Saturday, February 23, 2013

Facebook ; Catfish & Internet Dating


A few days after I discovered someone who created a fake Facebook profile to communicate with me and I guess others, for some unknown reason this disturbed person did this to get my attention. And my heart went out to them.  But I chose to ignore it because it’s important in this time of my life not to allow other people issues to become mine. 
A day later I turned on the television. Like so many others, I was caught up in the "Catfish" marathon which airs on MTV. Catfish is reality documentary style show that is about those who have an online relationship with another person.  The show is used as a mediator to meet the person face to face because one of the parties either is hesitant to meet or create road blocks for them not to meet. In most of the series the person ends up to be not who they say they are.  The person usually makes up who they are by using someone else’s picture. In some of the cases the person has ended up to be female when they were posing as a male and visa versa. In other cases the person was ashamed of who they were because they were overweight or they were insecure about how they really were. In one of the cases the online relationship had gone on for 10 years. Fortunately in that case, the party had not created who he was; he just masked the fact that he was over 600 pounds.
In my studies in becoming a Christian Counseling Psychologist, the thought that comes to my mind at what level of unhappiness does a person have to be to have a relationship with someone online.  In all of the cases there was no video chat. In some of them there were phone calls but no real relationship. Some may argue that an online relationship is just real as a face to face relationship because you have that person’s personality at bay. But the risk of a person creating themselves to whom ever they want to be is the major risk. Online dating opens up the possibility of one coming in contact with a person with a borderline personality disorder. The person cannot or is not willing to meet a person the traditional way, so they will use the Internet to prey upon emotional vulnerable people.  See this article on the pitfalls to online dating.
 According to a local CBS station in Las Vegas , a woman by the name of Mary Beckman is suing for 10 million dollars after going out on a date  with a man she met on that site that severely beat her. is an online dating service that connects you with a mate by giving questionnaires to its participants and matches them with the person that the site chooses the participants are best compatible with. Even though the crime was horrific, I question if was responsible for the crime. The plaintiff feels that the online dating service should have had some safe guards in place.  In my opinion Mary Beckman was responsible for her own safety up to a certain level.  If you go on a blind date, one should always meet in a public place. One should not invite or let a stranger know were they live or allow them into their home until after several weeks of conversations if not months. It is possible to discern a person character up to a certain level. There are indeed some social malformed persons in this society  but for the most part you can know after series of conversations if a person is sane or not. You always let a good friend know were you are going and who you are going with.  Give the phone number of your date. And always have a good friend to check on you periodically during the date. And on the first date it is OK to let you date know what you are doing. If he is sane he or she should not be offended. This is just living smart.  I’m not saying that Ms. Beckman is totally at fault for another person’s behavior, I’m just pointing out the importance of having some safe guards, if we choose to go on a blind date.
 But the deeper questions is what type of unhappiness causes a person to have an ongoing relationship with a person that they have not seen and feel that it is a real relationship. I have never had an online relationship before. However, to be transparent let me tell you a little about the old me.
 I was once a person that had some of the symptoms of depression. I had low self esteem and I felt that only if I found a spouse, only if I was in a relationship I would be happy. With this mentality I spent 3 years in a marriage with a woman that I was not compatible with that brought me nothing but emptiness. From then on, I went to relationship to relationship that failed from the age of 25 to 40. All these relationships failed with only two lasting 3 years or more (the same length of my marriage). And not even romances, I’m talking about normal friendships as well.  Nearly twenty years of my life seemed to be on some level waisted because I was here but lost. I thought that being in a relationship or being well liked would bring me happiness. But the relationships brought emotional abuse in my life.  It brought me being exposed to those who had  bipolar disorders, addiction issues, narcism, individualism  and the list goes on and on with other  ism and other diagnosis that could be found on the DSM IV. Like attracted like or maybe it was me rushing into relationships and rushing into circumstances without taking the time to get accounted because I was empty, and thought that another being could make me happy and it was all a lie.
 After twenties years of being sick and tired of being sick and tired, I realized that in most of the situations, it wasn't my fault. We always think it is the other persons fault. But there was one common denominator. It was me!  I was the common denominator in all of the situations. I had some major responsibility in it. So after digging deep and taking a personal inventory and really getting to know myself; Discernment is what I call it, learning how to love me the naked me figurative and literally with all my flaws and all of my greatness and loving all my flaws and learning to be comfortable with me alone and being able to sit in a silent room with no one but me and enjoy the silence. Learning to go out to dinner by myself and going to the movies and cooking for myself and putting out the good china and my favorite wine or cocktail and cook an elaborate dish just for me.  You see I had to date me to get to know me and to get to know myself and appreciate this being that God has uniquely created in his own image.
 And it is this experience where I can relate to those who are caught in blindly talking to a person. Because they feel that the person can bring some sense of happiness to them and bring something to make them whole and it is a complete lie. Happiness comes from within and flows outward and when people see that you are happy, it will give off an energy that will draw folks to you. There is truly someone for everyone.  And I was reminded of this one day when I was at U of H and I saw the couple, one on a walker and another one confined to a wheel chair. No matter how different from what society claim beauty is there is literally someone for everyone. But you have to be in the right mind set to accept what God has for you; because, there is a person that you are truly equally yoked with. And what God has brought together let no man separate.

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