Online daters tell Moneyish how paramours have tried to manipulate them
You won’t swipe right to this kind of behavior.
New data out from dating site Plenty of Fish finds that those looking for love online are engaging in some questionable behavior. One of the biggest issues is “flexting,” in which a paramour boasts incessantly about him- or herself online before meeting IRL. “People ‘peacock’ when they want someone to like them but sometimes this leads to overemphasizing their good qualities, to a point that they’re outright untruths,” explains Rachel DeAlto, a relationship expert and coach.
Roughly half of singles (47%) and more than six in 10 single women (63%) have encountered a flexter — and it usually doesn’t go well. Just ask Liza Marques, a 35-year-old owner of a public relations and marketing firm, who recently met one herself. When chatting online, he told her “he was in great shape, “was the CEO of a startup out in California,” and had moved to her town to help his ailing grandmother. Intrigued, she agreed to meet him for lunch, but says “the minute he walked in I knew I was in for it.” The guy was roughly 40 pounds heavier than his photograph, did not own a startup (instead was considering starting an app) and “had recently been fired from his job in California, and was living with his grandmother.”
After the date, she texted him to say that she wished him well, didn’t find any romantic spark and he responded thanking her for her honesty. Cut to 3 a.m. and Marques says it was a different guys. “[He] texted me non-stop, calling me every name you can think of,” she says. “I blocked him everywhere I could, removed my [dating] profile, and [a few months later] met my current boyfriend at the local library.”
Sometimes the problem is not enough communication. Two in three singles (67%) have experienced “cricketing” — where a potential lover leaves you on “read” for too long without responding. It’s “one of the biggest and most used offenses,” says Boston-based online dater Julie Nashawaty, 37. She recounts a time when she matched with a guy on Bumble and had “fantastic banter over messaging for over an hour.” She then popped into a work meeting, telling him she’d write later. “I get out of work and send a message to pick back up the conversation and then I literally never heard from him again,” she says. “I like to assume he threw his phone out the window. Utter and complete waste of my time and energy.”
Sometimes, this is a sign that the person isn’t interested, says DeAlto. Or a function of the fact that people get so many inquiries when online dating that they can’t keep up with them, adds 42-year-old copywriter Tony, who has been online dating since the 90s. “You just get overwhelmed.”
Whatever the reason, sometimes all that cricketing and ghosting makes daters feel crazy — and they do something called “ghostbusting.” That’s when a person continues to text someone even when they get no response; 38% say they’ve experienced someone ghostbusting them. Daters often do this because “they believe that they are going to jumpstart something,” says DeAlto. “It’s like performing CPR on a week old corpse.”
Ghostbusting was one of the first experiences that 29-year-old Tampa resident Naresh Vissa, who eventually met his fiance online, had when he began online dating six years ago. “Both men and women will ghost and not respond back — that is pretty much the norm and standard now,” Vissa, the founder of founder of online and digital agency Krish Media Marketing, says. Still, when he was slow to respond to one woman he’d met online, she became “very upset that I wasn’t responding with my full attention … she said she expected me to pick up her phone calls and text back immediately,” Vissa, author of Fifty Shades of Marketing: Whip Your Business Into Shape & Dominate Your Competition,” tells Moneyish. “I thought: I don’t even know your last name. It kind of creeped me out.” Twitter, too, is filled with stories like these, like this woman who got so fed up with a guy texting her that she threatens to tell him that her phone number has changed.
This dude won't stop texting me😩 I'm bout to give him my bst friend number and say text my other phone
— Neidro (@Country_nPretty) January 7, 2018
Other issues include “serendipidating” — when you put off a date for a while so you can “leave it up to fate” in case someone better comes along — and “fauxbae’ing” or pretending to have a significant other over social media when you’re actually single.
About one in three singles (30%) have admitted to serendipidating. DeAlto notes that it is a function of the rapid pace of dating culture which “seems to have become about ‘next!’ more than ‘love the one you’re with’” and April Masini, who runs a relationship advice forum, says it’s a sign that “this person is not that into you. If they were, they wouldn’t put off the date.”
And a little over 1 in 10 admit to “fauxbae’ing,” which Plenty of Fish notes “may be an attempt to make an ex jealous, or to convince a nosey family of a nonexistent partner to put an end to their consistent questioning about your love life.” Relationship coach DeAlto notes that this behavior can be disturbing, joking that, “If you’re doing this, please call me. We need to work through this. I’m concerned.”
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