Susan Isabella Sheehan

SANTA CLARA, United States

I am a self-taught and universally inspired artist. My writings, art, and photography reflect life and love, even the disappointments and...

Online Predators

I have had a presence on the Internet for several years. In that period of time, I have had more good experiences than negative. However, I recently found myself the prey of a fellow artist whom I had previously admired.

On a mutual website, I noticed he was online. I sent him an instant message saying hello to him. We chatted for a while, and then he declared his love for me, that he had always loved me. Living the life of a single woman, I was taken in by this. Loneliness can do strange things to one, and I allowed myself to become enchanted by his talk of love.

For days, the conversations continued. We spoke on the phone several times. I was uncomfortable for the most part, as his approach in the conversations was quite sexual. He requested that I send him intimate photographs of myself over the Internet, which I refused to do. He asked me to travel to where he was, over eight thousand miles from where I lived. I considered it.

A few days into this online relationship, I received an email from another woman, an artist whom I was familiar with from some of the sites I am a member of. She was inquiring how I knew this man. I told her, and asked her about herself and this person. Her reply to me was that she had ‘known’ him for over three years, that they were romantically involved, and that they planned to marry soon. She has never met him in person.

I of course immediately questioned the man about this. He told me that he had no idea what she was talking about, that they were just friends, and that they planned to launch an art business together some day in the future. His defense seemed plausible, yet somehow it felt as if something was lacking.

My questions were too much for this man. Our online relationship ended abruptly, as quickly as it had started. The reason he gave was religious incompatibility. I felt crushed, but not as crushed as I would have had this continued further.

I sent a mail to the woman, warning her. She asked me what proof I had, so I forwarded several emails that I had received from him. In addition to the emails, I had saved three very intimate Instant Messages from two different sites that I had exchanged with this man. I did not send these to her, wishing to spare her from further pain. However, I am glad that I have proof that he is a predator.

The moral of the story: Beware who you connect with on the Internet.

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