(Love fraud definition here by the one who coined the term.)
The following may have happened soon after February 7: I found my ex Peter, or “Red Dwarf,” on TCB. I sent him a cryptic e-mail one day, saying he could look in my registry and know who I was. I got no reply, so I thought he wanted nothing to do with me.
Then one night, he paged me on TCB with, “Hello Nyssa.” He knew who I was. He said he hadn’t answered, not because he didn’t want to, but because he wanted to catch me online and talk to me.
He said, “I never expected to see you on these BBS’s!” I told him about Dad’s old modem in Pearl’s computer.
That night we talked online for a long time, mostly about what happened between Phil and me. He heard we broke off the engagement, but didn’t know why. “What happened???” he wrote. He also told me he converted to Wicca/Paganism.
He got angry with Phil when I told him the things Phil did. At one point, I wrote, “Phil should go and be a monk, and spare all women.” He’d once wanted to be a priest, but I figured even a priest gives marital counseling to his parishioners, so a monk in some isolated monastery would do the least harm: safely locked away, sparing all women.
Peter made some shocked cyber-gesture and wrote, “I’m shocked that you would say–or rather, type–such things!”
Heck, I had written this and all sorts of other things in my diary on February 7, when I wrote that I no longer wanted Phil because he wasn’t worth it.
My mother also had never heard me talk about anyone the way I talked about Phil.
Peter talked about a girl he recently broken up with who was twenty(?) and acted fifteen(?). I wondered if it was the same one I met earlier that school year in the cafeteria, though I didn’t mention her. I couldn’t be sure, though; it could have been someone totally different.
Peter gently scolded me for using cold medicine and not herbs or other natural remedies. Which struck me as weird, because doesn’t everybody do that, and why would I do different?
He said that he went to see the O’Haras recently, and was treated like crap. So there was no love lost between him and Phil now, even though they once were good friends.
Soon after we started using TCB, and before February 8, Sharon went on one late afternoon before dinner and met someone who called himself Krafter, age 26. He chatted with Sharon for a while, then told her he was administration.
Sharon, apparently thinking that a member of Roanoke administration was hitting on her, said, “Oh, yuck!” As it turned out, he was a member of TCB administration, or one of the co-sysops, so there was nothing icky about him hitting on her after all.
He spoke with Sharon often over the next few days, and seemed to have more than friendship in mind. One day, I talked to him as well, starting my own friendship with him. One night, I even chatted with him for hours–somewhere between three to six.
I may have run out of time on TCB, because he told me the name and number of his own BBS, Deltapolis, and we went over there to chat. We had many things in common and really hit it off (obviously, or we wouldn’t have chatted for so long). Now he seemed interested in both Sharon and me as more than just friends, but didn’t know which one he preferred.
He’d never dated before, so he couldn’t believe that two women were actually interested in him. He said he must be dreaming. My handle, Nyssa of Traken, also interested him because as a kid, he had a huge crush on my namesake, Nyssa on Doctor Who.
He also hated the Doctor’s other teenaged companion, Adric, with a passion because he was “in the way.” After that chat, he seemed more interested in me than in Sharon, which wasn’t my intention, though I was starting to fall for him, myself.
When Sharon discovered this, I couldn’t tell if she was mad or just faking, but part of it seemed real. She said, “I hate you,” and laughed. I didn’t think she meant it, though it made me uneasy. I didn’t mean to steal Krafter away from her.
I told her, thinking of my ill-fated meeting with the Vampire, “You might not even like him when we meet him. You don’t know.” I probably said we should wait until our meeting with him on the eighth to decide who should have him, if either of us.
We set up our meeting for 5:30pm in the Chase Center in the hall beside the plants, or the greenhouse which was on the main floor of Chase. Sharon had a class there at six.
His description: long leather coat, brown coat, red backpack, a (hooded) sweater/sweatshirt in many colors, blue jeans, and black tennis shoes. I think he was about six feet tall, and something over 200 pounds.
We ate our dinner in excitement. Randy joked about our meeting. When 5:30 neared, we rushed off to Chase. We sat in the hallway by the plants, wondering what we got ourselves into.
A scuzzy-looking guy in a leather jacket walked by. At first we feared it was him, but it wasn’t. We sighed with relief and waited some more.
Finally, Krafter arrived. He was cute with striking, slanted, dark eyes. He had short, brown hair, glasses, a shapely mouth, and a sweet, cute smile. I was attracted to him, but Sharon wasn’t.
She said none of this to him, of course. We went into a classroom, sat at the desks, and talked for maybe ten minutes or more. I was jealous because Sharon had more to say than I did, so the two of them talked mostly to each other. He smiled a lot.
When it was time to separate, Sharon said to me, “He’s so nice!” Whether either of us wanted to date him or not, we certainly wanted to see him again. And I was definitely interested in dating him.
I probably met Speaker online around this time, too. He was 20, which seemed young to me then, even though I was only 21. He had low self-esteem, refused to give his real name, and complained that he could never find a girl to love him. We chatted for hours; I seemed drawn to such guys. Phil had been similar. I didn’t mind trying to encourage them.
Speaker had spoken to many of the other girls on TCB, but I was the “only truly nice girl” or the “nicest girl” there. We became fast, online friends. He called me Nyssie, and I called him Speaker-y. I called myself his Nyssie.
Speaker and I got acquainted by doing the Budweiser frog thing to each other: One of us typed “Bud,” the other “Weis,” and the first typed “Er!” or “ER!” I didn’t know it then, but he hadn’t even seen the commercial.
(When I met him finally, he said that on the way over he saw a Budweiser frog billboard, and thought of me. Then I had to explain to him that I got the “Budweiser” thing from the frog commercial.)
Krafter wanted to meet us again. He said he and his friend Stimpy watched Mystery Science Theater:3000 and ate pizza every Saturday night. Though at first he wanted to just see us alone that Saturday, he said, “No, I can’t do that to Stimpy.”
Krafter knocked on the kitchen door on Saturday the 11th at around 5pm, holding a box of pizza. Somebody also provided Mountain Dew, since, as my roommates and I now discovered, caffeine-filled Divine Dew was the drink of choice for computer geeks.
I answered the door. Stimpy was nineteen, tall and skinny, with distinctive eyes. His handle came from Ren and Stimpy. His hair was long and light brown, and under a baseball cap–but facing front, not back, a good thing. I thought he was cute, and Sharon and Pearl thought he was hot. If Sharon wanted Krafter, I could take Stimpy.
We seemed less like two people meeting two other people, and more like two girls and two guys trying to get together and pair off. All we needed to know was who wanted to pair off with whom.
That night, I sat on the couch, Krafter in a chair to my left and Stimpy on the couch to my right. I wanted to choose one of them, but wasn’t sure which one I wanted most. At the time, I thought it was Krafter. I also flirted with Stimpy.
Sharon thought they were paying too much attention to me and not to her, so she finally went to bed. She didn’t understand that she was Krafter’s favorite, not me.
To me, TV wasn’t a conversation killer, but a social gatherer. By watching it and not each other, and filling up uncomfortable silences with it, you could feel more comfortable with people and begin to open up to them.
(Farwest Trivia, though it killed teleconference after its debut, was also this way, because you could comment on the questions if the conversation lagged.)
You could learn a lot about people just from their comments and laughter during TV shows.
Krafter was “in charge” of an imaginary corporation named Delta, made up of some TCB users (such as Ish Kabibble; more on him later). Its aim was to take over everything. This was all a joke, of course. He even gave us Delta business cards. The name of his BBS, Deltapolis, came from this.
Delta was housed in an imaginary pyramid, which, Krafter said, one day would “crush H–.” I asked why H– (the town in which my friend Mike grew up); he said it was arbitrary, picked for being tiny and close to S–.
I dropped a Mississippi Mud ice cream sandwich (chocolate ice cream and nuts) on Stimpy’s lap in a flirty fashion.
After the TV shows ended, Krafter and Stimpy sat on chairs by the kitchen counter. Krafter said,
“Stimpy and I can tell you about the users on TCB. We can tell you who’s nice, who you can trust, and who you should avoid.
“If you want to meet someone, do it in a public place with people around. If somebody doesn’t want to meet you, you should beware that they may not be as nice as they seem.
“Ish Kabibble is the one truly nice guy on TCB. Speaker is a problem, since he never wants to meet anyone, and keeps giving girls these sob stories to make them feel sorry for him.
“Red Dwarf is the worst! He pretends to be what a girl wants so she’ll date him. And he’s always borrowing programs from us for his BBS, which is really annoying.”
This revelation floored me. I smiled and said, “I used to date Red Dwarf when I was a freshman.”
Krafter and Stimpy looked at me like I’d been contaminated or there was something wrong with me.
I laughed and said, “He was a Christian back then.”
Of course, what they said about Red Dwarf, or Peter, made me wonder how much of our relationship had been real, and how much had been an elaborate lie so I’d date him. Was he like that back then, or was I not only his first girlfriend but the one who actually got to see the real him?
I had no way of knowing, especially since he changed completely after the breakup. That could indicate that he lied to me, except that back then everyone else saw him the same way I did: as a sweet, Christian person.
Of course, Shawn wondered all along if Peter truly changed after the breakup, or if he’d been that way all along. He said sophomore year, “Nobody changes that much.”
I didn’t believe Shawn back then, but now I didn’t know what to believe. I still don’t; it’s not the sort of thing you ask somebody, even when you’re friends again: “Were you just fooling me and manipulating me?”
Apparently he makes a girl think he’s just the guy she’s always wanted–then wonders why she’s so upset and can’t let go after he breaks up with her!
I saw Speaker online soon after that, and he began beating himself up again. Instead of reassuring him like usual, I got mad because he seemed to be manipulating me just as Krafter and Stimpy had warned me.
He then got mad at me for getting mad at him based on what other people said about him. We eventually made up; I decided to be his friend and make up my own mind about him.
When I returned from Christmas Break, I planned to go back home after I graduated, and be with the Vampire, my old friend Josh and my high school friend Becky. Now I couldn’t stand the thought of leaving all the wonderful people I was meeting on TCB. I decided to stay in S– with them and my roommies.
Table of Contents
December 1991: Ride the Greyhound
January 1992: Dealing with a Breakup with Probable NVLD
March 1992: Shawn: Just Friends or Dating?
April 1992: Pledging, Prayer Group–and Peter’s Smear Campaign
October 1992–Shawn’s Exasperating Ambivalence:
Summer 1993: Music, Storm and Prophetic Dreams
- Classmate a stand-in for “Rudy”; Jigging at College Dance
- Library Tales
- Happiness Returns
- Living with Friends in Krueger
- Funny Library Stories
- Shawn Calls
- Psycho Roommates and Bug Wars
- Return of Rick
- Adjusting to New Dorm
- Spitball-Throwing Teacher
- Rat-Obsessed Teacher and Doctor Zhivago
- A Teacher Dated a Student; InterVarsity Fun
- Charlie Peacock Concert
- Random Stories
- Letter to Shawn
- Erotic Vampire Dream (Inspiration for Alexander Boa)
- I Ask Out James
- Peter Calls!
- The Fateful First Meeting of Phil
- The Birth of Dolphin Philosophy
- Our Group of Friends Splits Apart
- Spring Classes
- Big Red Flag: Phil’s Dysfunctional Family Life
- The Drunken Stork (Phil’s Controlling Nature Manifests)
- Idealizing Phase and Early Sign of Control
- Phil Tries to Control my Friendships, Unfair Accusations from his Dad and Brother
- Phil Gaslights Me with Fake Dreams, Ridicule and Psychological Abuse
- Another Pre-Engagement
June 1994–Bits of Abuse Here and There:
- The Abuse Worsens in the Summer of Hell
- Phil rapes me anally
- Phil tries to control me through refusing everything I want–even proper hygiene
- Phil’s cruel hoax on me: his “subconscious” coming out to be with me
- Phil’s “subconscious” explains why he’s coming out to talk to me
- The lies unravel as Phil admits to conning me; also, fright as my periods turn wacky
- How Phil’s behavior fit the signs of abuse
- Phil Mindscrews Me: changes history, blames me for things that were not my fault, treats me like an idiot during games
- Phil says if he abuses me, it takes two people to sign the divorce papers
- Pearl reveals that Phil is costing me social invitations
- Hints that Phil is checking out of the marriage
September 1994–Divorce: The Long, Dark, Painful Tunnel:
- Phil picks fights and avoids responsibilities to make me feel like a shrew
- My husband Phil, Dave and Pearl call me a party pooper for getting a Grade II concussion
- I’m ecstatic to be back with my friends (the ones Phil hates); I meet Charles
- Phil vanishes without a word of why
- Phil wants a divorce
- My friends tells me that Phil is controlling and possessive
- My first Pentecostal church service: They speak in tongues
- Phil refuses to accept responsibility for the divorce
- Phil cuts off contact
- Attack of Phil’s Flying Monkey and Sycophant: Dirk
- Phil the narcissist admits to manipulating people and using them as pawns in his game with me
- Phil comes crawling back to me–and we put our marriage on paper
- Phil demands my complete submission and forces me into oral sex–and my will is broken, for fear he’ll divorce me again
- Phil walks away from me again–because I dare to have my own mind, opinions and needs–and because he’s a sociopath
- Fierce anger against Phil and PTSD from the abuse
- My friends tell me Phil is psychotic
- “Soul Ties”
- I return Phil’s things and he skewers me; consolation from friends
- My letter to Phil
- Phil shows my letter to his friends; I’m triggered by reminder of forced oral sex
- I start dating Charles
- Friends tell me Phil is controlling
- I feel stalked by Phil
- Poem about being stalked by Phil
- Fury at Phil stalking me and rubbing my face in his new relationship
- A Date with the Vampire
- Celtic Class: Knotwork, Tin Whistles, SCA–and Drinking from a Skull
- The Teddy-O Incident; Birth of These Memoirs
- We Hook Up to the Internet–and Shawn Fixates on My Sex Life
- New Guy Begging at My Feet
- Life on TCB
- Meeting Cugan (Hubby)
- Learning my ex Peter was a love-fraud; New Men
- Before Tracy, There Was the Avenger (Sociopathic Female Bullies Pt 1)
- Torn between three men as Catherine pushes me toward Cugan
- The Love Rectangle
- Torn between FIVE men! Me?
- Persephone’s Own Outrageous Stories of Phil’s Abuse
- College-style living
- Online Shenanigans
- Phil Finds TCB; Meeting a Hit Man
- Gypsy’s Party: Healed friendship with Peter
- The Avenger Starts a Flame War (Sociopathic Female Bullies Pt 2)
- Meeting the elusive Speaker
- First Date with Future Hubby Cugan
- On Breaking Up with Kindness
- Loony Roommies and Flying Gargoyles
- The Goddess of Pleasure and Salt
- A Conversation with Oscar Wilde
- My First SCA Event
- Cugan: a vast improvement over Phil
- Easter with Cugan’s family and SCA
- Cugan breaks up with me
- After breakup: Phil’s return and trolls
- Cugan comes back
- SCA hippies; college senioritis: anxiety!
- Or should I move back in with my parents?
- Peace with Phil
- Defending my Thesis; Graduating with Honors
- Graduation: Trapped at school
- Epilogue and Apology from Phil