Signs Your Online Date Isn’t Who They Say They Are


Name: Mari
Question: Hi, I know you have talked about the problems of too much texting before meeting, but this is different (I think). I met a guy on OKC. He seems to be pretty good… Educated, same political/religious views, owns a business and a home, super athletic, loves dogs, is a musician, yada yada. Total unicorn.
Anyway we exchanged a total of two messages online before he asked to meet in person. Great. So, maybe this was my mistake  but I said yes and gave him my number. Thinking we would plan a date and get to know each other then.

Unfortunately due to conflicting schedules we wont be able to meet for about a week. So, in the meantime, he is blowing up my phone with texts. Most of them telling me how he looks A LOT better in person because he’s not photogenic, and how he works out like, five hours a day. How if I like what I see in the photos I’m going to LOVE the real deal. He keeps sending me photos of himself with disclaimers “Oh that was me when I was twenty pounds bigger. That was me when I was soooo fat!” when in truth, he looks fine in the pics to me. He sends me videos (yes plural) of himself playing the guitar. He sent me a text which is an audio recording of his voice, saying how he was thinking that I have never heard his voice before (I know-how did I survive so long?!) so he thought he’d audio message me. He sent me a panoramic photo of his ranch house and two pictures of him surfing. He also said he skis and would love to teach me how and painted a whole scenario of us on a ski weekend in a cozy
romantic hotel. He also calls me “babe” and “sweets” and tells me how he really really likes me and feels with certainty that there is something very special there. That I am  oh so beautiful. All this, ALL THIS, in the space of three days! With minimal response on my end may I add.

Long story short, I am overwhelmed and not in a good way. I haven’t even met him yet! At the same time, I cant help but wonder if he really is what he says he is, and is a great guy and a great catch, that I am going to miss out on that because of his social shortcomings via text. But honestly, I am just way too turned off at this point. What is your take on someone like that? Why do they feel the need to convince you about how wonderful they are and how wonderful the two of you will be before even meeting?
PS. We are in southern California if that matters.
Age: 34

My take on someone like this is that they are wildly insecure, pathologically self-obsessed, or lying. Those are your three choices, and I’m sure you’ll agree that none of them bode well for this blossoming love connection.

You said it yourself: he’s a unicorn. That’s your first clue that something isn’t right. Unicorns do not exist in real life, and they certainly don’t exist on OKCupid. Especially now when that site is on such a downward spiral.  This guy, with all the trappings of what appears to be a successful life, should not have to try so hard. His behavior isn’t just a result of social awkwardness. He’s trying to convince you of something. The questions is: why?

He keeps sending me photos of himself with disclaimers “Oh that was me when I was twenty pounds bigger. That was me when I was soooo fat!” when in truth, he looks fine in the pics to me.

Huh. Weird that this guy – who seems to love sending you views of his ranch and videos of him playing the mandolin or whatever – is sending you old photos, right? It doesn’t make sense that someone so addicted to texting and recording his voice and all the other annoying shit that he does wouldn’t just take a recent photo of himself and send it. That’s odd, right?


There’s an inconsistency in his behavior there, and as I’ve said before, the red flags are in the inconsistencies. Time for some critical thinking: why would he send you old photos? The likely answer is that he looks nothing like his pictures, knows it, and is trying to woo you with extraneous details of his life in the hopes you won’t care. He’s anticipating the rejection so he’s trying to cut it off at the pass. That’s also probably the true source of the “conflicting schedules” problem you’re having. When someone needs a week to meet up, I usually take a step back. A week is a long time in online dating years. Unless they’re out of town, they should be able to fit in a couple hours. Any time I’ve put someone off a week before meeting it’s because I didn’t really want to meet them, btw.

He works out five hours a day? If that were true and he looked the way he said he looked, he’d be blowing up your phone with lame selfies he takes of himself flexing in a mirror at his gym. Nope. Just Nooooooooooope.

Everything about this guy is a red flag. Don’t go on the date just to see what his deal is. He’s not  a monkey in a cage, and he’s clearly at least somewhat desperate. Dragging him out on a date to sate your curiosity is just cruel. That is, of course, unless he’s completely playing you for a fool.



Sometimes the love of your life is the love of your life. (R)


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22 Responses to “Signs Your Online Date Isn’t Who They Say They Are”

  1. SS Says:

    Reading this was like playing red flag bingo.

    The only square I had missing was that his successful business has required him to travel to Africa or Russia on business… to be followed shortly thereafter by an email saying he’s stuck there and needs $$$ to get him back to the US.


    1. What is your take on someone like that?

    Liar, or DESPERATELY insecure, or raging narcissist, or In A Relationship. Or all of the above.

    2. Why do they feel the need to convince you ….

    See 1. They are living in some sort of fantasy land and/or they know you’ll never meet. They are merely sourcing the ego boost from the idea of a woman lusting after “them” even if it’s a fake construct. Aside from generic dickheads, I imagine the type of guy that would be most likely to pull this crap is either 500lbs and living in his mother’s basement or is married/in a relationship and just amusing himself on the side.

  2. coffeestop Says:

    I was dumb and it took me two separate occasions with unicorns to learn my lesson. One basically just wanted to text and the other was clearly in a relationship and looking for side action. I am meeting somebody tomorrow who I have done minimal texting with and he did send one picture, not sure why. I agree with Moxie something is seriously wrong with the man OP is texting with and she should trust her gut instinct about being turned off. If I was her I would bail on the date, he will either be freaky clingy or not at all what he is trying to project.

    I don’t understand why people do not get that face to face is the only way to judge attraction and interest. My aversion to texting in romance is likely generational. If I am into somebody I want to see them, I assume if somebody is into me they will want to see me. People who are too busy, who want to text all the time, who flake, are people not into me and that is fine, but it really is not that complicated.

    • Eliza Says:

      Exactly…there is NO other way to gauge whether there is attraction aside from meeting IN PERSON…not even skype can be a substitute. Nothing like a face-to-face encounter. There is a certain aura between 2 people. It’s there or it’s not. I have the same aversion to damn texting. “How’s ur day?”. Want to know? Call me, meet me.
      That simple. If a person is too busy to meet initially for a 15 min. cup of coffee…clearly, they have absolutely no time in their life for any type of relationship.

  3. fuzzilla Says:

    OMG, there was an OKC guy who sent me videos of him playing the piano and singing (badly). He wrote me all the time. This was back when I (a) had a profile (obvs.) and (b) was dumb enough to include “interested in kink” in it. Did not meet him. I thought, “Is he having a midlife crisis or something?”

    Maybe the OP is hitting a dry patch and got excited about who he seemed to be before he started acting crazy. Also this letter is another good example of why it’s good form to ask/plan/set up the date on the dating site platform FIRST and save texting for only the most last minute of details.

  4. Glazer Says:

    He’s a home and business owner…

    Gotta love her description of him.

    • ATWYSingle Says:

      And she said he was a musician. And she said he was athletic. honestly, you whiners who can’t understand why a woman wants a guy who has a job f****** kill me

      • Nia Says:

        God, for REAL. Get OVER this obsession that women who mention mens’ financial stability as a plus are gold diggers. Owning a home or business is actually a genuine sign of character.
        It shows you have goals and can meet them.
        It shows you can delay gratification and can plan ahead.
        It shows that you (literally) put your money where your mouth is. It’s not just a hot air “I want to own my own business…someday” thing.
        It shows that you’re not drifting through life, depending on others for money, shelter, and food.
        It shows that you’re (to some degree) credit worthy and have some amount of financial savvy.
        It shows that when the economy is down or shaky, you have some equity to leverage.
        It shows that you have roots–that you’re most likely not going to pitch it all and go off to Thailand next week to “find yourself”.

        For what it’s worth, I’ve had male friends bring up that a potential date (that’s female) owns her own biz, drives a nice car, or has other signs of material success–and I’ve seen women post things like that in their profiles. I’ve also seen MANY MFW profiles say things like “please have a car” or “please have a JOB, I do” and things like that. It goes both ways!

  5. Yvonne Says:

    “…he works out like, five hours a day.”

    So his whole life is working and going to the gym? That alone would turn me off. Meet this man and see how strange he is in person.

  6. BostonRobin Says:

    It starts with “this is different… OKC… unicorn” and ends with “We are in southern California if that matters.” Oh, yes, THAT MATTERS.

    I doubt you’ll be meeting him, since he’s already living out your relationship in his head. The RL version of you (and him) will just spoil the party.

    I have had people put off the first meeting after charming me with lovely messages–especially on OKC, which is a breeding ground of insanity. It’s usually something like “things are crazy this week, can we try for next week?” Um, my response to that is to BLOCK, no excuses, no regrets. Because why-oh-why does such a busy person have the bandwidth to engage with me to that extent, showing such enthusiasm, but can’t meet up for a drink?

    Don’t answer, because it doesn’t matter. Married? Narcissist? Ugly? All of the above? Why does anyone do this? WHO CARES! Next! It’s weird and annoying but sometimes it is mildly entertaining. Like this one, this was a good read. I hope OP can laugh it off soon, because it’s nothing but entertainment.

  7. BeenThere Says:

    In my OKC experience, he’s a con man. Looking to hook an insecure woman on all his charms. The photos are likely stolen and not of himself, which explains the lack of recents. They get you hooked on the “idea” of them and then all kinds of interesting events start taking place that prohibit you from ever meeting. As they continue to string you along with lovey dovey phrases and ideas about how wonderful they are, a few months, maybe even six months down the road, you’ll be just about to meet and (wham!) his wallet was stolen and the con goes to the next level. Usually, they use pictures of US Military men, but as people have caught onto that scam, they are expanding. What was/is really awful is that often the photos are of brave, family men who died in active duty. Con men from low to high are notorious for the “hey beautiful” and they tell you what you want to hear. The red flags are up front, but we ignore them to our peril. It isn’t dumb women who do this, either, some very intelligent, grounded women have been lured by unicorns and one of the reasons they don’t tell anyone or they don’t get out, is because they don’t want to admit how dumb they were to fall for such a scam. Lots of stories online about all these scams, most of which, for some reason or another, come from young guys in internet cafes in African countries. Yeah, I almost got duped by one, which is how I know about this. I reported it to OKC and they took the guy’s account down, but they don’t, absolutely do not proactively try to stop these guys. It got so obvious and disgusting after a while, that I pulled out, completely.

    • fuzzilla Says:

      **Usually, they use pictures of US Military men, but as people have caught onto that scam, they are expanding.**

      God, this happens to me on Skype constantly. There is nothing indicating I’m single and looking for a relationship (and I’m not, on either count) and my Skype avatar is a picture of a cat. One time it even said, “General David Petraeus wants to be your friend on Skype.” Come ON, now…

    • Yvonne Says:

      @Been There, I’ve encountered these types, but maybe because I’m older, they tend to describe themselves as “mechanical engineer”. I steer clear of anyone who starts out by calling me gorgeous or beautiful, and lays on a lot of flowery language without really saying anything substantial. The con game didn’t occur to me, but after reading your post, I think you may be right.

  8. Brian the Babe Says:

    I spent a weekend with an old crush about six months ago. It was an awesome weekend, but she also immediately started with the pet names: “babe”, “baby”, “sweetie”.

    It was definitely odd and a bit annoying, but hey maybe that meant she was actually enamored with me. I took it as a compliments and rolled with the punches.

    By the end of the weekend, she had called the waiter “babe”, the taxi-cab driver “babe”, some random guy in the elevator “babe”.


  9. mxf Says:

    The shorthand of this is pretty much, “turns out this guy is crazy annoying, but might still be hot and I hate the idea of missing out on the could-have-been.” But the OP can rest easy, because all she needs to know is that he’s crazy annoying. There is no amount of “good catch” criteria that can overcome that.

    My theory is that the “look how fat I used to be” pics are actually accurate now, and he’s hoping she’ll say “no no you look great” so that she’s stuck when they do meet.

    • mxf Says:

      yikes – not stuck with an overweight person, that’s harsh. stuck with his exaggeration of his super athletic lifestyle, etc.

    • fuzzilla Says:

      I’ve been shown “look how fat I used to be” pictures (but he for real lost, like, half his body weight, and we were already on the date, so it was fine).

      • mxf Says:

        No pictures, but I also had a very pleasant date with a guy who told me that he’d lost 70lbs the year before. He was sweet but he also told me that he was recently out of his longterm relationship because his ex cheated with his best friend, and they ended up together, and that was part of the stress/motivation behind the weight loss. He still seemed really sad in general but I have no doubt he found his dating legs and had some good experiences down the road a bit. He was a good guy but it was “too soon.”

        • fuzzilla Says:

          I think he might have been, um, hoping I was sharp enough to figure out huge weight loss = loose skin (it did, but not too bad). ;o)

  10. Eliza Says:

    Seeing is believing…”in person”…not some video via text of him serenading you! lol…how absurd. The minute I hear, I will be out of town for a few weeks – after reaching out to me, and exchanging 2 e-chats…I lose interest. Meet up, or shut up is my motto. Don’t give out my number either–as I do not want to be getting silly text messages. “How is ur day?”. No…coffee, when and where? So I can actually see WHO you are, and what you look like. He works out 5 hours a day? Why–he doesn’t have a life with other demands? lol. This sounds like the typical catfish/bait and switch scenario going on. This man comes across extremely insecure. Total turnoff.

  11. Noquay Says:

    OP, I am assuming that this dude is around your age. So, a thirtysomething holding down a responsible job, working on one’s music, AND working out 5 hr/day? Yeah, right. As an ultra runner, I can tell you that guys (retired) that have the time to work out that much WANT to show you lots and lots of recent pics. If you have a name for this dude, Google it, especially images. Methinks you’re instincts are right, he doesn’t exist.

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