Catfishing ‘Rampant,’ But Online Dating Is Here To Stay

While online dating has finally moved from “last resort for the socially awkward” to “how I met your mother,” “catfishing” (a colloquialism for misrepresenting oneself significantly to a potential partner) is also an unfortunate side effect, according to a new survey.

Online dating certainly didn’t create romantic deception, or catfishing, as anyone who is familiar with the play about Cyrano de Bergerac could tell you. But as online dating becomes the norm or quite near it, respondents say with frequency that while the yields can be high, so too can the chance of being materially lied to on the internet singles scene.

So, how pervasive is catfishing when dating online… and more importantly, could it happen to you? Has it happened to you?

Chances are if you’ve dated a web paramour, quite possibly. More than half of online daters (54 percent) state that a web crush has “seriously misrepresented” themselves in a profile, but the stats are horribly skewed along gender lines.

Bad experiences with “harassment” or unpleasant messages were reported by 42 percent of females, whereas only 17 percent of men have suffered from similar unwanted contact.

The research was part of Pew Research Center‘s “Internet & American Life Project,” but experts say that the trickery is a large part of all dating throughout the ages.

According to MarketWatch, Love in the Time of Algorithms: What Technology Does to Meeting and Mating author Dan Slater says that men are more likely to lie about height, and women are more likely to lie about weight.

He explains:

“If I meet a woman in a bar I obviously can’t lie about my height or weight or hairline. But my internship suddenly becomes a promising middle management job. Life is a series of small and large lies—and a lot of the misrepresentation is in the eye of the beholder.”

One area in which online dating is having a moment is consumer confidence. Back in 2005, 44 percent of people believed you could find your lifelong match on the world wide web. Now 59 percent of people are open to the idea of long-term mating through web meeting — even with the popularity of MTV’s Catfish.

It isn’t just love resulting from online dating and relationships however — just as the web can bring us together, the web can also cause us to be sundered. A third of divorce filings now contain the word “Facebook,” and divorce lawyers say there is an 80 percent rise in divorces prompted or influenced by social media activity of some description.

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