catfish

Anatomy of a liar.

This one really made me angry. Bryon wasn’t a catfish in the traditional sense, but he was fishing for something, with no intent to catch this fish.

I knew he was lying about something, right from the beginning – I will tell you why shortly. But being focussed on that lie prevented me from noticing the other signs of a catfish right away.

Perhaps the most frustrating thing for me is to meet someone who was what I seek. You know, if not for the whole douchebag thing. He was intelligent, accomplished, and interesting. But he was an intellectual bully.

He was also likely married. Or at the very least, nowhere near as single as he professed.

It all started on Plenty of Fish. His profile caught my eye – a handsome dark-skinned man wearing a tuxedo and a big smile. His profile said he was divorced with children and he spoke of interests and desires in life which matched mine. I sent him an opening message, which I rarely ever do.

He replied right away. He liked my profile and said so. There was the great quick banter I love so much. He was flirty but not over the top. He said, “hey A I’m never on here and now getting messages… save me from here… can we text instead?”

And I fell for it hook line and sinker.

The first sign something was off was the first or second evening we were texting. I was home alone and asked him if we could talk on the phone. He promised “later”, but explained he was waiting for his children to show up for dinner. It was perhaps 9 pm.

We kept texting, using WhatsApp. An hour later he sent me a picture. In it, he was sitting on a couch at nighttime. I asked if it was right then and he said yes. When I clicked on the picture it revealed it was a screen capture from another chat exchange. Those of you who use Whatsapp will understand what I mean. You can see the picture, the time stamp at the top, the ID of who sent the picture, and tiny thumbnails of all the photos you’ve exchanged along the bottom.

And that’s exactly what I saw. It was a picture he’d sent, but from a month prior, and in the row of little pictures at the bottom was another picture of him in bed, a selfie of two women, and a few other pictures.

If there’s one thing I really hate it’s when a man lies and thinks he can play me because he’s smarter.

So I challenged him directly. I didn’t care if he sent me an older picture but to lie about it – and not have the savvy to crop the picture? COME ON. He denied it. I wasn’t going to let it go because it made zero sense to me.  I explained why I knew he was lying and went to the chat I had below his and mine to take a screenshot as an example.

It just so happened the chat below was between Todd and me. I found a picture I’d sent him of me on vacation, which we’d laughed about because my trapezoid muscles looked huge – I looked jacked. I was fully dressed and in a ball cap.

I checked the thumbnails along the bottom. There was a selfie of Todd but his face was tiny in the corner of the pic. There were two pictures I’d sent to Bruce on vacation of me looking flirtatious in a towel, which I’d sent to Todd when he said he missed me and wanted to see me. All pretty innocuous in my opinion.

I took the screenshot and added it to my text, as proof I knew he was fucking around.

Byron’s response?

“Is that Todd?”

Oh.

Fuck.

What are the fucking chances they know each other? I live in one of the largest cities in the world.

He managed to avoid my question about why he’d bother lying about the picture because we were suddenly talking about Todd. I texted Todd right away, sent him his picture and asked if he knew him.

By 11 pm I was curious why we could still text when he was supposedly unable to talk because of a dinner. When I asked, he said they were going out late. I was 80% certain it was bullshit, but I know sometimes there are valid extenuating circumstances. I was aware of becoming overly cynical, so I told myself perhaps he had a good reason but one he didn’t want to share.

Todd called me the next morning. He said he was reluctant to say anything about mutual friends because it ended badly a few times before. Given the experience I’d recently had with my girlfriend, I completely understood. “But Todd, all I’m looking for is whether Byron is who he says he is,” I said, “I’m not asking you to tell me whether he’s a good person or if we are compatible.”

“Okay, Ann…” Todd paused. “It’s so weird, he and I were on the phone for hours yesterday talking about a business deal, and you were texting him all night. Between the two of us, we took up most of his day. Yes he’s the successful businessman he says he is, but… I think he’s married.”

Right. Of course.

I explained he’d said he’d been divorced for six years and Todd mused perhaps it was one of those situations where someone may not want business partners to know. Sure, it is possible. But how likely? Todd said he was uncomfortable talking about it so I didn’t press for more information.

I set out to do some online research the next day, while Byron and I continued our flirty banter. He splits his time between three cities (established as truth) and I had Liam for an extended time, so there wasn’t an immediate window to meet. He’d sent pictures of his children and their names. I knew his last name because he’d told me. It didn’t take long before I found his social media accounts, those of his children… and that of his ex-wife.

Although she sure didn’t look like his ex-wife.


Image from the 1945 Hitchcock movie “Spellbound”; dream sequence designed by Salvador Dali

18 thoughts on “Anatomy of a liar.

  1. I asked this on your previous post but didn’t receive a reply. Why do guys even catfish? Why bother as it’s too many lies? Maybe in this guy’s mind he lies because he’s still married but again, why put all the effort to post and look for people, what do they get out of it? Lies snowball so why not the truth?

    • In my eyes it is all about the thrill and power for these guys…it is a game to them. And they dont seem to realise the hurt they cause with their behaviour…they dont have any remorse about wasting a womans time.

    • They love the thrill of the Chase and the rush of a new connection. They are so self-centered that they can’t comprehend (or care) that they are hurting women with their shenanigans. They think this is harmless flirting and the internet creates a separation that removes the feeling of reality for them. It’s like a chat room for them – they can create an online persona and somehow I think they believe that the women are also creating an online fantasy persona as well. I’m not justifying them – they are sick, warped assholes who are to be avoided.

  2. These guys are such a waste of effort, and it is so sad that you have to give them time to find out that they are. You seem to be having a run of bad luck Ann.

    • I’m also having good luck too… just trying to finish off the negativity before I get to the positive 🙂

      But yes, a total waste of effort. With the last one I wrote about, from contact to end was less than 24 hours. This guy though… this one was different, and ultimately really a thorough waste of my time.

  3. Ann, I read these catfish posts and it pissed me off. OK, I’ve been in a pissy mood this week anyway, but this adds fuel to my fire. One thing I would suggest for you to consider is how long you want to engage with these assholes. They are time and emotional energy vampires. I don’t think it’s healthy for you to keep running down the rabbit trail with them.

    I know you want to expose them and confront them, but I don’t think it will change their shitty behaviors. There are plenty of other women to snare, so a smart, confrontational woman is easily dropped and forgotten. While they remain unchanged, even when challenged by you, you are left with sore feelings and unrecoverable lost time and emotional energy. That’s no good.

    Can you put aside your innate need for justice and competitive need to be right (and I don’t mean this in a negative way — this is just part of who you are and your core values)? Can you learn to let these vampires go quickly and cleanly so you can keep your positive energy flowing and save yourself time that can be spent on other pursuits (both romantic and otherwise)?

    In closing, as I review this comment, let me elaborate on my observation that your core values include a competitive need to be right. I hope you don’t read that negatively because I don’t mean it in a negative sense. As I have read your blog from the beginning, I have seen (and admire) your intelligence and drive. You are justifiably proud of it. There are many people (both men & women) who are intimidated and therefore threatened by Amazons such as you (and me to a lesser degree). You can’t allow them space in your head. You will continue on your journey and you will meet more men who will love and cherish these traits in you. They will love a woman who can challenge their intellect and hold them accountable because they know it makes them a better person. In the meantime, please drop the vampires quickly perhaps with a simple “fuck you, you piece of shitty catfish”

    With much admiration, Maggie

    • Thank you Maggie 🙂

      I totally and completely hear you. There are times when I’m far better at letting it go. And it’s funny, it my work life, I’ve come a long way in adapting my style and reactions and I don’t need to make the other person admit I’m right (I know that sounds bad, but it’s kind of the primal reaction I have). I’m far more comfortable in letting people go along their merry way. My time and emotional energy is better spent elsewhere.

      When it comes to my personal life, I’m not fully there yet. I’m better, for sure… and there have been situations where I’ve just thought “meh” and moved on. For some reason, perhaps because these three incidents happened in a matter of two weeks, it took me over the cliff.

      Part of why I may engage a bit longer is not because I think I’m right, but I fear I may be wrong. My gut will know something, I will know something, but there’s that voice saying “but Ann, what if this is all justified and you’re going to lose the potential love of your life??”. That’s the voice I have to shut down. Hy tells me I’m a diplomat to a fault.

      I finally do realize now what I didn’t know when I first experienced this four years ago… nothing I say or do will make a difference with these men. They just move on. The type of person who will do this is not going to feel remorse and they won’t say “OMG you’re right!”. But it does make ME feel better to say what I have to say to them. I say my piece, and tell them they can’t fool everyone, and then I write about it here and it helps me process it all.

      I’m thinking about how to potentially help other women avoid these guys – I’m not sure everyone knows the red flags (I didn’t, when I first went online) in a more constructive manner. Haven’t figured out what that is yet.

      I always do appreciate your insight. It’s what keeps me writing and why I love my little community so much. xo

  4. OMG! I thought I was the only person this kind of strange stuff with men happens. Two cities 6 hours apart and they not only have the same car insurance person but one plays poker with the agent on a monthly basis and the other is an old college friend. Smack my head. Lol

  5. Why is he being married a deal breaker for you? For such a sexual libertine this sudden morality is rather confusing. You have had affair with marrie men before why the sudden hesitation? Is it because he was not affront about it in the beginning? Maybe he wasn’t so open because he barely knew you.Maybe he did not now how trustworthy you were. When you live a lifestyle where “anything goes” This is what you get.

    • None of this is sudden. I’m looking for a relationship and have been for a while, therefore I’m not going to pursue a married man for that. I don’t want to date someone who can’t make me their priority.
      And no, none of my choices mean it’s okay for me to misrepresent themselves online.’

  6. These guys are ridiculous. Even if married, there’s still plenty of women out there that still want a relationship. Honesty is always the best and easiest policy, and shocker, women like that in a man. Your recent experiences just go to show that no matter how smart men may be in business or other endeavors, they have HUGE blind spots where their behavior and mindset is archaic. As always, I’m rooting for you, and as Prashal implied in the previous comment, your brain is your sexiest asset and the petty, stupid men have little chance to put one over on you.

What do you think?