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The dark side of internet dating, and dating in general

By August 24, 2017December 8th, 2022One Comment

On 25th August 2017, YEI published an article titled “Stay Safe with Online Dating”.  We had a lot of reaction to this article – both positive and negative. 

One YEI reader, who we shall call “Kat” sent us a heartfelt request to publish the story of her sister’s experience in online dating, and dating in general.  Kat want to share this story with YEI members, because she wants you to know what her sister went through, and what her family had to endure.  She makes a plea for you to follow the suggested “rules” when it comes to online dating and scammers.  “Please listen to your family and friends – they do not want to stop you seeing people, they are only looking out for you, and want you to be safe”. 

A very much edited version of Kat’s story follows.  Please note that this story does reflect the dark side of internet dating, and dating in general.

My sister, Maggie, and I were very close, or so I thought.  She was one year and 3 days older than me. Her husband and soul mate died 10 years ago.  Initially, she managed well, but said she was lonely as the time passed.   We didn’t know any single older men, unfortunately… so she registered in Cape Town (don’t know what agency) in January 2014.  I think she paid about R4000 for entry to the web site!  Money she could not afford at that time.   

At age 60, Maggie had to go to work.   She took a job as a matric English teacher at a local school.  However, she disliked the way that the children would talk to the teachers, and finally left the school to start her own little business, ‘editing’ university and other documents.   She would come to us for lunch once a week.  Maggie was a beautiful woman – she looked after herself and always looked soooo good!

Maggie met someone online through the dating site.  She started speaking to him on the phone.  He sent her a photo – I thought that he looked ‘too pretty’ to be real!  After 3 months of talking to him on the phone she booked a ticket to Cape Town to surprise him!  She phoned and told him she was coming to meet him, and immediately he said “My daughter died in the UK, I have to fly out immediately”.   Some days later, when I found out about this, I told her that there was something  wrong with this guy.  She changed the air ticket date.  Finally 3 months later, she told him NOT to contact her any more – this, after he had borrowed quite a bit of money from her. 

Maggie went on to meet someone else on the dating site.  He said he had his own business in Pretoria.  It turned out that the scenario was similar to the first.  Maggie landed up giving him money because he said he was in financial difficulties.  That was the last she heard from him!

Maggie met a third chap – someone she had done editing work for.  They got talking, and it appears that she told him about being on her own.  I was concerned about this chap – I had a niggly feeling about him.  When I advised her to be careful, she said “I am old enough to look after myself and may my own decisions.  I will do whatever I want”.  That was the end of the conversation.  It turns out that she gave up everything for him.  She flew to Cape Town to meet him, and just two weeks later, told us that she was driving to Cape Town to bring him up to Johannesburg.  Our family was flabbergasted and suggested that she give it time to get to know him better.  It turned out that he had nothing – no work, no money.  Over the next four weeks, Maggie became very quiet.  She would answer questions with monosyllables.  We asked her what was wrong, and “nothing” was the answer.  We had been told that Maggie was scared that he would leave, her, so she was staying quiet.

Maggie started to pack up her house, but he told her he would not live in her ex husbands shadow, so everything they had bought together, MUST be given away.

They moved into a smaller, rented apartment.  Terrible things happened in rapid succession.  Email communication was sent to family members, trying to alienate the family from Maggie.  I tried to communicate with my sister, but I got no response.  This was not the sister I knew.  We went through a most disturbing time when my sister would say absolutely nothing. 

My sister married Graham in March 2016.  Our family knew nothing of the marriage until it was published on Facebook.  He had cut the ties with all of us in an attempt to get her to depend on him alone.

The last time I spoke to my sister was on the morning of Friday 28 April 2017.  I told her I would phone again at the weekend.  Despite numerous phone calls to landline and cell phone, what’s apps, text messages, emails – I just could not get hold of my sister.  Eventually on Wednesday 3 May, we found out that Maggie was dead.  She had been dead for days.  We drove through to Belfast on Friday 6th May to be told that Graham had died before we arrived.  It was all a complete nightmare.

We assume that Maggie was in a deeply depressed state.    We did find out that Maggie had written to his sisters telling them that she had given him an ultimatum.  One of the sisters responded, but this email was not opened in Maggie’s email program. 

We found evidence on her phone and computer that she had bruises all over her body, burn marks on her body and marks on her neck where Graham had tried to strangle her. 

Maggie’s death certificate states “suspicious circumstances”.  His death certificate said that he had ingested a poisonous substance.  We believe that this psychopath and narcissist poisoned her on Friday 28 April.  And then poisoned himself. 

We also subsequently found out that he had sent her an email saying that he had married her for her money, not for love.  Her bank account had been cleaned out.  Her purse was empty.  All of her private papers, birth certificate, and bank statements were missing.  We also eventually found out this this man had a police record – he had spent six years in jail for credit card fraud. 

Maggie had endured a life of hell, and we knew nothing.

Note from YEI

As mentioned above, Kat wants to share this story with YEI members, because she wants you to know what her sister went through, and what her family had to endure.  She makes a plea for you to follow the suggested “rules” when it comes to online dating and scammers.  “Please listen to your family and friends – they do not want to stop you seeing people, they are only looking out for you, and want you to be safe”. 

We send our deepest  condolences to you, Kat, and to your family.  You have been through such an ordeal.  We will keep you all in our thoughts and prayers.

To YEI members

We reiterate that there are pros and cons to online dating, and we strongly recommend that you refer to the Online Dating Protector when it comes to using an online dating siteThe Online Dating Protector was created with you in mind. It is dedicated to making you aware and protecting you from the dangers of online dating scams, and includes the following topics:

  • What is a scammer?
  • Who are the Moderation Team and what do they do?
  • How do you report a suspicious profile?
  • How to spot a scammer

However, the internet can be a great place to meet new friends and companions.  Just follow the basic safety rules and be aware of the risks that can happen. 

Further articles on this topic on the YEI website:


The protocol of internet dating – click here

Internet dating – a playground for boomers, seniors and retirees – click here

Never too old for romance – click here

Stay safe with online dating  – click here



One Comment

  • Johan Smuts says:

    Marilyn I would like to copy this story to our blog with your permission and with full acknowledgement as well.. We can never stop warning seniors but the problem is that when they are desperately lonely like Maggie obviously was, they shun the good advice of their friends and families. If there were not a 100 happy stories to every sad one, we would leave the industry and we can not over emphasise the importance of the moderator ans staying in contact with the family. Regards

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