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Scam Love

Synopsis: This mini-love-lesson begins by talking about vulnerability to scam love; how it is different from Spouse Acquirement Syndrome; and ends with ideas about how you can protect yourself from scam love; more.


“I was incredibly hungry to feel loved, valued, wanted and not alone in a relationship.  That hunger blinded me to all the warning signs I should have paid attention to.  Consequently, I easily got seduced into thinking I had a new, real love.  Then I got conned out of a ton of money and in return all I got was broken hearted and ashamed of what a fool I was!”

Could that be you?  Unfortunately it is the sentiment of a great many people who have been scammed into thinking and feeling they were being loved, when actually they were being conned, used and manipulated by those who use affectionate, romantic, erotic and other love connected behaviors to fool you and harm you for their own personal gain.

Scam love occurs for a variety of reasons besides money.  Almost everyone is familiar with the people who say “I love you” to help others convince themselves it is okay to have sex with them.  To give themselves permission to have sex with someone, a lot of people ‘scam themselves’ temporarily thinking they love and are loved when at a deeper level they know better.  Sometimes the reasons are not entirely selfish.  Listen to Eric who said, “I just had to have a mother for my infant son.  My wife had abandoned both of us and there wasn’t any way I could make my life work trying to raise him by myself.  So, I convinced the first acceptable girl that came along that I really loved her so she would marry me and pick up where my former wife left off.  That worked for a while but now I’m trapped in this marriage I don’t want and I’m having affairs I don’t really want either.”

Then there’s Pauline who commented, “My family would have disowned me if I hadn’t hooked up with a guy.  They were on the verge of deciding I was a lesbian, which I am, so I did what it took to convince a guy I was in love with him.  I know it was wrong and when he finds out it’s going to break his heart.  He’s such a nice guy but I have to hold onto him until my sick and fragile father passes away.  So, I guess I’m going to be living this lie a while longer because it would destroy my ailing father to know I can only fall in love with girls.  If I hurt my father, at the last of his life, my family will hate me forever”.

Many a child molester has scammed many a child or adolescent into being convinced the child molester really loved them.  Sometimes the child molester convinces the child or adolescent’s parents that they have a pure, filial love for their targeted youth.  Sometimes children and other youth are love-scammed as part of a larger scam directed at gaining status, security, wealth, etc. from the parents of the love-scammed youth.

Some people do scam-love to attain status, social position and more luxurious living. Some people do scam-love to attain stability, safety and security.  Some people do scam-love because they don’t believe in real love or its value but also see the advantages it might bring.  Some people do scam-love to escape misery, abuse, poverty and sometimes just a boring, ordinary life.  Others do scam love in order to attain power and various other advantages over others.  Cults do scam-love to obtain control over members.

Scam-Love Explained

Scam-love occurs when a person sets out to purposefully deceive another into thinking that they are loved by the scammer.  It usually involves deceitful manipulation of the target person into believing that they love the scammer also.  Once this is achieved the scammer then sets out to obtain some hidden agenda goal from the target person.  Often this ends up being very harmful to the targeted person.

Here are two brief examples.  Jessica said she followed her mother’s training and examples by marrying the richest man she could find, artificially giving him everything he wanted in a woman and then divorcing him for a considerable amount of money, and then going on to an even richer man to do the same thing.  Bernard targeted Beatrice because she came from a high status, old money family and he was from a low, blue-collar background; Bernard very much wanted entry into the elite and exclusive levels of society.  As soon as he was established there by way of his wife, Beatrice, and her family he took a mistress and later divorced Beatrice.

An All Ages Phenomenon

It isn’t just the young and immature who get love-scammed.  Older people are a particular target of love-scammers.  They know that retired people who have lost their spouse are often particularly easy targets for love-scam manipulation.  Some older, retired couples also are easily conned into thinking they had just made a new loving, and ever so helpful friend who just happens later to suddenly and desperately need a bunch of money quickly.  AARP, the American Association of Retired Persons, has a fraud fighter hotline (800-646-2283) which provides counseling, education and victim advocacy for cases of their members who have been love-scammed and for other more senior citizens.

Love-Scams and Spouse Acquirement Syndrome

Romantic love-scams are similar to the false love pattern called Spouse Acquirement Syndrome, but are also different in some ways.  (See the mini-love-lesson, Spouse Acquirement Syndrome, at this site)  Usually in an acquirement syndrome a person either unconsciously or semiconsciously talks themselves into believing they really are in love with who they are marrying.  Sometimes they see this as the way marriage is done, by deceptive acquirement rather than truthful love.  In that case they may have been culturally programmed for this acquirement behavior.  In the scam-love situation there is premeditated, purposeful and planned, selfish deception with a hidden agenda and goal.  The love scammer is fully aware they do not love the person they are scamming.  Their actions demonstrating love are all false and manipulative and will cease once their hidden agenda goal is attained.

How Can You Protect Yourself?

To protect yourself ask yourself these questions.  What do you have that someone might want other than love?  How are you useful to someone who is supposedly professing love for you?  Does it seem like you are being rushed toward a committed relationship or anything else by a person who supposedly is a love source?  What do you really know about this person and their previous love involvements that didn’t come from them?  Do you know others that can tell you things about this person?  Are you going to be patient enough in this relationship to be sure that things really are as they seem?  Are you finding that some of the things your supposed lover tells you do not seem to quite be true?  Are you prone to be a rescuer, helper, fixer, etc. in relationships?

If you are getting answers you don’t really like it doesn’t mean that you’re being scammed but it does mean you might be.  Take more time, look deeper, don’t be afraid ask probing questions, and check up on answers you get.  Remember, protecting yourself is part of good, healthy self-love.

As always – Go and Grow with Love

Dr. J. Richard Cookerly

Love Success Question
How questioning and honest are you with yourself about what’s really going on when you are in a romantic love situation?

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