Meri Brown, one of the wives on the TLC show Sisterwives, wasn’t necessarily looking for a relationship online, but one seemed to find her. She talked about a lot of the details in this People magazine article. She tells that at first, the person (posing as a man) was charming and flirty, which drew her in. Who doesn’t like attention? Meri was also going through a hard time in her life.
But she was about to go through something even harder.
After chatting online, texting, and talking on the phone with this person, Meri started to notice some red flags. The person would never meet in real life, always having an excuse. And then this person’s “friend” (a woman) started meeting up with Meri, who felt really uncomfortable. Eventually, the threats started. Meri finally told her family and tried to sort things out. She realized that the man never really existed–in fact, Meri had been talking to a woman.
They came to the conclusion that Meri had been “catfished.” That means that she had been targeted by someone who was posing as someone else online. Unfortunately, in this day and age, it’s pretty easy to lie online. While many people have found love through online dating, it’s important to be careful. Be vigilant.
Look for red flags.
Red flags can mean lots of things: this isn’t a real person, this person is already married or dating someone else, this person is a scammer or is trying to manipulate you in some way, this person is only looking for a one-night stand, etc. And red flags mean you need to turn off the computer and walk away. Simply stop talking to this person!
Here are 7 online dating red flags to look out for:
- You feel a general uneasiness. Definitely trust your gut on this. If you feel like something is off, then you are probably right. It could be something big or small, but if it’s enough to make you feel uncomfortable, it’s enough to cause red flags. Run the other way!
- The person doesn’t seem genuine. If they are trying too hard to be what you or a typical person wants (think Julia Roberts in Runaway Bride), then there is something amiss. Of course, we always want to put our best foot forward, but at some point we get to know the intricacies and unique-ness of each other. If you feel like the other person won’t just calm down and be themselves, that’s a red flag.
- There are too many unanswered questions. With online dating, of course you won’t know a lot about each other. That’s normal. But as you start talking, it is a time to get to know each other. What you do for a living, general childhood experiences, likes, dislikes, that kind of thing. If you have been talking to someone online for a while and you still aren’t sure about many of the basics about them, that is a red flag. Seems like they are trying to hide something.
- The other person avoids meeting in real life. Just like in Meri’s case, the “man” she was talking to agreed to meet, but then would never show up. Red flag. If you are who you say you are, then meeting in person is a natural next step in an online dating relationship. If you go months talking and then never meet, it’s obvious this person is a little fishy.
- Communication times seem strange. Typically, a good relationship means regular communication. But if this person you are talking to online is dodgy sometimes–meaning completely disappears for days–and then is over the top at other times–sends multiple messages and acts weird when you don’t respond to everything–then something is amiss. Red flags.
- They don’t follow through. When you don’t see evidence that what your online friend is saying is true, or you can’t ever count on them for anything, then that’s a huge red flag. It could be that they are just making up their stories and are too busy with someone else when you are supposed to be talking.
- Things get too steamy too fast. Someone who respects you will want to get to know YOU and especially will be respectful of your space. If you haven’t really hinted at the intimate side of things, but your online dating friend won’t knock it off, that’s a definite red flag. It’s obvious this person is steering the conversation in order to lead it to one ultimate goal.