WTF? I started chatting with a great guy online. We texted, and I would hear from him several times throughout the day, exchanging pictures, stories, etc. He repeatedly stated how much he liked me and wanted to pursue a relationship.
We planned our first date but then, according to him, his son was hospitalized from an accident. I told him postponing our date wasn't a problem. He continued to text regularly, telling me how much he liked me, and even stated that he no longer visited the dating website. This all seemed too good to be true. So I asked him if he was being completely honest and straight with me. He promised on his parents’ grave that he was. Anyway, this went on for over two weeks. Then suddenly he's gone. No messages, no phone calls, nothing. What gives? If he wasn't interested, why would he continue messaging me for so long? It seems cruel.
Claire T. — Phoenix, AZ
He was hit by a beer truck and has amnesia. No, wait, that’s not it. Did you say that one diabolical phrase that totally turned him off and made him run for the hills? Of course not. My guess? He wasn’t the man he said he was, and you were catfished.
You said, “It seems cruel.” No, it is cruel. I’m super sorry this happened to you. It’s l-a-m-e. You should do whatever you do to shake it off: take a long epsom salts bath; go for a hike; eat some Ben and Jerry’s (maybe hike after the B&J); get loved up by a girlfriend who can tell you how amazing you are, and that your real guy is on his way to you soon. And if it helps, I believe the majority of people who do this don’t mean to cause you pain; they are just starving for positive attention themselves.
Now, let’s get to work so you can see the warning signs, and I can tell you how you can avoid this from ever happening again. Ready? You state, “This all seemed too good to be true” and “I asked him if he was completely honest and straight with me.”
Come on now, listen to your gut. She knows, and she’s talking. Think back to the first moment your gut said, “Hey, you, listen up… brain… can you hear me? This isn’t happening. This isn’t exactly right. There’s something fishy going on here.”
Your gut knows long before your brain and heart do, and it’s your job to check in instead of allowing the feelings of hope to override intuition.
Here’s the piece you can learn a lesson from: You two wrote back and forth – for weeks! This is a mistake. Online dating is a solid resource for connecting with singles you would have never had access to in your day-to-day world. When it comes to dating, you just can’t get any more efficient than going online. And everyone is there — I mean everyone. Guys who are great matches for you, guys who will like you and you won’t like them, and guys you’ll be nuts over who won’t like you back. If you keep it up at a regular clip, there will come a day when you meet one you’re crazy about and he’s crazy for you back, and off the site you’ll go.
But as you’re in this process you have to remember one thing: Sometimes the people online aren’t who they say they are. Maybe he’s in a marriage so isolating he reaches out for connection to another human. Maybe he’s a 700-pound shut-in. Maybe he’s a 12-year-old girl who’s bored, bored out of her gourd, and is just fucking with you because someone has fucked with her and she’s a vengeful tween. You can avoid all of this mess if you remember this one key fact about online dating: Nothing is real until you’re face to face at Peet’s Coffee & Tea.
When you match with someone online, go ahead, be hopeful. But don’t invest your heart, time or money in anyone until you’ve met in real time.
Toward the end of my 121 first date escapades, I rarely talked to anyone in advance. If I liked who he represented himself to be in his profile and he could string sentences together, spell well enough and use passable grammar in an email, I’d say I was willing to meet. (I always let guys set the date, but they need the green light to know we won’t be freaked out by them asking.)
You can’t vet him by email. And you can’t tell if you’re his type or if he’s yours by voice alone. It’s tempting to use the telephone, texting, SnapChat or any other fancy app to connect. You’ll bond, but you’ll miss key information you can only get with a real live face-to-face connection. So transition that online connection into the real world experience as quickly as you can.