My grandmother is lying to concoct a fantasy love life

A woman in her 70s appears to be leading a mystery double life. Mariella Frostrup advises her grandchild that she’s not really doing any harm

The dilemma Several years ago my (then) 67-year-old grandmother got involved in internet dating, obsessing over an American man who later transpired to be a scammer. Then, two years ago, we started hearing about Kumar, who she said she met while on holiday. She’s been to “visit” this man dozens of times, travelling from our rural town to London, often for weeks at a time. Elaborate stories are invented: he is a multimillionaire involved in a lengthy divorce; he owns a company in Houston; he sent a limousine to collect her for care by his private doctor when she was sick…

If disagreed with she storms off shouting that nobody respects her. Pictures of Kumar have appeared around her house, but never the two of them together. I looked into her phone and found Kumar does exist, but only as a person on a dating site who she exchanges dirty pictures with. We used to be close until she started concocting a double life for herself. We are all worried for her safety and mental health.

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Alex Vidal