I opened a false account on a social networking site using the picture of another guy. For two years I have had a girlfriend, but before her I liked another girl who never paid attention to me. Now with the false account, I have begun a relationship with the first girl, and she has fallen for the trick. She has told me a lot about her life, and now I think I love her and she loves me. (Actually, she loves the guy who is in the profile picture.)

I want to stop tricking her, but I find it difficult because I feel that I will really miss her…. What should I do?

Dear Friend,

Your story is a perfect example of why no one should trust people that they meet online. You did not intend to harm the girl, but other people do intend harm. Just as you invented a false profile, there are many other false profiles on social networks and dating sites. Some have been created specifically to trick people out of money, while others are created by pedophiles and sexual deviants who want to find and trick innocents into dangerous situations.

Your story should remind each one of us of the importance of protecting ourselves online by assuming that every profile could be a false one. We must guard our personal information, and never post our addresses, phone numbers, or any other clues that could assist a criminal in finding us. Also remember that prospective employers and actual employers now routinely search social networking sites to find out how often you are ill, and whether you participate in undesirable or irresponsible activities.

It is important to realize that you have lied to this girl by creating a false profile. If she were to find out that you lied to her, she would have obvious reasons to suspect that you are a liar and a deceiver. By your dishonest actions, you have made yourself much more unattractive than a picture could ever make you. There is no way that this girl would want to have a relationship with someone who has tricked her. The only honorable choice now is to delete the false profile and forget about the girl, hoping that she never finds out what you did.

But what about the girl that you say has been your girlfriend for two years? You are communicating on a romantic level with one girl, but keeping the relationship with another girl in case it doesn’t work out? How many other people are you deceiving?

Friend, all of us have sinned and broken God’s laws.(1) But God sent His Son Jesus Christ to die on the cross so that we would not have to be eternally condemned for our sins. If you realize that you have been dishonest and have lied, then ask God to forgive you. Ask Him to help you develop a lifestyle that is honest and honorable to everyone. If you do that, you will not have to ever again lose at love because of deceitfulness.

We wish you well,

1 Ro 3:23