What to Do After You’ve Been Catfished
|Gina Stewart • 4/22/13|
Have you felt the hurt and betrayal of being Catfished? Have you been in an online relationship with someone who wasn’t who they said they were?
Catfishing has been made famous through the MTV show (from the same-name documentary) as well as the Manti Te’o debacle, and it’s brought to light a lot of what many of you have been experiencing alone.
Catfishing involves an online romantic relationship that never manifests into a real-life romance because one party is lying to the other about various things – an identity, a marital status, a body type, a sexual orientation, a gender.
By now you’ve learned a lot of ways you can look into someone’s identity and see if they are who they say they are, but what if you’re already past that? What if your heart has already been broken?
Here are six things to remember to get your life back in order:
1. You’re not alone.
It’s OK to feel bad for yourself. The feelings you felt were real and it’s good to give yourself time to cope with them.
It’s OK to feel anger at the person who duped you. Plenty of people have been duped and gone through exactly what you’re feeling.
Catfishers are manipulators purposely seeking to manipulate. They made a lot of effort to deceive you. The wrong is on them, not you.
2. Remember what’s good about you.
Don’t judge yourself. You went into this situation with a pure, intentioned heart looking for love. There is nothing wrong with that and that is important to remember and hold sacred.
There’s nothing wrong with assuming others seek out love honestly.This someone may have lied to you but that doesn’t mean you’re not capable of loving and being loved in an honest way.
“Two types of Catfishers: those who lie because they want
to hurt and those who lie because they want to get close.”
3. Don’t chase down resolutions.
Unfortunately, this will lead you to frustration.
If your Catfisher wasn’t able to have an honest relationship with you, then there’s little they can give you that you can trust after the fact. There is nothing they can tell you that will put the pieces together.
So move on from it and know time is the only thing that will heal this hurt.
4. Learn from what happened.
Make a log or a list and timeline of your relationship. I mean literally write it down. The act of writing scientifically helps your brain remember and learn things.
Don’t just think. Take the pen to paper.
List the things you liked in the relationship. List the red flags you should have seen. List what actions you could have done differently to prevent this. List what real love looks like.
Your list probably includes honesty, respect, like, communication and presence (physical presence).
Write down what a manipulator looks like and how it differs from real love. Write down what expectations you put on this relationship that were unreasonable. Write down what you should have demanded from this relationship that could have saved your frustration.
5. Decide if you want to stay in contact.
There are two types of Catfishers: those who lie because they want to hurt you for their own enjoyment and those who lie because they want to get close to you and are too insecure to do it as themselves.
I don’t recommend keeping in touch with the ones that set out to hurt or were just playing a game (or are married/unavailable).
For the others, if you really felt a connection, you have to decide if you can try to forgive their lies and accept them for who they are.
Make the decision if you want to keep this person in your life in some capacity. Then make the decision to set up healthy boundaries.
6.Treat it like a real breakup.
Remember, you have every right to cut ties from this person and move on with your life.
Seek out friends to vent and get perspective. Try new experiences to keep your mind occupied. Get rid of the things that remind you of that person.
Change your habits that make you sad. Then commit yourself to learn the differences between healthy and unhealthy relationships and prepare yourself to meet someone worthy of your attention.
Have you ever been Catfished? How did you deal with it?
Photo source: theweek.com.