Someone asked me recently what is worse, being cheated on or having someone misrepresent themselves in a relationship? My initial thoughts were being cheated on because you are an innocent party, but what if someone is really good at pulling the wool over your eyes? What if it’s a woman who is beautiful, charismatic and she uses her feminine wiles knowing that he’ll fall for her? What if she misrepresents who she is, what she likes, just to make an affluent man fall for her?

I started to realize that a victim of misrepresentation in dating, is a victim of sexual fraud. Sexual fraud is the deliberate act of deceiving someone to gain financial, sexual advantage and to inflict emotional and mental harm. Victims of relationship fraud will almost always have emotional damage and struggle to trust others in the future.

Manipulation is so widespread in online dating. Think of all the catfishing that goes on. Just how many stories have we heard about both men and women using old photos, and showing up to their date not looking anything like their profile pictures? It’s just wrong in so many ways. Of course, we all use good photos (well, most of us anyway), but I can’t imagine too many men show up, see a woman who doesn’t resemble her photos and still get captivated by her sparkling personality. Why? Because he feels he has been misled, and he feels lied to and cheated. He was excited about meeting the woman in the photos. By lying you are hurting your chances of finding Mr. Right and you are intentionally being unfair to the poor man you are meeting.

I admit I used to LOVE the Oprah Winfrey Show. I still remember the show where Oprah is sitting with Maya Angelou in their pajamas, and Oprah says,” One of the most important lessons I’ve ever learned…when people show who they are, believe them.” Maya Angelou responds, “If a person says to you, ‘I’m selfish’ or ‘I’m mean’ or ‘I’m unkind’ – believe them. They know themselves better than you do. But more often than not, those of us who don’t trust life say don’t say a crazy thing like that. You’re not really crazy…and as soon as you say that. That person – POW . And shows you.”

We need to take off our rose-tinted glasses. We see who and what we want to see. When the man I started seeing said he makes a horrible boyfriend, and that he had issues as long as his arm…why didn’t I believe him? He was telling me straight to my face, and I didn’t want to hear it.

So now, I need a man to show me who he is, not tell me. I look at how he treats the waitress, and how chivalrous he is to me, and when he speaks about his ex and his family. He might not like his ex, but does he destroy her, or does he acknowledge her flaws and how it hurt him? There’s a big difference.

I’m not going to be bamboozled. I am taking my time and I’m being cautious. I want to have Sir Galahad sweep me off my feet, but when I hear those hooves approaching, I’m going to remember to take off my rose-tinted glasses and listen. Next time a man says that he doesn’t think he’s good enough for me, I’m going to listen!

So, I’m not positive which one is worse, being cheated on, or have someone misrepresent and pretend to be someone that they’re not. Both mean you’ve been lied to, and both have made you waste time with a dishonest person. Time is precious and too valuable to waste on a liar and a cheat. It doesn’t make the confusion or hurt less, but at least you’re not throwing good after bad.

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