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3 Years Of Pretending...

I was surprised by the amount of people who do this as well, reading some of your stories made me feel better about this to an extent, but I still feel guilty.

Okay, so about 3 years ago I joined a forum based on one of my interests. I'm a really shy person and never liked giving out my personal information over the internet; another thing about me is that I don't find myself unattractive, but I'm self conscious about myself when it comes to online communities. I use this pretending as an escape of sorts, where I can be myself and if I get judged for it, it's like who cares these people don't know who I really am in real life...That sort of thing.

Anyway, when I joined up on that community, I began talking to people there. Soon they were asking me for my name and what I looked like, even put up pictures of themselves, that's when I froze up. I didn't want to put up a real picture of me, or my real name either, so I went and took this pretty girl I knew's picture and used that instead. I also made up a fake name and background to go with it (it was believable since it was just a twist on my true background), and I've been using it ever since.

I never thought I would get so attached to the people on the forum. I thought it would just be a fun thing to help pass the time when I was bored, but nope...I became really good friends with these people. The thing is, despite the fake name and background, I was being myself with these people. I've always been scared about being myself around people because I always get scared I'll get judged for it. It's a kind of irrational fear I've had since I was little. Seeing how these people like me for who I am, I feel really guilty now for lying about my name and appearance.

Soon they wanted to do group things like talk via webcam on Skype, I decline of course, saying more lies like I don't have a webcam...because obviously if they saw me the secret would be out. I kept up the facade for 3 years now, with some of the people I was friends with falling through for other reasons.

This one girl I really bonded with. For Christmas I even sent her a little gift, and she wanted to send something back to me too. We've grown really close now, and the guilt of lying to these people just builds and builds. I'm scared that if I tell the truth these people won't want to be friends with me anymore because of my lying, I'd be crushed if that happened. Tonight the guilt even kept me up all night and I had to come on here just to share my story and maybe get some feedback/advice about it.

Should I tell her the truth? If so, how should I go about doing it? I really want to stay friends with her, as the real me...not some fake mask I hide behind.
Chamoisee Chamoisee 18-21, F 1 Response Dec 14, 2012

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Being yourself under another name makes it rather difficult to bring people to who you "really" are. But I think you are more than a name, and that if you were being you, and these people liked you as you were, they shouldn't hate you just because of a falsely given name. Just tell her the truth. I hope everything goes well.