Facebook friend requests are dangerous territory. How well do you need to know a person before you add them as a friend? Is it socially acceptable to add someone you have never met? Facebook complicates the already grey area by prompting you to connect with other users via the ‘suggested friends’ widget. People that appear here are often known to you, even if only on a limited basis, making it a real melting pot of acquaintances and strangers.
For Amanda Creighton, Facebook was about to give her a shock she was not expecting, when the site innocently suggested she make her friendship Facebook official with the wife of her fiancé. Creighton was horrified, but then she learned the whole story…
The 32-year-old mother, from Newcastle, England met Chris Walker on the dating website, Free Dating, back in 2013. Amanda, who had just split from her husband of ten years, was “hesitant about getting into another relationship”. But, when Chris messaged her, she decided to take “the plunge” and they began to chat.
The pair exchanged messages for a month, and then decided to meet up in a nearby bar. Amanda was instantly smitten with 38-year-old Chris and had no cause for concern. “Chris was really funny and we ended the night with a kiss,” the mother-of-three recalls.
After the success of their first date, the two began to date, before making it official four months later. But, Amanda was left lonely when Chris announced that he would be travelling 360 miles to Poole for a six-week long work trip. Amanda offered to visit him, but he rejected any such plan. “I thought it was weird, but just assumed he was busy,” Amanda explains, with hindsight.
Instead, Chris was really spending the time with his wife, who was giving birth to their baby. When Chris returned from his six week trip, he was distant with Amanda and ignored her texts and calls. But, when Amanda confronted him about it, he knelt down on one knee and proposed. “I was shocked but really excited and immediately forgave his weird behaviour and put it down to work stress,” Amanda explains.
Over the next six months, she excitedly began to plan their wedding. Little did she know, that it would all end in tears…
One day, in December 2014, Amanda was casually browsing through Facebook when something caught her eye. On her suggested friends list, was someone who looked very familiar. “I recognized Chris in the picture, so I clicked on the profile,” Amanda recalls, adding: “my stomach dropped as I saw Chris hand in hand with another woman.”
As a sickened Amanda browsed through the profile, she learned that her perfect ‘Chris’ was, in fact, married with a newborn baby. Not only that, but she discovered that Chris wasn’t Chris at all, his name was really Paul McHugh. “He’d been lying to me about everything. I was absolutely devastated and furious,” a deceived Amanda recalls.
“I confronted him over the phone and as soon as I said, ‘Your name is Paul,’ he hung up straight away,” explains Amanda. Furious and desperate for answers, she decided to contact his wife: “I threw his stuff out of my house then I messaged his wife but she told me I was lying.”
Amanda was heartbroken. The man she was in love with, and had agreed to marry, was a fraud. Not only that but she had let him near her children. “I thought he was the one, but he soon revealed his true colors,” an angry Amanda explains.
But, that wasn’t the end of the ordeal. Six months after ‘Chris’ was exposed, he contacted Amanda to say he had left his wife and begged her to take him back. Amanda agreed, but she would live to regret it.
“I still loved him and eventually we gave our relationship another go,” Amanda says of the decision. But, by November 2015, he started to disappear for long periods of time again. “When I confronted him, he admitted he was still with his wife. I couldn’t believe I’d taken him back. I was heartbroken. Furious, I kicked him out.” But, then she discovered something else, which changed everything entirely…
Shortly after kicking ‘Chris’ out for a second time, Amanda discovered that she was pregnant with his child. “I told Paul and he promised we’d deal with it together. I just wanted things to be civil for our child,” says Amanda.
The following August, Amanda gave birth to their child, now one-years-old, who she named Mollie. Content that her relationship issues were fixed, she began to relax a little. Until, she spotted something concerning when browsing through Facebook once more…
A woman, whom she had never met, was naming and shaming ‘Chris’ as a cheater online. The post was signed off with the haunting message, “Ladies beware!!!”. Immediately, Amanda knew that her worst fears had been confirmed. Unable to resist, she commented on the post and within a few hours, three women had contacted her to claim that ‘Chris’ was seeing them at the same time.
“He had dating profiles on several different websites, all under the name of Chris Walker. I just couldn’t believe it. He was so good at lying that he managed to convince us all that he was in love with us. I thought he was the one, but he soon revealed his true colours,” Amanda, who now has a new partner, explains, adding: “I have a new partner now, but it’s taken a lot for me to trust men again.”
Meanwhile, Paul, also known as Chris, has denied cheating on Amanda, saying:
“I’m not going to comment on anything like that. I didn’t meet her while I was in a relationship. She says it’s my child but they’re carrying out tests. And all this dating profile nonsense that her and her friends have set up is ridiculous. Her friends set up these profiles – I never set up that page. How this is possible is beyond me.”