As a single woman who doesn’t much like bars (or staying up after 10pm come to think of it) I have occasionally used online dating sites to meet prospective partners.
Despite my mother’s fear that I shall be cut into little pieces and slowly devoured with an accompanying fine shiraz, I have actually found the vast majority of men I’ve met lovely. I’ve always assumed maybe my positive experiences have a lot to do with the fact that I have a finely tuned bullshit radar; hey – I used to be a High School teacher (lie detecting is a job necessity) and I have co-written an entire book on dating and relationships.
But then I met a Catfish.
The term “catfish” was popularised by the documentary film of the same name and the subsequent MTV reality show in which the hosts, Nev and Max, help those who suspect they may have been duped online track down who their online love buddies really are.
I started binge watching this show a few weekends ago – and yep (pardon the pun), I was hooked. Some of the people on the show had relationships lasting many years that they took very seriously – yet so often, sadly, found out it was all built on a lie. In many cases, the person they were really speaking to wasn’t even of the same gender as the persona they created.
Spurred on by watching these cyber investigations, I decided to do some research on a man I first met online about 6 months ago.
When we met, he had pursued me passionately – many texts, emails, roses, chocolates, dinners out… Big. Romance.
For all of a week.
And then he disappeared overnight. Emails and calls were unanswered. It was a huge mystery. Had aliens abducted him, I wondered?
A few months later and he was back in my inbox begging forgiveness. He had a very dramatic excuse for why he had had to suddenly disappear, and claimed that he had met a girl he had just started seeing so wanted only to be my friend and check that I was ok.
I did eventually relent and agree to catch up as friends. Hey, I am a forgiving girl, and he is a particularly charming guy. We started texting and emailing frequently and having the odd picnic / lunch date. He would always flirt up a storm and tell me how much he wanted me. I would remind him he now had a girlfriend and all we could be were mates. And, honesty alert, of course it was flattering to receive such (seemingly) enamoured attention.
He told me he did not yet love the new woman in his life yet, and that although he would stay with her, we should think only of our own happiness and be lovers regardless.