The big love vibe in the last few days has been a sour one. It is a two-hour long docu-series, The Tinder Swindler on Netflix, one that kicked off the month of love with a bang.
It is pegged on the experiences of a group of women who are victims of an online-dating scammer who goes by the name, Simon Leviev. Simon poses as an Israeli billionaire and diamond company heir.
This revelation has everyone condemning online dating, a game that has seen many women left heartbroken or conned.
Now, the show, reviewed widely, has been described by The Guardian as “the gobsmacking true internet story of an internet con artiste”.
The review goes on to say the story has many fascinating elements, discussing “the search for love online, internet cons and the magnetism of internet con artistes who say just the right thing.”
However, online dating has not always gone sour. It has been a platform where many strangers met and ended up in lifetime relationships. An example is Diana Matthews, a former Kenyan model who found love online.
As the buzz got on this week about the online dating tragedy, Diana called from Egypt, that one year after disclosing to us she had found love through online dating.
“I see everyone saying women should avoid men who are looking for love online. But I am here to correct the narrative that all the men you meet online are of bad intentions. Mine is different. Online dating got me Mr Right,” said Diana.
True to it, her story is a flip of the coin.
Diana says she had a toxic relationship with her close friend and college lover. She experienced physical abuse. In the end, she escaped with serious burns as their home went up in flames – out of the domestic chaos.
The afflictions got her undergoing treatment as she had bruises. Their son had to undergo implant surgeries after getting 70 per cent face burns. Worse, Diana had grown up an orphan. Her parents had died when she was 10 years old.
Years on, the former model, who aspired to be a beauty queen back in her school days at Asumbi Girls’, Mary Hills Girls’ High School and later at Kenyatta University and Kilifi, (now Pwani University) is no longer depressed as she was when she lost everything to the toxic relationship. She found happiness online.
Diana is now happily married to her British husband, Matthews, 50, whom she met after falling out with former lover.
“We met online and got to know each other better for months before becoming really close friends. We got to know each other’s aspirations in life and found that our paths were intertwined. We were meant for each other. As this went deep, I could tell we were meant for each other and that this love had been matched in heaven,” says Diana.
Months on, Matthew, who lives in Cairo, Egypt, flew down to Nairobi to visit Diana. They formalised their affair and officiated their love by putting a ring on it. That was in February 2020.
Matthew had adult children from his previous affair.
“I took the risk of falling in love again and was careful not to be frustrated... Finally, I met Matthews,” says Diana, adding her husband’s biggest frustration is having people associate him with the stereotype of being “a rich white man married to a black girl”.
“Since Matthew and I did a civil wedding at Sheria House in Nairobi in February last year, our biggest challenge has been going back to our grandmother to explain to her how we met and how we have children who are above 20 (years),” says Diana.
“My grandmother could not understand how I met someone online and married him. However, I later explained we are living in a modern world and things work differently.”
The pair live in Cairo with Diana’s son, who Matthew accepted as his.
She says that she has kept off from people who talk negatively about online dating. Diana would like other women to cross-check their lovers when getting into online dating, as not all men are as faithful as hers.