“She’s so stupid”.

“How does she not know he’s just using her?”

“Omg, he took all her money and left her, how could she have been so naive?”

Many of us have watched reality shows like “90 Day Fiance” and spinoffs, or have heard about or have met women who have been used by men they met on holiday and have been shocked at how the victim could have been completely clueless that the man she thought was totally in love with her was only using her for sex, money or a green card.

It’s easy to think, “That could never happen to me,” as you watch as a much younger, often incredibly attractive man spends time wooing a much older woman.

It’s like a train wreck as you watch each episode of the hugely popular reality show (and the 7 spinoffs in America alone, like “90 Days, the Other Way,” “90 Day Fiancé: Before the 90 Days” and others. While there are couples who make it (and often end up starring in “90 Day Fiancé: Happily Ever After”), it’s sometimes painfully obvious that one of the partners is only in the relationship for the green card entry into America, where they are sure the streets are paved with gold, or simply using their partner for money. But you can’t look away.

But sometimes, it’s hard to tell. Perhaps that’s one of the reasons the show is so appealing. Is it true love, or is one of the partners so evil and diabolical, they are able to manipulate, trick and con their lover into giving up not only money but sometimes uprooting their entire lives in order to believe they have found their fairy tale perfect romance.

Rarely do I write about my own personal experiences on Love Lust or Bust.

I love to write about romantic hotels and luxury desert camps. And I especially love more scandalous topics like sexting your long-distance lover, or how to hang out, have fun, hook up and fall in love while traveling.

In fact, one of my favorite posts is the one with a photo of me posing with, well, actually hugging a 10-foot statue of a penis at The Sex Museum in Amsterdam.

But aside from mentioning that I had a 7-year marriage with a man I met on my first solo trip abroad in London, rarely do I ever write about my friendships or intimate relationships with men.

Partly that’s because I work so much I don’t have any intimate relationships! Actually, that’s not comepletely true; if I met someone special I would make time. But when that does happen I will most likely keep that part of my personal life private.

I write about safety, and I want any future partner to know that he can feel safe with me. I may be a bit of a crazy girl, but I do strive to have integrity, so the only way I might write about a partner is if I got hurt physically or financially and wanted to try to help others to stay safe.

Anyway, like attracts like, and I tend to attract really healthy, sweet, nice guys into my life (now).

But today, I want to be completely vulnerable and share how someone could be scammed by a foreign lover.

And ps; I believe that most people are decent and good. For most of us, 99% of the time we will probably not get robbed, raped, mugged or murdered. And in the rare cases that a woman does get scammed or hurt, it is not because a man is from any particular country. It can happen at home or abroad.

It was not easy for me to write this article, because I hate stereotypes, especially when people just “All Moroccans” or “All Nigerians” or “All Muslims” or whatever.

But the truth is that in every country in the world, we women must be vigilant and do what we can to stay as safe as possible. That does not mean to be cynical and judgmental and to believe that any man you meet is out to harm you.

The motto I try to live by is “Keep my eyes open and my legs closed”.

I’m not saying you cannot have fun if you choose to. Embrace your sexuality, be free to be you.

But know the potential consequences and be prepared for whatever happens.

  • I want to note that I know many, many women who have foreign affairs, have fallen in love, and have even married men they met while traveling. Most of my friends are still happily involved with men who are sweet, loving, wonderful men.

In fact, there are many, many amazing men in Morocco, Nigeria, and from many other countries, who are not only physically stunning but really nice guys. If you want to see what I mean, check this gorgeous gallery of men here.

I believe in two things when it comes to relationships; there are “good” and “bad” everywhere (although I do not think people are all “good” or all “bad”), no matter which country you go to, and that “like attracts like”.

I believe 100% that when I am spiritually balanced and centered and focused, I tend to attract people who are on a similar level as I am. But when I am not meditating and praying daily, when I am not writing a daily gratitude list, and when I allow myself to be sucked into a deep depression with my negative thoughts and actions, I tend to attract people who are less healthy and loving.

Over the years, I have taken several dating sabbaticals, or “man bans”.

The first time was over 20 years ago when a woman I met offered to help me to lift a “love obsession” I had with a man I was extremely codependently involved with. I will never forget the first day my friend suggested I stopped all contact with the man I was seeing, and that I be celibate for a month.

“Um, no sex for an entire month?!” Ah, um, okay…I think I can do that. Yeah, yeah, no problem.”

“And no dating.”

“No dating”?! For a month?? Omg…but what will I do?!” I screamed in the middle of the busy Union Square in NYC. I seriously had absolutely no idea what to do with my time instead of dating.

“Go to a movie, go to dinner with friends, find a hobby. There are plenty of things to do besides dating guys.”

Shit. I didn’t even know how much a movie cost then. But that Friday, she and I met and I bought my first movie ticket in my life (it was f-ing expensive, too) and I tried to ignore my horror and shame as I also bought my friend’s ticket since it was her birthday, and I spent the first Friday of my adult life not on a date with a man.

It wasn’t the end of the world.

On day 30, she asked me if I thought I could extend the “man ban” for another month, which ultimately ended up being the first of several one-year man bans I would take in my life.

The results were astonishing.

At the end of that year, I slowly began meeting men again and going on dates. I was amazed to find that I met some incredibly nice guys. Nice guys that I was also attracted to.

Eventually, I met an amazing guy I considered marrying, but when that relationship didn’t work out, I took even more time off from dating.

Over the years, I have had to check myself because I know I can get really immersed and lose myself in a relationship. Traveling often escalates the possibility because of so many reasons.

First, when I travel, often it is an escape. I can get bored with the monotony of normal life and bills and work, and let’s face it; travel can be exciting, helping us to leave behind, even temporarily, the stress of our normal lives.

When we travel, rarely do we ever plan to go to “East Boring Bumfuck Village”. Instead, we choose exotic beaches or places where we can go ziplining or trekking or surfing or on exciting adventures. Sometimes the food, the music, the vibe, and the men (oh, the men…) are unique and different and hot and spicy and exotic.

Of course, this can be thrilling.

For me, travel can be so exciting that I am on a constant high the entire time I am in another country.

Because of this, I am constantly positive and happy, and of course, my good vibes make me even more attractive to others, drawing them to me.

This is all a recipe for a bubbling cauldron of love and lust and the unknown.

But many times, when I plan a trip it is because I am not feeling so positive and happy. In fact, I can be downright miserable and desperate when I start planning a trip.

Let’s look at the facts; I am a divorced, 54 year old, overweight (alright, I can admit it; fat) woman who has very little money.

Plenty of reason to become depressed (unless and until I decide to do something about it and change my circumstances).

But often, before I decide to change my eating habits and exercise, and wallowing in self-pity rather than to come up with a successful financial strategy, it’s easier (and more fun) for me to just travel.

Now imagine this;

As a middle-aged, overweight, single woman who lives on a small budget, I get to another country like Jamaica or Nigeria or Morocco, and the men are sincerely attracted to older, more “voluptuous” woman who, no matter how broke I might believe I am, in many countries like these, my US dollars go a long way.

I am not only able to stay in often much more luxurious hotels or accommodations than I am used to, but also dine on delicious fancy food, and actually live like a baller. At least for a week or so.

And while I would get incredibly annoyed being catcalled by walking down the street in NYC, secretly when I’m strolling along the beaches of Negril or in the medina of Djemma al Fna Square in Marrakech, having not one or two, but many much younger, extremely handsome men telling me they find me beautiful, well, eventually I start to believe it.

And here is my biggest secret; I have always thought I was ugly.

I don’t mean slightly homely, or a bit overweight. I mean I seriously believed that I was hideously unattractive.

Now, after all of these years, Morocco has made me feel that I am beautiful.

I am 54, fat, and beautiful.

While I have not personally been scammed by men while traveling, I am sure that some of the men I have met and flirted with were not serious.

Some of the younger, gorgeous men I have been approached by in almost every country I have been to in the world, may actually find me beautiful.

And some may sincerely want to marry me as they often loudly proclaim, often before they even know my name or have not even met me in person.

But a few, I’m sure, have only wanted to try for sex, money, or to get papers to move to America. Not all. But some.

I like to consider myself a smart woman. I’m tough, from Brooklyn, NYC. I like to think of myself as a savvy New Yorker who can’t get played.

Do I believe it when 20 something-year-old model types tell me I am beautiful?

Yes. Because I want to.

My entire life I have dreamed of being beautiful.

I dreamed of having long blond hair and of being supermodel skinny and waiflike. And while I no longer aspire to look like that American ideal beauty standard, I finally embrace who I am and what I look like.

And I like it.

Usually. Mostly. Sometimes.

It feels amazing to finally think I am pretty.

Quite possibly I am wrong, and men are bullshitting me. Quite possibly I am hideous.

But believing that for so many years has not served me.

I cannot know for sure whether men have tried to scam me because I simply have not been able to give them anything.

Regardless of whether or not they are lying, as long as I do not behave in a way that could result in negative, painful consequences, I will not get hurt. At least, the heartbreak is a hell of a lot less when you keep your legs (and your pockets) closed.

I do not make enough money to be able to sponsor a man for a K1 Fiance or a spousal visa. I often travel on an extremely limited budget and have stayed with friends or through Couchsurfing, unless I am collaborating with a luxury hotel, riad or desert camp.

And the last “man ban” I took (after my last serious relationship ended) lasted for eight years, so I have remained celibate (not necessarily by choice) and I have not given up the “pum pum” as they say in the Caribbean.

Yes, I know, I exude sexuality.

I write about it, talk about it, think about it almost all the time.

But rarely do I get any.

And yeah, I am taking applications.

But while I absolutely love sex, I refuse to just jump into a casual relationship at this time.

So while I think it’s perfectly fine for people to have fun, I find sex sacred and beautiful and I am holding out until I meet someone special.

So, because I have not been giving up the p*ssy, or money or a green card, I have not been scammed.

But I can easily see how a woman could be tricked or conned into giving a man every damn thing he asks for. I just haven’t had it like that to give.

But I also think women can meet amazing, lovely, sincere men around the world.

It never hurts to simply slow down and see what happens.

I have found myself buying coffee for men once or twice. And I have paid for a few small things like food for the families I have met. But I cannot say with pride or judgment, “Oh, that would never be me” because I get why women might be tempted.

I feel beautiful. And alive. And loved. And special. I feel happy.

I am fully aware of the white American privilege I have, and I understand that some of the men I meet in other countries are often just at a disadvantage because there are many fewer opportunities for them.

Less opportunity for an education or a decent job or the many benefits we are given in America.

I have seen people suffering around the world. In India, Nigeria, and Morocco. But also in America.

There are people who are struggling around the world.

I have seen the families of men I have met and wished I could bring them gifts and buy them food and to help them start businesses.

And I am sure that if I had more money, or could bring every one of them to America and sponsor them, I probably would.

I would also possibly hook up and have fun with every one of them if I wasn’t so afraid of being a “bad girl” or of getting HIV…but that’s another story.

I just wanted to share that women who get scammed are not necessarily “stupid” or naive or dumb.

Sometimes they may be women who know they are older, less attractive, less sexy. But for me, that high that comes from an external source reassuring me that I am indeed beautiful.

Sometimes I get it that the high I get from younger men complimenting me as I walk down the street is nowhere near as healthy as the confidence I gain from a healthy spiritual foundation or the internal knowing that I am okay. But, well, sometimes it was exactly what I needed at the time and it felt f*ing amazing.

I am working on my relationship with God. I am trying to remember to pray (5 times a day in Morocco), to constantly be filled with gratitude, and to turn to God for my needs.

But, I am a work in progress, and as long as I slow down and remember that I am okay as I am, that I AM beautiful, no one can take my power away from me.

And until I get to that high level of healthiness that I often slip away from, I may just walk around the medina in Marrakech and suppress a smile as yet another much too young boy lusts after my fat ass as I pass him.

Have you ever been scammed? Do you date younger men? Or do you just love / hate watching 90 Day Fiance? Comment below!

For the best accommodations, and more tips & tricks when traveling to Morocco, check out these popular articles below:

For more travel tips and tricks, and to learn about the world’s most romantic destinations, check out Love Lust or Bust!

This article was written by April Hope.

To learn more about her and her travels throughout Morocco and around the world, click here.

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