Ask Sam letter


To Sam

Online Boyfriend

Hi Sam,

I dont really know where to start from here, but I have an online boyfriend and for about 5 weeks we have been dating and using skype. We call each other as often as we can and I love talking to him...

Now we are both 16...and Ive talked to him a lot about everything. He practically knows everything about my personal and social life. This is where the problem lies.
Ive been using fake pictures...and sending him fake pictures of  another girl...who is my friend in school. Before I thought it would be really nice to get to know him because he has an amazing personality and is a genuinly caring guy. Im really insecure about my looks which is why I never bothered to send him a real picture of my self...and I know that wouldve been much easier.  I know for a fact that he isnt  a pedophile or some sort of child predator because he's sent me videos of him and a few pictures. Ive sent him about 100 pictures and to be honest thats a major mistake on my part.

Now , 5 weeks in, he wants to video chat on Skype. But I obviously cant let that happen becuase he will realise that I have been lying about my looks. I want to "break up" with him, but he's said before that he would be extrmemely upset if I wasnt in his life anymore...hes told his parents about me and his dad thinks that Im a fraud. Which I am.

Please help. I genuinly dont know what  to do and I am so confused. I dont want to say that "Im in love" because that would sound extrmely naive and silly ,but this guy is absoloutely wonderful. And I dont want to break his heart by dumping him- but I dont want him to find out that Ive been using fake pictures- I just dont know what to feel. Ive spend so much time with him ,  I dont want it to go to waste. I love talking to him-hes like my best friend. None of my friends know that Ive been using fake pictures. I know that is identity theft...and Id be in a lot of trouble for that.

Please, please help me.

Ask Sam



Thanks for your letter. It’s good that you feel able to tell me about this, and ask for some advice.

As I read your message I can hear how worried you are and how much you regret sending your friend’s photos. Try to remember that we all do things we later regret, the important thing is learning from our mistakes.

I can also hear how much your feelings for this boy have developed over the last five weeks, and that you don’t want to hurt him. Sometimes telling someone the truth is hard, but if the relationship is going to continue, you will have to let him what’s happened. Honesty is so important to a healthy relationship, and this boy deserves to know the truth.

He might well feel hurt or shocked to find out the photographs are not you, but it might be something you can work through as it sounds like you have built a strong friendship. Maybe telling him the reason you feel insecure about your looks will help him understand why you lied.

We all go through times when we feel insecure about aspects of ourselves, and more so during puberty when the body goes through so much physical and emotional change. However, if you are having lots of difficult liking who you are, you might want to consider taking some steps to try and boost your self-esteem.

There are lots of ways of building your self-esteem; you could start by writing a list of the positive qualities you think you have, and ask your friends and family what they like about you. It might also help for you to look at the Explore page on building confidence and self-esteem for more tips.

As much as it can be hard, try to remember that when someone truly likes you, they like all of you – not just your physical appearance.

You also mentioned being worried you will get into trouble for identity theft. How would it feel to consider apologising to your friend and explaining what you’ve been doing? Only you can know how that will affect your friend and whether telling her is the best choice, but it could be a positive first step towards making things right again. It sounds like worrying about the choices you’ve made is a real burden at the moment. Hopefully being open with the people around you will help you feel less overwhelmed by all this worry.

Take good care, and remember that whatever happens ChildLine counsellors are here to support you; you can ring them on 0800 1111, login for a 1-2-1 chat, or send them an email.

Take care,


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