‚

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  4. My story is a little different.
    I once had a friend request on a social media website from a girl I didn’t know. I declined the request and happily forgot about it. After a while she added me again, and when I saw it, it gave me shiver. She had my photo as her profile pic. It was a photo of me and my husband. I went to her profile only to freak out a lot more. It was loaded with our photos. On her profile ‘I’ had a different name and my husband was my/her fiancΓ©. It obviously took her some time to build that profile. There were tons of stories about their trips and parties, fake stories but with my real pictures. A lot of comments from ‘friends’ what a cute couple they were and when was their wedding going to take place. Seeing all this I panicked. I showed her profile to my friends and we all reported her for stealing my pictures and having a fake profile. She was blocked the same day.
    I later realised that the pictures on her profile weren’t mine, I never uploaded some of them. They were stolen from my husband’s profile, who stopped using the website months before and his profile wasn’t private.
    It’s been 7 years since, but I never got over that story fully. I still wonder who she or maybe even he was, and why did s/he do it. You don’t normally go to a random profile, steal all the pictures and pretend to be them, do you? Could I know this person in real life? Could they be angry or jealous with me or my husband? I don’t know. I’d like to know, but I have a feeling that I never will.

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    1. Hmm… what comes to my mind is that maybe they needed a fake identity for catfishing, but that definitely doesn’t explain friend requests – when you steal somebody’s identity you probably don’t want the original person to find out. Very strange indeed… and the effort one has to put to build all of that! There certainly was a reason behind it, I doubt anyone would do it simply out of boredom.
      I guess the only good side of both our stories is that we realised how important it is to protect ourselves online.
      And well, I’m afraid none of us will ever get to know the background of our stories.

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      1. It is extremely important. I think I never realised it before this happened. Now I interact very little on social media and I sure like it that way.
        But it’s mind boggling though… I can’t chase off the feeling that I must have known that person in real life. I just can’t pinpoint who they were and why they did it.

        Anyway, thank you for such an interesting post! I like this sort of stories, they make me think it over and over again just like after a good mystery book or a movie πŸ™‚

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  5. OMG! In the Internet a lot of odd people. One Englishman swore to me in love every day 3 months and made plans for our life together. Then he added me as a friend on Facebook and I found out that he has an official girlfriend πŸ™‚

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    1. No way! Did you try to contact his girlfriend to let her know what her boyfriend does? Poor girl 😦 And you, of course, too. I just don’t get why he’d try to add you on Facebook, it was obvious you’d find out… what an idiot!

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      1. I really suffered to write this woman or not However wrote with his letters’ copies. Amazing, but she continued their relationship as if nothing had happened (I went to her page a month later, and again saw them fresh photos together ;))

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  6. Wow, that’s such a weird online relationship. Good thing you noticed he was making up those lies. But it was so nice of you to still talk to him and be friends with him for a while. Stay safe on the Internet!

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  7. Wow that is really weird! I do believe the guy you are talking to have some sorta psychiatric problems besides depression or being suicidal.

    I do have my few cases of meeting strangers online and I can safely say they are weird experiences. Something I probably wouldn’t wanna do again lol

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  8. Seeing how many people perceive meeting people online as weird, risky and dangerous, I, too, wish to add that that’s not always the case.
    I met my husband online through a messenger. By the way, none of us was into online dating, and my purpose of meeting somebody online was absolutely different from dating. I had a pen pal from England, it was an interesting experience, but it ended abruptly for reasons still unknown to me. And as I went to college to study English as a foreign language I wanted some practice with real English speakers. That’s how I found him. We have been married for almost 9 years and have 2 wonderful daughters. So meeting people online is not all black and white πŸ˜‰

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