He was a fugitive
“A counselor at my college in Michigan faked his identity for over 40 years. He was a civil rights organizer in San Francisco in the 1960s and ended up in a shoot out with police.
None of the police were injured but he was shot in the foot apparently. He was supposed to appear in court later but he took off, and in the 40+ years following the shooting, he earned his masters degree with a whole new identity, ultimately working as a guidance counselor at a community college in Michigan.
His true identity was exposed around 2010 and he went on trial for the shooting in California. He was sentenced to a year in jail and about $8000 in fines.
He was a nice guy, you’d never expect anybody who’s seemingly normal actually being an old school fugitive on the run.” — TazzzTM
He was being abused
“There was this kid at our church who started attending the youth group when he was about 15. Everyone loved him, but he was always a little standoffish. Fast forward 3 years to graduation time. Everyone kept asking him what he planned to do after high school and if he was looking forward to it, but he always changed the subject. Finally, he revealed to one of the adults that he wasn’t graduating because he hasn’t been to school since he was 8 years old. His dad removed him from school and never let him return.
A whole bunch of shit went down after that, but the church members helped him do a fast-track hs degree in 3 years and have now paid for him to attend a 4 year university.” — alnumero
Secret lives within secret lives
“My sister-in-law had a second child. She was still married, but separated with her husband (because she caught him cheating). The man with whom she had the baby was her father’s old prodigy, who was also married with a couple of kids.
This all took place in China, while the one-child policy was in full effect.
So: to her parents, the separation and affair were secret, up until she had a baby. Once they were looped in, they helped her to maintain the lies, because ‘face’. From her ex-husband’s perspective, the child and the affair were secret; from the perspective of his family (with whom she remained in touch), the separation, affair, and baby were secret. This was complicated by the fact that they shared custody of their first kid (in fact, they pretended they were still living together for years). So the older kid was warned not to mention his brother to his father, while spending plenty of time with both. It was all a secret from most, but not all of their close family (i.e. cousins, aunts, and uncles). And then there was the prodigy’s family, and really the rest of the outside world, for whom there was no separation, no affair, and certainly no kid. That included the government. I’m not even sure how that worked.
She wasn’t living another life. She was living fractals of lives within lives. Just try to imagine the logistics of getting your nonexistent kid to school (under a false identity?) in time to pick up your older kid, who was waiting with your secret lover, so that he could get back to his real family, and you and your kid could meet up with your cheating ex-husband, so that you could all drive together to lunch with family from both sides, doing your best impression of a perfect platonic family who had come straight from a shared, loving home (while being careful that neither you nor your older boy mention to anyone that you have to pick up your other son from school soon).
Now I’ve got a headache.” — yiliu
“My uncle runs a business hooking up internet in hotels. He travels all over the West coast for it. Recently he asked my aunt to have an open relationship. Turns out most of his “business trips” were actually trips to go meet with his business partner, whom he has been having an affair with for the last year or two. This business partner has even had two pregnancies with my uncle. Both were miscarriages, but both were also INTENTIONAL.
My aunt and uncle have been married for 12 years, and have a five year old son. My aunt also has terminal cancer. He’s been introducing their son to his mistress as their son’s new Mommy without my aunt’s knowledge.
Needles to say, that open relationship isn’t happening. They’re getting divorced.” — StumbleKitty
He faked going to college for 4 years
“Nutshell background: about 7 years ago my brother was struggling with addiction, using almost any and everything though alcohol was the DOC. We have a really long family history of alcohol use disorders. He dropped out of school and spent a few years bouncing around treatment centers and sober living houses.
3 years ago he decided to move back (about 2 hours away from my parents’ house) and get back into school. At this point he’s a lot older than the kids in his classes and socializing is hard so he would come up to see the parents every Friday, Saturday, Sunday. He decided to go for a chemistry degree – every semester talking about his specific classes, the content of them, etc. He knew the class times, professors, talked about teaching styles, and like clockwork brought his dog to my parents for finals week twice a year so he could study without distraction.
My entire family came from all across the country for his graduation ceremony on Friday. We were all bursting with pride and excitement because my brother had just done what we all thought was impossible and graduated. Pre-ceremony none of us could find his name in the book. Then we couldn’t find him walking among the students. About 30 minutes into the ceremony I got a call from him. He was drunk.
Turns out he never enrolled back into school. He just moved back, conned my parents into paying rent and utilities for 3 years, and spent 4 days a week boozing, gaming, and sleeping. No one knew this was going on. He invested so much into this double life that he had his whole family and all his friends fooled.
We’re not sure what the next steps are, my husband and I are going to help my parents pack up his place tomorrow. It’s hard to find hope with the level of deceit that went into his latest stint. He’s hurt so many people on this path but he’s my brother and I love him nonetheless. Here’s to a brighter tomorrow, thanks for letting me word vomit and process this a bit more.” — MotherofHobbits
“A friend of mine lives in San Diego, and was recently telling me the story of her grandfather who has an entire family in Mexico that he kept hidden for decades. Im talking he has kids that have kids, and one of his secret granddaughters has ANOTHER kid. Dude is a great grandfather and nobody knew. Her grandfather is nearly 90, so its unbelievable how much a quiet old man can keep from people.” — Damien2001
“When I first left home in my late teens I shared a big house (I think 6+ bedrooms) with a close friend, his brother and some other randoms. Think frat house except no college/university. Splitting the expenses worked out pretty well. So one of the guys worked at a port in customs or something. He had a uniform and ID etc. Left for work at the same time every morning and hung out with us after work. He was always down for attending social events with us and most of us liked him. Fast forward about a year and he starts telling us about how he can get us discounted TVs and other merchandise from the port. Unclaimed/seized property that apparently no one sweats about if just a few items go astray. Everyone gave it a pass as it seemed sketchy. Then one day we come home to one of our housemates in shock and bawling like a baby. Turns out not only did he give the guy his life savings he also gave him money borrowed from his dad. The customs guy had said he could get him a new car cheap! The long long con. Turns out the guy doesn’t work at the port, the name he gave us doesn’t exist and we have no idea how he spent his days or came up with his share of the rent/bills. Still creeps me out a little knowing I lived with a stranger for so long.” — Rick2wise
“I lived in a house with a guy who said his parents were recently dead. He cried about them a lot. When we kicked him out, his parents came and helped him move his stuff out.” — Onthisharvestmoon
Fake exchange student
“My family hosted a number of exchange students while we were growing up. We hosted about 7 high school students over the course of my childhood; each stayed for a year in our house, attended high school in our town etc. One girl, Irinia, from Russia came to us no differently than any of the other students had – through the AFS program. To be an student through AFS meant you had to fill out an application, be 17-18 yrs old, be attending high school in your home country, whatever. So Irina arrives as our exchange student. She goes to high school in our small home town on cape cod Massachusetts. But at Christmas time she says she has to go home to Russia because her mother was extremely sick. Going home during the exchange year is really unusual, really rare. So Ok fine she’s going to Russia for the Christmas break, nbd, she’ll be back in January. Except she never comes back. AFS can’t find her, we don’t know where she is, if she made it to Russia, if she’s hurt, nothing. And we’re terrified because we’re her host family during this year and we always took the students in like family. Anyways she’s gone. Maybe 3 months later my mom is driving through our tiny town (again, middle of nowhere cape cod) and she see Irinia, with what looks like her mom, and some other kids. Turns out Irinia has graduated high school in Russia already, was like 25 with children and had posed as an exchange student so she could ‘case’ the place before bringing the rest of her family.” — gulabjamunyum
“Earlier this year I learned my Dad has been addicted to heroin and stolen many expensive things from various members of my family. I knew that people had been getting things stolen from them but never even began to think it was my Dad. He did get help and is now five months clean, but still working and building up my family’s trust again.” — [deleted]
(Awesome) stolen identity
“My (the Netherlands) great grandfather’s family had an inkling that no amount of prosperity was worth risking what Hitler was spreading. He took his wife and 4 sons on a boat, settled in Illinois/Wisconsin border to just enjoy middle class life as skilled carpenters and other building tradesmen.
The family didn’t realize till nearly 1970 that the house they just left without selling in Holland, the Jewish family of husband, wife, and 4 boys who lived next door moved in without asking, called themselves my family name (firsts and last), the local Protestant church had them every Sunday, they survived the Holocaust.” — DariusMDeV
“My grandfather was in a romantic relationship with another man across the country for a few decades. My entire family knew about it, so it was no big deal… or so we thought.
Just last October, my grandfather died. We went to call his partner, and he was very surprised to learn that my grandfather had children. It’s amazing how he hid an entire family for decades.” — ArtWithoutMeaning
“There was one dad in our mother’s group* that lost his high flying big city financial job due to a market crash. To pay the bills, and because there were no jobs in finance at the time, he took the first job he could get – in a chicken abattoir. Bit of a change from a desk job to slaughtering chickens, but when you have a newborn baby and bills to pay you step up.
(I know that sounds crazy – it’s a group of new mums that meet weekly to swap war stories about newborns, and occasionally there would be a bbq or something that the dads would come to as well.)
Every time I ran into him I was always impressed with how much he was up to speed on current events and world news. We would talk about the latest political, financial and scientific news; there was not much discussion about chicken butchering.
Turns out he was fired on his first day. Every day after that – for months – he would leave home in the morning, go to the pub, read newspapers all day, and then go home in the evening.
She eventually found out. They are divorced now.” — CaptainStarkles
“A good friend’s father was found out to be huge in the cocaine trade. Not like a dealer on the streets, but smuggling into the country and helping distribute in California. The dad was a real normal dude, and very family oriented/present. He’s in prison now.” — mooseknucks26
Dads with a plan
“Fellow grad student has two young kids; one that is struggling to walk and communicate and is in the process of being diagnosed. She is pulling 10-16 hour days (between interning and classes) plus being a mom and wife. She gets a call from a friend that expresses how excited she is to see her at the husbands work party. What?! She didn’t RSVP, and her husband said he would pop over for less than an hour than come home to be with her for a quiet dinner. Turns out he was bringing a date that wasn’t her. They had been seeing each other for about 6 months and even had taken a trip together under the pretense of a business trip. Anytime he had been late or gone we assume he was with her. Friend did her a solid and took a couple pics for the divorce lawyer.” — meawait
“A well respected family of two teachers with two cute kids — the husband at the high school and the wife at the elementary school in the fairly high-income town they lived in.
Turns out the wife was dealing drugs without husband knowing, got busted at school (cops showed up to elementary and high school), lost her job and they got divorced/she moved away.” — Danisue7
“We had a guy in high school who faked a deep voice for the 7 years we’ve known him and senior year he revealed that it wasn’t his real voice.” — tuck190