Love Letters

Wait, her boyfriend catfished himself?

After five years, she finds out her guy made up social media posts from a clingy former girlfriend. What now?

Have a question for Meredith? Submit here.

Q. I have been with my boyfriend for more than five years. At the beginning of our relationship, his “ex” was a constant issue. She would post on my boyfriend’s wall about their nights out and plans to meet again. He knew I had issues with it, but he dismissed me as stupid and insecure.

Recently, I was talking with a friend, saying how weird it was that I had never met any of my boyfriend’s friends. My friend made a joke suggesting that he didn’t have any. My friend then did a Google image reverse search of my boyfriend’s ex, and, to my shock, her pictures were from someone else’s profile. It seems he had made a profile of a fake ex-girlfriend. I couldn’t believe he had lied to me all that time. I confronted him and he gave the excuse that he and his friends made the profile to annoy his ex after they broke up. Why would you do that and carry it on for so long if that were true? I suspect the same thing about his friends’ profiles, but he won’t admit it. I don’t know what to believe.

 — The Real Girlfriend

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A. Well, this is a new one.

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The fictional ex is a red flag, and, yes, it’s upsetting that he let you deal with all of that jealousy when the source of it wasn’t even real. But the bigger issue is that you’re left feeling as if you don’t know your boyfriend of many years. You can no longer answer basic questions about his real-life connections. You have to doubt everything now.

Think about who you’ve met in his life (his family, co-workers, etc.). How does he engage with them? Also, consider how he responded after you learned the truth. Did he have any empathy?

If you can no longer trust him on his history — if you leave these conversations suspecting his friends are fake and he doesn’t understand how you feel — this won’t work. There are too many questions, and after this many years, your partner shouldn’t be a mystery.

 — Meredith

READERS RESPOND

So . . . let me get this straight. Your boyfriend made up an ex. Your boyfriend intentionally incited jealousy in you by pretending to be said ex. You’ve never met a single one of your boyfriend’s “friends.” You suspect your boyfriend doesn’t have any real friends. This is like . . . scary. What’s the question again?

MCDIMMERSON

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Red flag? This is like a volcano erupting in your face. Meredith’s response was unnecessarily long. Just end it.

ASH

Being dismissed as insecure and stupid wouldn’t be good even if there had been an actual ex obsessively posting on his page. With the ex being imaginary, it leaps to a whole ’nother level of gaslighting.

ENJOYEVERYSANDWICH

How do you date someone for years and never meet any of their friends? I’m no fan of ghosting but this might be the one time to do it.

HARAJUKUBARBIE

What kind of weirdo catfishes himself?

CRUCIFIEDZEOFF

Make up a fake baby. You’ll never see him again.

BRUCE-VILANCH

Column and comments are edited and reprinted from boston.com/loveletters. Send letters to meredith.goldstein@globe.com.