A decade ago, Debby Montgomery Johnson was suffering the ultimate heartbreak. Her husband of nearly 27 years had recently died of a heart attack. And for the first time in decades, the Florida widow was on her own.
Roughly six months after her spouse passed, Johnson decided to give internet dating a try. In 2010, the former military intelligence official and banking executive met a mysterious man on a Christian dating website. His name was Eric Cole. The 55-year-old claimed to be a successful entrepreneur from London, who, like Johnson, was recently widowed.
Johnson said she was “enamored.” The internet stranger was charming, attractive, and knew how to make her laugh.
“Eric just presented himself very professionally,” Johnson, now 62, told Oxygen.com. “The pictures were very athletic. It was very intriguing having a very international businessman who was a widow, too.”
Falling asleep alone at night, she said, had become a chore. However, her crippling grief, accompanied by insomnia, was replaced by an exhilarating new companionship; late-night online chat sessions with Cole became a staple of her work week. For the first time since her husband died, Johnson felt a semblance of peace.
“The endorphins were just overflowing,” she said. “We could have these great conversations. We would chat for hours — hours — in the middle of the night. It was the one time I wasn’t sad.”
The pair soon moved their exchanges off the dating site onto Yahoo instant messenger, where Cole continued to pepper Johnson with affection. He referred her as his “sweetheart.”
“I am your man and my love for you is endless,” he wrote in a series of messages obtained by Oxygen.com.
Their virtual dates, Johnson described, often took place between midnight and 4 a.m. in between gru ..
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