Warning Signs Your Internet Relationship Is Not Real
By David Wygant

I recently had an opportunity to work with a woman who was having a long distance romance with someone she met on the Internet. What I like about the Internet as a way to meet people is that it’s convenient, easy, can be done in the comfort of your own home, and allows you to get a lot of information about someone to help you know if you want to try and meet them.

So as a whole, I think Internet dating is a fantastic way to go out and meet new and exciting people to date. Here is the problem, though, with Internet dating: some people are not who and what they claim to be.

This issue arises most often when you’re in a long-distance relationship with someone. Usually when you meet someone on the Internet who lives far away, you will first converse via email, then you’ll talk on the phone, and finally you’ll set up some type of rendezvous. While this rendezvous will occasionally take place in one of the two people’s home town, most often it will be set to occur in what I like to call “neutral territory.”

So if you are in this situation, whether it’s a long distance relationship or not, how do you know whether the person who you’ve been dating long distance is everything they say they are? How do you know they’re not married? How do you know they don’t have another family? Or, how do you know they don’t have another girlfriend or boyfriend (or two or three . . . )?

Here are 5 warning signs which likely mean that you are dating someone who is not exactly who or what they claim to be:

1. They Provide Limited Information. The first thing you want to do when you meet someone on the Internet, especially someone who is long distance, is get a complete picture of the other person. A lot of times when you meet people on the Internet, it’s very easy for them to pick and choose which things they want you to know. So, for example, they might only want to talk about certain topics (e.g., music, art and working out) while they are very reluctant to discuss other things. What else are they about? Are they just about those certain things or is there a lot more you don’t know about them? A lot of times if you connect with someone about one or two things, its really easy to overlook everything else. So ask yourself, do I really know this person? Is there more to them? Do I know anything about their family or friends? This is very important. Some of the people you meet online are very careful not to reveal any information about their friends. Or, if they do, they are very vague about who their friends are or what they do with their friends. If you are a woman and the man you’ve been talking to keeps telling you about his “friend” Monica with whom he goes out to the movies but about whom he is otherwise vague, you need to probe him about it. If the person is not giving you any details on the kind of activities they’re doing with their friends or one particular friend, you might want to start wondering if they are hiding something from you.

2. They Never Invite You Over. Another red flag that someone you’ve met on the Internet isn’t who or what they claim to be, is if they don’t invite you to their home after you’ve been dating for awhile. A lot of the people who have something to hide, even when they do invite you over, may insist that you always call to confirm before you come to their place. Why is it such a big deal? I understand in the beginning you want to be polite and respectful and not make impromptu appearances at someone’s front door, but if you’re really dating – even if it’s long distance – there is no reason you should not be able to just “stop by” and surprise them for a visit. Do they always get mad if you show up unexpected? While I wouldn’t say that you have to go to their place unexpected all the time, there is a balance where you should feel comfortable showing up at each other’s homes without worrying that doing so will make the other person angry.

3. They Don’t Give You Key Information. The next warning sign would be to look at another aspect of someone not giving you the complete picture of themselves. While it is normal in the beginning of a relationship not to discuss things like your finances with each other, it is a warning sign if you know nothing about how they handle their lifestyle. A lot of times I don’t know exactly what my personal friends do for a living, but I still always know how they conduct their lives, how they make their money and whether they are responsible with their money. Not every detail of course – just very broad strokes. If you’re dating a person and you’ve never heard anything about how they pay for things or how comfortable they are with their financial situation, that might be a warning sign. Why are they hiding something that is so simple? Having a common viewpoint about money is a key aspect to being happy with a partner.

4. You Haven’t Heard Of Or Met Any Of Their Friends. Another warning sign you might want to look at is if you haven’t met or heard of any of the other person’s friends. Even if you’ve heard general mention of friends, you should be concerned if you haven’t ever seen any of them (if you’re not in a long distance situation) or if the other person has kept their social circle completely vague. If so, then once again you need to ask yourself what they are not telling you. Are they only wanting you for one specific thing? Are they only wanting you to know one side of them because they’re afraid that if you find out something else about their life that you might be turned off by it or you might not want to have anything to do with them? So again pay attention to the relationships these people have and pay attention to the surroundings in which they live.

5. They Are Inconsistent. Even though you may be strongly enamored with this person, do you still notice inconsistencies in their behaviors or in their stories? A lot of times when we really like a person, we neglect to pay attention to the small details. We just see what we want to see, because we project on them our hopes and dreams about who they are. Sometimes when you’re in a new relationship, it’s easy to imagine the other person to be the perfect man or the perfect woman you want them to be. All fantasy aside, though, do you still see contradictions in the other person’s stories? Do you see contradictions in the things have or do in their lives? Do they tell you they want a certain goal, but all of their actions seem to be completely contradictory to that? This perhaps is another warning sign that they may be hiding something from you. It also may be a warning sign to that person’s real behavior patterns or personality. They may not have their life together as they’ve told you.

These are just some of the warning signs you may notice when you’re in a relationship with someone you met on the Internet. If you are in a long distance relationship with someone you met on the Internet, then you need to pay really close attention to these things.

If you don’t really pay attention to warning signs like these, especially when you’re pursuing a long distance relationship, you may end up spending your time in a fantasy-driven world that’s real only in your head.

There are a lot of people out there who are very lonely, There are also a lot of people out there who prey on people who are lonely. If your internal “radar” is telling you that something is a warning sign, don’t ignore it! It’s always better to err on the side of caution.