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Sex + Relationships

Once Upon a Catfish: Based on True Events

There is a pivotal moment in a girl’s life where she discovers her first crush. For me, that was in the first grade underneath the monkey bars. His name was Corey, and he saved me from being imprisoned during an intense game of cops and robbers on the playground. That’s all I knew romance to be at the time, little did I know how complicated and intimidating romance could be growing older.

Tinder was never on my to-do list. I had always told myself that I wanted to find someone the way it happens in the movies; we’d run into each other at a coffee shop or some other corny and completely unrealistic scenario. But then college happened, and those thoughts went right out the window. My roommate was always on it, always trying to convince me to make a profile and try it. I never paid her any mind, knowing that wasn’t really my style. Then a mild case of desperation creeps in, and all common sense is thrown out the window.

Four pictures and a questionable bio later, I was the not-so-proud owner of a Tinder profile. Swiping left, swiping right, nothing really stuck out to me and I found myself wanting to delete the profile and stick to my original plan of spontaneous and far-fetched romantic expectations. And then my phone chimed. Pablo (his name for the sake of this story) sent you a new message. An astoundingly handsome personal trainer with a cute little puppy and eyes I could swim in. That ought to do the trick, right? Did I mention he was British? Yup, definitely far-fetched romantic expectations.

Courtesy: The Outline

He dropped a cheesy and abominably cringey pick-up line, but me teasing him about his lack of originality quickly turned into a few weeks of constant messaging. He asked me to lunch a few times, but class always got in the way. I asked him to meet me at happy hour with my friends, he had work. I guess there were always the warning signs in the back of my mind, but I was consumed by the attention and he always said the right thing every time I told him I was skeptical of the entire situation. Don’t worry your pretty little mind, things are going to work out.

A couple of weeks later, I still hadn’t met him in person. I packed up my car and went home for the summer, hoping to leave behind my lapse in judgment and the disheartening feeling in my gut. But those thoughts crept right back up when my phone chimed again a couple of days into summer vacation. And it chimed again.

Dear old Pablo had taken the time to send not one, not two, but THREE messages saying how much he already missed me and how nothing felt the same anymore. Clingy much? I responded, and low and behold, we spent the entire night talking on the phone. And then out of the blue, he sends me a picture of ‘his friends.’ I asked him why he sent me that photo and why he wasn’t in it. And he responded with the two words that made me want to puke and cry all at once. I am.

In the midst of my rage, heartbreak, and confusion, he told me he never intended to meet someone like me, and that Tinder was just a game. Wow, a really reassuring thing to say to the girl you’re trying to sweep off her feet. I called him every name in the book and told him to never reach out again. After a rant to my roommate on FaceTime, I rid my phone of any and all evidence of Pablo. But that didn’t help the fact that I had been a victim to Catfishing. And that was scary to admit.

Courtesy: Tech Crunch

I’ve honestly never been so disappointed and frustrated in my entire life. I’ve watched Catfish: The TV Show long enough to know better. But I guess peer pressure and desperation has a way of gripping you in your weakest moments and driving you to make decisions contrary to your beliefs and character. So needless to say, I cut all ties with him. He was angry with me because he claimed that I was shallow for only caring about his looks after getting to know him. And that’s where he was wrong aside from the entire debacle. I explained to him that it was never about the pictures or what he looked like. Spending that much time getting to know someone slowly builds some level of trust, trust that was instantly broken with a two worded message.

I told myself if he had the nerve to be upset and pin things on me, claiming I was superficial, that I did the right thing and he was never worth holding on to. So maybe never having met him was for the best, but it never really dulls the disappointment because at the end of the day I devoted a lot of time to this person, hoping things would have turned out different.

And if there is one thing I took away from this experience, it’s that I didn’t need an app to give me validation and attention. I need to stick to my plans because I never would have made them if I didn’t want things to work out that way.

So Pablo, wherever you might be, thank you. Thank you for having the worst work schedule that never allowed me to meet you. Thank you for making me a part of your ‘game,’ as you called it. And thank you for trying to invalidate my feelings in the midst of my turmoil. If it weren’t for you, I never would have known what it is I deserve and how to find that for myself. Because I deserve that. If it weren’t for you, I wouldn’t have grown stronger in my beliefs and as a person. But most of all, thank you for inspiring me to write myself an even better happily ever after to my love story.

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