The world as it exists now is more virtual and digital than ever before. It is, therefore, not surprising that online dating is gradually becoming the norm.
But there are also more risks than before with catfish accounts and profiles that ruin the aim of dating websites and apps.
Catfish profiles are not created by people with good intentions. A catfish account is solely created to emotionally scam people of their hard-earned money and (in some cases) property.
Placing the desire to get concrete relationships and bonds from dating sites side-by-side the fear of falling into the hands of a catfish, it’s almost impossible not to develop anxiety after all.
However, there’s some help with that. Even though digital deceivers deploy all possible schemes within their arsenal to catch victims, it’s not beyond your control to spot them out and take the appropriate actions.
There are usually signs that tell you that the person at the other end is not real.
To spot a catfish, take note of the following signs.
They are not on other social media platforms
It’s rare to find someone who is not on Facebook yet they are on Tinder or an obscure dating site. A real person should not be only on dating sites. They should have a life outside of searching for potential partners. So, if this person is not on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter and can’t be found at all on Google with a real-life occupation, then it’s your clue to know that they are not real.
Also, take note of their activity on these platforms. Is it an account opened about three months ago? Then, there’s something fishy. How many friends or followers does the account have? Are there any active posts made or comments from real-life people who also have a considerable amount of activity on their accounts as well? Go through their old posts: it doesn’t have to perfect, it just has to seem like it’s from a real person.
Their pictures are too perfect
If they are not a celebrity (even celebrities also have random, normal selfies here and there) and their pictures are always high-resolution and professional-looking, then it’s a sign that they are a catfish. You can also do a Google image search by taking their images and uploading them to see the results that appear. If there are multiple social media accounts using the same picture under different names, it’s a huge sign that they are a catfish.
They are avoiding video calls
If they are consistently coming up with various excuses to avoid having a video call, then you are most likely dealing with a catfish.
They are demanding money
If they are already demanding money for something that has a backstory or they absolutely need, this is the easiest way to tell you they are a catfish.
They get defensive when asked if they are real
If whenever you raise your suspicions and concerns about them being real or not, they get angry and overreact – there’s definitely something wrong.
They want to get serious almost immediately
If they are saying the right things you want to hear too soon, this is a sign you should not ignore. If they are already telling you they love you and want to spend the rest of their life with you without letting things run its natural course, then they are up to no good with you.
They are demanding nudes or sexual display over video calls
They are demanding these to blackmail you with it. A total stranger you’ve met on a dating site shouldn’t be asking for your nudes like you both are already in a long-term relationship. Don’t agree to do explicit things over a video call as they could be recording it without your knowledge.
5 Things You Should Never Say To Your Mother-In-Law
Getting married comes with a lot of new responsibilities. One important aspect is relating with your mother-in-law.
You should know that there are certain things that you should never say to your mother-in-law if you want peace to reign.
It’s not about being docile; it’s you being wise enough to avoid conflict or a strained relationship with your mother-in-law.
Ordinarily, these things shouldn’t be a big deal. But their meanings change when said to a mother-in-law.
So, you need to take note of the underlying meanings of the seemingly harmless statements that you make around your mother-in-law.
Here are five things you should never say to your mother-in-law.
Never say ‘No’
As simple as the word ‘no’ is, saying it to your mother-in-law can dig up a whole lot of issues that would otherwise be nonexistent. To avoid painting the wrong picture of yourself or sending the wrong message across, try as much as possible not to say the word ‘no’ to your mother-in-law. Instead of saying ‘no’ outrightly, you could say ‘I appreciate you ma but I sincerely cannot take/do this right now. Thank you for your understanding.’ Sounds better? It sure does. This reduces whatever friction must have been brewing.
‘I did not ask for your opinion’
Regardless of the circumstances involved, saying this to your mother-in-law can trigger avoidable conflict. As much as you may not like every intrusion from your mother-in-law, telling her directly that you did not ask for her opinion is you disrespecting her. It does not matter if you are older or about the same age. This should never be said to avoid unnecessary drama.
‘Your child prefers it this way’
This is sure to create a strained relationship between you and your mother-in-law even if you didn’t mean it that way. As a mother, she feels she knows what’s best for her child because she has been with your spouse longer than you ever have. Telling her that her child prefers something done a particular way that is contrary to what she has always known is you gunning for enmity. She is likely to think of you as the intruder who has come to destroy the close bond she has with her child. You can advise her to try another idea or suggestion if she asks but not outrightly telling her that you know exactly what her child prefers simply because you are the spouse.
‘We don’t have time to visit you’
No mother-in-law wants to hear this. Do not make your mother-in-law feel alienated from her child’s life simply because they are now married. Try to make her understand that it’s not your deliberate decision to not come visiting. Family is everything as we age and your mother-in-law needs that connection – you need that connection with her as well.
‘It is not a big deal’
It might not be a big deal to you, but it definitely is to her – else she wouldn’t have raised it up with you. You not understanding why she is making a fuss out of it shouldn’t be communicated so nonchalantly. As a mother, her concerns – just as yours – are valid. Try to understand her point of view. You don’t have to accept it, but just understand it. You’d be surprised what ‘I understand you’ can do as opposed to ‘It’s not a big deal.’
Stalking: How To Deal With It
No one wants to be in a situation where they are being stalked constantly.
It is an uncomfortable situation to be in at any point in life.
Stalking happens when you are feeling uncomfortable with unwarranted and unsolicited contact by the person doing the stalking.
In a time of digital technology, stalking not only happens in-person when the person follows you without your knowledge and permission. It can also happen online in the form of cyber-stalking or cyber-bullying. Usually, these types of contact can be difficult to prosecute. However, there’s a bit of help here as you can avoid this kind of harassment more easily by changing your online privacy settings or email address.
If you find yourself in a situation where you are being stalked online and it gets to the point of in-person stalking, you shouldn’t joke with this. Try to take it to the authorities as it is very serious.
Types of Stalkers
While stalking in itself is inherently bad, some types of stalkers are more dangerous than others. Therefore, you should arm yourself with the right knowledge of the type of stalker you are dealing with as this can help you notify the police appropriately and defend yourself if necessary.
- Simple Stalkers: Most stalkers are known as simple stalkers. These are people who you know that you may have had a romantic or friendly relationship in the past. While you ended the relationship, it didn’t end for them.
- Love obsession stalkers: These are people who you have never met (or very casual acquaintances) who latch onto you and think that they are in a relationship with you. People who stalk celebrities are in this category.
- Stalkers who have a psychotic fantasy about a relationship with their victims will often turn from unwanted attention to threats or intimidation. When this fails, they may escalate to violence.
- Sometimes the abuser in an abusive relationship or marriage becomes a stalker, following their ex and watching them from afar, then moving closer, and eventually repeating or escalating violent attacks. This can be one of the most dangerous stalkers.
How To Deal With Stalking Online and Offline
A casual acquaintance whose likeness for you grows into an obsession and comes by your residence occasionally or often may be ultimately harmless. An abusive ex-husband who has threatened you may try to kill you if you let your guard down.
If you are being stalked online, verify if the stalker has any information about your real-life location. Be sure to maintain a secure online presence and never reveal your home address or even your hometown on public pages.
Try to be observant. If you believe that you are being stalked, you should be more observant and careful of your surroundings. Take note of anyone acting strangely or unknown vehicles in your neighborhood or near your workplace. Be sure to take notes about anything you observe that seems unusual.
Avoid contact with your stalker. Stalkers usually think that they are in a relationship with their victims. And whatever contact the victims make with them is seen as validation of their “relationship,” which is nonexistent. If you are being stalked, do not call, write to, or speak to your stalker in person if you can avoid it at all.
Ghosting: How To Move Past It
Ghosting is when all communication between you and the other person stops abruptly.
The thing about ghosting is that it happens unexpectedly without prior notice.
Nothing prepares you for it. There are no clues or hints; everything seems to be going well until it happens.
No one wants to be ghosted. It is a traumatic experience that leaves the person being ghosted with deep insecurities and feelings of guilt.
A lot of times, people wonder if they are at fault or they did something wrong to deserve being ghosted.
Do you deserve being ghosted?
Ghosting is not a good thing to happen to anyone. Some may say there are valid instances where ghosting is appropriate. But chances are that if you are left wondering and perplexed about why you were ghosted, then it is not your fault.
Ghosting is the lazy way out for people who have communication issues. They would rather avoid talking to you than address the situation squarely.
Does ghosting hurt?
Ghosting hurts the individual who was left behind with no explanations or reasons. This is especially if you have shared experiences, secrets, fears, concerns and hopes with each other. It sure does hurt to be ghosted by the person who used to be your confidante, listen to how your day went and share ideas with you.
How do you know if you are being ghosted?
Sometimes, we don’t want to believe that we have been ghosted. We assume that the person may have been hospitalized or lost their phone hence the silence from their end. But no one loses their phone for a whole week without trying to contact those who matter to them and they know would be worried about the absence of communication.
Similarly, no one is rushed to the hospital without thinking of informing someone close to them to reach out to those who may be worried.
Why would they fall sick and not inform their loved ones (if they truly consider you a loved one)?
There is no justification for ghosting someone. No excuse cuts it.
Will they come back?
Some do return from their self-imposed exile. Ghosting helps the person who is doing the ghosting. They get to come back anytime they feel like and cook up a story about why they disappeared. This is another reason why ghosting is selfish and cunning.
Is it right to take them back?
Their return may trigger some feelings you have fought to keep buried. It’s not your fault; they used to be close to you. But if they’ve ghosted you once, chances are high that they’ll do it again. And you certainly don’t want your feelings toyed with that way. Taking them back sends the message to them that you are available to be played with as they’ll keep ghosting and coming back as many times as they like without genuine explanations.
What should I do if I’m being ghosted?
First, tell yourself the truth. Don’t try to bottle up your feelings. Allow yourself to feel the hurt and mourn their exit. It helps you deal with what’s ahead such as triggers.
Then, do away with all memories of them in your life – it might be a gift or a picture or saved texts. If the gift cannot easily be discarded, say a car or an apartment, you can try selling it. And if you want to keep it, mentally disassociate their memory from the gift and just see it as a goodwill from life.
Then, listen to positive messages and motivational podcasts. Tell yourself that you deserve better and they are the ones life helped you weed out.
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