There's a fine line between showing a girl you're interested and giving her reason to file a restraining order, and tonight's "Catfish" episode very delicately toed the gray area.
While usual co-host Max Joseph was away directing a big-time Hollywood flick, Nev Schulman and guest sleuth Cassidy Wolf took on the case of Courtney, a young mother who was struggling to understand an overzealous online suitor. And as Wolf, herself, had previously been the victim of an aggressive stalker, she was eager to help Courtney get to the bottom of things.
As Courtney explained it, she met a single man named Isaak on OKCupid, and the two immediately hit it off. She was especially intrigued by the idea that Isaak wasn't exclusively interested in hookups, but when she asked him to send a supplementary photo -- and very quickly realized it featured a different person than did the dating site -- she understandably backed off and asked Isaak not to contact her again. Deceit wasn't something she was willing to entertain, and she assumed that was all she needed to say.
Isaak, on the other hand, wasn't willing to take no for an answer, and despite Courtney's insistence that she wasn't interested, he submitted a fake application to "Catfish" casting under her name as a last-ditch effort to meet her. And though Courtney was still committed to uncovering his identity and confronting him about why he was so bent on meeting a stranger, Nev had misgivings.
"This guy is prepared to do anything to get this girl's attention, and that's a big concern," he told Cassidy in the midst of the detectives' investigation.
Then, upon confronting Isaak over the phone and pointing out what seemed like obsessive behavior, Nev felt his reservations mount. "What was I supposed to do?" Isaak spat after his fake application for Courtney was called into question. "You can only text so many times and have those texts go unnoticed."
"It's not like I...drove by her house or anything," he added.
Ultimately, Courtney, Nev and Cassidy agreed to meet Isaak at a local park, where Isaak explained that he first offered a false photo because he was uncomfortable uploading personal snapshots, and used the show to lure her in only as a last resort.
Courtney attempted to convince Isaak that his unwillingness to concede and back off was unacceptable.
"You can't make anybody want to be a part of your life," she asserted. "You can't force them -- drag them, kicking and screaming."
"If there was ever a chance of there being some sort of friendship, I feel like you kind of squashed it when you impersonated me and invaded my life with this," she added.
After some further discussion, Isaak seemed to finally understand that he'd overstepped his boundaries and apologized for his forwardness. Courtney, responsively, felt compassion.
"I got the feeling he's been shunned a lot," she concluded. "People think he's weird. I don't know, I feel bad for him."
So, Courtney was afforded the chance to stare down her suitor and tell him to back off, and she and Isaak were both the better for it. Still, there are certain single people -- like Cassidy's stalker -- who aren't so receptive. Have you ever had to deal with someone who held on too tightly or who wouldn't respect your space? Share your experience in the comments below, and if you've got any advice on how to navigate such a conundrum, fire away.