I fell in love with one of you once. Before I knew what a “Catfish” was, I just thought he could be a sociopath or I maybe I was delusional and imagining the whole thing. Please let me explain before you stop reading. My intent is not to make you feel badly. I understand the last thing you need is more self loathing. I’m just trying to establish my level of expertise on this subject before I start providing you with information to consider. My shit was so not together at the time and I was a very willing participant in the addicting roller coaster ride and resulting glorious train wreck. The fake relationship lasted for 22 weeks of cams, email, chatting, lust, declarations of feelings, fake plans for the future and fights about why I couldn’t meet him. Turns out he was faking his entire identity and when I found out he vanished into thin air without apology or explanation, resurfaced 3 months or so later, continued the silence and finally went away for good. My heart imploded and almost took my soul with it. The battle back was way too lengthy, though transforming in an equally glorious way. It was still a battle and I’d like to make it easier for you. I’m usually a loquacious girl, but you should take this seriously, so I’m going to give you the TL:DR as a courtesy.
1. Lying about who you are is not going to ever get you what you need.
2. You are mind fucking the people you interact with.
I’m going on now.
Lying about who you are is not going to ever get you what you need
The first basic rule of humankind. #1. We are ALL EQUALLY FUCKED UP IN DIFFERENT WAYS. I totally get why you might feel you need to do what you are doing. I understand you are checking out of components of life. Maybe you are sad, angry, grieving, in despair, overwhelmed, neglected, unloved, stressed, and/or unsatisfied. Maybe you are lonely. I’m so sorry you are going through these things. I wish you could understand how beautifully flawed and normal this is. Even if you have an added layer of mental illness or addiction. You are still normal, still beautifully flawed and still worth more. You have needs that are no different or less worthy than anyone else. It’s making you feel better or you wouldn’t keep doing it, but you’re cheating yourself. Lying is only a temporary and insidious fix for the problem, like drinking salt water when you’re desperately thirsty. You are accelerating your unhappiness, not alleviating it.
You’re spending time, brain space, and heart space creating a place that you think feels amazing and makes you “happy”, but what will it feel like when you get caught or have to run so you don’t get caught? What will happen when you can’t stay away, because you’re still not happy, so you start lying some more? Lying has a toll. It makes you feel empty, anxious, less than. Do you not recognize this as less than, not more than, what you are escaping from now? You are never going to get what you truly need in a situation where you decline to present your true self.
Which brings me to my next point…
You are mind fucking the people you interact with.
I know you’re probably not a clinical sociopath, you didn’t start lying to fuck with someone for fun or revenge. Like all train wrecks it will occur gradually in baby steps, and then suddenly, you realize you are fucked. You didn’t intend for someone to actually like you, you barely like yourself. Emotions don’t work the same on-line, they rise to white-hot quickly because of the controlled environment. You don’t know who you are going to meet or who will move you or where your heart will take you. The giddy rush you create for us with your words becomes a drug we want more and more of. We want how you make us feel, what kind of person we think you are, we want what we think is the real YOU.
Sure I liked that he was young, an artist, a college grad, a Midwest boy, had a job, whatever other things about his life he shared. He presented a humanly flawed persona and pretended to understand and appreciate me for who I was. I had the benefit of frequent visual and voice interaction via cam, so I knew I liked his appearance. I did not however, fall in love with any of those things. I fell head over heels, think about him constantly, instant physical and emotional reaction upon thought, even stronger upon sight, love with how he made me feel, the kind of man I thought he was. Feelings gained from 100’s of hours of conversation. Feelings derived from little things like declaring his heart belonged to me in a chat room , or taking a bus home hoping he’d get to talk to me on cam for a full 20 minutes so he wouldn’t have to till the next day to see me. I should have known when he avoided hooking up by claiming to move, then a few weeks later declined the offer of regular phone communication, then later claimed to throw away said phone. I should have known when little things kept not adding up, but it was too late. When it became apparent the drug I was taking was likely false and purposely manufactured, it was too fucking late. The lies you are telling might be working, for you. For us, finding out you lied reveals the drug isn’t real, cannot be recreated, and we’ve just had our last hit. It’s gone and there is no way to get any more. Detox is a bitch. Never mind the layers of confusion and betrayal the grief is delivered in. It is absolutely grief. Truth renders the experience over, the fantasy dead, casts doubt on the emotions shared, the intent of the actions and calls into question every single thing you said that made us FEEL for you. No matter how gracious we are when confronted with the truth, you are emotionally raping us. That is quite simply Bad Karmic JuJu. I understand your deep driving need for love, acceptance, understanding, and pleasure. You absolutely are worth all of those things and more. But please don’t try to get them this way. For us its wreckage when the lies evaporate and we realize we have been intentionally mind fucked. The thoughts, opinions and memories we formed of you are not based in reality and now we don’t know what is lies. We are forced to toss everything in the bonfire, set it aflame and move the fuck on as best we can. Even the lines delivered late in the game of “I’ll carry you with me for a long ass time” or “No matter what I will always adore you.” Doesn’t matter, bullshit poisons truth and poison eventually kills everything in its path. The longer the silence, the stronger the death, the less we believe in anything your eyes ever told us, the more we feel as if you plotted to destroy us on purpose and the more we wonder what the fuck we ever did do you to deserve such heinous disrespect and betrayal. First we miss you, then we hate you, then we feel sorry for you. Eventually we forgive you for ourselves and go on about our lives with a piece of our heart tied to some stranger we will never lay eyes on or hear whisper our name again. Your ghost lives with the other exes in whatever manner we keep them.
Epic fuck ups require epic apologies and I am a huge fan of epic apologies, but deaths are usually not curable.You’re never going to get the girl/guy this way. So put on some trainer big girl panties or big boy boxers and try being you. Don’t kill your future relationships before they even start. Out there somewhere is more than one person who can and will love you for all of what is actually you.
This New Year’s resolve to fearlessly be yourself
I’m not the only one who has something to say about this, I wish I could meet Rachel Stein in person and give her the biggest girl hug possible for putting into much more eloquent words that I could previously find EXACTLY what it feels like to the person you are lying to. I could also hug Nev for just being brave enough to put the message out there.
From Television Without Pity Rachel Stein
On the person being lied to..
..but the fact that so many people immediately trust who they meet online is no longer a freakish urban legend that happened to a friend of a cousin, but something that happens all the time to people who are actually smart, decent and even skeptical. It’s happened to me (in a much less significant way than the cases we see on this show) and to people I love and care about. And when it does happen, as Schulman and his co-star/investigator Joseph aren’t usually there with cameras to reveal it all to you… but it’s about as humiliating and schema-shattering as it was for Sunny. It brings into question what it even means to actually know a person and what a relationship even is, and that’s just for the person getting lied to. It’s so strange and overwhelming and unfamiliar that when it did happen to this young lady in the pilot, her first response was literally: “Am I being Punk’d?”
On the Catfish…
In some ways, I wish we got to learn more about these people who make up fake Internet lives, …But how lonely must their lives be? How embarrassed are they by their own appearance, desires and actual realities? …When Schulman does his check-ins a few months down the road, our offender has always made it a point to share that they’ve lost a few pounds, or in this case, found a new way to empower themselves… because after months of using social media to finally start expressing your desires — that is, the perfectly normal craving to have a relationship with another human being — after years of torment, something’s got to change.
Complex: At the end of the movie, you look really depressed. How upset were you by these duplicitous relationships? Yaniv Schulman: I’ve had two moments in my life where I sort of hit rock bottom. That was one of them. I had built up this daily interaction with these people who were distracting me from my life, building me up and really filling me with such excitement and hope, and then, when it was over and I came home, I felt like the last nine months meant nothing. It was really hard to pick myself up off the floor.
Update 08/15/13 The catfish came out of hiding, and made an error while visiting the blog to see how much “dirt” was here. This allowed me to locate him within minutes via Google, some details he provided in his lies were true and it was enough to make it very easy to find him once I had the correct parameters for searching. He stayed for 22 seconds and will likely never return. Since I am I classy girl, I politely emailed a simple hello and informed him blogs have trackers. Passing up once again a chance to mercilessly fuck with him for some fun of my own. His reaction was a terse, cold, email stating he felt he had merely made a mistake by misrepresenting himself and had put it all behind him, was sorry IF ( yes, IF, I had to really let that one go quickly or its poison would of turned me bat shit crazy) he misled me and a lengthy directive to go away and never bother him again. As in, I’m pissed you busted me, I thought I got away with this and I’m not interested in providing you with anything helpful or kind. Perfect example people show who you they are the first time. I will of course honor his dismissive and insulting request. Finally learning his perception of my worth and meaning in his life, along with his full identity, was the perfect closure. Karma will take care of the rest. Peace Out!
- Catfish: The TV Show and My Real Life Catfish Experience (upcloseanduncomfortable.wordpress.com)
- The Story Behind ‘Catfish’ (psychcentral.com)
I finished the Almost Divorce Story a few months ago, the week of my 41st Birthday to be exact. About a month later AJ ( Part 5, Part 6) found the blog. He looked around a little bit and contacted me, which produced the first instance of organic closure to the situation outside of what I gave myself by writing it in the first place. AJ has tried to email randomly from time to time over the last 2.5 years, he was the first gone wild boy. Previously his emails were obviously trying to get him to eventually come play or hook up in some manner, I didn’t want to do that so I repeatedly ignored him. I don’t need or want that kind of drama or additional emotional and time management in my life. Those days are long over for me. His initial email was unexpected and I read it with a tiny bit of apprehension. He isn’t the first to find me, nor did we have any unfinished business per se, but AJ and I spent a lot of time together, he knows that world, he knows my story because he was a part of it and I decided to indulge the conversation. I was glad I did. Excerpts below, with some changes for privacy and spelling.
AJ to Me:
Popped on this account to flush it out, and saw Google+ stuff about you. Lurked and found CloserToLola. Truth be told, not interested in any postings because we are long since through, but was hooked in by the AD Timeline.
I was curious if I was The Big Guy. But also noticed that I didn’t make it into the timeline, I guess it really focuses in on that weird dude who you told me about. ( This description is funny b/c it’s just so innocuous, weird, yes just weird is a simple way to sum it up nicely)
Anyway, just wondering. I hope you have a wonderful day.
Me to AJ:
Yes it isn’t hard to put the two together if you try hard enough. I don’t mind being found, just curious as to the details. how specifically did you put it together? You’re not the first 🙂
2.) See Google+ notifications, click out of curiosity and saw you.
3.) Lurked/creeped to see how you have been, wanted to make sure you found your happy place.
4.) Saw a Google+ post to the blog
5.) See mostly stuff that I’m not interested in, about to close and see the serial about when we knew each other.
6.) Read the timeline, because I didn’t want to go through everythingI asked if I was the Big Guy because I knew that we had talked while everything was going crazy with emore, and that was around last year. I might find time to read the entire story one day, but if I was Big Guy, I was flattered that you felt that I help your through your situation.
You wrote alot about the topic, and it doesn’t surprise me since it caused a lot of drama in your life. I really do hope that all is well with you. As for me, the wheels are still on and moving forward if that means anything, lols.You look great, btw.AJ
Thanks AJ! I’m very proud of you for taking this route and I know you will go on to live your best life possible. More closure has presented itself in other forms, I’ll share more later Lovies.
At 10:00 the bells rang here. I like to think it is because I didn’t get divorced. Officially filed for dismissal today.
I think some people in my life think Babu and I just jumped back into being together, that I lost Paul, immediately begged Babu to take me back, and that he just stupidly and willingly came. This used to bother me slightly because I was still carrying around the new shame of the whole ordeal, now it just makes me laugh. Let me write it out for you another time, it would have been emotionally easier to simply go on and get divorced. That printed out; ready for the notary Divorce Decree was the weapon of choice in those first weeks when we didn’t know what we wanted to do.
It’s time to revisit communication. First let’s review. Remember way back in something like Part 2 when I said that I should of run to Babu and poured my heart completely out about what I was going through and the emotionally issues it was causing? I’ve mentioned the hours and hours of awful conversation we had as we started down this journey, all that time spent discussing one yucky situation after another. We collectively smoked through a pack a day because of all the time we spent in the garage having Mommy and Daddy are going to go in the garage and talk time while the children literally ran amok inside the house.
After we spent a weekend together at the Chateau, we came home and went back to our regularly scheduled lives as separate people. We still switched the kids on Fridays after school; the opposite parent still had dinner with the kids on Tuesday’s. We did make an effort to talk more about what was happening to us, and to spend more time together as a couple and as a family. What this looked like to the kids was small things like Mommy being invited to dinner at Daddy’s house and vice versa, or the babysitter coming so Mommy and Daddy could go out. We didn’t talk to the kids about what any of it meant, or act like it was anything special, we just did it. We also took a lot of time during those visits to engage in many conversations of varying degrees of emotional discomfort and potentially explosive results.
When we were ruining our marriage and getting divorced we went through lots of anger and yelling, had heart baring, gut wrenching talks. We learned through all of that practice to get better. We had no choice if we were going to become any kind of amicable co parents and all of that drama of our journey helped to teach us how. Now that we were trying to figure out if we wanted to be a couple again we had to sit down and have more of those talks. Two people who only weeks ago were ready to move on had to sit down and re-hash their separation, what we learned about ourselves, each other, our relationship. It was like we were attacking it on two fronts. Offensively with things like both of us writing down what kind of relationship we want (with anyone) and then meeting to discuss and share. Then the defenses of anger, grief and confusion that arose when things like: I realized I never tried anything new and when I did I was a douche about it, so while we were separated I hung out with this friend girl and did all this amazing shit I’d never do with you; or how many guys did you sleep with were addressed. This wasn’t 2 high school kids getting back together after a stupid fight about what Betty said in the lunch room, this was a 12 year relationship that was ripped apart in an amicable but deep and ugly fashion, scars were being reopened, new wounds were being drawn, we still had the “Fuck you, I’ll sign those papers right now and meet you at the bank at noon and we will get divorced anyway”. We both pulled that line MORE than once before we realized if we were going to have any chance, we had to take that card off the table. I’d end up divorcing him on proving I don’t bluff alone and that would certainly have been obstinate and stupid stubborn. We didn’t do anything about the filing, but we had to remove it from our conversation. Removing it from the conversation forced us both back to communicating emotionally uncomfortable things in an as safe and open and environment as we could provide for each other. My opinion is this communication intimacy is the inner glue that keeps any relationship together. Intimacy deeper than just I know a lot about the other person and how their mind works, what is really in their heart, what are their triggers and issues. True intimacy allows you to communicate the scariest thing you can imagine and trusting that no matter how awful it is, sharing the fearlessly be yourself BGP truth of it and trusting that the other person is engaged, committed and capable of loving you in spite of whatever it is. You become a team that sharpens each other, trusts each other, knows when to let each other be and holds each other up in times of need. True intimacy requires the not always pleasant truth. I have some level of this intimacy with many of my Besties. There is no relationship more important to have this in than with the person you plan on making a life and children with. I have close to 12 years of marriage in and I will tell you that life and children will do everything they can to tear you apart. They say pick a mate that is easy to be with in the beginning because “they” know it gets a lot harder as time and life changes are added. The stakes are greater and Babu and I both seem to understand that now.
We baby stepped our way through week after week, then month after month until one week he went for a visit to Florida and when he got home he came to the house and never left. Eventually he made the decision to let the apartment go and move all of the displaced stuff back home. I’ve mentioned some of the miss-steps and distractions of our reconciliation path before. The first year was a little bit of a roller coaster, but we got through it, each on our own, as a couple and as a family. We are not perfect people, we don’t have a perfect marriage, our family has flaws, but we work to be engaged, committed and capable of loving each other to keep that intimacy glue strong in our marriage. This doesn’t mean we go around having these kinds of talks all the time these days, or that when we do they are as emotionally charged or as yucky as those from our almost divorce. Lives always have set backs but are not always in a state of crisis.
I think we have reasonably reached the end of our story Lovies. Never one to close a door, I may write an epilogue or random AD post from time to time if I have something I need to say or add. Thanks for reading it, I hope you laughed, learned, and loved.