Bayview Post - - Currents - DR. JESS Jess O’Reilly is a sought-af­ter speaker, au­thor and sex­ol­o­gist (

Chris also ad­mits to the catc­hand-re­lease ap­proach.

“I loved the chase, so I’d work hard to reel them in, and as soon as they took my bait, I was out.” He at­tributes this to his own self­es­teem and com­mit­ment is­sues.

“If some­one does this to you, call them out. I needed to be called out, and af­ter an ex fi­nally spoke up dur­ing a breakup, I smartened up. I have my ex to thank for forc­ing me to look in the mir­ror, and now I’m in the best re­la­tion­ship I could imag­ine,” he says.

Other daters re­port be­ing hurt by both cush­ion­ing and cat­fish­ing.

Cush­ion­ing is a ma­nip­u­la­tive way to keep some­one in your back pocket while you’re dat­ing an­other per­son in or­der to soften the blow if the first prospect doesn’t work out. You may not know you’re be­ing cush­ioned, so it’s im­por­tant to ask a po­ten­tial part­ner if he or she is see­ing any­one else and in­quire as to whether the po­ten­tial part­ner is still on any dat­ing apps.

Park­dale’s Safiya ad­mits that she and her friends al­most al­ways have a backup plan:

“We don’t call it cush­ion­ing, but I sup­pose they are re­ally a safety net. I’ve never been asked, but I don’t think I’d lie if some­one asked me point-blank.”

Cat­fish­ing in­volves cre­at­ing a fake pro­file, and kit­ten-fish­ing is a toned-down ver­sion in which peo­ple fal­sify parts of their pro­file from their photo to their job ti­tle. You can avoid be­ing cat­fished by ver­i­fy­ing a per­son’s in­for­ma­tion through so­cial me­dia or per­form­ing Google re­verse im­age search on a pro­file pic. Sug­gest­ing an IRL meet­ing early on will force the cat­fish­ers to the sur­face.

Nav­i­gat­ing the ever-evolv­ing world of dig­i­tal dat­ing may seem daunt­ing, but with 19 per cent of re­cent en­gage­ments and mar­riages bud­ding on­line, there are mil­lions of mean­ing­ful con­nec­tions to be made. If you’re un­sure about some­one, en­list the help of a friend or crowd-source ad­vice from your so­cial net­work. And when in doubt, be di­rect. Di­rect ques­tions can dis­arm the cat­fish­ers, bread­crum­bers and sub­mariners (ghosters who reap­pear with no ex­pla­na­tion) alike. And if you do run into a game player, don’t take it per­son­ally. It’s not you. It’s them.

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