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.
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.
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.
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