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          Falling in Love Online

          July 13, 2003

          Dr. Phil’s guest, Nikki, has been madly in love for five years with a man she met on the Internet. The only problem — she has yet to meet him face to face. Several times they’ve planned to meet, and he never showed. Her parents are concerned that she’s wasting her life, waiting for a man who isn’t who he portrays himself to be. Dr. Phil offers some advice to consider if you’re investing time with someone you’ve never met:

          • When you look at it from an objective standpoint, as much as you can, does it seem odd to you?
          • Do family members not support this relationship? Listen to what the people closest to you are saying. They have your best interests at heart, and you should weigh what they have to say about it.
          • Have repeated attempts to meet failed? Do you find yourself making all the efforts to meet, and he has yet to show up? Ask yourself if you want to invest in someone who doesn’t follow through with their word.
          • Somebody who loves you, cares about you and is your “soul mate” would not waste five years of your life. Dr. Phil says, “Take it from a guy: If you’re in love with somebody, you will swim the stream, you will climb the mountain, you will slay the dragon. You’re going to get to her somehow, some way, and you’re going to do it in something under five years.”
          • Dr. Phil tells Nikki what he thinks: “This guy is married or something. And he may be 12 years old or he may be 62 years old. It could be some woman with a sick sense of humor, you don’t know. There are some sick people in this world.”
          • Dr. Phil hired a private investigator to find out more information about the man Nikki was communicating with. The results: The man he claimed to be didn’t exist. The address he gave was a mobile home where an older couple resided. The number he gave was registered to a woman who was married. The place of employment he gave didn’t exist.
          • Dr. Phil tells Nikki, “You’re getting used. And it’s time to shut this down and get back to your life.”
          • The online environment is the perfect breeding ground for fantasies because it allows us to ascribe all the wonderful qualities we want in a partner to someone we’ve never met. Dr. Phil has said that you shouldn’t get married until your partner has seen you with the flu … so falling in love with someone you’ve never met is basing a relationship on superficial experiences. You really don’t know much about that person other than whatever it is he/she has told you — and you have no proof to back it up. He/she could be very different in person.
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