Sage Advice: Woman Gets Catfished by Younger Men

By Amy Dickinson | August 14th, 2019

The emotional highs and lows of online relationships


Senior woman catfished on social media Image

Dear Amy: I’m a 65-year-old, married woman with grandchildren. I live with my husband.

I love social media. I suppose it’s because I’m lonely for attention.

I meet young guys on social media and develop strong feelings for them.

I don’t think myself as a flirt, but I have compassion for these guys going through hard times.

Is my way of thinking normal?

I know that we’re never going to be together, but when one guy ignores my messages I get really upset.

What is your advice for me?

– Lonely

Dear Lonely: My concern for your emotional and physical security overrides my main advice, which is for you to look for other outlets and ways to develop healthier relationships. Ideally, you would seek the cure for your own loneliness within your own household, but this might not be possible.

You don’t say who you are connecting with, or through what channels, but it is obvious that your interest in these men is romantic. They, like you, are trawling for people to connect with, but their motives might be different from yours. They might portray themselves as needing help, but of course, on the internet, anyone can basically sell a lie. Do not share any financial information, or send them money. Depending on their motivations, they may be moving on from you when you don’t accept their baited hook.

There is nothing inherently wrong with meeting and developing relationships with people online. I have people in my own life I consider friends who I have never met in person.

Unfortunately for you, this contact is sending you on an emotional roller coaster. The “high” endorphin rush of getting a ping from a guy online lasts for a while, and then you crash when the guy moves on to someone else. You respond to the crash by instinctively searching for a new high. It is a vicious cycle. Unfortunately, each cycle will make you feel worse about yourself, in slow cumulative stages. I hope you will realize this, and use this insight to seek to treat your loneliness in ways that are healthier for you.


In the tradition of the great personal advice columnists, Chicago Tribune’s Amy Dickinson is a plainspoken straight shooter who relates to readers of all ages. She answers personal questions by addressing issues from both her head and her heart. A solid reporter, Dickinson researches her topics to provide readers with informed opinions and answers. Ask Amy, P.O. Box 194, Freeville, NY 13068

© 2019 by Amy Dickinson

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