Are You Being Targeted By a Deceptive Dater? #atwys

Alias (DO NOT USE A REAL NAME!!): Nattysnooping2

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Comment: I have been dating a guy for 3 months now, but we live in different cities, so its hard to see each other all the time. I recently checked out his Twitter page and it appears he has a girlfriend. I ask him if he was single and he said he 100% was…but I am still seeing posts on Twitter to show otherwise. How do I bring it up again? I really like him, otherwise I would forget about him and move on,  but its hard for me to do that.
Age: 34
City: London
State: London

To be fair, he very well might not have a girlfriend. He could be telling you the truth. I have a very hard time understanding how anybody who is attempting to cheat or be dishonest about stuff like this would be so stupid as to not realize they’ll get caught. Stories like this set off my own internal red flags, as I often wonder if we’re getting the full story. I would guess 75% of the time, there are pertinent details being left out by the story teller in order to avoid incriminating themselves.

There are only 4 possible answers to situations like this.

1. He’s telling the truth and he and this woman are not dating. Or…

1a.He is dating her, but not exclusively. You didn’t say you and this guy were exclusive. If you’re not, he didn’t do anything wrong other than show total stupidity and thoughtlessness by being public about it. That’s a red flag in and of itself.

2. He never gave you access to certain social media platforms and therefore foolishly believed you’d never see what he was saying and thought he wouldn’t get caught. In order to find what you found, though, you would have to had back-doored your access, meaning you went one step beyond what’s really appropriate. In which case, serves you right. You might not like to hear, but we all deserve privacy, even if we’re being jerkfaces.

3. He’s ignorant about privacy controls and doesn’t realize what is public. In which case, serves him right.

4. He never had any intention of ever developing anything beyond casual with you and didn’t care what you found out. You were wank material at best.

Those are your answers. If it were me, I’d take my toys and go home, as all of these options hint at inevitable future confusion and conflict. Whatever it was that caused you to check up on him should be enough to remove yourself from the situation. It’s fine to want to give someone the benefit of the doubt, but you need to understand that most people when confronted will deflect and lie. Don’t let all those crime procedeurals where the criminal cops to the crime after five minutes of interrogation fool you. That’s not how real life works. If you think something is off, it probably is. The trail really should end there. Unfortunately, it rarely does.

In the past week I’ve read three or four different stories about snooping and researching dates, and all of them cite one thing as the primary cause: “intuition.” Here’s my question. If your instincts are so well-honed that they trip off at the slightest red flag, why are you even engaging – or worse, dating – that person in the first place? And why don’t many people simply walk away from these shady people instead of trying to catch them in the act? Do you get promoted to Sergeant or Captain or get some kind of reward? Or is bragging about catching them the reward?

I read a story yesterday about a woman who decided to check out what was on her “boyfriend’s” computer when he left to go get her breakfast. Why did she do it? Oh, gut instinct, of course! A short cut on his home screen to a file marked “Private” led her to a sex tape he had filmed in the recent past. She admits to knowing the guy was shady, but of course it’s with a giggle and a, “What can I say? I like my douchebags, amirite? High five, girlfriend!”

Then there was this story.

In our third year of dating, he told me that we needed to take a break from one another. I was sitting on his couch in his high school football T-shirt when he told me that our fights were unhealthy and we needed to hit pause. I asked him if this meant we’d be seeing other people and he said no, he just needed some quiet time to himself. I asked him if we’d get back together and he said he loved me but he wasn’t sure. I walked home to my apartment where my roommate went into full girlfriend help mode. She sat with me on our couch as I explained everything that happened and sobbed that the love of my life was leaving me. She was stunned because she had only seen the perfect couple from the outside and asked if it was possible he had met someone else. Her question became my obsession.  I spent days walking around campus, expecting to bump into my boyfriend on the streets, caressing the face of a new girl. I knew that I needed answers. If I asked him directly he’d deny it, and my fears and anxiety were not going away. So after hours of trying to convince myself not to break into his e-mail, I caved in. His user name and password were saved on my computer, daring me to know what was going on. When I got into his inbox I felt like a bank robber, violating every rule of common decency.

Another story discussed the recon work many of us do when we meet someone online that we really like.

In this post, the author explained that the guy she was chatting with seemed too good to be true (which, in my opinion, is usually code for “out of my league”) so she looked him up on Facebook and discovered he was married with a newborn. Then she wasted her energy confronting him about. Of course, he denied it. That’s what lying liars do. They lie.

I guess what smacks me hardest about stories like this is how brazen these people are in their deception. Are they reckless? Arrogant? Or do they just not care if they get caught? To me, things like this speak to what their true intentions were all along. Therefore, why bother trying to pry the truth from them? The answer is right there on Twitter or their hard drive or in their email account or on their Facebook page.

The bigger question, of course, is why they found those people so attractive and vice versa. That, if you ask me, is the crux of the issue. Why do these dishonest people always end up hooking people who would go so far as to research them or break in to their email accounts? Is there a connection? Or is it simply random? I imagine people inclined to deceive use their shtick on everybody in the hopes it will work. But why does it always seem to work on people who would go the extra mile to check up on them rather than just walk away? Are they targeted in some way? Or do we just refuse to accept what our audience is and try to slam that square peg into the round hole?

Thoughts?

 

 

 

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20 Responses to “Are You Being Targeted By a Deceptive Dater? #atwys”

  1. BTownGirl Says:

    I’m not sure Falsehood Tellers necessarily target anyone, but it sounds like they tend to wind up in actual relationships with people who are constantly and sometimes willfully ignoring the warning shots. If you are dating someone who’s phone mysteriously dies every time they are out of your sight (HELLO. OHMYGOD. JESUS TAKE THE WHEEL.) and not only say nothing, but, more importantly, stay with them you’ve just told them exactly what they can get away with.

    They may have very well tried these things with other people they’ve dated and been told not to let the door hit them on the way out. If they don’t want to change, they just keep going until they find the person who doesn’t do anything until they push it so far that the other person cracks OR they themselves decide to break it off. In any event, getting all Jessica Fletcher (actually, no, JB Fletcher is not here for that nonsense) isn’t going to solve anything, but getting to the root of “How do I keep ending up with these people?!” will!

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 14 Thumb down 0

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    • fuzzilla Says:

      Ha ha. Once Moxie’s advice has actually sunk in, the OP can just use the shorthand reminder, “What Would Jessica Fletcher Do? Jessica Fletcher ain’t got time fo’ dat.”

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

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      • BTownGirl Says:

        Amen hehehe! Jessica Fletcher would knock a few back with Amos Tupper and give the offender the finger on the way out the door :)

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

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    • C Says:

      Been there done that…well, I never snooped, but I’ve been cheated on more then once and gut level I always knew.

      I stayed because gut feelings have an uncanny way of making you think all of your doubts are the product of your imagination.

      At the end of the day, it really doesnt matter if you are or arent being cheated on. Its never worth being in a relationship that leaves you feeling insecure whether the feelings are warranted or not.

      Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 24 Thumb down 0

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      • fuzzilla Says:

        **At the end of the day, it really doesnt matter if you are or arent being cheated on. Its never worth being in a relationship that leaves you feeling insecure whether the feelings are warranted or not.**

        True. I’ve been there, done that, too. If a relationship has good, clear, and regular communication, you may not know every last secret in their heart of hearts, but there won’t be a whole secret life shitshow leaping out at you if you do pry.

        If your neuroses and trust issues are really out of control, though, it is possible to feel insecure in any relationship at all, no matter how standup the guy or gal is. Which could lead to you doubting your judgment and thinking “Oh, I’m always so suspicious” and “giving a chance” to the wrong people. You gotta just let go and gamble at some point, just be sure to keep an eye on their behavior and pay attention to any red flags.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

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  2. fuzzilla Says:

    **And why don’t many people simply walk away from these shady people instead of trying to catch them in the act? Do you get promoted to Sergeant or Captain or get some kind of reward? Or is bragging about catching them the reward?**

    Because they think, “Oh my God, I put so much work into this relationship…I’m really just gonna walk away with nothing to show for it, after all that?” (Yes, it’s flawed logic; yes, they should just walk away, but that’s the thought process).

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 2

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    • Nicole Says:

      I think they’re also trying to prove something about themselves by confronting the deceiver – “I’m not stupid, I didn’t fall for your act”. Except… They did, for a while at least.

      There’s definitely an aspect of winning and having the last word. Which I kind of understand. The problem is, it’s a hollow victory because the deceptive person just doesn’t care the majority of the time.

      Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 16 Thumb down 0

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    • C Says:

      Naw, you stay because you can never be sure if you are being cheated on or if its all in your head. Intuition is just an observed break in patterns. “He seems withdrawn but does that mean he is cheating or is he just stressed out about something?” “His phone is turned off a lot lately but maybe he is just busy.” “His excuses seem far fetched but maybe I’m just crazy and it really did happen that way.”

      Not everything is some dark, bitter contest or power grab. Very little about intuition is clear cut. All you have is the periodic nagging feeling that something is wrong and its very easy to assume that something is wrong with yourself rather than the guy.

      Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 0

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  3. Greg Figueroa Says:

    To the OP, how is the guy deceptive if he’s single and doesn’t owe you an explanation? Casually dating is a bit different than being exclusive.

    I don’t get it, it’s okay to lie in the beginning to spare someone their feelings, but you become deceptive douchebag when you lie in a relationship that’s heading to a break. It looks like that guy lied to the “hacker” because sometimes you want to do something without explaining yourself with someone who won’t let it go. Newsflash: lying is almost always for the benefit of the liar.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 2

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  4. D. Says:

    Firstly…

    Here’s my question. If your instincts are so well-honed that they trip off at the slightest red flag, why are you even engaging – or worse, dating – that person in the first place? And why don’t many people simply walk away from these shady people instead of trying to catch them in the act? Do you get promoted to Sergeant or Captain or get some kind of reward? Or is bragging about catching them the reward?

    This. 1000 times over. All day, every day. If you’re in this circumstance, just walk the hell away already. Confronting the other person will achieve nothing. They’ll deny it, or simply make themselves unavailable to you. It’s not worth it. Just say “we’re done here,” and be done with it.

    As for why people fall into these kinds of things, and then go to the lengths they do to catch the other person, I have a few theories. Some of the most common features of these types of interactions are:

    – The deceiver is out of the deceived person’s league, or “too good to be true,” etc. In other words, they embody something the deceived deeply wants, but doesn’t really believe themselves capable of getting/having.

    – There is often a long-distance or infrequent-visit aspect. (Although not always.)

    – The deceived person feels compelled to uncover the truth, rather than walk away when they are unhappy.

    – The deceiver, even when caught, will deny or evade, often prolonging the interaction in the process.

    But, to my way of thinking, the single, underlying aspect of all of these interactions is the low self-esteem of the deceived party. That’s why the deceiver is able to work their charms on them; any person with decent self-esteem would simply walk away when things turned bad, or wouldn’t get involved in the first place, sensing that there’d be something off.

    I think that the people who end up deceived actively choose these deceivers. It’s not so much that they want to be lied to, but rather that they don’t believe that they can do better (or that better even exists). And yet, the allure of this “perfect” or “too good to be true” person is too much to walk away from.

    This is why they go to such lengths to prove the deception. They need to know that they aren’t walking away from someone perfect. They need to completely shatter the deception. This is also why the deceiver will continue to lie even when caught red-handed. I mean, why not? It’s worked so far, right? Maybe they can convince the other person to stick around in spite of the lie.

    But all of this, I suspect, goes back to one central belief: that there is nothing better out there for the person being deceived; this is as good as it will ever get.

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 14 Thumb down 0

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  5. K Says:

    “Whatever it was that caused you to check up on him should be enough to remove yourself from the situation.”

    This.

    I doubt things are comfortable between them. If he was available, transparent, having a real relationship with her she wouldn’t be snooping. I bet he’s MIA often, his stories don’t add up, or doesn’t let her into parts of his life so she went snooping. She knows the answer already.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

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  6. xyzed Says:

    I agree somewhat… Since being single (over 5 years), I have walked away from countless dates whenever “red flags” appeared. But then I am accused of running from people who show the slightest imperfections.

    So do we keep dismissing people who we don’t consider as “perfect” to what our standards are or work through and give individuals the benefit of the doubt before moving on to the next date. Not sure what the answer is.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

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  7. Nicole Says:

    Honestly, I think there is subset of the population that is paranoid, convinced everyone is lying/cheating, and regularly snoops on every person they date. The majority of their boyfriends and girlfriends are doing nothing wrong (or, in the mind of the paranoid partner, haven’t left any evidence yet, lol). But when they DO find something, these folks run screaming to the internet to show proof that snooping is always justified.

    I’m still waiting for “It Happened to Me: I Went Through My Boyfriend’s Laptop and Found Nothing Suspicious At All”.

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 1

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  8. Lisa Says:

    I think some ppl have a need to understand what went wrong. Did his old flame resurface or did he meet someone new? Was it a one time thing or something ongoing? Was she prettier than me or less pretty? Did she know we were dating or was she kept in the dark too? Did they do it at our house when I was at work or did they meet at a motel when he was supposed to be at the gym? Etc. I think ppl want to ,ake sense of it so they can protect themselves or “be smarter about it” in the future. So they try to collect as much info as they can, incl. confessions and all the gory details from the person who hurt them…whenever possible.

    In reality, tho everyone and every situation is different so it’s not like there is a formula to guarantee it’s gonna work out.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 10 Thumb down 1

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    • C Says:

      I agree. And some people like drama. Whats a relatioship without constant highs and lows?

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

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  9. LostSailor Says:

    Let’s deal with the OP Natty first. This is another case of not enough information to really know what’s going on. Twitter feeds are automatically public unless the user has specifically made them private. But Natty only says that “it appears he has a girlfriend” with no supporting data. So it’s impossible to determine based on the OP whether this guy has a girlfriend or just a female friend. Then, she says she asked him “if he was single and he said he 100% was,” which isn’t really the question to address that determination. Being 100% single can mean many different things. The real question Natty wants and answer to is “are you seeing anyone else,” but she apparently doesn’t want to ask that. And after only 3 months of dating a guy she really likes, I can understand that. But that might be a conversation she want to gently broach before forgetting about him and moving on.

    And then there’s this:

    If you think something is off, it probably is. The trail really should end there.

    Maybe. Instinct can be a good compass. But also maybe not, especially if one has been burned before and/or is generally suspicious. I’ve never “cheated” on anyone I’ve been dating for that amount of time (very short-term dating with more than one woman doesn’t count, as I don’t think there’s necessarily any expectation of exclusivity after only a couple of weeks). And, to my knowledge, I’ve never been cheated on–it may have happened but I’ve never suspected it and have no knowledge that it happened.

    More to the point, my computers and phone are completely locked-down–access is by password and many files are separately password protected. Not because I fear anyone I’m seeing snooping, but because I know what can happen with just regular hacking, bot-take-over, malware, etc., and it’s just smart to take minimal protections. My social media is all public and I have no concerns there. Someone could look at my FB page and would see that I have a quite a number of female friends and there’s even some faux flirty banter. As with anyone who questions my lock computer/phone, anyone who questions social media relationships there’s only one answer: you know where the door is. Any woman who wants to Google me and check out public social media, that’s fine. Any woman who has to ask about private stuff before we’ve mutually expressed solid commitment can walk. Same for anyone who needs that kind of access or has to snoop: walk, there’s no relationship goodness to be found and you might want to examine why you need that reassurance.

    Do you get promoted to Sergeant or Captain or get some kind of reward? Or is bragging about catching them the reward?

    Closure. And validation. It allows the “Ah-Ha!!” moment that validates a suspicious nature and assures that they are a “better” person and can walk away on an imaginary moral high ground. Their girlfriends will praise and commiserate.

    I guess what smacks me hardest about stories like this is how brazen these people are in their deception. Are they reckless? Arrogant? Or do they just not care if they get caught?

    People like this lie with abandon because they can. They’ve probably already done is numerous times and either haven’t faced any real consequences or simply don’t care. Moxie’s right: just walk away. Confrontation might seem to be ego-soothing and gratifying, but it doesn’t make any difference in the end.

    The bigger question, of course, is why they found those people so attractive and vice-versa. That, if you ask me, is the crux of the issue.

    Water finds it’s own level. I’m guessing that people who lie like the thrill of the deception (and as I said above find they can get away with it) and the people who are attracted like the thrill of uncovering the deception. My thought is that people who like the cat-and-mouse game tend to find each other.

    I’m a pretty straightforward guy and if someone I’m dating doesn’t believe me, that’s there problem. Those situations have never lasted very long…

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 8 Thumb down 3

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    • jackrabbit Says:

      “Any woman who has to ask about private stuff before we’ve mutually expressed solid commitment can walk.”

      If I ask a guy if he’s seeing anyone else, it’s not because I expect exclusivity. I just want to know where I stand, and what the chances are of being exposed to an std if I sleep with him.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

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  10. AnnieNonymous Says:

    The OP’s email sounds confusing, but it looks like the writer means to say that the guy is publicly tweeting to/about another woman (the presumed “real” girlfriend). IMO that’s not casual dating by informed parties. The guy is “facebook official” with another woman.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

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  11. Chester Says:

    The crux, that Moxie mentions, is really about who is creating the ambiguity.
    The guy only said he was 100% single which,by many people’s definition, means he is not married, and probably not engaged. I would never have interpreted that to mean I am celibate. The OP is creating the ambiguity by asking vague questions more so than the guy being deceptive.
    It’s not that she is attracting a certain guy – there is no certain guy – she is creating these situations in her own mind. OP probably has a pattern of this happening, but the only common character in all these scenarios is her.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

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  12. AC Says:

    My question, and maybe I need to go back and reread his wire then a long distance relationship?

    Talk about a situation that invites cheating.

    What’s that saying again about what happens when the cats away…?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

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