As I mentioned in an earlier post, James and I met online via an online dating site. His profile reads (then and now…yes, he’s back online both OK Cupid and Match.com and who knows where else looking for his new soulmate) absolutely quirky and delightful.
We exchanged some silly messages back and forth via the dating site’s messaging system then switched to texting. His texts were attentive, engaging, timely, complimentary and so funny. They were also tender as we discussed certain parts of our past.
When I’d say something sweet or he’d find out we had something really obscure in common he would text back that I was his soulmate or the ever popular, “Will you marry me?” I fell for that hook, line and sinker. And while you wouldn’t necessarily think so, all of this was Red Flag #1 that I missed. He was slathering me with false flattery and mirroring my interests, both of which are Sociopath 101.
Red Flag #2 occurred during our texting whirlwind. A few days into texting, James called me on a Saturday night, totally out of the blue. We had never spoken before and he accused me, in a joking sort of way, of being a catfish. If you are unfamiliar with the phenomenon, look up MTV’s show Catfish or the original documentary, Catfish. It’s pretty messed up stuff.
I laughed it off and told him I wasn’t, gave him my full name and told him to look me up on LinkedIn or Facebook. Which he did and immediately friended me on Facebook. Then, even after doing this, he asked me a day or so later to text a picture with something he told me to write on a piece of paper so that he would know without any doubt that it was me. I gladly obliged. Yes, gladly…I know! After being out of the dating world for 20 years and then plunging into the digital age? I was woefully naive and unprepared.
What I know now is that James was projecting about me being a catfish. He had different profiles on OK Cupid (and likely other sites as well) and most definitely was catfishing other women when I met him, after I met him and even now. I believe he likely started doing this while still married to ex-wife. This was not a post-divorce habit he picked up. No way. So his worry of me being a catfish was not just a passing worry. He had done this to other people, knew karma was a bitch and figured it was his turn to be caught on the hook. I’m certain of it. How exactly am I so certain? James is a sociopath. This is what they do.
Can I tell you I’m starting to feel kinda strong? Like the old Jenny is finding her way back. This is not a fun time in my life. But I have found kindness and love in some pretty amazing places. And I’m not making the same mistakes that I’ve made in the past. Red flags? They aren’t warnings for me. They aren’t, “Hey, Jenny, you might want to be careful.” No, they are unequivocal deal breakers where I get to say, “Sayonara, asshole.”