Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

“Is My Online Relationship Sketchy?”

In March, I met a guy online after resolving to gain an inkling of relationship experience despite trust issues. I was happy to discover that “Dude” wanted to be in a relationship as much as I did! We have been talking almost every night for about two hours and the online chats are always something to look forward to. The thing is, it has been three months and though we have chat online, we have only spoken once on the phone (because he’s so awkward), and traded photos that obscure our faces (Dude hates photos and dislikes sending anything with his face that can be replicated online). Usually I’d find this sketchy but he has extensive experience with computers.

He and I agreed that everything should be taken slow and I am relieved to say I am not desperately clinging to the hope of a relationship. But to be honest, I have never done something like this, I have no dating experience, and I’m a little lost on how online relationships are supposed to work. I really want something to bloom between the Dude and me, but I can’t tell if his lack of photo exchange and phone calls is a bad sign or not, and I’m not sure if I’m investing time in the wrong guy. Does this look like a healthy pace we’re going at? What do you think about his hesitation toward photos and phone calls? Is there anything else that generally sticks out in this letter? I need a lot of advice on this one! — Online Newbie


I always hesitate to answer questions about how relationships are “supposed” to work or what normal looks like. The bottom line is, it doesn’t matter what other people’s relationships look like or how they developed; what matters is how you feel and whether you’re comfortable with the pace things are moving at. If you aren’t, it’s your responsibility, regardless how new you are to the dating game, to speak up and express yourself. If you’re uncomfortable with how little you know about this guy you’re talking with hours every day — like what he looks like, for example — for God’s sake, say something to him. If you’re concerned that his behavior might be a bad sign, ask him questions and seek out more information about him.

It’s up to you to get to the bottom of things. If you have doubts about anything — anything at all — you have to find a way to address those doubts, and if they can’t be addressed to your satisfaction, then you need to MOA. Because you know what’s even better than my advice in helping you figure out whether you’re investing time in the wrong guy? Your own intuition. So, listen to it.

All that being said: yes, this situation sounds extremely sketchy. Three months is a very long time for two people who both claim to want a relationship to “chat” online almost every day for hours and not exchange photos or have more than one phone conversation. You don’t say how old you are, and I just hope to God you’re at least 18, because if you’re not there’s a very good chance this guy could be some sort of child predator. Even if you are 18, I’d be very, very leery about continuing communication with someone who was so opposed to “showing his face,” both literally and figuratively. What is he hiding? What is he afraid of you finding out?

And even if we are to take him at his word about being afraid of his image being “replicated” online, does that mean that after three months of talking with you, he doesn’t trust you enough to keep his photo(s) private? And, if so, how do you move past that? How many more hours of chatting do you have to complete before he does trust you enough to show you his face? And what about meeting in person? Has that idea ever been broached? Do you live close enough that you could easily meet? If so, it’s definitely odd that it hasn’t happened yet. (But if it’s in the cards, please, please, please meet him in public place and do NOT tell him where you live).

Tomorrow, I’ll be posting some online dating tips that may help you further, so keep an eye out for that column. In the meantime, listen to you intuition and if it’s telling you there’s something sketchy about this guy, then get the answers you need to the questions you have. If he can’t provide them, MOA, sister. Never invest time in someone who avoids answering your questions if the questions you have are important to you.

*If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, send me your letters at [email protected] and be sure to follow me on Twitter.

56 comments… add one
  • avatar

    Maracuya June 7, 2011, 3:11 pm

    Go with your gut. What does “extensive experience with computers” mean, anyway?
    Sure, photos can be replicated online. Everyone knows that but in most cases, a photo of your face belonging to a normal, non-famous person has no value for replication anyway. What usually goes viral? Not peoples’ profile pictures.

    And secondly, you said you only spoke once on the phone because “he’s so awkward.” Do you really want to date someone that awkward? I’m not saying don’t, but I think it’s not a good sign that someone is so self-conscious that they can’t have a normal conversation with their love interest.

    All and all, I wouldn’t say you’re wrong in asking for more info. Three months is a long time not to know who the person you’re chatting with looks like.

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  • avatar

    kerrycontrary June 7, 2011, 3:12 pm

    Amen, Wendy!! I agree with everything you said. Two things I’m learning as I’m getting older are 1) There is no “normal” in relationships. Monogamous, polyamorous, long-distance, you need to find what works for you and 2) You will never know what goes on inside of a marriage. I wouldn’t worry about the pace at which your relationship is moving, but I would worry about the picture thing. If you are using online dating services just to meet men to talk to at night through your computer then this is fine; if you are looking for a real-life boyfriend then you may want to move on and find someone who is willing to not only show you pictures but also meet in person one day. I do understand his point about not wanting pictures to be replicated online, but as Wendy said after 3 months he should trust you enough. Plus, pictures with his face don’t have to be inappropriate or something you would want to replicate online. I think you are going to have to have a serious talk with him and eventually draw the line on this matter.

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  • avatar

    camille905 June 7, 2011, 3:18 pm

    Sketch. Town. You’re not in a relationship- you have a pen pal. How far away do you two live from each other? Three months is a long time with no plans to meet in person. If you are sending a photo to a private email, there should be no worry about duplication. If he has extensive computer experience then he should know how to send a photo safely. Nothing about this seems healthy. Run far away as quickly as you can.

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  • avatar

    RMM0278 June 7, 2011, 3:22 pm

    “Is there anything else that generally sticks out in this letter?”

    Well gee the fact that you never once expressed a DESIRE to meet this guy in person. Sure Wendy mentioned it but I don’t see it anywhere in YOUR letter. Could it be because you have a perfect image of who you think he is and it would be tarnished if you met? Or that you don’t have to work out your trust issues by starting a “relationship” with someone you’ve never met? Or both?

    Plus you say that he’s “so awkward” on the phone. By meeting him in person that’s going to be automatically better? Chatting has the benefit of a delete key; life does not. Yet the latter is the only way we really get to see each other as we ARE not as others hope us to be. Unless you plan on communicating solely via keyboard I wouldn’t put much hope into this guy.

    Online relationships are almost -always- better because you get to have a relationship with whomever you dream up. It looks like you met your Prince Charming.

    By the way, this guy isn’t your boyfriend; he’s your penpal. Big difference.

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    • avatar

      Maynard June 7, 2011, 4:42 pm

      “Chatting has the benefit of a delete key; life does not. ”

      That’s deep

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    • avatar

      jessielyn June 8, 2011, 4:51 pm

      I thought this too! LW, don’t you want to actually meet this guy? Go on a real date? Maybe even get a goodnight kiss? I also wonder if he has ever expressed any desire to meet you in person.

      Also, I have to say my first thought was: he’s married.

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  • landygirl

    Landy June 7, 2011, 3:26 pm

    Sketchy as a stick figure.

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  • Public Pearl

    Public Pearl June 7, 2011, 3:29 pm

    I met my husband online back in 1995 (back when you’d tell someone you met your boyfriend on the internet, and they’d say, “the inter-what?”), and we were quickly talking on the phone regularly, exchanging cards and letters in the mail, and had met in person by week 6. Maybe I was rash, but I went with my gut, that said this was right.

    If your gut is telling you this is sketchy, listen. It’s good to be cautious in even the best circumstances. But if you can’t even talk on the phone or make any plans to meet, you don’t really know this person. I swear to you, you don’t.

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    • avatar

      Amber June 7, 2011, 3:38 pm

      “Maybe I was rash, but I went with my gut, that said this was right.”

      I don’t think it’s rash at all. Best to get the first meeting over and done with as soon as possible. Keep it public, keep it short, keep it light. I think extensive message exchanging before you’ve met them is actually a complete waste of time. You can have the most amazing phone chemistry in the world – doesn’t mean you will be attracted to them at ALL once you meet them.

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    • avatar

      mcminnem June 7, 2011, 4:19 pm

      Not at all rash. I met my boyfriend online, and we met in person after two weeks. If you’re chatting regularly (and not just “how was work today” conversation fluff) you quickly run out of things to talk about and the only way to learn more is to meet the person. If you want a real relationship, that’s what you gotta do. Safely, of course!

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    • avatar

      Jess June 7, 2011, 4:36 pm

      But if you can’t even talk on the phone or make any plans to meet, you don’t really know this person.

      agree

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    • avatar

      ReginaRey June 7, 2011, 3:40 pm

      Your last two lines hit home…you really can’t know someone solely from online communication, and even phone conversations. In-person, you get to see tone and body language and those extremely subtle things that subconsciously affect how you interpret someone. It’s necessary to weed out sketch, and to build a relationship!

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      • avatar

        Amber June 7, 2011, 3:44 pm

        I met someone online who, based on our email/msn/phone conversations, I was pretty much conviced was my future husband. Met him two weeks into this very intensly frequent messaging period. He turned out to be a COMPLETE jerk in person. Just awful. I still cringe when I think of that date and his Dr. Jeckyl/Mr. Hyde – ness.

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  • avatar

    Amber June 7, 2011, 3:33 pm

    There should be an online dating PSA for these guys.

    He is a pen pal. He will remain a pen pal. If he is not tripping all over himself to meet you by now, it’s because he never intends to. Pen pals are super common in the online dating world and you need to recognize the signs and cut them off early.

    The other danger of spending too long communicating before meeting is that you get wrapped up in this pseudo-relationship, have great phone/email chemistry, then feel absolutely nothing for them when you actually meet up.

    Or – you talk to them for a few weeks and they disappear completely.

    Rule of thumb – they don’t even exist until you see the whites of their eyes. A couple of messages back and forth are all it takes for a guy to ask a girl out, provided he is interested in meeting said girl in real life in the first place.

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  • avatar

    cdobbs June 7, 2011, 3:45 pm

    Sketchy, very, very sketchy. I think you’ve given him enough time. Things should have progressed faster. don’t waste anymore time, a really great guy could be just around the corner.

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  • avatar

    silver_dragon_girl June 7, 2011, 4:03 pm

    Possible reasons he won’t send a picture:
    1. He’s considerably older/younger than you think.
    2. He looks considerably different than he told you he did.
    3. He’s a well-known criminal or married congressman.
    4. He’s actually someone you know.
    5. He’s really that paranoid that you’re going to use his image for a nefarious purpose.

    Possible reasons he won’t meet up with you after 3 months:
    6. See #1-4 above.
    7. He’s married or otherwise committed.
    8. He has a serious social or anxiety disorder.
    9. He doesn’t want to meet up with you.

    Do any of these things sound like things you would like to deal with?

    Take it from someone who has dated online extensively (exclusively, actually): If a guy is willing to wait 3 months to meet you, he’s NEVER going to want to meet you. Not really. If he won’t send you a picture of himself that’s not blurry, photoshopped, from a funny angle, or in low lighting, it’s because he doesn’t think you’ll like what you’ll actually see when you meet him.

    LW, I have been exactly where you are. The first guy I ever dated strung me along for 9 months of nightly phone calls even though he only lived 3 hours away. I got one picture during that time and he did NOT look like that when we finally met. And believe me, there is nothing worse than being in love with someone and then finding out that you don’t find them remotely attractive no matter how hard you try.

    Best-case scenario, this guy has some serious anxiety issues preventing him from sending you a photo, talking to you on the phone, or meeting you face-to-face. Now, if you want a relationship like that, by all means, go for it. Some people are very happy with pen pals.

    But since this sounds like your first foray into the world of dating, I would really encourage you to MOA.

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    • avatar

      Rachelgrace53 June 7, 2011, 4:33 pm

      Thumbs up for the married congressman comment! I was thinking the exact same thing… I’m glad you laid all of this out for the LW. Someone had to…

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  • avatar

    PFG-SCR June 7, 2011, 4:07 pm

    I’m betting that Dude is married.

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    • avatar

      silver_dragon_girl June 7, 2011, 4:15 pm

      I’m seriously imagining Jeff Bridges as her pen pal.

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      • avatar

        Painted_lady June 7, 2011, 6:01 pm

        Oh thank god. Me too!

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    • avatar

      oldie June 7, 2011, 4:22 pm

      I’m betting he’s in prison, but married or in middle school are also possibilities.

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    • avatar

      Maynard June 7, 2011, 4:38 pm

      I bet he’s just ugly

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  • avatar

    Jess June 7, 2011, 4:20 pm

    how is skype not involved in this? I don’t know, maybe they are BOTH super awkward and shy. For some reason, two people *that* shy and awkward trying to have a relationship reminds me of porcupine sex.

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    • avatar

      catscratch June 8, 2011, 10:41 am

      Lol. ‘porcupine sex’. I for vote comment of the week.

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  • avatar

    ReginaRey June 7, 2011, 3:21 pm

    At this point, what do you have to lose by just up and asking the questions you want answers to? If he freaks out and refuses to answer, then you can MOA knowing you dodged a bullet. If he steps up and answers them, then perhaps this thing has potential. But staying in the gray area, wondering if he’s sketchy or just extremely awkward, won’t serve you well.

    So ask him what’s up with sending you fuzzy pictures, and if he really is looking for a serious relationship, and if he just dislikes talking on the phone. And be perceptive and somewhat critical of his answers – if he tries to avoid giving you straight answers or if he continues to refuse to share these details about himself (basic things that you are SUPPOSED to share with someone you’re friendly with), then MOA.

    Personally, I’m a bit wary. Three months is a long time to just be chatting with someone…even online, getting to know someone is supposed to be much more natural and easy than this! The difficulty you’re having gleaning basic info from him, coupled with his odd refusal to send you a decent picture, has my warning alarm going. No matter what, be overly cautious…and always always meet people in public places (and carry mace…)!

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  • sobriquet

    sobriquet June 7, 2011, 4:38 pm

    As far as online dating is concerned, I think it is necessary to meet the guy in person (briefly, in a public place) almost immediately. Not after the first message, of course, but certainly within the first couple weeks. Exchange a few messages and phone conversations and then meet up for coffee or a quick lunch so as to know if there’s an attraction. Usually pictures are accurate (give or take a few pounds), but not always. And even if you’re attracted to his online persona, it DOES NOT MEAN you will be attracted to him in real life. So why waste your time and set yourself up for disappointment?

    LW, you need to at least see pictures of him! Otherwise, he’s just a pen pal. An avatar you talk to online. No matter how attracted you are to him on the internet, no matter how witty and charming and awesome he is during your IM chats, you could take one look at him and realize there is zero attraction. He could stutter through every conversation and have nothing to talk about. Maybe you’re fine with that, but at this point he is just a fantasy.

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  • avatar

    LTC039 June 7, 2011, 4:41 pm

    Idk. Did you guys meet through a dating website or chat room???
    I think those are two different worlds that attract two different types of people.
    If your answer is chat room, I’d say, ask him some questions if you *must* but really, I’m more inclined to say just MOA.
    Regardless of any possible “sketchiness”, do you really want to be in a relationship with someone you’ve never met in person, has made no plans to meet you in person, & doesn’t want to show you their face?
    Life’s short hun, go out there & get someone worth it!!

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  • avatar

    Quakergirl June 7, 2011, 5:01 pm

    Oh, honey, nothing about this situation sounds good. Possibility 1: He’s a very sweet, nice, guy who is too awkward to actually talk to a woman. How do you picture that relationship going? Because my prediction is “not well.” I suppose you could be one of those couples that has conversations via text message while sitting on opposite ends of the couch, but that means he’d actually need to want to meet you in person. Nothing indicates he wants to/is able to do this. Which brings me to the much more likely possibility 2: HE IS A SKETCHBALL. Either he’s married, in prison, a child molester, or some other type of creeper. Seriously. Refusing to send you a picture because it might be replicated is a HUGE red flag. Even if that were somehow a realistic possibility, why would he care? I wouldn’t care if my picture got sent all over the internet (assuming it wasn’t an embarrassing photo and didn’t have any personal info like my social security number or my address). And here’s the thing– no one would send an ordinary picture of him all over the internet (or to the cops…or his wife…) because *no one would care.* The only reason people would care about his picture is if he’s doing something he shouldn’t be doing by contacting you. I’d cut off contact with him immediately, block him from your AIM/Gchat/iChat/e-mail/whatever, and then move on. Next time, make sure you use only reputable online dating sites and trust your gut about people you interact with, online and in real life.

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  • SixtyFour

    SmileRhode June 7, 2011, 5:02 pm

    Is this man’s name Anthony Weiner?

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    • avatar

      Bethany June 7, 2011, 9:19 pm

      At least if it was, she would have gotten a crotch shot!

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  • avatar

    SpaceySteph June 7, 2011, 5:09 pm

    He doesn’t want you to have pictures of his face so they can’t ID him after you disappear because he murdered you.
    Run.

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  • avatar

    mcminnem June 7, 2011, 5:13 pm

    I’m actually a big fan of online dating (who wants to go to bars when you don’t drink?) but this squicks me out. I would be extremely nervous to involve myself with someone without going through and actual dating website, something with profiles and pictures and information you can use to sort of pre-screen people before you get too involved. When I was dating online, I wouldn’t even chat with someone who didn’t have a picture up, because I figured they either a) didn’t want people to know what they looked like, and were therefore sketchy, or b) weren’t interested in/not willing to put effort into a real relationship.

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  • avatar

    Elle June 7, 2011, 4:35 pm

    Oh, online dating. Right up my alley! Been doing it, unsuccessfully, for a year now :).

    What I learnt: beware of outliers. As in, normal guys usually chat for a few days, then you exchange phone numbers, talk on the phone for a few more days, then you meet. The face-to-face happens sometime two weeks after the initial contact.

    So, beware of guys that want to meet you that very first day! The guy turned out to be a stalker, and he kept calling and texting me for quite a while after I told him, and texted him, that I’m not interested. (No, I haven’t learnt my lesson, and I met another guy the first day we established contact. Nothing good came out of that either.)

    I’m also communicating with a guy for 3 months now – chats and phone calls.We haven’t met in person, and frankly, I couldn’t care less. I know it won’t lead anywhere, but it’s fun and I enjoy the attention. I know what he looks like though. Through our talks, I realized* that he’s using the internet to find girls to sleep with. He’s not looking for a relationship, and I am, so nothing’s going to come out of our communication. (*No, I did not ask point blank, because I realized some guys are very good at giving you the answers you want to hear.)

    In the meantime, I’m trying to meet other people. Which is what you should be doing as well.

    If he’s so reluctant to show you his face, I wonder what else is he hiding? A wife? A prison sentence(this could explain the reluctance to phone calls)? And where did you find him, anyway? Most people on online dating websites have their pictures on their profile. Otherwise, nobody’s communicating with them.

    If you feel attached to this guy in any way, don’t. After 3 months of constant communication you might feel something, but you don’t owe him anything. Try to date someone else (online or in real life), get some experience, and then you’ll see how many things are wrong with this guy.

    Nobody gets it right the first time. If we all did, the world would be a much much happier place. And boring, in my opinion.

    I’m looking forward to Wendy’s article about online dating. Maybe I’ll figure out what I did wrong 🙂

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  • avatar

    redheadblogger June 7, 2011, 4:57 pm

    I feel your pain, LW. Not the same situation, but similar. Last fall I did online dating and thought I’d met a really cool guy, we exchanged long emails, texted, set up a meeting…. and cancelled the day before I was going to drive three hours to meet him. After being bummed for a little while, I started chatting with Tony. He only lived an hour away, but it took six weeks for us to meet, because he was so “busy”. I naively kept texting and talking to Tony (he CONSTANTLY TEXTED ME) for a little while. Then, when I suggested second dates, he would set one up, and then cancel at the last minute. I stupidly carried on with this “pen pal” relationship for three months! The final straw was him standing me up on New Year’s Eve for our umpteenth attempt at a date. What a douche. My advice in addition to Wendy’s is this: If he wants to meet you, he will find a way to meet you. My current boyfriend of four months I met online. We exchanged emails twice, and then he asked me out. He never asked for my phone number to text me. We met a week after he asked me out, and I loved that he took charge and made the meeting happen. He asked for my phone number at the end of our first date, which I thought was really cool after the texting foolishness with the last two guys.
    Bottom line – if he wants to make you a part of his life, no matter how awkward he is, he will make it happen. You deserve better than a pen pal, which is what you have right now.

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  • avatar

    emjay June 7, 2011, 6:15 pm

    Sounds like a potential serial killer to me. 3 months and won’t talk to u on the phone and NOT show you his face, this guy is hiding something, run now!

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    • avatar

      emjay June 7, 2011, 6:16 pm

      Let me reiterate my post, so some people understand what I meant. There are a lot of pyschos out there, in person and especially on the net, and this guys is throwing up some serious red flags if you ask me.

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  • bittergaymark

    bittergaymark June 7, 2011, 6:55 pm

    I bet he is simply drop dead gorgeous. But HATES being judged solely on his staggeringly stunning good looks and hot bod. Stick it out. Who knows? It totally could be Leonardo Dicaprio — you just never know.

    Yes. Sketchville. Total sketchy-mc-sketch-sketch. For all you know, he isn’t even a man. Seriously. I mean, hey, if I guy wrote this — I would totally think it was a another dude posing as a chick, so who knows…

    I would MOA. Seriously.

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  • avatar

    Marie June 7, 2011, 7:01 pm

    I met my long-term boyfriend online and we met up less than a week after he first messaged me (in a public place!). However he was also a canadian scientist and it felt like we’d known each other our wholes lives. So weird.

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  • avatar

    sarolabelle June 7, 2011, 6:02 pm

    what in the world is an “online relationship”? Can that even exist?

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    • Public Pearl

      Public Pearl June 8, 2011, 9:28 am

      Only if it exists offline as well.

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  • avatar

    SGMcG June 7, 2011, 7:02 pm

    LW, you say you met this guy online. That could mean so many different things nowadays – was it a dating website? A forum for an interest/person you two share? A random chat? How extensive is his online presence – does he have a website? Have you tried googling his name or even his online handle? Heck, I’m sure you can even google his phone number and see if it is listed back to Dude.

    Yet you are supposed to be in a relationship with Dude – you shouldn’t have to resort to these investigative tactics, let alone be given the run-around when asking for a picture with Dude. Heck, even penpals exchange pictures with one another so that they have a visual on who they’re writing to. With the way the internet is now, I’m surprised you guys are not skyping. The fact that no visual information has been exchanged makes it sounds like he’s trolling for affection – and if that’s something you want for real, you need to MOA.

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  • avatar

    Christina June 7, 2011, 8:38 pm

    LW, you should watch the movie “Catfish.” You know a personality but not really who you are talking to. You don’t even know that the photos you have are actually of this person.
    You sound young but you sound like you would like a real relationship to possibly start. This guy isn’t that person for you. Find somebody new online or in real life and keep looking for what you want.

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  • avatar

    MissDre June 7, 2011, 9:15 pm

    I met my current boyfriend in person about 4 or 5 days after meeting online. If you drag it out too long, you build of ideas and hopes of who this person is in your head, and I think it just makes things harder when you meet and learn who they ACTUALLY are. I’m not saying they may turn out to be a bad person or anything like that, they are just different that the version of them you have in your head.

    If you guys haven’t discussed meeting in 3 months, have only talked on the phone once, and you don’t know what he looks like… that’s just… not so good. MOA. Meet somebody who actually shows an interest in taking things to the next level!

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  • avatar

    Bethany June 7, 2011, 9:27 pm

    I met my fiance online (craigslist of all places!!)- we emailed for about a week or 2, talked on the phone a few times, then he went on vacation for a week and a half. 2 days after he came home we met in person. We also gave eachother links to our myspace pages (hey, it was still cool back then!!), so I saw plenty of pictures of him and got a feel for what kind of person he was. We met in a public place, and one of my friends was there, and stayed until I felt it was safe for her to leave. I tell you all of this because this is the SMART way to meet someone online.
    Carrying on 3 month pen pal relationship with some creepy guy who won’t even show you what he looks like is NOT the smart way to go about things. I don’t see this going anywhere good, or even safe, for that matter.

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    • avatar

      SGMcG June 7, 2011, 10:53 pm

      Were you his missed connection? 😀

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      • avatar

        Bethany June 8, 2011, 9:04 am

        I wish! Nope, just a personal ad 🙂

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  • avatar

    brendapie June 7, 2011, 10:56 pm

    I used to play an MMO (online game) and having had my fair share of ‘penpal relationships’ through that game, I can tell you that what you have with that guy is not the basis of a good relationship. Personally I wouldn’t even call it a relationship. Would you want to date someone who only wants to talk online and won’t show his face to you? It just seems so sketchy to me! Three months is two months too many for both of you to not meet in person or at the very least share pictures and phone conversations with each other.

    You asked how online relationships work. They don’t. Meeting people online is great and there are so many venues to do so. You’ll meet people that you may have never met in your day to day activities. But when you meet someone online, that’s all you’re doing. Meeting them. Getting to know a little bit about each other and making the mutual decision whether to meet up and spend time together in person. Meeting someone online and spending time talking through emails and chats are just stepping stones towards meeting in person and starting a relationship (or deciding not to do so).

    I used to meet what I considered great guys through the MMO I played. But after I got burned a few times, I realized that they just wanted the safety the internet provided. I like what someone mentioned earlier, that you can hit the delete key when you’re online but in real life you don’t have that luxury. I realized that those guys wanted the ego boost that came from flirting online and having someone interested in their conversation but since it was all online, there was no commitment and no awkwardness since they could edit their conversations to match what I was saying.

    I did meet someone great but when I realized that there something special about this guy, I quit the game and told him I would only talk to him on the phone and in person. And it has worked out pretty good so far. So it is possible. But what made it possible for me was taking it offline and insisting that most of our interactions were in person or on the phone. If you want any chance for this relationship to work you both have to agree to minimize your online interactions or cut them out completely.

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  • BriarRose

    BriarRose June 8, 2011, 8:42 am

    Meeting people online is a perfectly normal thing to do in this day and age. In fact, where I live, it’s one of the easiest ways to meet nice guys. But I will agree with what many other people said–you need to meet in person within a week or two of starting to talk online. Otherwise you’re possibly setting yourself up for disappointment. After a few weeks, you feel like you know the person so well and you’ve invested so much time, that it is inevitably a HUGE letdown when you meet them in person and they’re not what you were expecting. Or even worse, you never do get to meet them in person and are left feeling annoyed and vaguely used.

    My current boyfriend and I met online. I likely never would have met him otherwise and am so glad I did, because he’s truly an awesome person. We met in person exactly one week after we started chatting-we went out for coffee for about an hour or so. Highly recommend the initial date being coffee. Low pressure, and if the guy is creepy or not for you, you can end the date after an hour or so.

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    spaceboy761 June 8, 2011, 9:23 am

    [insert Congressman joke here]

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    _jsw_ June 8, 2011, 2:03 pm

    In my unofficial role as Douche’s Advocate, I wanted to point out, as some have alluded to, that there’s a possibility that he’s terrified of the LW’s reaction to his appearance.

    I’m granting outright that odds are that he’s sketchy in one or many ways.

    However, it’s also possible that he is facially deformed or in some other way is terrified of the reaction to his appearance and is using the excuses to hide that, and it would also explain his awkwardness on the phone. He might even have difficulties using one.

    Again, odds are he’s doing something he knows he shouldn’t be. But it’s also possible he’s had some bad experiences with people seeing his face.

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      callmehobo June 8, 2011, 2:07 pm

      You mentioned facial deformity and my mind automatically went…

      “OMG the LW has been chatting with the phantom of the opera!!”

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      Jess June 8, 2011, 4:08 pm

      this is what i thought too.

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  • Heather

    Heather June 8, 2011, 3:00 pm

    My gut reaction from reading this letter is sketchville. Yeah, he could be worried about his looks, but, when WILL be be comfortable? I mean…I guess I just don’t see what you’re hoping will come out of this. MOA, IMO.

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    Joanna June 10, 2011, 2:49 am

    I tried meeting people online for 6 years (and it didn’t work but that’s another story). I’ve come across a lot of people and I’d say the number one reason he doesn’t want to show you his face is he’s married or in a relationship already.

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    alice July 29, 2011, 5:49 pm

    i’m doing research on online dating…people who have never met but are dating. if you’ve experienced this, please email me. [email protected]. I would love to hear your story.

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