This catfishing story somehow ended in love, and it’s making me believe in romance again

Online dating is a treacherous undertaking. Not only do dating profiles tell you absolutely zero about your actual chemistry with a person, but the phenomenon of “catfishing” (or using a fake online persona to lure someone into a relationship) makes the whole endeavor especially dicey.

Which may be why a recent story in The Atlantic about a catfishing scheme ending in romance sounds so totally bonkers.

Emma Perrier, a French woman living in London, apparently signed up for dating app Zoosk following a breakup in 2015. She began exchanging messages with an alleged 34-year-old plumber named Ronaldo “Ronnie” Scicluna. The pair talked for months and their online relationship became so serious that they even declared their love for one another. However, Emma’s friends and family were skeptical, particularly when “Ronnie” refused to meet Emma in person.

Emma decided to run some reverse image searches on “Ronnie’s” (very handsome) photos, and managed to track down his true identity: a 53-year-old divorcee named Alan Stanley. The man told The Atlantic that he had duped multiple women in this same fashion, and excused his behavior by saying “everybody does catfishing.” (Um???)

But! Don’t get depressed just yet. This story somehow manages to have a miraculously happy ending.

As The Cut reports:

When Perrier ran the reverse image searches, they led her to a 35-year-old male model from Turkey named Adem Guzel. She reached out to him in September 2016 to explain that someone was using his photos to trick women online. Perrier and Guzel started talking, then realized they had a romantic connection, and in April 2017, he flew to London to be with her.

That’s right. Emma ended up winning over this very fine specimen whose photo were used to deceive her:

I don’t know about you, but this sort of helps me to believe that perhaps fairytale endings do exist. Or, at the very least, that karma is very real and that male models are much nicer than I was previously led to believe.

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