It was the evening that he canceled our second date when I decided to confront him on this.“So I have to tell you something,” I said to him on the phone.Mine was the low, shaky whisper you reserve for difficult conversations, like how you cheated on someone or want to break up. Honestly, I don’t even know where to start.– – – – – –I dragged my feet to online dating.

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I felt like I was caught in my own version of “Catfish,” the 2010 documentary about a New York photographer who falls for a woman he met through Facebook only to unravel an epic deception.

I loved that movie (I saw it twice), but the film came under fire for its own narrative sleights of hand.

“That guy would never fall for that girl,” a friend complained to me, and maybe he had a point, but I think we will all fall for anything if we want to believe it badly enough.

I thought about his dating profile photo — the Hollywood good looks, the grin of a man accustomed to winning. I believed that he got a soccer scholarship to a liberal arts college in upstate New York and later traveled all over Europe.

I thought about the vague fog of his profile, which mentioned exactly none of the accomplishments he told me about in our marathon phone conversations.“Isn’t it strange that his profile doesn’t say that he played professional soccer in Germany? I was sitting in her kitchen chair, where I often park myself as the two of us try to untangle some romantic mystery.“He told you he played soccer in Germany? I believed that he had a daughter, and that she had sparkling blue eyes, and that she liked cats and pirates.

I believed that he was a wealthy entrepreneur who had started his first company at the age of 20.

I believed these things because — well, because he told them to me.

Still, we are in a complicated house-of-mirrors moment with the truth.

Just ask Mike Daisey, whose tale of Apple hiring underage workers was debunked last weekend on “This American Life.” It’s a breathtaking hour of radio, not only because Daisey is lying, but also because he is lying to himself. It’s like we’re all suffering a giant crisis of authenticity.

The nature of truth has always been slippery, but technology has given us so many tools for deception, and such a powerful megaphone, that we are constantly forced to defend against it. This is the herky-jerky place in which I found myself with Todd. Ours was a thoroughly 21st relationship that unfolded through the Web, email and i Phone, a drama in which the two main characters never actually shook hands.

It was one of the strangest romances I’ve ever had, not simply because I did not know him in person but because I truly came to believe he did not exist.