I was scrolling through a dating app last week—swiping left, swiping right–when I suddenly stopped and did a double take. It was a shocking discovery; I was staring at a photo of my married neighbor. My happily married neighbor. What the heck was he doing on a dating app?
Curious to learn more, I clicked on his profile, and all of his pictures were of him and his wife, from their engagement party to today, twenty-something years later. In all the photos, the two of them are quite obviously in love. So, what could he possibly be doing on a dating app?
I have an active imagination, so I began to make up possible scenarios:
- They’re getting a divorce.
- They’re swingers, looking for a threesome. Hey, you never know what goes on behind closed doors, right?
Then, I took a deep breath, thought about the two of them and couldn’t imagine them either divorcing or swinging. Nope, couldn’t be true. So, why was he on this dating app?
The Shocking Discovery of Finding My Married Neighbor on a Dating Site
Maybe it was something one of his kids did as a joke. Nah! What kind of kid would post a fake profile of his dad? That would be a sick joke. And his kids seemed pretty wholesome to me. I shrugged my shoulders and went on with my life.
I got busy with work and family, and eventually I forgot all about this man’s online dating profile. That is until yesterday, when someone messaged me privately on Facebook to tell me that she saw a married man from our community on a dating site. She was very upset. She thought he was happily married. Of course, it was the same man.
She asked if I knew anything about it. I told her I’d seen the same profile, and I had figured it was some type of bad joke. She kept repeating how upset she was. I said, “If you’re so upset, why don’t you contact him and ask what’s going on?”
She didn’t feel comfortable doing that. She isn’t very close to him. Neither am I, but I was tired of the guessing games. I didn’t want to defame his character, spread rumors, or make any more stuff up about him. It was time to find out the truth. So, I messaged him on Facebook.
Me: Hey, hope you’re well. I was scrolling through an online dating app last week and was surprised to see your profile on there. I imagine that you’re still happily married, and I wanted to let you know in case someone put it up as a joke. Please let me know.
Him: It was done a while ago by my wiseass teen. I will try to delete it.
Me: I figured it had to be one of your kids. Someone in the community reached out today and told me she saw it, too, and was very upset by it. Instead of speaking behind your back, I wanted to talk directly to you and learn the truth. No more assumptions…
Him: Thank you. Please pass along to the very upset person that all is good.
Me: Just did. Always better to ask and not make up stuff.
Him: Removed account. Back to married life!
Mystery solved. And his character remained intact!
The moral of the story?
Please stop making stuff up about people and check things out with them as soon as possible.
Maybe it’s someone who never responded to your emails or phone calls, and you’re imagining that they must not like you. Maybe you heard a rumor about someone and you can’t believe it’s true. Learn the truth as soon as possible. Go directly to that person. Do not talk behind his or her back. Do not ask a friend to have the conversation for you. Be courageous and be direct.
It’s not easy to muster up the courage to find out the truth. It takes practice. You can even let the person know that you’re nervous or scared to ask the question. The important thing is to speak up. The faster you get to the truth, the better. Because the truth is often far less damaging than your imagination.
Have you ever had a challenging situation with someone, where you did (or didn’t) speak directly to that person to learn the truth? Please share your story in the comments below.
Photo: Flickr/Andrea Parrish – Geyer