“Online Relationships” Don’t Exist: Avoid Being Catfished

e-love search When people hear the term “online dating,” they don’t always know what it means.  Here’s what it doesn’t mean:

1) Having a virtual girlfriend or boyfriend

2) Dating in your pajamas for the rest of eternity while eating a pint of Chunky Monkey

3) Sitting behind your computer and assuming that you just had a “date”

In many ways, “online dating” is a misnomer.  Rather, it could be called “online introductions” because the actual “dating” part should still be in person.  Period.

It’s easy to fall in love with someone’s online persona, isn’t it?

Wow – she and I both love Maroon 5!  She and I both just ran our first marathon… we’re meant to be together!  She looks just like Rachel McAdams – I’m in love! 

But remember that this person is not real until you’ve had a face-to-face interaction.  It’s just words on a page and a picture until then.

People join online dating sites for many reasons: To find an activity partner, a friend, a date, a one-night stand, a long-term relationship, or marriage. All it takes is the click of a button to list what we’d like to find in our online dating adventure.  Curiously enough, “pen pal” is not an option.  Why?  Because people do not join online dating sites to simply e-mail back and forth with no end in sight.

People are looking to form a real relationship, not an “e-lationship.”

As a guy, it’s not too forward to ask someone out for a drink or coffee after one or two e-mails back and forth.  If a woman responds to your e-mail or reaches out to you on her own, she’s probably interested enough to meet in person.  But if she keeps dodging your efforts to meet, and she had no plausible explanation, then perhaps she’s not who she says she is.

Let’s say you ask a woman out, and she says she’s busy.

Ok, you can look past that this time around.  Now, you ask her out again, and she’s busy again.  Either she’s secretly the President of the Universe, or she is trying to get out of meeting for some reason.  The best thing you can do is to ask her to suggest a time to meet that works for her.  That way, the ball is in her court.  If she dodges again, then it’s time to move on to someone who wants to meet you in the flesh.

If meeting in person is not feasible for some reason (perhaps you don’t live close enough to meet in a timely fashion), then the best thing to do is to suggest that you Skype or FaceTime.  It takes just as long to dial someone’s number and chat for a few minutes as it does to sit down and e-mail each other, so if someone declines this offer, that is a major red flag.

My advice?  Meet offline as soon as you can.  If you like each other, you’ll be glad you didn’t waste all that time e-mailing.  And if you don’t, you can move on and also be glad you didn’t waste all that time e-mailing.  Win-win!  Don’t be the next story on Catfish: The TV Show.

About Erika Ettin

Erika Ettin
Erika Ettin is the Founder of A Little Nudge, where she helps people navigate the world of online dating. Her services include writing unique profiles to get you noticed, helping to choose your best profile pictures, writing one-of-a-kind emails to get someone’s attention, and planning dates. To connect with Erika, join her newsletter for updates and tips.

I agree! E-lationships are a waste of time and money to me. I mean, who is going to pay huge money on a dating site, just so you can text and email forever? That's stupid. I want a REAL relationship and nothing substitutes face-to-face interaction. The chemistry (or more like fantasy) maybe there online, but it's a different story in real life because online, you can be who you want to be and edit everything. People delay meeting because they were not interested in the first place, they were bored and are using you to pass the time until they find their real date, they are sociopaths, or lied and are ashamed of something. I don't invest in my time with people like that, no way. You will be single forever.

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