Have you heard of the term “catfish”? Before Manti Te’o’s fake girlfriend, most people would have thought we were talking about the fish with the long whiskers. But in fact, the term Catfish was coined from a 2010 documentary, which launched the idea for the MTV series, Catfish: The TV Show.
A “catfish” is a person who creates fake profiles online and pretends to be someone they are not by using someone else’s pictures and information.
Between the MTV show and the Manti Te’o incident it seems like online dating is fraught with lies and liars.
Many of us have had the temptation to make a better version of ourselves online. Yes, maybe we exaggerate our weight and height, but why would a person lie about someone they are not?
Maybe using a fake version of yourself takes away the risk of opening up. Maybe it allows you to be less invested so it is easier to walk away. But the bigger issue, and what seems to be the underlying reason of why people lie about themselves online, is because they are insecure about their true selves. They do not believe what they have to offer is good enough. They are embarrassed about who they really are so they fabricate a person who is prettier or taller or more talented.
This better version of themselves helps them to escape the hardships of real life. This created online fantasy world makes them forget about the insecurities and the fears and they are replaced with feelings of confidence, emotional connection, and love.
Catfish are recognizable because they want to date exclusively online. They do not want to reveal their true issues.
When we watch these shows and discover the reasons why people are being dishonest about their profiles, it is either because they are maliciously playing a joke or hiding a deep insecurity. Either way, it is heartbreaking.
No one is perfect, and if someone appears perfect online, it is important for you to develop the relationship further. If they are truly the person from the profile, it will come out over time. Safety precautions are important in any dating situation. Check out CatholicMatch’s safety tips at CatholicMatch.com/safety/
If you are someone who is reluctant to show your true self online due to struggles you may have, realize that your obstacles do not define you, overcoming them does. Everyone has something that they feel they could improve on, even the greatest saints. Nothing is more admirable than watching someone overcome a barrier. It takes courage to be open about our true selves and accept our shortcomings. Honesty is integral to any relationship, and someone should love you for YOU not the air-brushed version of yourself.
Online dating sites are there to help members meet their spouses, but the website is, in fact, just a tool. If chatting online is going well and two compatible people are interested in each other, why wouldn’t you want to meet? You cannot have a real relationship if you don’t.
Online or not, no one should waste time on a person who is unwilling to move forward. Don’t let yourself get involved with someone who isn’t willing (after whatever amount of time you feel is right) to take it to the next step. Guard your heart against having an emotional affair with someone who is dishonest online. While that person is undeserving and the relationship may be “fake,” the emotions and the hurt are very real.