Is the forum 'Are We Dating The Same Guy?' a site unfair towards men? (2024)

Several months into her steady relationship with a hunky web designer, Emily Robertson* was hopeful she'd found her life partner.

Handsome and attentive, Tom* was also fun and thoughtful, slipping handwritten notes into her handbag and springing romantic surprises on her. Her family and friends liked him, too.

There was just one chink in this otherwise near-perfect armour.

'Tom spent a lot of time on his phone, and sometimes he looked guilty or unsettled if I caught him unawares,' recalls Emily, a 31-year-old personal trainer. 'It started to get under my skin, and although I tried to convince myself I was overthinking it, I found myself wondering whether he was contacting other women.'

Over time, Tom's habit rattled her enough that she mentioned it to a friend, who pointed her in the direction of a regional Facebook group that might help put her latent fears to rest — or not.

Charles Withers, a 30-year-old British man had been 'outed' by Facebook sleuths on the site after his estranged wife, Ashley McGuire, posted on forums across the U.S. in a bid to trace the man she claimed had 'ghosted' her when she was pregnant

It was called Are We Dating The Same Guy? — a forum which, as the name suggests, allows women to seek information about their partners and, in particular, discover if they are — or have been — up to no good.

It took Emily a few weeks to pluck up the courage to post a picture of her beau to the Midlands version of the group — and she could not believe the response: within 48 hours she had learned that Tom was dating not one, but two other women, and was also in contact with several others on dating apps.

'Until that point, none of us knew about the existence of the other,' says Emily of Tom's two other partners. 'One had been in a relationship with him for three years, the other was more recent, meaning they had started dating after we got together. It was completely devastating to find out that the suspicions I'd been trying to quash were right.'

Unsurprisingly, it meant the end of Emily and Tom's relationship — as well as sounding the death knell for Tom's other attachments.

He is just one of many men exposed by an army of female web sleuths on a forum which has exploded into a global phenomenon since the first outpost was set up in May 2022 in New York. Today, there are around four million members of over 200 Are We Dating The Same Guy (AWDTSG) Facebook groups worldwide, with around 150,000 members in the UK alone, in forums stretching from Scotland to the south coast.

Are We Dating The Same Guy came to even wider public attention in March, when it emerged that a Californian man called Stewart Lucas Murrey had launched a $2.6 million (around £2.1 million) legal action against dozens of women who, on a Los Angeles version of the site, accused him of everything from lying and stalking to abusive behaviour. They had branded him a 'legitimate danger'.

Murrey, suing for defamation, insisted he had never met most of the women involved, and accused them of conspiracy — a claim rejected by the presiding judge who in turn threw out his action and granted an 'Anti-SLAPP motion', which protects those who speak out on matters of public interest against abusive lawsuits.

Vanessa Valdes, one of the defendants who'd connected with Murrey online, said: 'While I am grateful for this outcome, I want to highlight that there are still other defendants continuing to fight this battle.'

It simultaneously emerged that Charles Withers, a 30-year-old British man had been 'outed' by Facebook sleuths on the site after his estranged wife, Ashley McGuire, posted on forums across the U.S. in a bid to trace the man she claimed had 'ghosted' her when she was pregnant.

He had left her with a one-year-old and a baby he had never met after deciding, as she put it in her post, that 'being a husband and a dad wasn't the lifestyle he wanted any more'.

Pleading with anyone who was dating or friends with the 'charming' chef to ask him to get in touch, she explained that trying to divorce someone for whom she did not have an address was proving tricky.

In the event, it took internet sleuths less than 24 hours to find Withers in Texas — many thousands of miles away from the family home in Massachusetts — where he is said to be working as a personal chef for Taylor Sheridan, creator of hit Netflix series Yellowstone.

McGuire has since revealed that Withers contacted her 'on an old number I had for him', and that having succeeded in her mission she bears no ill will and merely wants to move on with her life.

'I don't want any ties, I don't want any connections,' she told a local radio station. 'I just want the next chapter of my life to start.'

Vanessa Valdes was sued by Stewart Lucas Murrey who launched a $2.6 million (£2.1 million) legal action against dozens of women who accused him of everything from lying and stalking to abusive behaviour

Stories like these have only helped to reinforce the site's mantra as 'a place to protect and empower women', and via which users can both solicit information and post warnings to others as an antidote to the anonymous arena of online dating where people are not always who they say they are.

That was what prompted New Yorker Paola Sanchez to set up the first group in March 2022, inspired in part by the story of a viral TikTok video posted by a fellow New Yorker earlier that year, which recounted her experience of being ghosted by a dating app match, named Caleb, following a promising first date.

When other women came forward to say they, too, had had similar experiences with the 25-year-old furniture designer, Caleb's name became something of a byword for the frustrations of online dating — and it was against this backdrop that Are We Dating The Same Guy was born.

A pattern was quickly established: members post screenshots of a man's dating profile on to their city or region's designated Facebook group, with the question 'any tea?' (slang for information).

Unlike other community sites however, the best response here is nothing at all — which is what Emily was hoping for when she posted Tom's profile picture last year.

Instead, she found that her boyfriend of 11 months, whom she had met at a bar during a riotous Christmas night out in 2022, had lied from the moment he met her. 'I was completely floored,' she says. 'Although I had these pinpricks of suspicion, I'd also told myself that he wasn't really on his phone any more than the average 30-year-old.'

After confronting him, Tom begged Emily for forgiveness, insisting his other relationships were over and that he'd seen the error of his ways. 'I knew it wasn't true as I was in contact with the other women and he'd said the same to them, too,' she says. 'After that, I blocked his calls and have deleted every photograph of our time together.'

Emily's is just one of the many eye-popping tales of multiple infidelity to emerge from the forums. While many women are reluctant to speak on record (one of the site's golden rules is to preserve privacy), stories of such betrayal are legion.

In Tampa, Florida, one young woman who did go public is Mikayla Miedzianowski, who discovered her relationship-ending bombshell after scrolling through Facebook last year. There, she spotted a photo of her boyfriend with another woman in an AWDTSG group.

Underneath, a woman had written of how he had been kissing and dancing with her friend. Miedzianowski subsequently made a TikTok highlighting the oddity of the situation. 'Silently swigging out of a bottle of wine on my boyfriend's couch while he does the dishes because I just found out on social media in front of 35,000 people that he cheated on me,' she said.

She confronted her boyfriend, who, she said, admitted to cheating and Miedzianowski ended the relationship within hours of coming across the other woman's words. 'I thanked her,' she informed her followers. 'I'm not going to waste any of my time.'

Meanwhile, a woman in the London group recently detailed how her suave on-off boyfriend was dating at least seven other women, claiming to some of them that he was seeing them 'exclusively' and, as a result, engaging in unprotected sex.

'He had a date every day last week with at least one of us, sometimes two on the same day,' she wrote.

In a further twist, the woman he had also referred to as his ex-girlfriend was, in fact, his estranged wife, who revealed they had also been in talks about rekindling their marriage. 'He may appear charming & will try & wine & dine you — but please avoid!!!!' she wrote.

The site has also helped to expose even darker behaviour. Women have been warned that the man they are about to meet has previously engaged in coercive behaviour; others have said they've been lied to by specific men, who've love-bombed them with promises of eternal, undying devotion before discarding them once they'd had sex.

In one post, a user revealed how she had discovered that her mum was being 'catfished' (when a person takes information and images from other people and uses them to create a new identity for themselves) after posting an image that site users quickly established belonged to a handsome doctor whose profile had been stolen to try to lure in vulnerable women for financial gain.

EXCLUSIVEREAD MORE:Rory McIlroy's problem with women is that 'he thinks he is more famous and better looking than he actually is' and 'wants to be treated like a spoiled teenager'. A harsh verdict from friends of his exes and his hometown

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Stories like these only reinforce the site's reputation as a 'feminist' resource — but not everyone shares that view. Those joining communities are asked to acknowledge ten rules, among them not to make mean-spirited comments or promote false information. But alongside Stewart Lucas Murrey, many other men claim to have been falsely maligned by false information posted on the sites.

One of them, Stefan Cooper*, a divorcee in his 40s, told the Mail that his blossoming relationship had been ended by his 37-year-old girlfriend of a month overnight, after she posted his picture on one UK forum and received several replies from women claiming he'd also dated them and treated them badly.

'I genuinely had not met a single one of these women,' he insists now. 'But nothing I said could convince her. Her response was effectively, 'You would say that, wouldn't you?', and even when I suggested she go back to them and get specific details of what I was meant to have done, she just wouldn't engage.'

Why, though, would all these women make such accusations? 'I have absolutely no idea,' Cooper says. 'It's a question I'd love to ask them myself.'

Cooper is not the only one to have been found guilty in the court of public opinion for crimes he insists he did not commit. In Florida, one man in his late 20s found that, having been posted to the forum to an initially positive response, he stood accused of having sex with dogs.

He only learned of the claims after someone shared screenshots of the group chat with him — something which is technically 'banned' under the group rules —which showed how the initially harmless post about him being an animal-lover had degenerated into this jaw-dropping claim. One member had even suggested reporting him for animal abuse.

He messaged the people running the group, asking them to take down the post and noting that he had contacted a lawyer. Yet, while the thread disappeared the same day, he remains concerned that the accusations remain 'out there', accessible by future employers or romantic partners.

Meanwhile, an alternative Facebook site called Victims Of Are We Dating The Same Person (guy/girl) stands at 31,000 members. 'We don't do tea and toxicity; this is a place for people who have had their reputation unfairly ruined by AWDTSG groups that allow anyone to say anything they want without proof' is the site's mantra. Their opposition is unlikely to change the popularity of a site which many women still see as a godsend.

While currently sworn off dating, Emily Robertson knows the first thing she'll do the next time she matches with someone on an app.

'I'm not denying there may be some men who have been unfairly treated, I'm sure that happens,' she says. 'But for most women it's a really great thing.'

*Names have been changed to protect identities.

Is the forum 'Are We Dating The Same Guy?' a site unfair towards men? (2024)
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