Finding Real-World Success With Online Dating

Online Dating? Don't Forget To Get "Real."

Can't stop checking your online dating profile? There's a cure for that.

Having an online or digital pen pal isn't new. It's been a thing since the days of online chat rooms — before, OkCupid, and eHarmony became household names. Whether you're expanding your options, just looking or shy about your appearance, refusing to take the relationship offline can be detrimental to your dating success. You might even end up suffering from online dating fatigue.

Here are 5 ways to know if you're suffering from digital pen pal syndrome:

1. You log on daily and flirt but don't take the time to fully read anyone's profile or send an email.
2. You write back to potential suitors, but never make a phone date or schedule a time to meet in person.
3. You believe chatting daily with someone outside of your geographical area automatically means you're in a relationship.
4. You contact the same person to check in every few weeks, but never allow the relationship to progress.
5. You claim you're not technology savvy and don't understand how to use Skype or FaceTime to take your digital relationship to the next level.

Does this sound like you? Do you claim to have a real relationship with a digital pen pal? If so, here are some ways you can make the transition to a deeper connection and more meaningful relationship.

1. Ask yourself if you really want to be in a relationship. If the answer is yes, isn't it in your best interest to meet in person?
2. Request a video chat with your online sweetheart. If they say no, move on to someone who is more available. You should want them to see the real you — and vice versa.
3. If you're already seeing someone at home and are using online dating to flirt in another zipcode, be honest with your pen pal so you don't lead him on. It is possible to be just friends, but you both need to be on the same digital page when it comes to matters of the heart.
4. Find mutual friends on Facebook or other social networks to make sure your digital pen pal is the real deal. And check the relationship status, as it's not uncommon for already-committed people to flirt online.
5. Don't spend hours talking on the phone, bonding with your digital sweetheart if you don't see the relationship going anywhere.
6. Take down your online dating profile if both of you decide you're interested in pursuing the relationship further.

Being a digital pen pal isn't a bad thing, as long as it's part of the overall courting process — and you move on to the next step. Have you ever been in a long-distance relationship with someone you've only met online? Feel free to discuss it in the comments section below.

Julie Spira is an online dating expert and relationship coach. She's the author of the bestseller, The Perils of Cyber-Dating: Confessions of a Hopeful Romantic Looking for Love Online. Julie creates irresistible profiles for singles on the dating scene. For more dating advice, sign up for the Weekly Flirt newsletter, follow @JulieSpira on Twitter, and like her at

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