‘I pretended to be a gay man online, then I met my future husband’

Jade Costa, 37, has revealed how she found love with her now-husband after initially catfishing him as a gay Japanese man named Toshie on an online chat room. The then 19 year old was seeking companionship rather than romance on Gaia Online, a fantasy-based chat room, following a painful breakup.

“I wasn’t looking for anything at all,” she confessed. Jade believed posing as a gay man would help her avoid unwanted romantic attention and potential heartbreak.

She also sought to protect herself by using an American site, thinking it would be harder for anyone to track her down. Among the friends she made was Luke Costa, a fellow anime and gaming enthusiast.

For nearly a year, Jade, under the guise of Toshie, would regularly chat with Luke, often coincidentally logging in at the same time.

“He was always someone I enjoyed talking to,” Jade reminisced. “I would almost follow him around. He was quite quiet and I’m quite loud so I quite enjoyed trying to get conversation out of him.”, reports the Mirror.

“In real life I was no different to the character I was portraying online. We were always drawn to each other I think.”

However, things took a turn when Jade’s friend Hajjah admitted his growing affection for Toshie.

“Hajjah was one of my best pals on there,” Jade recounted. “I knew he was homosexual but he never displayed any interest. I was sort of his wingman, he would send me pictures of outfits he liked and I would give him fashion tips.”

“Then one day he pulled me to one side and told me – ‘You’ve always been there for me. I think I’m falling for you’.”

Jade’s heart sank as she realised the unintended consequences of her online persona. “My heart just shattered. I hadn’t meant to lead him on and we had always just been friends. I realised I had to come clean about who I was.”

The moment of truth arrived, and Jade disclosed her true identity: a woman from the UK, not the gay man from Japan she had pretended to be.

“I lost quite a few friends,” she admitted. “There were people who didn’t want to talk to me anymore when they found out.”

But when she confided in Luke privately about her true gender and location, a surprising revelation occurred. “But I spoke to Luke privately. When I told him I was a woman and lived in England, he asked where I lived. It turned out we lived five minutes away from one another.”

The pair were stunned to find out that not only they both resided in Hertfordshire, but their homes were merely four miles apart – with Jade based in Letchworth and Luke in Hitchin.

Luke delightfully said: “I was overjoyed when I found out Toshie was a woman. I really liked her company. It made it even better that she was available to me, as a straight man, and that it was something I could pursue.”

They planned to meet at a local Blockbuster store the next day.

“I saw her and I just thought ‘this is too good to be true,” he confessed.

After falling for each other at first sight, Jade and Luke spent the whole day together and by the end of the day, they were inseparable.

“I asked her to be my girlfriend the next day,” admitted Luke. “I just thought to look as good as that and be interested in me – I was reaching for the stars really.”

Since that online meeting made possible by fate, Jade and Luke have been a solid couple for 18 long years, nurturing three children: Willow, 14, Phoenix, 12, and Rowan, five.

“One day she stayed over and just didn’t go home,” added Luke. “We have been happy ever since.”

After being engaged for some time, they finally tied the knot on August 27 of last year at a registry office, amid loved ones and friends.

“The universe definitely brought us together,” Jade reflected. “He’s just such a great man and dad. I did catfish my husband, but it was truly meant to be.”

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