With a dramatic spike in the usage of online dating sites, more people are meeting their significant others online than ever before. Online dating statistics show that 20% of those in current, committed relationships began online and 7% of marriages in 2015 were between couples that met on a dating website.
Now a days, it is getting harder to judge who you are speaking to on the other side of your screen. The fear that the person you are interacting with online might not be who they say they are, has only increased – especially after the incredibly popular series podcast, Dirty John.
Dirty John is a true crime podcast based on the life of John Meehan, a con artist and sociopath. The 6 episode series, is hosted by Christopher Goffard and was created by Wondery and the Los Angeles Times. Released in October of 2017, the podcast exploded and became a national hit.
Dirty John tells the story of Debra Newell, a successful interior designer and single mother of 3. She meets John Meehan on a dating site. John is a handsome man who seems to check all the boxes: attentive, available, just back from a year in Iraq with Doctors Without Borders. But her family doesn’t like John, and they get entangled in an increasingly complex web of love, deception, forgiveness, denial, and ultimately, survival.
As the story progresses, we learn that John used many different online dating sites to seduce his victims into falling in love with him. This charming sociopath would put on a persona that made him seem like the total package, then once he knew the women were invested in him, would threaten them and use them for their money and power.
What we learn from this thrilling true story, is that anyone can fall prey to an online predator. It is not obvious when we are speaking to a sociopath or a person who is hiding their true intentions. As we move deeper into the digital age, our reputation matters and the way we hold ourselves is more important than anything else.