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“I Created A Fake Boyfriend on Facebook to Make my Ex Jealous”

I’m a 39 year-old woman and I broke up with my boyfriend of three months about two weeks ago. We broke up on bad terms; I had a hunch he was cheating because he suddenly, for no reason, hid everything on his Facebook page. I told him I didn’t trust him, and he basically said that we should just be friends. I was crushed and haven’t contacted him, but I knew he was still my friend on Facebook and would see my posts. So … I decided to invent a fake boyfriend. I created a fake Facebook identity, complete with fake friends and even a fake profile picture and then basically “friended” myself. Over the past week, the fake boyfriend posted things on my wall and asked me out on dates, all for the purpose of making my ex jealous! Then I changed my relationship status to “In a Relationship.” Well, my ex saw that and sent me a message saying if I was trying to hurt him, he didn’t really know me. Then he unfriended me.

I thought that if it looked like I had a boyfriend, it would seem like he didn’t mean that much to me. I wanted to hurt him, but now I feel even worse. I am totally ashamed that I would do something so petty and juvenile. How do I fix this situation? Should I just leave my ex alone and move on? Should I admit what I did and apologize? I’m really not a crazy person; I was just hurt and now I really regret behaving like a twelve year old! — Regretting Fake Facebook Status

Unfortunately, you can’t “fix” this situation. You can only learn from it and MOA, and move on is exactly what I hope you do. Dwelling on this or admitting to your ex what you did and apologizing will only make things worse. It’s not like he’s going to want you back after you tell him that you invented a fake boyfriend to make him jealous, and you’re only going to end up feeling more foolish than you already do.

The best that you can do now is accept that this three month relationship is over, and that whatever chance there may or may not have been to get back together is now long gone, and simply vow in the future to quit acting like a 12 year old. In fact, if you don’t trust yourself to behave like a grownup in the future, I’d even recommend deleting your Facebook account altogether. I’m not implying you should beat yourself up about your behavior, but if you’ve proven to be so impulsive — and, frankly, a little coo-coo — when it comes to social networking maybe eliminating some of the means by which you can embarrass yourself online would behoove you … at least until you feel a little more emotionally stable.

Finally — and this may go without saying — you could probably benefit from some therapy. This advice isn’t really unique to you; everyone could probably benefit from some therapy. In your case, you may want to work with a professional in addressing your impulse control — or lack thereof — and why, at 39, you’d give so much weight to such a short relationship. Getting guidance in unpacking some of your underlying issues will make you so much more ready for a committed relationship when the right person comes along.

*If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, send me your letters at wendy@dearwendy.com.

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{ 48 comments… add one }

avatar WatersEdge February 15, 2011, 9:17 am

Wow. What to say… I agree with Wendy. Don’t tell him. You’ll feel worse because you’ll know he’s judging you. And knowing you made up a fake boyfriend won’t make him want you back. At all. Seriously. He won’t take it as a compliment. Best you can do is And you should get into therapy for sure. It’s not normal to invest so much in a 3-month relationship, or to stoop to the level of making a guy jealous like that.

FWIW, it was shady that the guy hid half his page from you, and he probably was up to something. You’re probably not missing out on a great guy there.

avatar WatersEdge February 15, 2011, 9:18 am

“Best you can do is… break up with your fake boyfriend and see if your ex ever notices and contacts you again- don’t bother contacting him.” <—- sorry, I'm at work.

parton_doll parton_doll February 15, 2011, 10:07 am

I completely agree with you that it’s not normal to be so invested in such a short relationship. But I wonder if he was really being shady when he hid his page or if some of her behavior prompted him to start taking steps to distance himself from her. She really didn’t give any background on their relationship … whether or not their relationship was going well, why she would automatically assume he was cheating (was he being flirty, standing her up, being shady in other ways), if she had previous trust issues, etc. For all we know, she could have been suffocating him (not realizing it) and he just wanted some space. Facebook can make you think you’re much closer in a relationship than you actually are.

avatar WatersEdge February 15, 2011, 10:30 am

Very true… I was giving her the benefit of the doubt there, trying to find the silver lining…

avatar MellaJade February 15, 2011, 9:34 am

Wow. While I didn’t go so far as to create a fake FB boyfriend I did post pix of myself hanging out with guys from several Anti-Valentine’s Day mixers I went to this weekend. All to show the guy who blew me off after 4 awesome weeks that I can still have a good time without him. I waited until I saw him logon and then uploaded the pix so they showed in his news feed. After the weekend though, when I was unable to elicit any kind of response from him I came to terms with the fact that it was truly over and un-friended him. I can’t tell you how wonderful the calmness and the peace of mind that settled over me at that point felt but it was truly a freeing experience. I felt so much better not constantly logging on to see if he was there and not talking to me. I was just making myself feel worse when I did that. So now he’s truly gone from my life and happily, I feel less like a crazy person and more like the sane woman I was prior to being his cast off. I do recommend therapy LW, its done wonders for me and I wish the same for you. In today’s dating world though, FB is a dangerous tool…..beware!

avatar cdj0815 February 15, 2011, 1:22 pm

“FB is a dangerous tool…..beware!”
I agree MellaJade. I would take Wendy’s and a couple of other suggestion: “You can only learn from it and MOA, and move on is exactly what I hope you do.” Deal is done, try not to ever do anything like this anymore. Lastly, forgive yourself so you can move on.

avatar Wolvie_girl February 15, 2011, 9:44 am

Yikes! I agree with Wendy, the facebook thing shows some impulse issues, and quitting Facebook might be a good idea…but the real issue is WHY would you take such an extreme measure at the end of a 3 month relationship???? I agree, there are certianly underlying issues here that have nothing to do with juvenile facebook shenanigans, and a therapist will help LW get to the bottom of why she’s so intensely invested in a relationship that is so new.

avatar sarolabelle February 15, 2011, 10:53 am

This is just very strange….

avatar PFG-SCR February 15, 2011, 11:13 am

Even though it was only a 3 month relationship, we don’t know enough about it to say whether she put too much importance in it. Her behavior now is the issue, and she obviously recognizes that she was immature in trying to make him jealous. I’m not sure if this is “therapy-worthy”, and it doesn’t necessarily mean that she lacks impulse control, in general.

Regardless of all of that, I agree with Wendy that she ought to accept that she doesn’t have a future with her ex, and move on _without_ confessing this to him. However, I’m not sure how she’s going to “undo” this without exposing her lie to everyone else she is Facebook friends with since they’ve all seen it, too.

avatar sarolabelle February 15, 2011, 11:17 am

well he had “fake friends”…maybe her friends knew what she was doing and friended the fake boyfriend.

avatar cmarie February 15, 2011, 11:24 am

I really dislike it when everybody assumes people need therapy for doing stupid things. I love therapy and it’s done wonders for me, but coming from a psychology background her behavior isn’t really that strange. She was still probably caught up in the “I’m so in love” stage where hormones go crazy. Yes, hormone’s aren’t just for teenagers and menstrual women. It happens to all of us in relationships. When you’re bonding with a new flame those hormones are what makes you want to spend every waking minute together and look forward to the phone calls and text messages. It’s also the stage where you’re probably going to do something crazy, all in the name love (not that it’s the only time). Point is, she acted like a crazy lovesick woman who was hurting. Not like a crazy woman who needs therapy because she’s about to start boiling bunnies. Defintely follow Wendy’s advice and move on but don’t immediately jump into therapy because you did something stupid. Therapy can help many things but if you’re only reason is because you tried to make your ex jealous and now feel bad about it all you really need is a good talk with some friends to bring you back to earth. We all make mistakes, what matters is how we react to them. Seriously though, how many women have created a partner when they run into an ex to make the ex jealous or convince him that she’s moved on. This isn’t much different, but because of social media that little white lie snowballs.

sobriquet sobriquet February 15, 2011, 11:39 am

Well, it actually takes a lot of time and effort to create a fake facebook page and add friends to it. You have to make up a name, a birth date, find a picture of a stranger to use, fill out the bio, use a separate email account, etc. And then, after all that, you have to post little messages from one account on the other. It’s not something you just happen to lie about when you unexpectedly run into your ex. Especially at her age. I think she could definitely benefit from therapy.

However, I believe that everyone can benefit from therapy, regardless of how many issues you have. I don’t understand why we don’t take mental health seriously in this country.

avatar Jess February 15, 2011, 11:59 am

what countries do you think DO take it seriously? Pretty sure America has a waaaaay bigger percentage of our population on anti-depressants and in therapy than any other country. Its just most countries think the idea of therapy and anti-depressants are just silly, I think americans just have very very expectations of what “happiness” is

avatar MissDre February 15, 2011, 12:33 pm

I’ve been on antidepressants for a while now, and I have friends telling me I don’t need them and I should stop taking them. Um, hello?! Are you my doctor? No! If I was diabetic, would you tell me to stop taking my meds? No! You’re right, people don’t take mental health seriously, not just in the US but in Canada too where I’m from.

avatar cdj0815 February 16, 2011, 10:28 am

Hey I applaud and admire you for getting the help you need. I wish more would face the truth and get the necessary help.

avatar Amber February 15, 2011, 11:51 am

Just because she doesn’t have a severe psycholigical issue that she needs help with, doesn’t mean she can’t benefit from therapy. Isn’t a large part of therapy talking about issues in your life, how you reacted to them, and how you can change your reactions in the future to benefit yourself and those around you? I think this LW fits that example perfectly. She obviously has something going on that she needs to talk about.

A breakup might not seem like something you would go to therapy for but I have known many people who have had to seek therapy to get over past relationships. Sometimes we just need someone to listen. And getting a friend to listen is very different from having an impartial counselor listen to you.

And either the LW was a) lying to her friends and telling them this boyfriend was real or b) telling them she was doing this to get back at him. If a friend came to me and told me she was going to do this, I would tell her how bad of an idea it was and maybe they did. But, obviously just talking to them was not enough.

avatar WatersEdge February 15, 2011, 11:56 am

I think her age plays into it for me. This seems like something that a 16 year old would do. I expect more emotional maturity and perspective from a 39-year-old… actually, even from a 25 or 30-year-old. The fact that this was how she coped, when she should have learned a better way to cope by now, is my real issue.

avatar MissDre February 15, 2011, 12:08 pm

I definitely agree with you there… by 39 she should have learned to cope with a breakup with more maturity. Not to say it should hurt any less… of course it hurts. But you’re right, she should have learned a better way to cope by now.

avatar cmarie February 15, 2011, 1:06 pm

I can make a fake FB profile in 5 minutes and by the end of the day have plenty of friends to make it believable. And I’m not saying therapy wouldn’t help, I’m just saying that shouldn’t be the only reason. I’m still in therapy, I’m on antidepressants and anti-anxiety meds. I was in an abusive relationship, fell into a deep depression and started having daily anxiety attacks. Trust me when I say I know the benefits of mental health professionals. All I’m saying is don’t be too hasty to jump onto the therapy bandwagon. At her age it does seem to be a little extreme but that behavior alone isn’t enough for me to say therapy. Maybe there’s more to the story that would justify that advice but I don’t have that information. It’s also wrong to assume that her friends knew anything. She didn’t say whether or not she told them about what was really going on. Most of my friends had no idea about how bad it was with me until I came home. American love to extol the benefits of therapy but still tend to stigmatize real mental disease. Talking to a therapist about how awful your job is, is not the same as seeing a psychiatrist because you’re thinking of suicide. Therapy can do amazing things and yes, everybody can benefit, I just disagree that her behavior on this issue alone should warrant her seeing someone. Although I do agree that it’s a very immature behavior for a woman her age but on the flip-side you wouldn’t tell a grown man who loved video games to see a therapist. It’s not the same thing I agree but it speaks to the same immaturity. For me this is a lesson learned, won’t do that again mistake.

avatar Krissy February 15, 2011, 1:37 pm

I completely agree with you about the therapy thing. While many people would benefit from therapy to address issues that they have in their lives, this doesn’t seem like something that would prompt therapy to me. I spent a long time working with therapists, psychiatrists and children with emotional problems on state welfare. Those children needed therapy, they were dealing with serious issues and big life transitions. Being a little impulsive with a fake facebook profile doesn’t scream, get help now to me. She clearly realizes it was silly and wrong and now regrets it. She has identified that what she did was childish. She is self aware, I doubt she’ll be making the same mistake again, so unless she develops some type of anxiety or depression from this, there is really no need. I think we have started replacing good relationships with family and friends with the need for professional help, when in fact many of us will cope just fine with a little support from our friends. In the mental health field, a big part of therapy is just teaching people to find natural support on not rely on professionals to meet your emotional needs. (I am by no means saying that if you feel that you have a mental health problem and could benefit from therapy to not go, just that not every silly thing that we do in life requires the help of a professional)

avatar Amber February 15, 2011, 1:43 pm

While it’s true her friend might not have known I was commenting more on that because you had said maybe a good chat with friends would help. Maybe so, but what if she did and we don’t know and it didn’t help.

You’re not the only one who has dealt with mental issues in the past and despite having gone and known people to go to therapy for far worse issues than dealing with breakups, I think therapy can still be warranted for issues we may think are not important enough.

And for some people having someone to talk to about how stressful their job is may help them from slipping in to a depression. Life events affect everyone differently and sometimes we all need to talk to someone, other than a friend, who is impartial.

And I still believe creating a fake fb page to get back at someone at age 39 perhaps hints at deeper issues within you. Maybe you could just talk to a friend and take some time to figure out your issues on your own. But, I don’t think anyone should feel like a breakup, a bad situation at work, or anything else that’s creating a huge impact in their life isn’t important enough to go to therapy.

avatar cmarie February 15, 2011, 1:55 pm

Not trolling, I swear, just bored at work. I just wanted to clarify that I wasn’t putting anybody down for going into therapy no matter what the reason. All I’m trying to say is that therapy is a very personal decision that in order of it to be effective it needs to happen because the indivdual believes it could help. This isn’t a psychotic disorder where putting the patient on drugs is going to to help, it’s a person issue that the individual has to work on. Therapy isn’t just about medication that can produce immediate effects. In any therapy situation the patient has to want it to work. My opinion is just that this isn’t enough reason for me to go to therapy. If anyone feels overwhelmed, depressed, anxious, isolated, if anyone feels like there’s too much on their plate no matter what they’re going through then I would encourage them to seek help. Repeat: if you feel like you need therapy, that you can’t deal with experience on your own or with friends and family, don’t hesitate to get help. There is no wrong or dumb reason see a professional if you need it or want it. I agree that it’s very easy for a stressful situation to spiral into depression but like Krissy said above, it seems like she knows what she did was wrong and a little crazy and it’s something she’s going to learn from. Aside from feeling guilty for the lie and probaby a little silly for how far she went, she doesn’t seem to be ready for therapy. Like I said before though, we don’t know the whole story, we don’t know how she is now or was before or really anything about her. My opinion is based just on what she said.

avatar MissDre February 15, 2011, 2:12 pm

cmarie, I agree with you 100% that this instance alone does not warrant immediate therapy. I think others are wondering if there are deeper issues at play here. But you’re right, we don’t have any background information, nor are we doctors (at least I’m not!), so we can’t jump to the conclusion that she needs professional help.

Therapy is an amazing way to get perspective on your life. But like you said, the patient has to want it to work.

avatar cmarie February 15, 2011, 6:12 pm

I am! Okay, I’m not. But I do have a degree in Psychology! I wonder how much Wendy edits out sometimes. Not that I think she’s doing a bad job, I’m just curious/nosy like that…

Dear Wendy Wendy February 15, 2011, 6:44 pm

I do edit, but unless a letter is very long, I don’t edit TOO much. I only edit for brevity and clarity and always leave the gist of the letter as intended. Out of the hundreds and hundreds of letters I’ve published, I’ve only had two or three people tell me they were upset with the way their letters were edited (one was in the last couple of weeks, actually, and I think the LW was really more upset with the feedback s/he got than anything). If anyone has specific questions about why or how I edit letters, I’m more than happy to address those questions. I’ve certainly got nothing to hide and I’m not trying to misrepresent anyone!

avatar cmarie February 15, 2011, 7:02 pm

No accusations or judgments, I swear! I’m just curious about the process of being and advice columnist. A friend tried it out in college and she ended up quitting because it was too overwhelming. That was on a small college campus so I can’t imagine the volumn of mail you must get. I love your column and love your answers because they’re always thoughful and I just wonder how you must do it. How do you go about picking which ones to answer and how to answer and which ones get published? How do you deal with people who react negatively to the answers you’ve given? Do you try to follow-up on letters? See, just really nosy :D

Dear Wendy Wendy February 15, 2011, 7:45 pm

Great questions. And I bet other people are interested in these questions, too, so I’ll write up a little post in the next week or so and answer them. If anyone has any other questions to add, let me know. And, yes, it is a very overwhelming job. But I love it.

avatar jena February 17, 2011, 10:59 am

There’s something to be said for the (lack of) maturity of a 39 year old woman who spent as much time as she did to create a fake facebook persona in order to make an ex jealous.

sobriquet sobriquet February 15, 2011, 11:30 am

Block your exes from all social networking sites until you’re truly over the relationship! I’ve learned this the hard way too many times. I know that we all want to get revenge by showing our ex that we’re having tons of fun without them, and what better way than posting pictures and dishonest status updates? But it’s not worth it. It makes it 10x harder to get over them when you can see what they’re up to, or see them on g-chat, but know that you can’t contact them.

Unblock them in the future when you can honestly show them that you’re just fine and probably a lot happier without them.

avatar MissDre February 15, 2011, 11:48 am

I don’t think this lady needs therapy just because of this incident. She was hurt, and like cmarie said, every girl has tried to make an ex jealous. She just needs to MOA and find other interests that fulfill her.

A few years ago, a girl I had never met created a fake facebook profile, including fake photos and adding fake friends and posting messages back and forth between walls so that it would look like a real person. She then added me, saying she was new in town and noticed we had some interests in common, then told me that we had some acquaintances in common, and then after a few days of nonchalant messaging she proceeded to try and convince me that my bf at the time was cheating on me.

Turns out this girl knew my bf and hated him for “stealing” her best friend, and thought she’d get back at him by trying to break us up. Now THAT is somebody who needs therapy.

avatar Mike February 15, 2011, 12:04 pm

I disagree with Wendy. It sounds to me like Regretting got dumped by someone who was either cheating or carrying on some sort of inappropriate flirting. She asked a very reasonable question at a stage when trust needs to be built. So rather than be honest with her or stop whatever he was doing he goes all passive-aggressive and says “maybe we should just be friends?” Although she wanted to hurt him, I think what she really wanted was to re-coup her self-esteem.

And what does it say for the boyfriend to get all reactive when she changes her relationship status? Sounds like he’s hurt and wants to hurt back. But the thing is, he’s into controlling behavior – he wanted the relationship on his terms or else, and wanted to see his ex-girlfriend not be in a relationship. What right does he have to even say such a thing? They aren’t together, so she has no obligation to not post about her life (real or fake) on Facebook. I hope she told the little wuss to get stuffed.

Dear Wendy Wendy February 15, 2011, 12:08 pm

So, which part of my advice do you disagree with? The part about not telling the ex what she did or the part about not beating herself about it or the part about getting therapy?

avatar Mike February 15, 2011, 5:38 pm

Fair point, I disagree with needing therapy without more info. Therapy has its pluses, but IMHO I don’t see it as that great for addressing a single incident. Lots of work to find the right provider, lots of history to share before you even get around to the core issue. It would be different if there was a pattern of stuff like this (from her or her exes) or if she already had a therapist. Then it would probably shed light on stuff she was already working on.

I do agree with your other two points.

avatar cdj0815 February 15, 2011, 12:43 pm

A lot of you keep mentioning age. Depending upon the emotional state a person is in, no one and I mean no one could say what they would or would not do. Be very careful about judging ones action even if you have been in the situations before. No two situations are hardly ever the same.

I have seen and heard much worse. One of my friends started cyberstalking a guy she slept with only twice and it was suppose to be a sex only relationship. She got passed it without a therapist, most of us do. But I respect anyone who chooses the therapist or not. I have talked some people who have said therapy did not do a damn thing for them. Probably depend on the person or the therapist. Go figure.

Trust me, the longer you live the less you will understand people motives, and sometimes, including your own. We all are continuing to grow.

avatar cdj0815 February 15, 2011, 1:12 pm

Prime example: Lisa Nowak, the lady astronaut, a husband and three kids who wore a diaper while driving from Texas to Florida to harm or kill her boyfriend’s new lover. Man, even typing this blows my mind. No one really knows what they are capable of doing until a situation arises.

avatar llclarityll February 15, 2011, 1:17 pm

Sometimes, I don’t know how Wendy restrains herself when she gets letters like this. My first impression was, it’s always the people who insist they aren’t coo-coo that really are.

avatar AKchic February 15, 2011, 1:25 pm

Wow. I would hate to see what would have happened had this been a long term relationship or a divorce.
It was 3 months. You overreacted. Big time. At your age, you shouldn’t be making up fake boyfriends like a jr. high drama queen. Keep that up and you will be the 50 year old receptionist who sends herself chocolates and flowers from her “fiance” who is in the Peace Corp in South America that nobody has ever met every Valentine’s Day.

Time to whip out the phone book and look into some counseling for your obvious attachment issues. Don’t communicate with this guy anymore. Doing so could make this guy look into getting a restraining order.

bittergaymark bitter gay mark February 15, 2011, 3:54 pm

It alarms me that so many disagree with what you say here….

bittergaymark bitter gay mark February 15, 2011, 3:35 pm

Has anybody thought about how hilariously obvious this all must have been to the guy? I mean think about it… The New Boyfriend probably had life four or five friends, tops… OF COURSE the Ex saw through the ruse. That’s what his message REALLY meant. It was code for “Damn. Thanks for the heads up that You Are Batshit Crazy…”

Talk about pathetic. Actually, this sounds like the plot of a really bad romantic comedy… (Picture… J. Lo cast opposite Justin Long) Only there of course, the ruse would work…or else the fake boyfriend would magically turn out to somehow be real a la Remington Steele and love would conquer all.

avatar spaceboy761 February 15, 2011, 5:01 pm

I can’t decide which is funnier:

A) Woman trying to pass off fake boyfriend with like 4 or 5 fake friend accounts
B) Woman actually putting in the effort to create like 150 fake friends to actually make this look legit.

bittergaymark bitter gay mark February 15, 2011, 5:23 pm

You second idea truly IS crazy…. so definitely, the most funny. :)

avatar sarolabelle February 15, 2011, 5:56 pm

J. Lo and Justin Long? ew!

bittergaymark bitter gay mark February 15, 2011, 5:58 pm

I said it would be a REALLLLLLLLLLY bad movie. ;)

avatar Isabel February 15, 2011, 3:50 pm

Sadly, this is not the first case I’ve heard. A classmate of mine kept talking about a boyfriend who will take her to England and marry her. Never happened because the guy didn’t exist, even though he had, of course, a facebook account. And I’ve heard of girls that’ d sent themselves flowers pretending someone else did.

I don’t want to be harsh, but I think LW already embarrased herself enough to keep going on the issue and admit what she has done. Is good enough she knows she’s been inmature. That’s a start. Just keep it like that and move on.

Public Pearl Public Pearl February 15, 2011, 3:59 pm

I don’t use Facebook, but I do read a lot of advice columns online (it’s my guilty pleasure!), and I swear, half the letters I see are some variation of “I did something stupid on Facebook”. What is it about Facebook that makes people lose their damn minds? Turn off the computer, turn off the cell phone, go outside and get some fresh air until whatever stupid impulse passes.

avatar Bob June 17, 2011, 8:06 pm

Hi I think that was soo devious I likey

avatar Kelly January 11, 2013, 10:51 am

In order to create a fake profile you probably have to use a stranger’s photo from the internet and that is simply not cool. If I found out that someone used my photo falsely I would want to sue them. It’s immature and inconsiderate to do that.

avatar Graham McKain June 25, 2014, 10:04 pm

I can’t believe you guys are telling this poor lady to get therapy. She just feels bad that she was cheated on…is that so crazy? Maybe she really liked the guy and hadn’t dated anyone in a long time so she staked a lot of emotional dependency hoping the relationship would work out and she got rejected regardless of her efforts. I’m glad she made a fake profile because now she doesn’t have to deal with this sly cheater. I think the fake profile has benefited her immensely by driving him away. But I do agree, don’t tell him. Don’t waste your breath because he’s not worth it.

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