1. The biggest danger of on-line relationships is that you’ll become a simulacrum or a one-dimensional media appropriate version of yourself. Rather than living an authentic life, your every move becomes curated for public consumption through social media. But life can’t be summed up in emojis or 140 character phrases.

By perfecting your online persona you’ll become more distant from your real self, and even come to dislike who you really are. The disappointing embodiment of this trend is the demand for “Snapchat facelifts” among people who want to alter their appearance so they look more like the perfected version of themselves that they send out over the Snapchat messaging app.

2. Getting involved in online relationships ruins your actual relationships because none of them can measure up. If you have an online relationship it will almost always give you an adrenaline rush when you communicate because you imagine it to be a perfect connection. In the absence of a flesh-and-bones partner in front of you, an online relationship provides the ability to turn it on or off depending on your availability and interest. These interactions often culminate in the one thing that draws you in, whether it’s ego gratification or a sexual rush.

Normal relationships develop deeper connections through nuanced, yet perhaps mundane aspects of life, like choosing which restaurant for dinner or discussing recycling habits with your partner.

3. Online communication is superficial. Exchanging a series of messages about what you like or don’t like is not a real conversation nor does it present a detailed, three-dimensional view of you as a person. You’re selling yourself short by settling for an online relationship.

The culture of online relationships has deteriorated social connections to the point where fewer people respect the sanctity of face-to-face interactions. These people – an entire generation, really – believe it’s perfectly allowable to “ghost” or not show up for a date, to treat relationships with casual disregard, to reject people via text messages, and end relationships on a whim, without cause or warning. These sort of people don’t know how to relate to others or show empathy because their those skills are not honed in superficial online connections. And if your online partner suddenly goes dark after cultivating a relationship? The effects can be devastating.

4. There are millions of people looking for love online – and plenty of others looking for a victim. A weird fact is that one third of people on the online dating sites never actually meet anyone in person who they’ve found online. Studies show that more than 80 percent of people on these sites are lying about something, whether their age or occupation – or perhaps their sex offender status?

In the U.K. online dating sites have been linked with a rise in date rape, but no such statistics exist in the U.S. (although experts suggest a higher incidence of sexually transmitted disease can be connected with the fly-by-night nature of online dating).

5. When online relationships become the norm in your life, it’s only a short step to having virtual friends or boyfriends or even virtual pets. These are nonexistent computer-generated avatars that respond to your comments with canned phrases, often escalating the conversation to sexual themes.

Or, in some places, you may turn to renting physical friends or family members when you feel the need for actual companionship. Aside from being pretty lame, these relationships are signals that you need a serious intervention.

In the end, real friends take effort to make and keep but you’ll be healthier for it.

And consider if your online relationship has any or all of the components of a healthy relationship:

1. communication – the ability to express your needs and share concerns, even to have confrontations with your partner
2. compromise – if one partner is consistently giving up his or her needs to suit the demands of the other, the relationship will be off-balance
3. honesty – there shouldn’t be a need to withhold information from your partner to maintain peace or to avoid hurting his or her feelings, but at the same time information should be shared compassionately

Author's Bio: 

Sophie is a passionate writer and a blogger. She started freelancing as a way to connect to other people, to reach to their hearts and make a difference with her word. Her blog was born out of a pure desire to connect… to have the freedom of writing what really matters, what actually makes a difference.