by Jennifer Good
In a medium where faith in a potential partner is being put at an all-time high, it is important to know if you're stepping blindly. If you're considering an online relationship, or are currently in one, there are a few things you should be prepared to look out for. While each situation is unique, and it is important to go by your instinct, the following list should help you spot any red flags you might encounter.
RED FLAG #1: Won't show you current or full body photos.
While looks may not be important to you, your partner's ability to tell the truth should be. If you doubt the sincerity of any photo your interest has sent you, send a disposable camera with a self-addressed, postage ready envelope with instructions to take pictures and send the camera back to you. This way you can develop the film yourself.
Also see if it's a RECENT photo and if they have cropped someone out (spouse, child, romantic partner)
RED FLAG #2: They do not have any solid contact numbers.
You've progressed to telephone contact, but the problem is you can't ever contact them! If any of the following situations sound familiar, be prepared to further investigate the possibility of a spouse, live-in, or other situation you may not be aware of.
You have to page them for them to call you back. Or they will only give you a cell phone or work number.
They use a separate line. If so, try calling their main line at random times.
You can only call during certain periods of time. Again, if this applies to you, try calling at different time periods to see who answers the phone.
They will only call, therefore not allowing you to call them.
RED FLAG #3: Reality VS. Fantasy
There are many different viewpoints towards a relationship founded through the Internet. To save future hurt and embarrassment, make sure you know your potential partner's philosophies. Do they view an Internet relationship as a real relationship, or is it a way to live out a fantasy life? If it's the later, be careful to avoid being their latest cyber fling.
RED FLAG #4: Asks for money.
Avoid getting into financial trouble by following a simple rule; don't send money. EVER.
RED FLAG #5: You're the only one making an effort or altering your lifestyle to have this relationship.
This is a telltale sign of things to come if you develop an off-line romance. No relationship should be solely one person giving and the other taking. If you find this happening to you, talk about it to your partner and ask them to meet you half way in your efforts.
RED FLAG #6: Your potential partner is overly insecure about your off-line or online activities.
Just as in any relationship, a person who is overly insecure about something can end up being an emotionally draining experience.
Or they are ALWAYS asking that make sure the chats and photos are deleted. Don't delete anything!
Take a step back, and really look at whether this is something you're willing to put up with if the relationship happened to last two to three years. If not, move on and find someone more independent.