Betrayed by his alter ego

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By Rory Gibson

A friend recently became embroiled in a love triangle that broke his heart and crushed his spirit, and it is with much mirth that I invite you to revel in his misery, as I have.

’Steve’ (not his real name – his real name is Bill) is a man who loves flirting on the internet with women all over the world.

It’s like penfriends with benefits.

He’s older than he likes people to think he is and his hair is a travesty, so his online girlfriends think Steve is about 30 and not unpleasant to look at, when really Bill is much older than that and has what looks suspiciously like a comb-over.

Anyway, it was all going along swimmingly, all harmless fun, until one of his cyber playmates fell hard for his charms and decided she would take the relationship to the next level, that being seeing him in the flesh.

This young lady lives in Asia, is in her 20s, drop-dead gorgeous, was studying law and comes from a family of considerable pedigree.

Bill is also a lawyer and was able to help her with her course work, so there was a deeper connection than would arise through the usual inanity of casual internet interactions.

She was Bill’s favourite … until she declared that she was really keen on him and was planning to come to Australia to see him.

A real relationship was the last thing he wanted in his Peter Pan world.

“What are you going to do?” I asked him when he revealed this predicament.

“I’ll end it … but I have to see her just once.”

How was he going to do that, I wondered, without creating some serious awkwardness?

As it happened, he had to spend a fortnight working in the city in which she lived.

“I’ll take her out to dinner before I break it off,” he said.

“But Bill,” I reminded him, “she thinks your name is Steve and you are 30. When she sees you she will know you have misled her.”

So his plan was to contact her and say he was a good friend of Steve’s, who gave him her number and suggested he look her up while he was in town.

This he did … and so his misery began.

Instead of the one planned sighting, he ended up going out with her a lot.

They got on brilliantly.

It was all just friendly at first because they both knew she was Steve’s girl, and he was Steve’s friend.

She really liked Bill’s company because, among other things, he had the same sense of humour as Steve.

But as the two weeks wore on and formality melted away, she started to complain a little about Steve’s aloofness and how she wished he could be more like Bill, who was such a gentleman.

By the time he had to return to Australia, he was smitten hard.

They promised to keep in contact.

So Bill gets back home and the email exchanges between them grow, which is wearing him out because he is still emailing her as Steve too.

He can’t bring himself to make Steve dump her, fearing that she would stop writing to him as Bill because he and Steve were friends.

What happens next is classic and serves Bill right for playing with people’s emotions.

The girl, tiring of Steve’s apathy over her planned visit, decides Bill is a better catch and starts getting amorous in her communications with him. But she doesn’t dump Steve. She just keeps stringing him along while trying to seduce Bill.

“She’s cheating on me,” he laments.

“Yeah, but she’s cheating on you with you,” I point out to my love-sick friend, while trying hard not to snort laughter out my nose.

“How can I trust her now?” he moaned, completing his descent into the ludicrous.

In the end, the astute woman dumped both Bill and Steve as they froze with indecision and ambivalence.

As romance entanglements go, it ain’t Casablanca.

But I reckon there is a movie in this tale.

I’d like to see Glenn Robbins in the role of Bill.

Bill’s ego is recovering from this bruising experience and he has learned to accept the ridicule from the close circle of friends to whom he revealed this menage a trois.

He has scaled back his internet love life and now dates a real woman.

I believe he has had what is termed a reality check.

Ever told a lie in your dating profile? Or perhaps you’ve caught someone out for lying in theirs? Let us know in the comments below or join the conversation @eHarmony_AU or on Facebook.com/eHarmonyaustralia.


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