I met Alianna through salt dating
That should have been my first red flag.
But she convinced me that her time spent on “the site” was only a joke for personal kicks. While this initially struck me as a typical hoe rationalization, I noticed she had deleted her account after a couple weeks, so I started to think maybe she was telling the truth.
For the next three months Alianna and I talked to each other every single day. She said she attended medical school several hours away so we were forced to wait until the semester was over to finally meet. I really hit it off with this girl. We sent each other thousands of texts, hundreds of photos (which of course turned out to not be her), and spent dozens of hours staying up late into the night talking on the phone.
Normally, I never would have done those things just to get with a hot girl. But I felt a true connection with Alianna. I thought maybe it was worth it.
She was exceptionally beautiful but unlike any other beautiful girl I had ever talked to. She had so much more personality and depth than most girls who looked like her. Conversation flowed so easily and we connected on everything. I was starting to see real relationship potential, but for some reason I just could not get her out on a date.
We would make plans
But there was always some crisis or unexpected problem that would surface at the last minute and force us to reschedule.
After four attempts of meeting up, I finally told her outright not to make a fool out of me. I even told her that I defended her to my friends when they said I was probably getting catfished. And I was starting to believe them.
She was furious with my accusation and we finally decided to stop talking to each other. The whole story of the 3-month text messaging hell is told here: The Ghost Girl. I wrote this before I found out she had lied about who she was.
6 months later, New Years Eve rolled around and I sent out a few Happy New Year texts to girls I hadn’t talked to in awhile. I blamed my excessive alcohol intake for including Alianna in the shotgun blast of messages.
The texts and pics started rolling in from her again. And I was kicking myself for opening up a scenario that was likely doomed for failure. But at the same time it was nice to hear from her. I missed her. And some part of me was hoping maybe things could eventually work out.
But something was very different about the pictures that she was sending me now.
She was wearing a wedding ring
When I brought this up to her she laughed it off. “I knew you’d say that lol”.
Then claimed that it only looked like a wedding ring and she alternated it between her left and right ring finger.
I knew something wasn’t right so I started carefully reviewing all of the recent pictures she had sent me within the last couple days.
Something was definitely off.
None of the photographs of her had any meta-data associated with them.
I already knew that when someone takes a picture with an iPhone, it typically will store location and time-stamp data within the photo.
So if you save the photo someone sends you to your camera roll, you can then view the date the picture was taken and the GPS location within your photos app.
How peculiar that the only pictures she sent me that had any meta-data were pictures she wasn’t actually in. Alianna would frequently send me pictures of whatever environment she was in at any given time, class, her house, etc.
These pictures all had the meta-data that made sense. They had the timestamp and the location that I expected them to.
I decided to investigate further
I downloaded a metadata app on the app store that could tell me more information on saved pictures. I found out that each of the photos she had sent me of the girl she was claiming to be were screenshots and not actually taken with the iPhone Alianna was texting me from.
Finally it dawned on me to do something incredibly simple. Type Alianna’s phone number into Facebook search and see who comes up.
And there she was. The girl I had talked to every day for months. A completely different person from who she claimed to be.
The girl I thought I was talking to all that time, the girl I thought I had formed a true bond with, had no idea I even existed. And that is a really shitty feeling.
Don’t let it happen to you
Learn from my mistakes.
Don’t form a bond with someone you haven’t actually met. Shamelessly Facebook stalk people you meet online. Know the catfish red flags like when the person gets angry and tries to make you out as the bad guy when you show skepticism. And finally, understand how photo meta-data works.
I’ve always thought that catfishing is some weird thing that only weird people do to other dumb weird people. It’s not something that happens to normal people, right? But as the 21st century moves forward and the dating scene continues to go digital, catfishing is a real threat that anyone with an online dating profile should probably be aware of.
Sometimes men will catfish other men by pretending to be a woman in hopes that they can get the poor simp to send money. Sometimes women will catfish men by pretending to have model-esque looks so she can soak up his attention, dump all of her problems on him, and vent about her life.
Either way, it’s crucial to stay smart, keep your guard up, and don’t fall foul to the new kinds of traps unique to the 21st century.