Unfortunately, with the increase in both options and popularity of online dating and its use, there has also been an increase in mistreatment of online dating and its users. There is no denying that online dating has the potential to really help people connect, reconnect, and make connections with individuals both locally and afar. However, like most things in life, there will be some people that will use things as intended, while other will abuse it. In general, persons that use online approaches to dating and relationships do so with good and honest intentions, they want to casually date or hope to meet a life partner.

The emergence and rate of occurrence of catfishing is fast becoming a real problem within the online dating community. There is now more suspicion and fear surrounding are we really chatting with the person identified in the profile, does he or she really exist, are the qualities or characteristics listed on the profile accurate, etc. Catfishing can create feelings of uncertainty, self-doubt, frustration, anxiety, depression, etc.

Dangers of Catfishing Include- Person Catfished

Creating self-doubt

Diminished self-esteem

Persons catfished become emotionally invested in the other person and the relationship while the catfisher does not

Falling in love with someone that does not exist

Changing ones life goals or making major life decisions based upon a lie


Emotional devastation

Monetary loss (some catfishers will solicit money, gifts, or a combination of both from those they catfish)

Question future decision making capabilities

Experience a loss of time, energy, and resources into a relationship or person that does not exit

Trust Issues

Reasons Why People Engage in Catfishing Behaviors

Low Self-Esteem

Revenge for being jilted or hurt in the past

Creating a life or persona unlike their own

Solicit money or gifts from another person

Attention seeking

Sexual-identity anxiety


Boredom/ bring excitement into their lives

Lack of confidence



Difficulty being honest

While the process of online dating has made it easier to meet others and find happiness, it has also brought with it unintended negative aspects, such as, false representation, lack of honesty and authenticity, unsavory motives, self-doubt, etc. Catfishing is certainly not a victimless act, it has the capacity to create emotional harm, and distress to persons that feel they have been deceived, used, and humiliated. The person that is catfished is usually emotionally invested in the person that they believe they are talking to, leading to an imbalance in an already non-existent relationship. It can be emotionally devastating for the victim when they find out that the person they think they have fallen in love with does not exist or is not who they say they are. The deception involved in catfishing can lead to both personal and public embarrassment, prompting the personal to become overly critical of others, suffer from self-esteem issues, trust issues, or self-isolate. Catfishing can cause further damage to an already fragile sense of self, i.e., persons that already suffer from self-esteem issues can experience additional stress by being deceived. The consequences of the emotional and psychological damage caused by catfishing can be quite severe, leading to depression or even suicide.

Helpful Tips to Avoid Being Catfished

They wont Skype or use a webcam to talk with you, they often text, prefer telephone contact or they repeatedly cancel in-person meetings at the last minute.

They profess their love for you really quickly

They have a profile that looks new or incomplete, with a lot of pertinent information missing

They ask you to send them money or buy them gifts

He or she seems too good to be true.

The profile picture appears to be a stock image, grainy, or old

They give you confusing or conflicting information