In fact, according to an October 2019 study, 30 percent of US adults say they’ve used a dating app. Of course, this varies by age and sexual orientation. For example, 48 percent of 18-to-29-year-olds say they’ve used a dating app, as opposed to 39 percent of those between 30 to 49 and 16 percent of those over 50.
The study also found that people who identify as part of the LGBTQ community are, on average, roughly twice as likely to have used such an app or site.
Also of note: sadly, only about 12 percent of Americans say they’ve been in a long-term, committed relationship as a result of these dating apps and sites.
Catfishing is officially defined as a deceptive activity in which someone creates a fake social media identity in order to target a victim for abuse, fraud or attention. The term was popularized by documentarian Nev Schulman in his 2010 documentary called Catfish, in which Schulman describes his own catfishing experience. Catfishing is sadly too often experienced by unsuspecting victims who are looking for love on dating sites and dating apps.
Experts say that the motivations for people who catfish include some form of revenge, loneliness, curiosity and even boredom. Others may catfish in order to financially abuse their victims. Your average catfish is not only a compulsive liar, but may also have the intention of hurting you in some way. They might also have really low self-esteem, feel alone and/or unloved and have a history of abuse. And in some cases, they might even feel like they are somehow “outside of society,” as in they’re not accepted.
Sound familiar? If not, take a look at the indicators of narcissistic personality disorder. You’ll find some similarities, for sure.
About one in 10 dating profiles are fake, studies say, and women are twice as likely to provide false information about themselves than men (though men aren’t underrepresented among catfish of the malicious nature). The motivations of women in many cases may be less about hurting someone and more about feeling insecure, but not always.
And of the people who have used dating sites, more than half said that someone they dealt with seemed to provide false information about themselves, while 28 percent said they have been harassed or at least made to feel uncomfortable, but someone they talked with through an online dating site or app.
So, how do you know if you’re dealing with a catfish on an online dating site or app?