Heartbroken By My Digital Footprint


In this online world a man used my digital footprint to trick me. My heart opened and he crushed it.

I want someone like Hugh. Not Mr. Jackman himself but a man like him. Every time I see an interview of Hugh and his wife it restores my faith that there are good men out there. The devoted kind in a sea of the perpetually non-committal Peter Pan types. Unfortunately, I’ll forever want someone like Hugh, as an idea. I’m fine with that. Any trust I have in someone being sincerely interested in getting to know me died thanks to the Colin Farrell doppelganger.

Just like the actor, Colin Farrell’s doppelganger decided to selfishly move on from his last relationship by playing unfair in the dating game. He presented himself as Hugh Jackman when he was far from it. He created a false rapport with me to such an extent that my guard went down. Something it rarely does. Since I was genuinely approaching dating to get to know someone, I was tricked and paid the price emotionally.

All is fair in love and war? Yes and no. Not if someone has an unfair advantage. Years ago there was a movie on late night TV about a woman whose diaries were read by a burglar. Instead of robbing her apartment he set out to use knowledge of her diary entries to trick her. So he went on to romance her by fulfilling her dreams, even the ones she never told anyone. She thought the kind of man she was looking for really did exist. Sort of … but not really.

Nowadays be mindful what you write online or post in chat boards, even the private ones. If you have enough material out there it works like a diary depending on what you said. So when a man gathers from your digital footprint that you are seeking a Hugh Jackman type based on your relationship history, reviews of Hugh Jackman’s movies on Amazon and Barnes & Noble.com, and presents himself as commitment-oriented and family minded, the door to your heart opens too soon because you felt a false sense of safety or comraderie. Colin doppelganger did more than this. He mimicked my major interests as topics he knew about to make it seem like we shared those interests. The truth was .... we have nothing in common.

Colin Farrell’s doppelganger was intelligent enough to use my writings over the years to deconstruct my personality. He knew where I had been, where my perspectives were coming from, and how my emotional responses could be triggered at will to create positive regard. What seemed like bonding over dinner was totally false but he used his knowledge of me well. He clearly spent the time reading my online book and film reviews, so it worked. It hurt to realize that I was tricked for the benefit of his selfish and self-serving motivations. It was not so much about being lied to but how someone could be so heartless to use my own thoughts to lead me astray. He successfully made me feel comfortable around him even though he didn't like me as a person.

The only reason he took me to a French restaurant was because he paid attention to my Meetup profile. I am a member of several French language learning groups. On one hand I should have assumed that how it works with the wonders of Google. I just never realized someone could take a Google search on my name that far.

Facebook and Twitter and all social media can tell a stranger a lot about you. Depending on your privacy settings if someone is interested enough they can go through your social media history and get a sense of your life since you created a facebook account. If you are a sharing type of person then your social media postings can give away your likes, dislikes, major life defining moments, etc. That information is enough for a person to know the kind of places to take you to, the topics to talk about, TV shows or movies to watch, and what to order from the menu. You will think they are intuitive, a good guesser, or just really get you. In truth, they are proving a well known psychological theory. The more similar you are to someone the higher the likelihood is that they will like you.

Posting public reviews on Amazon or Goodreads or any consumer website can and will be used against you in a court of law or on a date. Apart from reviews showing the world your favorite authors and music, they also open the door for a vast data to mine that reveals your psychological construct. Especially when you post comments on non-fiction books related to culture, cooking, health, art, memoirs and biographies, and language learning programs. Most telling about you as well are any self-help books or authors you follow. If you read everything ever written by John Gray of Mars and Venus fame, it’s obvious that relationships are a big deal to you. If you are an avid reader of JoJo Moyes then it signals to someone how romantic you are.

The value in subscription lists can also give Sherlock Holmes the kind of ecstasy only a detective can have with that many clues at their disposal. Many authors have e-newsletters that you can subscribe too. They also have facebook pages you can like. Again, if you have liked popular writers in a non-fiction genres such as dating, relationships, history, performing arts, it works similar to a checklist of your favorite things. Your date just has to memorize it and bring up these subjects as “hot buttons” to accelerate a sense of positive rapport and comfort. You will have a good gut sense of someone that is more positive than it would be if they didn’t do this. Once your guard is down your vulnerability increases and that is when they can stab you in the heart. That is exactly what it felt like.

Would you believe that Colin Farrell doppelganger even managed to bring  up obscure British independant films that few of my friends have watched? I thought he was a film buff when he mentioned movies like "Shame", "Neds", "Fish Tank", and "One Last Kiss", et al. Yet, despite all that, Colin Farrell’s doppelganger didn’t like me at all as a person. We are totally different from one another. He was just really bored that night he wanted to meet. I was looking forward to going home and relaxing until he sent me a text. I didn't decline because he mentioned a French restaurant. He knew the hook.

After all that sleuthing on his part, and once my positive regard for him was established, he told me that I wasn’t his type. He just needed attention from a female. I was just his target in a game of emotional target practice. He wanted to accelerate the chances of me liking him, even though he didn’t feel the same, by navigating through my digital footprint. He was right. In him being right I was wronged. Nothing like finding out that you were just a tool for someone to distract themselves from their ex, the one they really want to still be with. There I was thinking we were on the same wavelength only to discover it was one big trick for kicks on his end.

Lesson: Your digital footprint can provide enough clues to show someone if you are outgoing, confident, active, etc. The more you write the more you reveal what’s in your psyche. This online archive can come back to haunt you if you’ve shown more distinct aspects of your personality. Such as, were you the girl in high school who couldn’t get a date? Or the loner that felt misunderstood? Maybe you are the immigrant child who gets really mad when men approach you in a bar thinking you’re a Geisha ready to cater to them because you’re Dutch-Indonesian exotic looking. So you respond back to in a British accent or say something in German to throw them off. You happen to share this in a review about the Dove Campaign for Real Beauty. That post was published years ago so who would ever read it. Someone did.

Fast forward a few years later and you are talking about your background to your date. Surprise, he suggests to you that the next time a man treats you like you are fresh off the boat from Asia to reply in a British accent. You think it’s cute that he thinks like you. In reality, he is just quoting something you said once long ago.

Or how about this: You tell him you left home at 16 without your parents' support. You even tell him what they said when you announced that you were going 3000 miles away. Then he says that your parents probably thought you would be home in three months. He is right. Why? Because he found an article you wrote for a British anthology book that has since gone out of print. In that entry you wrote exactly those words "my parents thought by not financially supporting me in college that I'd be home in three months and transfer to a local school". Somehow he found a scan of it on someone's facebook and read your short story. A short story you wrote under a pen name in 2004 when you were in England. How he knew my pen name from that time I can only guess. I must have mentioned it on facebook once.

No one else has ever used my digital footprint to trick me on a date. I’ve had people lie to me about their job and education but never have I felt like my diaries were read and used against me. It’s like a more sinister version of the movie “What Women Want”. A man who knows your thoughts and uses them to his advantage but not because he likes you. Ouch!

In German, the word doppelganger means double, or even twin depending on the context. As much as Colin Farrell the actor has a bad boy image, his doppelganger was more than bad. He committed crimes against the heart. Or at least against my heart. That is worse, much worse, in my opinion. Why? I am innocent. I always was. I was open and honest with him. It never crossed my mind to deceive him.

The word sadist comes from the Marquis de Sade. He was a man who took pleasure in inflicting pain on others. The Marquis would be very proud of Colin Farrell’s doppelganger. It was a perfect play of emotional sadism. What was fun for him was faith wrecking for me. Any last hope and faith I had that someone could still be genuinely interested in me is now dead.