This is really hard for me, but I feel like God is telling me to share my story.
I found out my boyfriend was a catfish almost 2 years into our relationship. Everything that he had originally told me about himself was a lie. He never graduated from college, he had no degree in Computer Science, he wasn’t a Geek Squad Manager at Best Buy, and when I got the eviction notice from our apartment I found out that he had never been paying our rent.
Every single day was a lie. I would get up and head to work during the day thinking that he was doing the same, but it turns out he would get dressed and act like he was going to work. When I’d call he’d ignore my calls and text me saying that he was in meetings, when really he was really just meeting his friends and chilling in the house having 2k tournaments all day long. Every time I took a personal day from work, he was also home so I started to figure out that he wasn’t really working, and when I found the button up shirt and work pants sprawled all over the floor with the buttons still buttoned and the pants still zipped, I knew he had just been staging clothes to make it look like he was just getting home.
I prayed to God one night and asked Him to expose what was really going on, but I wasn’t ready for how quickly everything was going to spiral out of control.
I was at work when the woman from the leasing office called me saying that we were being evicted for non- payment of rent for over 3 months. In shock, I called my boyfriend demanding to know what was going on, as he was the one who was in charge of making sure the rent was to get paid each month. Taken by surprise, he told me he would call me right back and disappeared for two days, not returning any of my calls or texts. On the second day, I found him sleeping in my car at 6am when I attempted to leave for work and to my surprise he acted like the receipts he had shown me for payment of rent weren’t fraudulent.
I found out that he had been stealing my credit cards and my personal information while I was gone working during the day to open up lines of credit under my name. He would sit around acting like he was trying to help me figure out who was doing this to me, he even went with me to the police station to file the police report when I when it was him all along. He would take my credit cards at night while I was sleeping to make purchases, withdrawal money from my bank account and steal my car while I was sleeping to make purchases. When confronting him about anything he would immediately become irate and try to guilt trip me and turn the tables onto me to divert the subject in any way possible.
After being evicted, I was forced to live with his parents for two months. During this time his parents kicked him out of their home. I had no choice but to continue to live with them while I tried to figure out what my next move was. I was uncomfortable not being in my own space, I was confused as to how my life managed to get so crazy, I was heartbroken, vulnerable, and I was lonely.
I made the mistake of trying to forgive him. I swallowed a lot of my own anger and feelings of betrayal to try to see the good in him and to talk to him and bring him to Jesus. He convinced me not to trust his parents and talked me into coming to stay with at his grandmother’s home. And when I decided to move back to Richmond he bamboozled his way into coming to stay with me when his grandmother kicked him out.
I didn’t want him to come with me to Richmond. Moving back to where I came from was my way of trying to put this chapter behind me, get back onto my own feet, and try to move forward from this nightmare, but the good in me didn’t want to just leave him on the street with nowhere to go. But that’s what I should’ve done.
I had agreed to let him stay with me until March 4th, when he claimed that he would then go live with a friend in Atlanta. At this point we were in a situation-ship because I still had a 2 hour commute to Fairfax to work and I needed help driving and he needed a place to stay. When that date came and went I started to get really irritated that he stopped mentioning getting a bus ticket, claiming that he was waiting to get his ID from a friend back in northern Virginia so that he could be on his way. After a while I realized that this was probably all a lie. And even after I left my job in Northern VA and found work in Richmond, he continued to live off of me, sitting in the house all day long for months while I went to work every day trying to pay the rent, my car note, my maxed out credit cards as well as the debt to our old apartment on a waitress’s salary.
Nothing was really the same. I knew I couldn’t completely trust him. I knew he was a hacker and a fraud and that he was infamous for going through my stuff and shitting on me behind my back so I did my best to hide my personal paperwork and to change my passwords and PIN numbers. I was constantly on edge checking my credit monitoring and my accounts to make sure nothing had been opened up under my name. I felt so uncomfortable in my own home, and I knew that I couldn’t go on like this much longer.
We had finally started making a little bit of progress when he finally got a new license and social and I thought that maybe he really did want to change. But when I realized that even if he did secure a job that I just wanted to focus on myself and that I was tired of trying to help a grown man figure out how to get his life together, I expressed to him that I wanted some space from him and he completely lost his shit, and the real him presented himself yet again.
We ended up getting into a huge fight after I told him I didn’t want to be with him anymore. After deciding that I would stay with my sister for the night, I came home to grab some clothes for work, some personal paperwork and my computer and as I was packing my bag he was begging me to just sit and talk to him. When I refused he became completely deranged and violent. He refused to allow me to leave my apartment blocking the door with his body and bodying me every time I tried to approach the door. When I almost reached the door he grabbed me by the arms and pushed me up against the walls near the door.
He then drew a knife from the knife block near the kitchen door and proceeded to back me into my bedroom and push me onto the bed with the knife to my face. I managed to get up and get out of my room and he proceeded to push me onto the couch in the living room with the knife to my face threatening me that if I did not agree to talk to him that I would not be able to leave. He then began to turn the knife onto himself, threatening to slit his own wrists if I said that I didn’t want to see him again. He threatened to destroy everything of mine in the apartment and managed to steal my computer as leverage over me. I managed to call the police from his phone and to leave the apartment to meet the responding officer outside my building. But by the time the officers got upstairs to my unit, he had already fled the scene.
I knew that he could not have gone far with no car, no job, no money, no license and no social. I had an idea of where he could be, being that he only knows two of my friends in Richmond, but again I let the good in me stop me from giving the police his location. I also was trying my best not to get my friends involved.
In the following days, he began harassing me to retrieve his things from my apartment and when I refused he hacked into my social media, threatening to post porn from my account and to ruin me through my instagram account. During this time I managed to get into a fake email he had created and found all of the lines of credit he had been opening up under the name Grant Book. A majority of the lines of credit were the same ones that had been opened up under my name as well, so thats when I was for sure that it had been him doing this to me all along. I screen shotted all of the emails and messages of him admitting that he used to “do this for a living,” and by time he was done with me I would “need a new name and face.” Yet again I had to go through and change all of my passwords and secure my accounts, lock my credit report, lock my stolen computer and block him on all social media accounts.
At this time I have no idea of where he could be and I now have to be on guard every time I leave my apartment thinking that he could be somewhere lurking around my neighborhood. When I come home I have to circle the block and make sure that I don’t see anything suspicious.
Its crazy to me, because even through all of the lies I keep feeling guilty that I’ve done the wrong thing by going to the police. But in reality, the person that I loved never even existed. I was in love with a fraud and a monster who took advantage of my constant love and kindness, of my nature of being caring and forgiving and my mindset that people are who they say they are.
I don’t know if he really had intentions of hurting me, but I could have been severely hurt or accidentally killed in this situation, and not too long ago a coworker of mine was killed in a domestic violence dispute. I kept asking God why he decided to put her into my life for that brief period of time, and I now realize that God was showing me what could really happen if I continued to be in a relationship with someone like this.
He is a womanizer, a con artist, an opportunist, a pathological liar and a fraud and for a long time I was too embarrassed and ashamed to tell anyone what I’ve gone through. Not many people know what I’ve been going through for the past few months, but I think its safe to say that this has been the worst, most emotional time I’ve ever been through. I feel like God spared my life so that I could tell my story and hopefully help anyone who has ever been through domestic violence or who is currently going through domestic violence.
Learn to recognize the reflags of abuse, here were some of mine:
Obsessive behavior, aggressive behavior, possessive behavior, lying, violating my privacy, going through my phone, going though my personal information, not respecting any boundaries, stealing, blocking numbers of his family members on my phone, giving me ultimatums, guilt tripping me, using things that I confided with him about against me, trying to break me down, trying to isolate me from my family, trying to isolate me from his family, not having a car, not having a steady job, always changing his phone number, anger, being secretive, not sleeping well, getting angry automatically when being confronted.
Its safe to say that my view of the world and of people is completely different now, and through this nightmare I have learned many lessons. While I continue to pick up the pieces of my life, its not going to be easy, but I know God knows my heart and will continue to provide for me and help me begin to take my life back. People always say not to worry about finding a man or a partner because there’s plenty of fish in the sea, but you need to also be careful because there’s also plenty of catfish in the sea. Take things slow, be aware, live separately until marriage, don’t have sex until marriage, look at who people hang around, recognize red flags, ask questions, don’t always believe what people tell you because some people in this world have no regard for the lives and well being of others.
I was naive to get catfished by someone off of plenty of fish where the only thing true about them was their name and face. Don’t get blinded by chemistry and someone’s ability to woo you and be charming, because sooner or later everything that is done in the dark will come to light.
If you are in a victim of domestic abuse, whether it be verbal, mental or physical abuse please get help. Odds are if there are things happening in your relationship that your ashamed to tell your family or your best friend then something is probably wrong. Don’t be ashamed to reach out and talk to a professional and never blame yourself for being a good person and being taken advantage by someone like this, because no one deserves this pain. I am choosing to tell my story so that I don’t become a victim, I refuse to become broken and hardened by this situation because I now know my worth and that I’m way better than this. I’m not ashamed to say that I am seeking counseling, and looking for ways to cope and to be happy again, as I should be.
The National Domestic Violence Hotline: (800)799-SAFE