In this day and age of meeting strangers online, you have to be extra careful. MTV's Catfish taught us you must to be suspicious of everyone. Basically, no one can be trusted online, especially when it comes to matters of the heart. While being lied to can be frustrating and even dangerous, this is a case of it turning out in the best manner possible.
This story of online dating starts the way many do: right after a breakup. 33 year-old Emma Perrier lived near the French Alps and just had her heart broken. She was dating a man 11 years younger than her who after eight months said he didn't love her and preferred clubbing to being in a relationship.
Perrier took some time to heal, but then decided there were plenty more fish in the sea. She plunged into the water, joining the dating app Zoosk. Almost immediately she received interest from several strangers.
After nearly a year of talking online, Ronnie kept making excuses for why they couldn't meet in person. Perrier did a little research and was devastated to learn that "Ronnie" didn't exist. The photos on the dating profile were of Turkish model and actor Adem Guzel.
"Ronnie" was actually 53 year-old interior decorator Alan Stanley. He was short, bald and looked nothing like the dashing photos he used to deceive Perrier and other women. Stanley confessed to the charade, saying, "I wasn’t feeling the most attractive, I might say. You know, I always struggled with self-confidence and ... I was going through a messy separation and I was just feeling like I needed somebody to talk to."
But when first confronted, Stanley tried denying the ruse. He tried gaslighting Perrier, saying she must have trust issues. Perrier had enough and hung up. Stanley called back, apologized and they both had a difficult, emotional conversation about what had happened.
Perrier wanted to make sure no other women would fall for Stanley's game, so she decided to reach out to the real man in the photographs. She sent Guzel a message, saying:
"Hello Adem, we don’t know each other but a year ago I met a guy online and that man is using your picture and pretends he is you under another name. I wasn’t sure if getting in touch with you was a good idea but I needed you to know.
Something about the sincerity of Perrier's message touched Guzel. He reached out to her, and they video chatted. Against all odds, sparks started to fly between Perrier and the actual man whose face she grew to adore.
Perrier was shocked and elated to see that he actually exists. They found the situation surreal and talked for a while. They learned all about each other over the course of the conversation. However, shortly after, the two lost touch.
Months after the catfish revelation, Perrier and Stanley met in person. She needed closure from the man she thought she was falling in love with. Soon after, she decided there was someone else she needed to meet in person. She got back in touch with Guzel, who agreed.
Perrier sent Stanley a final text, describing her decision and the emotions behind it:
"Alan, I wanted to tell you that tomorrow I’m going to pick up Adem at the airport. And I still don’t know if it’s good or bad but I’m going to meet ‘my Ronnie.’ You built up all this stuff, I’m not sure if I should thank you or detest you for that. But this is happening."
Perrier and Guzel met in person on April Fool's Day 2017. And how did it go? Well, they've been dating ever since. Guzel says he feels fate brought them together, and Perrier sums up the whole tale neatly by saying, "My catfish became cupid."