Catfishing, or pretending to be someone else online, is becoming more and more common. Meeting people on dating sites and social media sites is the primary way that people meet today, but there are is a high percentage of people who are taking advantage of that to create fake profiles with fake photos and fake personalities in order to get into relationships and friendships with strangers online.
Some people do it to scam money from people that they think are easy targets like older people or lonely people. But some people do it for other reasons that have nothing to do with money. Why would someone catfish other people knowing that the relationship will never be real? After I got catfished I asked my catfish why she did it to try and understand. Here’s what she said:
I was in a relationship with someone that I thought was a guy for over a year. We met on Instagram when “he” started messaging me. And after I threatened to end the relationship if he didn’t meet me in person “he” came clean. He was actually a woman. And she felt bad about misleading me and wanted my forgiveness. So I told her I would forgive her if she could explain to me why she did it. What kind of person creates a fake profile as the opposite gender and tries to trick women into a relationship? I couldn’t understand it at all.
Catherine, my catfish, said that she first set up the fake profile using her brother’s photos because she was bored and she wanted to pass the time. From the way she described it, catfishing sounded like a video game to her. Creating a character and trying to get other people to talk to her was just part of the game. But she said that once we started talking she really liked me and wanted to be friends but by then it was too late and she was committed to the fake persona.
As she talked I did start to understand a little bit more why she did it. She was lonely and didn’t have many friends. She was trapped in the same small town she grew up in taking care of an elderly parent. So she didn’t have a lot of social outlets and her prospects were bleak. I can understand why the idea of escaping into the fantasy of an online relationship was attractive.
But I still couldn’t over the creepiness of it. Once we started to consider ourselves “dating” she should have told me the truth, and I told her that. I eventually forgave her because she did answer my questions and tell me the truth. I know she would like for us to be friends but I’m not sure that I can trust her again after such a betrayal. But I did learn from the experience and now if I meet anyone online I tell them that they have to video chat with me and phone chat within a week or I’m not interested in either a friendship or relationship. I don’t want to get catfished again.