Published February 03, 2013Most people would agree that relationships are complicated, but lately things have been taken to a whole new level with catfishing. A catfish is someone who pretends to be someone they're not using Facebook or other social media to create false identities, particularly to pursue deceptive online romances.
Unless you have been living under a rock it would be hard to miss the Manti Te’o story about the girlfriend who died, who never really existed, but by his definition they were in a serious relationship. Are you confused yet? There are a lot of people out there shaking their heads asking what in the world is going on here.
On a recent episode of Dr. Phil, four attractive young women all tearfully told their story of being duped online to believe they were talking to a guy…. the same guy. One of the women described how she spent three years talking with him on the phone every day; they exchanged photographs, texts and were planning their future together. Not one of these women ever met the guy they were “in love with” in person. Imagine their shock when all of them found out David was actually a woman and the guy they had seen in all the photos had never had a conversation with any of them.
Why would someone do this? How can people be so naïve to fall victim to this kind of scam? Who knows how or why a person decides to be deceptive and lead people on? Perhaps they have a need for power and control, a desire for attention or they want to see people hurt like they have been hurt. But, on to the bigger question at hand – why are people falling prey to this in the first place? Many of the women interviewed said there were red flags along the way, but they pushed them aside in the name of love. Are people so desperate for relationship that they are willing to deceive themselves about what real relationship looks like?
Real relationships involve spending time talking and getting to know each other, but they don’t consist of never meeting in person. Someone who is truly interested in a relationship is going to want to meet you in person and get to know you, your friends, and your family.
Talking on the phone, sending text messages and IMing only allows you to have a one dimensional perspective of your relationship. It is impossible to be in love with someone if you have never seen how they treat other people, what they do when they get angry, how they handle conflict and how they interact with you in person. You are in love with who you think they are, but you have no proof that what you have heard or seen is real.
Real relationships are built on trust, honesty and openness. If a person keeps making excuses for why they can’t meet you in person, stop wasting your time living in a fantasy world and move on. Everyone deserves a relationship that is healthy, nurturing and most importantly, REAL. Don’t settle for anything less.
For more information on catfishing and healthy relationships, please contact First Things First.
President & CEO
As a Certified Family Life Educator Julie writes and speaks on issues related to strengthening marriages and families.