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Beware of the Future Faker

Updated: Jul 28, 2023

Beware of the "Future Faker"

Written by Susan Shofer

Narcissistic Abuse Awareness and Guidance with Randi Fine

After being divorced from a two-decade long marriage, getting out into the dating world was a scary proposition for me. The choreography of dating changed dramatically since I met my husband many years before. In the “old days”, people met their spouses in high school, college, through friends, at various social events and even pubs/bars. Now dating moved from the neighborhood watering hole to the computer. Meeting someone face-to-face is secondary after swiping through a gallery of faces. This is how I met my "Future Faker".

Before I ventured into the new world of online dating, which was relatively a new concept and still had a stigma attached to it, I thoroughly researched what I was getting myself into. I became proficient at recognizing the disingenuous buzz phrases that serial daters used in their dating profiles to entice unsuspecting women, and rapidly swiped past the ones who were only playing the field. As a two-decade careered private investigator, I knew how to keep myself safe when meeting a stranger. My first rule of thumb was to always meet during daylight hours, at a crowded location, and to never let the date see my car.

I took the plunge and posted my profile on a popular dating site. It was not long before I knew why on-line dating had been given such a bad rap. Many men made overt sexual references, political slams or were flat out rude to me. The handful of faces who made it past my creep-o-meter landed a phone call or quick meet at a nearby coffee shop with me. Usually, the conversations were chocked full of complaints about their ex-wives. Several men told me how there were no good women left in the world, not recognizing that they were insulting me with that statement. Some were liars who said they were divorced on their profile, to shortly fess up that they were still married. There was one type of man I vowed to avoid like the plague and that was the middle-aged, never married guy.

Healthy men love the commitment they can establish with a partner and seek to find that person. According to the US Census Bureau, men remarry after a death of a spouse or divorce at a higher rate than do women. In my opinion, fifty-year-old-plus men who have never been married are not compatible with long-term healthy relationships. These guys are never married because they are commitment phobic, emotionally unavailable, liars, cheaters, attachment avoidant, Momma’s boys, players, or a combination of a few of these.

Right around the time that my three-month dating site membership was scheduled to expire, I received a “like” by a profiler whose prose was completely different from what I had read up until this point. The author was divorced and stated that he was, and I quote him, “looking for a long-term relationship that could lead to marriage”. Finally, I found a refreshing profile that did not include the love of reading books and long walks on the beach, which seemed to be the consistent theme amongst all the profiles I had read thus far. His photo gallery did not include a picture of himself holding up a fish. Guys, that may be impressive for your homies. Women don’t care if you can tackle tuna.

After a few emails exchanges between us, followed by a phone call, I agreed to meet “Mr. Looking for a Long-Term Relationship that Could Lead to Marriage.” Our first meeting was pleasant and we had a lot in common. Apparently he had been at the on-line dating game longer than I and said he found it difficult to find his forever woman. I could empathize with him since I had no luck thus far finding my forever man. He was very unassuming and genuine, so much so, that he seemed harmless. I thought I had met someone who was looking for exactly was I was looking for.

Unbeknownst to me, he had been an online serial dater who had mastered the art of the lure. The future faking began the moment we said hello.

Mr. Future Faker was several years older than me and into middle age. During our second date, he spoke briefly about his ex-wife and why their marriage ended. The reason was plausible. They married young, and she wanted to pursue a career as a ballerina. She moved to the other side of the country to hone her craft since Baltimore, where we lived, was not a ballet mecca. I did not question why he didn’t go with her. After all, who was I to judge him since I was also divorced?

Later into the relationship I learned that he was never married and therefore could not be

divorced. So why did he lie to me in the first place? Future fakers are master manipulators who craft the right things to say and do to get what they want. During this future faker’s online stalking dating years, he learned that a middle aged never-married man may be considered a risky proposition for a quality woman who wants a real lifetime mate. He wanted a girlfriend, and the only way he believed he could attract someone to commit to him was to mirror her sentiments, meaning speak her language. “Looking for a long-term relationship that could lead to marriage,” is not what he wanted. Rather he wanted to find someone who did.

Future Fakers are predators and always misrepresent their motives to trap their prey. Many of them are pathological liars. They lie without any reservation or hesitation. The paths they walk their victims down are paved with manipulations, lies and deceptions. Once you learn that your relationship is a scam, and has been from the get-go, you are usually into a deep emotional connection with them; at least on your end since they don’t emotionally connect with anyone. Shocked at what you are experiencing, you try to discern what is true and what is fake. In reality, the whole thing is fake.

Tragically, people involved with future fakers often rearrange their lives to adhere to the tenets of the relationship. Before victims know what has happened to them, they may have left their job to move to another city, state, or country to be with the future faker. Victims often sell their homes and leave behind family and friends because they have been promised marriage and/or the purchase of a home with the future faker. Future fakers will fritter away a woman’s valuable fertility years when they don’t fulfill a promise to have children; a promise that can leave a woman childless forever. When the relationship with the future faker’s ends, and it will, their life is intact while their victim’s life is in shambles. The future faker designs it that way. These relationships have zero risk for them and 100% risk for the other person.

These “Time Bandits”, as I call them, steal valuable time from the lives of their victim. When

victims become suspicious and present their concerns to their partner, the gaslighting begins. Gaslighting is when you know something is happening or has happened and you confront the future faker. They deliberately try to manipulate you to believe you are imagining what has taken place, or that your perception is skewed. The term gaslighting was first introduced to the public by the 1948 movie Gaslight. The young woman in the movie was driven to insanity, as her husband gaslighted her, to believe something had not happened, which she knew had.

The question you may ask is – “If they gaslight you and you know it, why not just leave them?” The answer is that their gaslighting is almost always reasonable, rational, and hard to deny. In other words, the future faker makes sense. Then the cycle of questioning yourself

begins. Did you misunderstand what the person did or said? Is your perception distorted? Are you making too big of a deal? You begin to question your own perception and sanity.

The future faker I was involved with was not only a proficient liar, he gaslighted me. Like with

all future fakers, when it could no longer be refuted that he lied to me, he did not come clean. Instead, he resorted to questioning my mental health, blamed other people and/or distilled the information completely different from the reality. Future fakers don’t take responsibility for their rotten actions. If they do, their apology is unauthentic. Somehow, they circle back and blame you because their mantra is that “nothing is ever their fault”.


One example of his successful gaslighting happened about fourteen months into our

relationship. He invited me to a family event at his sister’s home. I was going to meet many of his family members for the first time. His sister, whom I had just met that evening,

asked me if I would like a tour of her home. I complied. Once we left the rest of the

party behind, in the kitchen area, it became clear to me that the house tour was an excuse to speak with me privately. Secluded from the other guests, she asked me how long I had been dating her brother and if I was seeking something serious with him. Before I could give her an answer, she inserted into our conversation --- “We love him but, he is not a good bet. If you are looking for something serious (as she shook her head from side to side as if to say no), you should know that he is very selfish and ......... Oops , maybe I should stop talking.” I was completely taken aback by her comment. As pleasant as she was, I wondered why she would say something like this about her brother? What was clear is that she wanted to share more information but, stopped herself. I was understandably rattled with an immediate reaction to walk out of the house and call for another way to go home. Not wanting to create a scene, I waited until the end of the gathering and left with the future faker.

While the future faker was driving me back to his place, where my car had been parked, I told him what his sister had shared with me. I was visibly upset, and he knew it. Knowing what I now know about future fakers, he was not concerned for my feelings at all. He was

worried that his cover was blown, and that I may leave the relationship that he had brilliantly crafted and was working very well for him. Quickly, he came up with a perfect answer; one that would keep me from turning my back and walking away forever. He told me that what I experienced was his sister’s typical modus operandi and that she had a habit of speaking out of turn. He added that she must have been inebriated and shared a narrative about her alcohol drinking habits. I said I saw no evidence of her being impaired at all. To further prove his point, he inserted a story about how his sister insulted his brother’s wife the previous year, leaving them on shaky grounds with one another, still a year later. Was his sister trying to sabotage our relationship to hurt him? Looking back, I know that she was flashing the red-light in front of me so I could get out of the relationship while still in one piece. She knew that nothing good could come of my relationship with her brother; nothing other than disaster that would be mine alone to endure.

Future fakers listen intently to what you say so they can manipulate the relationship. Early in

the relationship with this guy, I mentioned that I would not stay in a relationship beyond three years, unless I was engaged to be married or co-habitating with someone. My stance is that relationships should grow in a linear path. I was clear with him that I would not waste time with someone who had different ideas about how a relationship should progress. Mirroring my sentiments assured him that the relationship would progress. He knew that marriage was the last thing he could do.

This future faker proposed to me at two and a half years into our dating. I was unaware that his proposal was only used to string me along and not because he wanted to marry me. Rather, he knew that the sands of the hourglass were dwindling for him based on what I told him more than two years prior. He rapidly concocted a plan, the “engagement”, to keep me in his life. The proposal was his way to keep the gravy train going without me getting off at the next stop.

While I sported an engagement ring, I, my family, and friends believed that I was getting married. Behind the scenes something sinister brewed. His next step was to figure out how to keep me around without going through with the nuptials. At this point he was stuck. He had never gotten this far into a relationship and he was panicking. Would he fess up and tell me the truth, that he couldn’t get married? Absolutely not. He was riding high on his plan. Coming clean would mean he’d lose the scheme he had well perfected up until this point. He wanted it to continue with me as a girlfriend, nothing more and maybe even less, so the plot thickened.

Months later, and behind my back, he told his family and friends that the engagement was off. He had a list of excuses for bailing out. Of course none of them were due to his obvious commitment phobia and other clusters of deep-seated pathologies. Instead his reasons included blaming me, my ex-husband, and one of my minor aged children. The litany of excuses were completely unreasonable.

One would think that the relationship would be over at that point. It was not even close to over since I had no clue what was happening. Remember, all his maneuvering was executed

unbeknownst to me. With my family and friends, he was engaged to me. To his family and

friends, the engagement was off. How lucky for him that the two factions were in totally different social circles with no overlap. To assure that no one asked any uncomfortable probing questions

that could expose his plan, he told his family and friends that I was aware that the engagement was over and we were just dating. The only person in his camp who was not aware of our newly defined relationship was me. He carried on this fake engagement for three more years.

Dr. Ramini Durvasula, Clinical Psychologist and expert on narcissist behavior says this about

future faking – “Future Faking is a sinister form of manipulation and a way of hooking you in by making promises that you want to hear. They (the future faker) have no intention of keeping the promise.” The future faker in my life heard what I said very early in the relationship about marriage and commitment and used that to his advantage. He not only knew that he had zero intention of growing a relationship with me, he also had no remorse about the impact this tremendous deception would have on my life. He got what he wanted. The cost to me of driving my life down a fictitious path was of no concern to him.

Future fakers are cruel, not only by the nature of the fictitious life they create and suck you into, but in other ways. They will call you names publicly and privately in front of anyone and anywhere. When their bad action is brought to their attention, their go-to response is to minimize what they have done and blame others. Although they are notorious for finding you breathtakingly gorgeous at the beginning of your relationship, they will begin a slow degradation of your looks and your body as time moves on. They will degrade you to lower your self-esteem and embarrass you to belittle you. After all, if you believe you are fat, ugly, aging poorly or sexually undesirable, you will believe that no one else will want you. Hence, you resort to thinking that your only choice is to stay with the future faker. Your choice to stay with them will be a constant roller coaster of abuse, lies, betrayals and deceptions.

Future fakers are great at showing themselves as a single person while they act as a couple with you. This future faker was very active on his Facebook page. He shared everything from his political views, music tastes and his travels. Whilst he and I traveled together, I was never mentioned in any of his travels. He referred to his travels as “I am in the islands” or “I am here for the first time.” Although he included a photo of himself basking in whatever locale he was enjoying, nowhere was I included in the narrative or photo even though I was on the trip with him. In fact, he never invited me as a Facebook friend. I never saw his Facebook page until AFTER we broke up. Then it was safe to friend me as there was no longer a risk that he would appear “taken.” This was all part of his double life. Whilst for a little while, he noted himself as “in a relationship” the question bodes “With Whom? Normal healthy relationships have both people full of smiles on their trips together and surely mentions

are made on anniversaries or birthdays. Not with this guy. This is because those who would visit his Facebook page already had been given the story that the engagement was off and look like a single guy at the same time. To him he WAS a single guy, always ready for something new and shiny.

Sometimes, when a future faker becomes aware that gaslighting is no longer an option for them, they will ghost you because they are cowards and can’t fess up to what they have done. While hiding in their liar’s cave, they craft masterfully constructed false narratives about why you are gone from their life. When people ask about you, the future faker will tell them that a long-term relationship with you was untenable, while placing all blame on you for the failure. Randi Fine, narcissist abuse expert and author of the best-selling book, Close Encounters of the Worst Kind, says this about the future faker, who is undoubtedly a narcissist – “They are not human. Humans have empathy. They are monsters.”

It became a futile proposition to discuss any of his blatant missteps with the future faker I was involved with. When I approached him with one of his lies or deceptions, he either smirked, nodded or blamed me for his indiscretions and cruelties. Again, the gaslighting ensued by blaming me for his lies, several which were set in place before he knew me, starting with his dating profile. He lied about his dating history, which I learned consisted of dozens of women he casually had sex with. There were also a handful of women with whom he had created a future faked scenario; different than mine, but faked futures just the same. When I asked him about his dating history early in the relationship, he responded with, “I haven’t dated much”. This was a deceptive statement. The truth is that he is a serial dater with no intention of settling down with anyone. He was and is everything that spooks people from online dating.

Future Fakers are low quality people. They are not available for healthy loving relationships because they are incapable of loving in a healthy way. They are morally and emotionally bankrupt. Don’t try to turn them around because what they do is steeped in their pathology, far beyond anything you can change or cure. You deserve a loving partner who is a guardian of your affection, a hero of your heart, a protector of your soul and willing to show you off to the world.

A real partner is loving and caring. Future fakers are just the opposite. They hold onto the proverbial knife to stab you in the back whenever their cover may potentially be exposed. They will throw you under the bus at every turn. They will watch you cry with glee. They will enjoy every minute that they are hurting you. When you give them your love, you hand them the rope to hang you with. When you leave them they don’t care. In fact, they are relieved. They move on to the next victim where they will rinse and repeat a new faked future.

When I am asked what the biggest red flag was that I missed with the future faker, who slithered into my life, I answer without hesitation. "It was his sister’s statement -- 'Oops' maybe I should stop talking”.

Based on what I now know about this guy, behind that statement is a long ugly story.

Susan Shofer is a two-decade agency licensed private investigator with over 1,100 testifying hours. Ten years ago, while working as a private investigator, Susan became a certified divorce coach. Her area of expertise is high conflict divorce with a specialty in parental alienation. Susan is a member of the Parental Alienation Study Group which is comprised of the most prominent mental health clinicians and legal professionals in the parental alienation space. She is also the Director of the Baltimore /Annapolis/ DC/ Northern Virginia NADP (National Association of Divorce Professionals).

Susan’s passion and mission is to help people navigate through their high conflict divorce using specific strategies unique to their cases. Her specialty is teaching targeted parents how to approach parental alienation with a true understanding of why it happens, how it must be litigated in court and ways to effectively communicate with alienated children.

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