Today you can live out an entire relationship in virtual space: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, WhatsApp, Skype, and email can pretty much replace face-to-face interaction in the busy modern day world.
You know how it goes – once you’ve found the object of your affections, you follow their life through all these different platforms… you see their face, hear their voice and they seem to pop up everywhere. Soon their presence becomes part of your daily routine.
On one hand, you don’t know them, and you can’t touch them, but on the other hand you totally do… you’re chatting with them more maybe than you’re chatting with some of your best friends.
Moral of the story?
Don’t be fooled. Initial communication, if consistent, honest and long enough, can make you fall in love.
So how do you know they are who they say they are?
Your online presence is neatly polished to present the version of yourself you would like others to see. We leave out the mundane as well as the parts of ourselves we would rather forget. But sometimes aren’t these the very things that make us who we are?
Scroll through a close friend’s profile, and while the happy holiday snaps will be there, there probably won’t be a trace of their imperfections which are actually what makes them so wonderfully human.
We can take our time to reply to texts, carefully crafting what we think the other person wants to hear, showing ourselves to be smart and funny. Some people manipulate this, showing a dishonest picture of themselves, whether purposely to mislead or because they are not as confident in who they are. This eliminates the closeness and vulnerability in relationships.
We are left with a dilemma, doubting if this person is too good to be true, if they’re playing us, or if that is genuinely who they are. Sometimes we question our own motives, too: do we really like this person, or do we like having someone to talk to whatever time of day? Are we hiding our own flaws because it is easier, and will they still like us when they know us better face to face?
It’s not easy to spot a person being untruthful or hiding. Avoiding questions or suddenly becoming evasive are probably the most obvious signs. Being overly supportive but not accepting any help back is another way an online relationship can turn unhealthy, leading to an overdependence by one person, so watch out for this.
Living in a more connected world than ever before, we can get caught up in one person without really knowing what they’re doing on the other side of the screen and this can be dangerous.
Internet relationships or long distance relationships can hurt just like any other, especially if you were building up to the day when you can finally be in the same place.
Take care out there. Make sure you know who is on the other side of the screen before you find yourself heartbroken, confused and picking yourself up off the floor.
Have you ever been disappointed or pleasantly surprised by someone you met online?
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