Yep…I was Cat-fished..Hook, Line, and Sinker. Who would have thunk? Me? A fairly smart women…graduate degree, professional degree, common sense, one that is never shy to ask the hard questions. But it happened…This summer…If it can happen to me, it can happen to you.
How did it happen? The infamous on-line dating was the culprit. Now ironically, this individual and I had actually corresponded a year earlier. You know; exchange phone numbers and begin texting. Then we spoke on the phone a few times…and then…he dropped off of the face of the earth. In the on-line world this is completely normal. Usually because while someone is talking to you; they are also talking to Suzie, Joan, Gail, and Olivia. If said guy happens to connect with one of you before actually meeting you, they just stop communicating. Not to say I haven’t done this as well just because the guy couldn’t hold a conversation or his text messages were one word replies; but it happens all the time, so you cannot take it personally. But I usually do let the other guy(s) know that I have decided to only speak to one person I have been communicating with to “see what happens.”
Our first connection was Spring 2015. The it stopped. In May 2016 I get a text message from him! A year later! Now as an aside…I have a “coding” system I use for the people I message until they become a real person…then they get a fun nick-name because I am the nick-name queen. (If you are my close friend and I haven’t given you one…we may not be that close, lol!) So I knew who it was. His message was very benign, “Hey Stacey. This is XXXX. How have you been?” I actually said out loud, “WTF? Who does this guy think he is sending me a message a year later?!” DELETE TEXT! I also happened to be in a relationship at the time, so there was no need to even reply.
Well, fast forward 5 weeks, I’m now single, over my heart-break of my 8 month love, and I decide to contact him and find out why after all oft his time…Here’s my answer…which I actually believed…Oh Lord, please don’t judge me!
Hey! So glad you replied. During the time we were talking I was given an assignment out of the country in Africa for my research. It all happened so fast and I didn’t have time to communicate before leaving. I have been gone for the last year and have been back in the states for a month. I really wanted to see if you were interested in picking back up where we left off if you were single.”
C’mon ladies…how friggen flattering is that? A guy messages YOU after a year. Sounds interesting. Of course I really was skeptical. His on-line profile a year ago had said he was a Resident at a local hospital. This made complete sense. He was still a Resident; in Cardio-Thoracic Surgery. Well, now that I was single I decided I had no reason to not talk with him. And so it began. Late night phone conversations for about 10 days. Then we meet at a public location. We have a super time. I was actually on the fence after our first meeting. But he was sooooo brilliant. I loved talking about all things medical and bio-chemistry…call me a geek…(I actually was a Biochemistry Tutor in college to make extra money, so I really am a nerd!). So the “relationship” began. We went to brunch, he met a few of my friends, and we talked for hours almost every day.
But then he was having a crisis in his Residency program, whereby he wasn’t sure if he was going to get the Fellowship that he wanted here in Atlanta. He began talking about Washington, DC and Georgetown Medical. He was a Princeton Undergraduate and a Georgetown Medical School graduate…so this made sense. And in due diligence I had already looked him up in Georgetown and he was in fact a Medical Student there. Fact check complete…
Not to go into detail; but I had this weird feeling in my gut that his “travels” to DC to discuss his fellowship just seemed strange. He kept saying he had to stay another day for more interviews. Then his flights weren’t adding up. Yes…I did my due diligence and looked into any possible flight he could have taken in and out of Atlanta to DC or even NJ where he said he was from. There’s an APP for everything! And yes, that panned out too from the background check I paid for! I questioned him about his flights and how I was going to surprise him at the airport when he arrived, but couldn’t find his flight. His answer of how he had a last minute flight change seemed to make sense, I went with it. Another aside…if you are “my guy” I do sweet things and lots of surprises..So this was not out of character for me to consider an “airport surprise.”
But then one night my tribe and I started really talking. I was beginning to realize something wasn’t right about this…my girlfriend actually admitted she thought so too, but didn’t want to upset me. And so that evening we spent hours checking into this guy…Called the hospital where he worked…No Such Doctor! Searched the American Medical Association Licensing Website….no such name with any medical license. His last address was not in Atlanta, but his home state. I called a friend that is in the medical field to have them fact-check…Same thing..NADA!!! I swear I was having an out of body experience. This person was real…existed…but in no way was he a DR! Yes he had a medical identification number known as an NPI; but it was during the time he would have been in med school…all students get one.
So fast forward to the last straw…He had to go to a family wedding in Nebraska…he actually had asked me to go with him which I seriously considered. But of course, that didn’t work out (surprise, surprise!). The night before he was to come home; he was sending me pictures of the wedding. It was an African wedding and the traditional clothing adorned the bride and groom and it was so beautiful. He sent me a video of their first dance. Breathtaking and very sexy! He sent me pictures of his extended family…So really…why would I think this person wasn’t telling me the truth? It seemed every time I began to have my doubts; something would happen to alleviate my fears.
But in due fashion…the following day he texted to say he was staying in Nebraska for the day with his family. He wouldn’t be home until later and so our afternoon plans would need to be cancelled. I never received another text from him until later that afternoon…
Hi Stacey. I’m so sorry I didn’t get a chance to call you before my flight departed. I spoke with my family for the afternoon. Things between us have become circumspect with my moving to DC. I will call you when I get home. I’m so sorry.
My head was reeling…Was a 42 year old really sending me a break-up text? (Well actually it just happened two weeks ago as well…these men have no balls!) I tried to reach out to him two times the next few days and have never heard from him again. I really can’t make this up!
What do I think? I think he did go to medical school. I do believe he went to Princeton for his undergraduate program. I think that he never received his degree. I think he works in the medical field, but is certainly not a doctor. I think he was going to eventually scam me for money…but hadn’t gotten to that point because he was realizing I was getting suspicious. Or…he has an entire life and family elsewhere. Either way, I will never know. But I really learned so much about what to do moving forward as I meet people on-line.
On Sunday I am going to follow-up with how to avoid being cat-fished, as I have learned soooo much. But ladies (and men), this can happen to the best of us. I am writing about this because I am one that doesn’t let things go un-noticed…I will call you out in a nano-second…and it happened to me!
This a frog I wish I never kissed! Ugh! But it happens, sadly..And so it goes…Here froggy, froggy!
Be Well and Be Blessed My Friends!
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