The story, which sounds like it could have been a storyline in Netflix's You, begins with the 32-year-old woman, Reddit user u/HorrifiedFlattered, revealing she met her husband Dave (not his real name), 37, five years ago.
They share a 20-month-old daughter and she is currently four months pregnant with their second baby. She explains that they're very happy together and have a "really good relationship".
She revealed that when their first baby was born, she and her husband agreed it made more sense for her to be a stay at home mum and despite her "initial hesitancy" she's now loves it, saying they live a comfortable life on just her husband's income.
The woman describes meeting Dave, who was friends with her co-worker Mark, and admits to not finding Dave particularly attractive, "not that he's ugly", but he wasn't her type.
Dave was clearly interested, but the woman tried to decline his advances gently, however, she eventually agreed to go on a date with him "after maybe one drink too many".
She writes that she was considering cancelling the date, because she was having "really bad luck dating at that point" but had no other plans so decided to go along with it.
On the date, she was surprised to learn how much they had in common as their relationship continued, she eventually fell in love with him.
This was until one night recently when her husband got a little drunk and revealed the horrifying story to her.
The woman reveals one night while in coronavirus lockdown, she received a message from Dave's brother, Tom, and his girlfriend, saying they were engaged. Tom wrote in a message, "Big thanks to Dave, without who's advice I would have never gotten this far!"
That night in bed, she told Dave how he's such a good example for his younger brother, this is when he told her how he "'helped' Tom make his girlfriend (now fiancé) fall in love with him".
He then began telling her the real story of how they met.
Dave revealed they had actually matched on a dating site about six months before actually meeting, however, she had never responded to his message.
The pair supposedly ranked very high in compatibility stakes and he "just knew" they'd make the "perfect couple".
He then began creating a number of fake accounts in order to catfish her. He would start having conversations with her as these men and learn more about her. Eventually she revealed where she worked.
She wrote: "He said he then spent hours searching Facebook and LinkedIn before he found my picture. At that point he had my name, and started hardcore stalking me online! He had created numerous social media profiles, some of which I accepted as friends/followers, so then he was able to stalk my life!"
He would even buy burner phones so he could message her from different numbers.
The online stalking then moved to real-life stalking. Dave befriended Mark, her co-worker, and started showing up to their after work drinks.
When the woman agreed to go on that first date with Dave, it was because she'd been having so much bad luck with his fake profiles who would sometimes agree to go on dates and stand her up, or simply stop talking to her or become rude. She describes it as a "huge hit" to her self-esteem.
It gets worse.
Around the same time she started dating Dave, she also went on a date with a man named Alex, who seemed perfect up until the end of the date when he abruptly left, despite things going very well, and never contacted her again.
"It was one of the most devastating moments of my life," she revealed, adding she always believed he was the one that got away and that she had ruined everything. She blamed herself "for years" about it not working out.
After this, she "seriously attached" herself to Dave and their "fairy tale love grew from then on".
But, it turns out Alex was actually paid $1000 by Dave to take her out on a date and then "ditch" her.
Dave told her it was so that she would appreciate what she had with Dave and stop "chasing guys out of her league".
She said: "Up til now, I think I had been smiling and generally in disbelief about the whole thing. Which I think only encouraged him to keep going. But the story about Alex just horrified me," adding she didn't believe her self-esteem and confidence ever recovered after that date with Alex.
The woman went on to say that her relationship "just doesn't seem real now", but admitted she is "perversely very flattered".
"That a man would spend so much time and effort, just to be with me, although creepy, also does seem a bit romantic..? Maybe..?"
She asked the people of Reddit for their opinion on the matter and whether it was "normal".
"Up until last night, I had a great, loving husband, a beautiful family, and a life that most would kill for. Technically nothing has changed, except what I now know. Since everything is (was?) so good, do I even ever bring it up again?
"Perhaps I should just accept that my husband wanted me so bad, that he went to insane measures to make it happen, and just be happy with the great life that I have? I just don't know... Maybe I should see a therapist? I just feel so lost right now. I have no idea what to do... if anything."
Some commenters asked if the woman's husband was Joe Goldberg (played by Penn Badgley) from You, others said the story was similar to Tiger King in how it just kept getting stranger and stranger. Others were simply shocked.
One person wrote: "I seriously hope this is fake. Otherwise, he's psychotic and is used to getting what he wants."
Someone else said she should now look back on their relationship with new eyes, "Are there other situations where he manipulates/gaslights you? If I were you, I would look back on your relationship in the new light of what you know now.
"I can't force you what to think, but from an outside perspective that is wildly out of line? Your relationship is based off him belittling you and making you feel insecure enough to date him. Going forwards you should definitely make sure that this is what you want, not what you're settled on."
Others added that he now has control over her because she doesn't have a job so she is forced to depend on him.
One user added, "The level of manipulation it would take to disregard someone's psyche and mental stability shows that OPs husband did not care about her. He wasn't chasing her or pursuing her actual benefit. He wasn't focused on what was best for her.
"OP, your husband individually decided that he knew what was best for you, and lied to you all of these years after systematically breaking down your self esteem. If you live in a one party consenting recording state, please please please have your phone recording when/if you ask him follow up questions.
"This is scarily controlling behavior. He does not have your best interests in mind OP. I would keep all of this to yourself right now, and consult a lawyer as soon as you possibly can, even if it's by phone when you make a grocery store run."
Another added, "In the end it's your choice to make, but I could not stay with someone after finding out they thought it was okay to f**k with someone's life to manipulate the outcome as if they were some sort of inanimate pawn in a game, so that they could 'win'. You're a human being, and what he did to you was completely dehumanizing.
"He doesn't care that he destroyed your self esteem and caused you emotional pain--in fact, that's exactly what he wanted to do. He doesn't care that he hurt you, just that he got what he wanted in the end. Let me repeat, he hurt you on purpose for personal gain. That's so f***ed up, and I couldn't stay with someone knowing that they were capable of doing that without feeling any remorse. That's just not normal."
They continued, "Good luck with this whole situation OP. I'm really sorry you went through this. It's a f***ing insane situation to find oneself in, that's for sure."
Many users encouraged her to be careful around him and to see a therapist so she can talk to someone about it, with many adding the situation was not, in fact, romantic. Some asked if the woman would ever be able to trust her husband again after finding everything out.
Others urged her to tell her brother-in-law's fiancé so she too could look at her relationship with new eyes.
If you or someone you know is suffering from sexual or domestic abuse, don't suffer in silence, call 1800 RESPECT any time of day or night.
Got a story tip or just want to get in touch? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.