We have all been conned in love somewhere along the way – some significantly and others “just” emotionally. Regardless, it doesn’t feel good and if the con involved money and property, it can leave your life in shambles (not just your heart). From my own experience (and unfortunately to some friends of mine who had their own encounters with frauds and fiends) below are some thing to do to get over it and move on with your life.
- Remember who you are. Some say you are the sum of your experiences. This one experience, however, does not dictate who you are. It can be tempting to beat yourself up over being a willing – albeit blind — party to such a mess. But, it doesn’t mean you are a failure. Remind yourself of all the good in you. You’re going to need all the self-esteem and courage you can muster.
- If the con went beyond the emotional and involves the loss of money and property, file a police report. (Similarly, if you met this person on an online dating service, let them know what happpened, as well.) They might just be able to find him or her, or have a record of this person. And, it just could save the next victim. The police might not want to file a report. Do not accept answers such as “this will be impossible to prove” or “we will never catch him/her.” Rather, insist. At the same time, do your homework and check out the law in your state on fraud and shams. The more these crimes are reported, the harder it will be for the cons to get away with these things next time.
- Get support. Lean on friends and family to get the emotional support to deal with the wreckage left behind. Talk it out. Ask for help. You don’t need to recover alone. You may be embarrassed and ashamed. The people who love you will not judge you. Rather, if they are true friends, they will be angry and hurt with you.
- Use this an opportunity to detox your life. We all have people in our lives who aren’t the most supportive of people. They will reveal themselves right away once they learn of your misfortune. They might go so far as to ask you, “What were you thinking? How could you be so stupid?” Consider this a gift. They just showed you who they really are. And, you don’t need them. You’ll find out who your real friends are as you attempt to recover. Embrace them. Let go of the toxic people.
- But, do ask yourself how this could have happened. I know the “lawn mower of love” quite well. It mows those red flags right down. I’ve driven a few of them myself. Now is a time to look back and see where those clues and hints emerged that showed things were not really as they seemed. Identify them and use them as lessons to, next time, see people as they really are over their potential. Know that you will be the wiser when someone presents himself or herself as someone who is too good to be true or not quite telling the whole story.
- Make progress every day, no matter how small. Know that recovery will take some time. But, as long as you put one foot in front of the other and you can say today was a little bit better (even if just meant you got dressed), count that as a good day. Small wins add up to a larger victory – a life back on track, happy and healthy.