Interview with Catfish victim

Have you ever wondered if who you are talking to online is really who they say they are? You should. Thousands of people are regularly duped, often with devastating consequences — emotionally and sometimes financially.

Photo by Ben White on Unsplash

“Aaron” is a soft, kind man who was working his way through a devastating divorce. A wife of many years and two kids later, he finds himself alone. He works, he reads, and he plays his online game occasionally to pass the time. It is here he meets “Lily”, whose charm and warmth was a welcomed addition to his lonely days. For many months they would chat daily, texting, exchanging photos, and talking on the telephone. His fondness for Lily turned into love.

After many attempts to meet each other in person, it seemed like the universe was conspiring against them: a death in the family, trauma, issues with children, health problems…the list goes on. Then finally, almost a year later, it seemed like their time had come. This Canadian guy was finally going to meet his United States gal.

Literally the day that Aaron was supposed to drive across the border to meet up, the phone went dead. No more contact. I would say being “ghosted” was an understatement. She just vanished. Not sure whether to be angry or to be worried, Aaron contacted to see if he could find her. What he discovered was nothing short of devastating. Lily wasn’t Lily after all, she was Lily’s mother.

All along she had played him, acting as if she was her daughter — including the pics. Even the daughter was in on it. They had both duped him. Social Catfish was able to get Aaron the information he needed to get in touch with Lily, and he needed answers. When outed and asked to explain herself, she admitted that she too was lonely, and that she liked the attention. She wasn’t attractive and she wasn’t young, so using her daughter’s identity was what she used to be noticed. Needless to say, Aaron was devastated.

Photo by Adi Goldstein on Unsplash

However, the story doesn’t stop here. Aaron, who is now grieving, says “I feel like I lost somebody. I was in love.” He also now admits that he feels sorry for Lily, which understandably is also very confusing. How does one hold sadness, anger and betrayal, and care for someone at the same time? Aaron admits “I like her. I will probably be friends with her forever. I care about her. I have to. I care about everybody.” And that is true about Aaron — he has a big heart.

“I am a very loyal person, and she was in a rut. I have helped her, and I have shown her a better way. I’m just being me.”

But what about Aaron? Can he recover under these circumstances? Time will tell as reality hits and life moves forward. All I can say is that Aaron has lost a year of his life, and a betrayal of this significance on the heels of a divorce is not a good combination. Aaron gave me permission to print his story as he hopes it may save others from his fate. I hope it does. I hope he recovers.

For the full story as retold by Social Catfish, see here.

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