“I Spent 70 Thousand Dollars on Him and All I Got Was an Invite to Join a Prostitution Ring”


My husband died five years ago, and for the last two years I have been in a long-distance relationship with a man I met on a casino trip (he was the cook). I’m Canadian and he’s an American, and, since he doesn’t have a passport, I travel once a month to see him. I have given him money when he lost his job, bought him a trailer to live in when he got evicted, and bought him a concession trailer so he could be his own boss. In all, I helped him to the tune of $70,000.

During the course of our two-year relationship, I found out he had a girl who was sending him pictures of herself (to which he responded that she was beautiful). Then I found out that he was conversing with another girl whom he used to work with. (I’ve seen the phone calls from her number to his and vice versa.) He’s been on chat lines and has sent out pictures of himself. One of the women blackmailed him into paying her or she said she would make his life miserable. She harassed me and even tried to proposition me into meeting her and joining her prostitution ring. This went on for several months until I threatened to involve the police. Now these women rear their ugly heads every once in a while but not as often.

I thought he had learned his lesson about chat lines, but once again I found out he’s been active on other chat lines. He is also on porno sites. I confronted him and he says he gets bored and gets carried away. I feel betrayed, hurt, and angry, and I’m beginning to doubt myself as a woman.

He spent seventeen years in prison and has only been out three years, so I was understanding as to how all this was new for him and he needed his freedom to do these things, but after two years I cannot accept this behavior anymore. I do love him and he tells me every day when he texts that he loves me, too, but I don’t feel comfortable in this relationship any longer; I feel betrayed!! How do I get over these negative feelings I have? — This Tune Cost 70K

You must know on some level that this man isn’t in love with you, has never been in love with you, and has been using you for your money (of which I hope there is plenty and that you haven’t gone into debt or blown through your life savings subsidizing him). You’ve done so much for him and what has he done for you? He hasn’t even bothered to get a passport, which takes maybe an hour of active time and, like, sixty bucks, so he can come see you.

I imagine you must be lonely. And he has preyed on your loneliness. A lonely widow on a cruise who might have a little money and maybe a generous spirit? Jackpot! He’s been taking advantage of you for two years and you’ve allowed it because the attention and his occasional companionship gave you something to look forward to. Maybe you liked feeling needed.

I’m so sorry you feel betrayed and hurt and angry and that you’re doubting yourself as a woman. The only thing you should be doubting, though, is your judgment of character. This man gave you plenty of signs that his feelings for you weren’t worthy of the time and attention and financial support you devoted to him. If you have any money left, I urge you to spend some of it on a good therapist to explore your feelings of loneliness and inadequacy. (YOU are enough. You don’t need to spend money on someone to be loved. You alone are enough.) A therapist should also be able to help you be a better judge of character moving forward.

Not all men are like this guy who took advantage of you and pulled you into a ring of drama. There are very good, solid men out there. Maybe your late husband was one of them. You can find another. And you can also be happy on your own without a romantic relationship. Fostering friendships, developing hobbies, and giving to your community are wonderful ways to feel connected to a world outside yourself — a world that’s far better than the one you’ve been inhabiting with this loser of a man who took much more from you than he ever gave back. In the future, if the balance between giving and receiving is that much off-kilter, see that as a red flag and MOA.


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


  1. WTF indeed!?! Great advice Wendy!

  2. If you don’t feel comfortable in the relationship, it’s a sign to move on. What Wendy said.

  3. Avatar photo Skyblossom says:

    Your negative feelings are accurate. You’ve been used. The way to get over them is to dump him and then refuse to have anything at all to do with him. If either of the trailers are owned by you, or in your name, then sell them to get some of your money back. You are his gravy train but you don’t have to be.

  4. Oh, no, no, no. I’d also bet good money that he has more than one girlfriend, there’s a lot of opportunity to meet wealthy, lonely ladies on cruises. Since the LW only sees him once a month, he’s got plenty of time to keep up with his other ladies.

    LW, why would you ‘doubt yourself as a woman’? You went into this with a good heart, wanting to help someone you cared for. The fact that he’s taken advantage of you and, essentially, scammed you out of $70K is a reflection on his character, not yours.

    It’s not real. It wasn’t ever real. Just because people say “I love you”, even if they say it every day, they don’t necessarily mean it. His actions show his real feelings.

  5. Just stop all contact with this guy and his other women. Don’t doubt yourself as a woman, but do seriously doubt your ability to fix unemployed felons. He isn’t really unemployed, he’s a grifter — you and his other women were his business. It certainly paid better than minimum wage.

    Find a guy who doesn’t need fixing. You’re a mortal woman, not a guardian angel. Give up chasing the ‘bad boys’.

  6. Sweet Holy Trainwreck, Batman! LW, why on earth would you give $70K to this guy? I feel some sympathy for you and yet also some anger. To have the means that you have and not have enough wherewithal not to give it to some grifter… As to advice… you eat this one. You got owned. Wise up and don’t let it happen again. And don’t conclude that everyone is evil because you were duped. You won’t find the answer to your loneliness unless you make yourself somewhat vulnerable, but a true partner doesn’t need and wouldn’t accept your money.

  7. Out of curiosity, does Canada bar some criminals from getting passports? I know in the US, some convicted felons are not allowed to get a passport. Depending on what this guy served time in prison for, he may not legally be allowed to enter the US.

    Regardless of his passport status, LW, you need to stop trusting former convicts. Find a man in your area, who has his life together (i.e. job, fully self-supporting, etc) who is worthy of your love. Remember, it is not your job to fix others. Find someone who is happy and whole and will be an asset to your life, not someone who will drag you down.

    1. TheOtherOther Me says:

      He’s American, she’s Canadian.

      1. So he is – I apparently can’t read. But yes, it’s probably very likely he’s not allowed to leave the country, especially considering he was in jail for 17 years. I’m very curious what he did. Although I’m sure he’s convinced her he was innocent of all charges.

    2. The guy is an American and she is Canadian. I thought the same thing: maybe he just can’t get a passport because he’s a felon! In all cases, if the reason you’re boyfriend can’t visit you is because he’s a felon and can’t obtain a passport, maybe it’s time to reconsider the long-distance relationship…

      1. He might get entry to Canada denied due to a criminal record. Very good possibility.
        I suppose that also means that the end game would be for her to move to th e US since he likely would be denied resident status in Canada. Something to look into.
        That does look like it could make the relationship a dead end.

  8. Lord! You learned a lesson. An expensive one at that but learned none the less. Dont invest so much in a man whom you are not even married too and when a man shows you who he is believe him. More than likely he isnt going to change.

  9. dinoceros says:

    Oh my goodness. I don’t even know what to say. These weren’t just red flags. These were deafening and blinding red lights that set off fireworks. Never spend $70,000 one anyone ever. Don’t overlook red flags because the person was in prison. In fact, you should pay MORE attention to them. No one needs time to learn how to not do things that are blatantly illegal. I think you need to see a counselor. I’m not sure if you’ve always been like this, but if your spouse’s death sparked this sort of reckless behavior, it needs to be dealt with.

  10. Anonymous says:

    This guy spent 17 years in prison (I think we can rule out loitering), has only been out for 3 years and is involved in a prostitution ring (or with women who are)? And you’re shocked that he didn’t turn out to be a good guy? Seriously?

  11. Bittergaymark says:

    Hi! I am surely the dimmest lost soul to ever write to you… Ugh. Talk about desperate and pathetic… Lost Cause, Lady. You are a lost cause…

  12. How do you get over your negative feelings? By leaving the relationship. Sell whatever is in your name. Cut contact off completely. I get you were lonely after the death of your husband but a convicted felon who asks you for money to the tune of $70K is not the answer to your loneliness. I think you should speak to a therapist to find out why you were so gullible and what steps you can put in place next time to avoid this. Like perhaps no felons. Never, ever giving anyone money…ever. Making sure that both parties are putting in the same emotional/financial/romantic investment into the relationship. Maybe find someone local and have a normal relationship with dates and everyone supporting themselves. You aren’t the first widow to be taken in by a hustler and you won’t be the last. Just learn from this experience and make sure you do not repeat it. There is a entire international industry generating millions (billions?) of dollars annually solely devoted to online romantic fraud – that is all some guys do for a living – defraud multiple women out of their money by pretending to care for them – so be careful if you want to get back on the horse – make sure it’s actually a horse and not another jackass.

  13. Stillrunning says:

    You still love him? Honestly, what’s there to love?

    What others have said. You’re out $70k, don’t give him a penny more. Cut him off immediately; delete his number, don’t accept his calls, don’t follow him on FB or chat lines.

    You’re on your own. Figure out why you’re so willing to be used, because that’s what this is. It sure isn’t love.

  14. Avatar photo Skyblossom says:

    He was probably charming. The most charming person you ever met.
    Try reading “The Sociopath Next Door” by Martha Stout http://www.amazon.com/Sociopath-Next-Door-Takeaways-Analysis/dp/1519541813/ref=sr_1_3?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1449768115&sr=1-3&keywords=the+sociopath+next+door
    These guys, and women too, are incredibly good at what they do. There will be a reason he is slacking off and letting you see the real him. Maybe you’ve run through your available money or he has someone else lined up who has more money. He probably has what he thinks he can get from you and so he doesn’t care whether you are seeing him for what he is. Whether or not he is a full sociopath who knows but I think you will at least recognize some of the traits talked about in the book.

  15. Cersei Lannister says:

    LW, please visit http://www.lovefraud.com. This site is full of testimonials from people just like you who were fooled by con-men (or women) into parting with large sums of money by someone who claimed to love them.

    You are not the first person to be in this situation and there are resources out there to help you. Please use them!

  16. Avatar photo Cleopatra Jones says:

    Oy vey, this story kept getting worse!
    As for this guy being a felon…well, he did have 17 years in prison to perfect his con game. I’m not really surprised that he conned her out of 70K. Also, cruise ships are notorious for hiring criminals and con men to staff the ship.
    LW, I know that it’s going to be hard because he was probably the first ‘serious’ relationship that you’ve had since your husband died but he is NOT the one for you! There are plenty of guys out there who won’t look at you and see $, or ask you to join a prostitution ring. Move on, girl, Move on!!!

  17. Stillrunning says:

    Thanks, Cersei! I just spent an hour reading awful stories on lovefraud.
    I think sending people to lovefraud will be my stock answer to 90% of Wendy’s LW’s.

  18. canadiangirl says:

    Just wanted to add that because of his criminal conviction he would not be eligible for entry into Canada. For lesser charges he can fill out a special form and ask permission to enter Canada. However, if he has been in jail for 17 years his crime was of a serious enough nature and so he would not be able to enter Canada.

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