Have You Ever Been "Catfished" in an Online Relationship?

Online dating: what you see is not always what you get.Online dating: what you see is not always what you get.

How many times have you made a spur of the moment or emotional purchase online? Its allure too appealing not to place it in your virtual shopping cart. You press submit and as the screen refreshes and a confirmation appears you grin knowing it's on its way.

Unless you paid extra for rush delivery for the next 5-7 days you excitedly wait and picture your purchase - a fancy dress on clearance, a pair of shoes you've been eyeing all winter, a fancy scarf. And then it arrives. Only it's nothing like the way it looked in the photos, and as you re-read the product description from your computer screen it doesn't seem to match up with that either! Even worse, all sales are final. Boo. You just wasted your money and are the recipient of a major retail let down.

I wonder if that even comes close to how people feel when they realize their guy or girl of their dreams was better online than in real life. Even worse - finding out that the person you fell for doesn't "exist," an occurrence that can be referred to as "catfishing."

With so many stories of catfishing being read across the Internet, it's a crazy reminder that what you see isn't always what you get, especially if you are seeing it by way of your computer screen.

People are lying about who they really are. This past Friday on television I watched several stories of people who had what they believed to be serious relationships formed online. Sadly they learned that the people they had fallen in love with weren't real, and instead were "characters" created by another person.

Related: 12 tips for creating an online dating profile that people will actually click on

To add to this is the fact that people are also claiming to be in relationships, but the person they are dating doesn't exist. Countless men and women have taken the notion of an imaginary friend to another level. According to Your Tango, people sometimes do this to seem appealing to potential mates or to feel better about their self-image.

With all this false advertisement going on in the Internet world the concept of online dating seems even scarier. Behind all those witty phrases paired with handsome head-shots on virtual profiles are people who are nothing like the person they are trying to appear to be. And unlike a bad shoe purchase, the sting of heartbreak or a blind date from hell are harder to forget.

These days so much appears better online. Sometimes even people.

Have you or someone you know ever fallen victim to catfishing? Why do you think people present themselves as someone else online? Do you think it is possible to fall in love with someone you have never met "in real life?"

- By Krishann Briscoe
Follow Krishann on Babble

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