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Healthy relationships are built on trust, but gaining trust in a long distance relationship where you may have met online and not yet met in person can be hard to build. While you definitely can meet genuine nice people online, there are a number of things to watch out for with online long distance relationships where you haven’t physically met the other person.

You may be asking yourself why someone would fake a relationship. The internet makes it easy for people to create fake online profiles and develop fake relationships with others. This may be done to pressure you into giving money to them, steal personal information from you, take advantage of any vulnerabilities you may have, or simply as some kind of sick twisted joke.

So how can you tell if your online long distance relationship (LDR) is fake? Let us look at some of the warning signs to watch for that may prove your relationship is fake or unhealthy.

Signs Your Online Long Distance Relationship May be Fake or Unhealthy

When you’ve committed to an online relationship without having physically met, it is important to be aware of signs which may signal that your relationship is not genuine. It would be wonderful to be able to trust that everyone’s intentions are genuine but this of course is not always the case. It is important to make sure the person you are talking to is in fact the person they say they are long before you decide to meet up with them. Don’t feel in a rush to meet until you feel confident the person is genuine and safe to meet. If you feel as though you are being pressured into meeting too quickly, this can be a red flag and you may want to take a step back.

As we have already stated, an online profile may not always portray the real person that created it. For new online relationships, you can always try doing a Google reverse image search to see if the images of the person you are interested in are simply stock images or are attached to profiles containing another name. Profiles containing a small number of photos or photos lacking interaction with other people are also a sign that things may not be quite right.  Likewise, you should also look them up on the best free people search sites to verify their identity.

Genuine profiles generally have a long profile history along with evidence of interaction with other people. They shouldn’t be cryptic in terms of describing who the person is. Don’t be afraid to ask questions in the beginning. If the person says they live in a certain city, quiz them about it by asking what their favorite restaurant or place to hang out is. They should be able to quickly provide you with answers which you can then easily validate by quickly researching online.

It may seem a bit overkill to fully research people you meet online, but you should always take precautions when you don’t know the history of a person you are pursuing. Even if a person’s profile checks out and they are in fact the person depicted, you still need to make sure they are of good character and someone who has the qualities you are looking for.

Take the time to see what kind of photos they are posting, what things they are liking on Facebook and Instagram, and what kind of language they are using. Offensive content may show their true character and will help you avoid wasting your time by pursuing the relationship any further.

How to survive and make a long distance relationship last successful

It is also important to understand that while a person may be genuine, that doesn’t mean they’re the right person for you.  Really try to find out what they are into or how they like spending their time. You want to make sure your personalities match, so if they are clearly into video games and you are into fitness and sports, you may want to move on. Sometimes people looking for love online can be too eager for a relationship and therefore overlook the fact that they are starting an online relationship that is doomed to last in the real world.

You can of course keep the online relationship for companionship and someone to talk to, but you want to be sure both parties are on the same page when it comes to knowing if the relationship is just a friendship or something more. You have an equal responsibility to be honest and not waste someone else’s time.

If you find that your online interest is constantly bringing up topics of a sexual nature or is too eager to meet up, it could be as sign their intentions aren’t innocent. You should never feel pressured to send any explicit or compromising photos of yourself. This rings true even when you really know someone or even when you are in a long standing relationship with a person.

Similarly, you should be very wary if your new partner suddenly asks you for large sums of money, especially if you haven’t yet met them. A common internet scam is for thieves to start an online relationship with someone and then request a loan from that person once they have gained their trust. They may request money from you for reasons such as having to care for a loved one, that they are experiencing financial difficulty, or saying they wish to buy a plane ticket to come and see you. If you experience this in your relationship, it usually means you are the target of a long con. Once you’ve transferred the money, you most likely will never hear from them again.

It is easy to think you wouldn’t be so ignorant or naive when it comes to scams such as these, but the truth is love or the desire for love can place blinders on us all. If you wish to meet your long distance partner and find yourself more financially well-off than they are, it is fine to purchase flights to see them or for them to see you. The key is to book everything yourself. Never give someone your credit card details or transfer cash unless you can be 100% certain that you’re not being taken advantage of.

Always stay true to your convictions and trust your intuition. If your instincts are telling you that something doesn’t feel right, don’t brush it off or ignore it. If you don’t feel comfortable with certain types of behaviour, don’t put up with it online. That’s not to say that you should actively start looking for red flags where there are none, as this could potentially sabotage your relationship by being overly paranoid and untrusting,. There should be a balance of being able to recognize if you’re being lead on, while still being able to invest time into developing your relationship.

It pays to have close friends or family members offer their opinions on an individual you met online before you decide to meet with them in person. They may be able to see things with a clearer set of eyes and pick up on red flags you overlooked. While this is a really good idea at any age, it is especially important advice if you are a young adult.

Personally, we would recommend young adults avoid starting online relationships and should instead stick with developing healthy relationships with peers they know from school, their neighborhood, or after school activities. At this point in your life you should be focused on your own personal growth and future. As we mentioned previously, younger people are much more prone to being lured into a fake or harmful relationship. The younger we are, the less life experience we have to be able to identify whether or not a person is truly genuine or not.

Best long distance relationship tips articles


Meg and Mike Jerrard are the Long Distance Relationship experts, and authors of best selling book ‘The Ultimate How To Guide on Surviving Long Distance Love‘. An American and an Australian who met in Tanzania, Africa, they have since closed the distance and now help others on their LDR journey too.

Join over 9,300 other couples in our Facebook Group specifically for support and advice: “Long Distance Relationships: Advice & Support Group”.

Check out our Best-Selling eBook:

The Ultimate How To Guide on Surviving Long Distance Love”





  1. Try 10,400 miles away and separated by the pandemic and closed borders. We’ve only met online and we text and video chat daily but it’sa definite challenge being told you can’t see someone you care for. Add to it the fact that both of us have been hit financially by COVID and you have 2 very frustrated people who just want to be about to meet face to face. I believe that the world has become a much smaller place with the advent of the internet. It’s amazing to me how easy it is to talk to people around the world not.

    • So sorry to hear that you’ve been separated by the pandemic Anna, it’s tough indeed when you physically just can’t meet, I hope that the borders and our local economies all bounce back sooner rather than later, so you can both be united and meet :)

      Totally agree though that the world is so much smaller because of the internet, we’re so fortunate to be able to have technology like video calls, I was watching a WWII film the other day and reminded me that people used to rely on post, which could be months between each individual piece of correnspondence. We’ve come a long way!

      Sending love to you both Xxx

  2. I’m in. A LDR going on 3 yrs now, the first year we met I’m on the west coast she on the east coast, I flew back there for 4 days upon which she only came and saw me 1 time and when I left she asked me to come to work work to meet her for lunch, before I flew home, upon which she started to cry trying hard to fight the tears, when I got home I asked her why she cried and she said she was sad I was leaving her, I want to believe her, but part of me thinks it was tears of knowing how much I loved her and that I was going to get hurt. I flew back again about 8. Months later this time for 2 days, upon which she said she was too sick to come see me but would try, to going to airport to not hear from her again, for like 3 weeks. And it’s like nothing happened, like I’m not supposed to be hurt I was so heartbroken, depressed, I told her in the beginning to please don’t hurt me, she had no other explanation on to why she didn’t come see me sick or not. I don’t want to believe that she is using me, I think deep down she has a good heart, that she is just going thru a lot, my friends all say to get out, I want so much for this to work. She supposed to fly west here in couple months for few days , then she supposed to transfer her job out here, I’m not getting my hopes up, she keeps saying our time will come, that’s all I hear. It will happen we will be together, some nights I sit here and feel depressed, trying to numb the pain, not knowing if it’s a lie her words or to believe them. I’m love her so so much. I can’t let her go the hurt is so unbearable.

    • Hi West, I’m very sorry to hear that you’re going through this pain with your long distance relationship. I hope the situation is improving for you. Have you communicated with her how the situation and her actions are making you feel? This should be the first starting point, and then see how she responds and if things improve. No relationship should leave you in a low place long term though, so if it is affecting your long term mental health, please reach out to someone in your area who may be able to support you through your feelings, and I would say this is a definite sign that the relationship is unhealthy at least for you.

      I hope you find some clarity and that you can move on in a positive way. Sending all our best

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