It’s a guilty pleasure of mine to watch the Catfish TV show! And it was the show, along with my own not so spectacular online dating experiences that inspired me to write about this very specific kind of romance. Depending on your definition of what true romantic love is, your answer to, ” Is it love or a Catfish?” may differ from mine. My answer is, it isn’t love until you know them, regardless of how true their identity is. But, my dear reader, ultimately, no one can really tell you in your heart what you know to be true.
There are always exceptions to the rule. The rule being, if it seems fishy, it’s a total catfish! You could be the lucky one. However, just in case you aren’t the lucky one and you’ve never actually met your love interest in person before, I have 3 other very important questions that could save you some time, energy and heartache. If you’re head over heels in love and maybe even said those three HUGE words to that special someone online or over the phone:
How can you love who they are when you don’t know who they are?
If you consider that question you may find that the answer to ” Is it love or a catfish?” isn’t as simple as finding out if the person you’re talking to is a fake or not. Because the truth is, even if they aren’t lying about their identity, a major part of loving someone is loving who they truly are. And knowing who they truly are means, knowing who they are around you, their history, the kind of person they are in the world, who they are within their family and even getting a glimpse of who they are in private. This takes time. If you’re thinking, “Wait, I’ve put in my time. We’ve been speaking for years about all of those things.” Let me just gently stop you there.
How Much Communication Do You Need?
Verbal communication is only a part of how we communicate with each other. And as the saying goes, “Words are Wind.” Meaning, if you’re only verbally communicating through online dating, they’re just saying words. They may be false, they may hold no weight, they may not be as you interpreted them. They’re words may change direction as easily as the wind. To sum it up, anyone can say words that are pleasing. Consider how complex you are and how much more you are in comparison to what you can say about yourself.
You may have heard of the percentages associated with communication. To simplify it, I’ll only say that communication is made of body language, tone of voice and spoken word. Guess which one is the smallest percentage… Take that into consideration along with the “Words are Wind.” quote and the connection between you and your catfish, becomes a bit more thin. So how do you love someone, when you can’t fully communicate with them? If you’re in that not so lucky online dating relationship that’s only via text, what you communicate is even less because even tone of voice is left to interpretation and having good faith in your possible catfish.
When parts of your love interest remain hidden, how do you love those parts?
How do you love their interaction with you, when you haven’t experienced it? There’s a reason why some some people hit it off in person and others don’t. There’s physical attraction and chemistry to consider. Or things you never thought could make a difference, but oh boy do they! Standing just a few inches shorter than you could be a total turn off, or even the way they hold themselves.
In person, there’s so much more to learn, like if they’re the kind of person who holds the door for you, has natural charm, has really bad breath, isn’t forward enough, or too forward. The list is endless. Some people’s personalities, in person, completely blossom. The barrier is down and you see their authentic self, for better or worse. Most of all, how we feel in their presence can only be experienced in person.
This experience happens because you are with them. They can be the same exact person as they are on the phone or via text, but if you do not genuinely click in person, your future together is not on solid ground. It’s not the face to face experience with a potential catfish that makes the difference. It’s the result of both peoples energies, emotions and reactions coming together that truly makes the difference.
There is a special feeling that goes along with being with someone in person, that cannot be replaced. Imagine having a child that you can only speak with on the phone or text. There is a more human element that is missing. So I ask, if you are not in person, how will you ever have that experience if you’re not one on one? How can you love that experience or them if you haven’t fully experienced what your unique, in person connection is like?
It’s easy and feels a little satisfying to romanticize people because of our own romantic visions of our possible future with them. Sometimes we are so preoccupied with the fantasy that we forget to know who the person truly is.
I believe that who someone truly is, is embedded within their souls, at their very heart. Who they are is their dreams, spoken and unspoken. Who they are is glimpsed in the paths they choose in life and how they thrive. Who someone is, is sometimes hidden from even themselves and are yet to be discovered.
So I’ll ask you again, how do you love who they are when you don’t know who they are? How do you love someone, if you don’t truly know on all levels who they truly are and who they are with you in person?
We can always have love and care for people. But romantic, love you forever, there through the thick and thin, love you even if we fight, adore you so much kind of love, is love that’s best experienced in person. If you believe that this is what you have with your potential catfish, put it to the test. Will that connection hold up, when you finally learn what an in person connection is like?
Ask yourself, what does your gut say, what does your spirit say, what does your inner wisdom say about your potential catfish?