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The possibility of love opens our hearts, but sometimes it opens it to the wrong people; the people that have intentions of hurting us, taking from us, or simply toying with us because their lives feel so empty. Being open to love and the possibility of it is beautiful, but this day in age love can blossom in so many ways that we need to be extra careful. I recently had an opportunity to sit down with one of the sweetest girls I have ever met and she told me her story about being catfished. I have never done on-line dating and I rarely respond to men who contact me on social media so when she first started telling me her story, I wondered how anyone could be catfished. Not far into her telling me though, I could see her emotion behind what had happened and how this catfisher somehow had the ability to pull this trusting girl in and keep her there.

I feel this girl’s story is important to share and learn from, especially this day in age. There are so many opportunities with social media, texting, phones, etc… for people to come at us and take advantage of our hearts. She was very willing to share her story to help people understand, but with all that has happened she asked that her identity not be revealed. 

Here is the story of one young, beautiful and trusting girl’s experience with being catfished: 

When MTV debuted the show “Catfish” most people watched in amazement thinking “This really happens?” and “How stupid can these people be?”  My reaction was quite the opposite.  I remember sitting watching the first episode with tears rolling down my face.  Unfortunately, I was going through and had been going through what these people were experiencing for the past year and a half.  I was being “catfished” and in a worse way than what most people seen on the show experienced.

In the summer of 2011 I met a girl at a work event who had just moved back home.  I reached out to her offering to grab drinks sometime knowing how hard adjusting to living back home can me.  She happily obliged and proceeded to tell me how she had a younger brother who was recently single.  As the conversation went on, the girl told me her brother had a job that involved a great deal of travel so he wasn’t really around much.  She then showed me a picture of an incredibly good looking guy and asked if I would talk to him if he contacted me.  She said I was his type and I thought what do I have to lose, so I gave her permission to give her brother my number.  That day, not only did I begin a new friendship with this girl, I entered into what would end up being nothing but a horrible devastating lie.

Within a few hours of the girl giving her brother my number, he texted me; from that day on we texted and talked on the phone every day.  After about a month of us talking, we had both started developing feelings for each other.  He told me he worked with college and NFL football so he was always on the road.  Relationships didn’t work out because the girls got sick of never seeing him.  Him not really being around wasn’t a huge issue to me.  I am very independent and I am used to doing things by myself so as long as I could see him when he was home, I didn’t mind.  While this was all going on with the girl’s brother, the girl and I had become fast friends and we were pretty much attached at the hip.  She was going through a rough patch in her life where she was trying to get her confidence back and put herself back out there.  My natural instinct to help people had kicked in so I made sure to try to keep her socially active.  We were around each other all the time.  The girl was really needy and was usually in a depressed mood most of the time, but I did my best to be a positive encouraging influence to her.

As the months went by, the girl was sucking the life out of me and I was getting irritated that I hadn’t met her brother yet. When I would ask the guy when I was going to see him, he would get extremely upset and it would turn into a fight or he’d make up some excuse.  After a few months most people would say fuck it and walk away.  I kept hanging on.  The girl would give me false hope saying he was going to be home later and I may be able to see him, or he may meet us out.  It never seemed to happen though.  At one point, I had started lying to my friends and said we had met and hung out.  I lied so I wouldn’t sound like a crazy person for talking to someone and having feelings for someone that I hadn’t met after 3 months.  I made excuses for him not seeing me as well.  At the end of the day, the only person I was lying to was myself.  Part of the reason I kept hanging on though was because here was this gorgeous guy and he was interested in me!  I wanted my fairytale ending.

After about four and a half months, I started getting suspicious of this guy’s existence.  Since the girl and I had grown close, I was around her family a lot.  Her family never mentioned her brother and there were no pictures of him in the house.  Also, he would never call me when I was with his sister or at his parents’ house.  I would get texts, but never a phone call.  Also, the girl would always carry two cell phones with her; a personal cell phone and a “work” cell phone.  When I would start to question the brother’s existence, the girl or he would do something that would make me think he was real.  Like the girl showed me a picture of this guy with her nieces and nephews one time.

Over the next year, I continued to put the pieces together and had finally found so much evidence that this guy didn’t exist I couldn’t deny it anymore.  Mind you, we still had not met in person after a year and a half either.  Then I finally Googled for images of him and found out it was some guy in Miami that didn’t have a clue as to who I was.  When I saw the photo come back as this guy I thought I was going to throw up.  I was devastated.  I didn’t know what to do or think.  This relationship had gone on for a year and a half.  Someone had fucked with my life for a year and a half.  That someone was the girl I had befriended the whole time.  Someone I had been a very good friend to.  She had used this guy’s photo as bait to get friends.  She would tell girls about her brother, get the two of them talking and manipulate the girl to becoming her friend at the same time.  The only thing was, I was genuinely her friend. I didn’t use her like the others did for her “brother.”  I felt so betrayed, so hurt that someone could do that to another person who was a real friend to them.

After I had found out, I went into a downward spiral.  I became very depressed.  I didn’t eat, I didn’t sleep, I just cried.  I would go work, not talk to anyone all day, come home and cry myself to sleep for days.  This went on for a good month until I the day came where I didn’t care if I woke up anymore.  I knew I needed help.  I started going to therapy and needed to figure out a way to confront this girl about what she had done and was continuing to do to me.  I needed to get her out of my life.  With the help of my therapist, I found out this girl most likely had Borderline Personality Disorder which was why she was doing this to me.  Since this girl had this disorder, she wasn’t going to be that easy to get rid of.  It took me about a year, but I finally got her out of my life!

I did end up calling her out and she denied everything.  Unfortunately, this girl is still out there catfishing other girls into being her friend. She was doing it to three other girls at the same time she was catfishing me.  For some reason I was the only one out of the four of us that she let get close enough to figure her out though.  I debated reaching out to those girls to tell them the truth, but haven’t.  Hopefully, they’ve either moved on or figured the truth out on their own by now.  I wouldn’t wish what I went through on my worst enemy.  It was the hardest, darkest time in my life that I am still moving forward from.  Today, I am five months sober from that girl being in my life.  I fought through the depression and have been on a path of healing and in such a better place in my life for quite some time now.

The people who are out there catfishing others don’t realize the damage they are really doing to another person.  To this day, I still can’t watch Catfish.  Watching that show or even hearing about it brings back memories and feelings that I’ve worked so hard to move forward from.  It’s unfortunate that there is a show out there like that and this really does happen to people every day.

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Jillian Conley

About Jillian Conley

Author of Maid of Honor, Dating Chase Walker, Time for Audrey Buchanan & the Coffee Table Quotes collection. Blogger giving life advice through stories. Co-founder of My Three Sisters Publishing. TV Host Social Chicago. Radio Host Love Code on Modern Problems Radio Show.

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One Response to Catfished

  1. Vera June 10, 2015 at 7:04 pm #

    Hmmm… so basically your mad because your self esteem was so low you believed words of a person you never met… I think your pathetic for writing this article. Obviously your just mad at yourself and felt the need to share how sad you truly . People only do to you what you allow them too. Personally maybe you deserved it for being so dense to what others are capable of. Good luck… can’t wait to read the next dumbass article of what happened to you.