How to Have an Online Relationship/Online Boyfriend??


QUESTION: I am 17 years old and I met my current boyfriend online. He is also 17.

We started talking casually; neither of us expected anything would come out from it, but now we've been together for almost two months (which I know might not be a lot). We talk every single day, from when he wakes up and texts me good morning to when I text him in the afternoon after I finish all my homework (he skipped a year in high school so he is in college). We then talk all night usually until around 2 in the morning.

We both have really strong values about our family and beliefs (whether religious or not). We can literally talk about anything and we don't do any sexting or anything like that (we both agreed not to, in fact he was the first one to bring it up because he doesn't want any of that until after he's married). We still send normal and funny pictures of ourselves though, and we have talked on the phone and skyped.

He is really really sweet and loving and funny and honestly I was really skeptical at first because I know it can be dangerous to meet people this way but I really think he could be different.

Obviously neither of us wanted to tell our parents yet, but just a couple of days ago he accidentally called me too early in the morning and my mom saw my phone. She started asking me questions and I had to tell her about him, however I didn't tell the truth about how we met. I hate lying to my mom and she was really hurt because I hadn't told her about him before, so if she finds out that I lied to her again I fear she will have a hard time trusting me again.

My boyfriend and I both talked about this and he feels really bad he did that and he told me that we could make up a story about how we met that is the closest to the truth as possible, or I could tell her the whole truth. He said that he didn't want to lie either and he even offered to talk to my parents because he wants them to trust him. (I think the fact that he said all this really shows he's a good person). We both, however, are really scared that my parents won't understand if I tell them the truth of how we met and we won't be able to speak again.

I really want to get to know him better and we already talked about meeting sometime maybe this coming summer. Please help what should we do?

ANSWER: Hi Elisa,

Quick clarifying question, with the advent of Online Dating well within the confines of mainstream American culture, I do not understand why they two of you did not want to tell your parents of how you two met?  Please explain.

And where does he live in conjunction to you that you two have not already met yet in person?


April Braswell
As seen in Dating for Dummies, 3rd Edition
Dating Expert Columnist for Dating Advice

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Hello again

We haven't told our parents because mine have their own prejudices about meeting people in the internet, and his dont allow him to date or talk to any girls at all because of their religion

And he lives a 6 hour drive away from me

ANSWER: Hi Elisa,

OK, this is going to be more difficult now that all of that has been well surfaced.  I'm also going to focus more on you and your question than what he is doing because of course I don't know his full story and the nuances of his denomination's mate selection doctrine.

Please guard your heart.

For you and your relationship with you parents, even though you are 17 years old and will soon be 18 years old and legally of age, many 18 year olds still reside under their parents' roofs and continue to receive financial life support from them into their 20s. So be cautious about alienating your parents.  

What You Can Do Now
Find a time and a way to go talk with them.  You might have a slightly closer relationship with one of your parents more so than both your mom and dad.  Talk with the parent you have closer relationship with and confess what is going on, spill it.  Describe of course how it all started out so innocently just connecting and commenting.

Which leads me to an aside, if he is not allowed to talk to girls, why did he even start to talk with you online from the start?  His guideline ruler is stronger and clearer in that it is completely forbidden.  For you, your parents may not like it, but it sounds like online friendships and chatting is not overtly forbidden.

6 hours is a drive from San Francisco to Los Angeles. People do it all the time. What are his intentions with you? Does he want to be pen pal flirting buddies, your boyfriend, or is he looking to marry young?  Which you might find romantically appealing, and yet in the actuality of being married at 18, you might find in your heart of hearts that you would really prefer first to go to college and pursue developing your career before wedding.

I hope this all helps you to sort out your feelings and communications a bit better.  Let me know how it goes!

Happy Dating and Relationships

April Braswell
As seen in Dating for Dummies, 3rd Edition
Dating Expert Columnist for Dating Advice

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Dear April,

Thank you so so much for your advice.

I talked to my parents and of course, they freaked out completely. A couple of days have passed and they have calmed down a bit, although they are still very worried. My mom isn't as much anymore because some days ago she talked to him via Skype. She says she feels much more tranquil, because he was nice and open; he was willing to talk to her. She told him that she would like to stay in touch and maybe he could even visit this summer. But later I talked to her and for her, it is now not about how I met him or if he is a good person, but it is a matter of religion. For me and my mom personally, we normally don't mind. But she said that he seemed to be very devout to his religion (Islam) and she said that he had different views on women. Also she told me that we lived too far away and his parents might not even let him visit, so why bother? But what annoys me about this is that yes, he might have different views on women, which I already talked to him about and told him that I don't agree and he was alright with it, and he also said that his parents said that they are willing to let him travel around the US no problem. She still worries about it though, because she obviously wishes we stopped talking. What angers me is that if I had met him in person before, she wouldn't say any of this (especially because religion in this situation concerns more with marriage. I'm his girlfriend not his wife. I don't have to do something like convert to his religion and do what he says).

My dad however, has not talked to him (and I don't think he even wants to), and so he completely distrusts him. He said that I was old enough to make my own decisions, but he constantly (pretty much every time he can) tells me to think hard about the situation. He says if he could, he would makes us stop, because my boyfriend "isn't for me". The same thing goes for my dad as my mom, if I had met my boyfriend in person, my father wouldn't say any of this either. (And he doesn't even know how pious my boyfriend seemed to be to my mom).

What makes me really sad is that I am actually starting to think about what they say, but at the same time I know that my boyfriend really is a good person. I am direct with him and have told him my concerns about the situation. He said his intentions are to be my boyfriend because he wants to be with me and he also said he loved me. He has mentioned marriage though and I told him that I wasn't ready and that I was going to college first before even thinking about it. He said he'd wait for me.

It really puts me in a difficult situation, because I do want to be with him, I mean how do you know what could happen? But at the same time I sort of want to end it because of my parents and everything is becoming so complicated.

Sorry for the long message, but you've been a great help.


Hi Elisa,

Yeah!  Good for you for telling your parents.  Good job!

Yes, yes, if you'd met in person it would be different.  There would also be the convenient locality of living near each other.  Online meeting of people is perfectly lovely and normal now, however, weird things do happen, so your parents are still wise to be being concerned and advising you to be cautious.

Might I suggest that you two for the time being switch how you label your relationship to one of romantic friendship, dates others locally (like DO go to Prom, ok?), until you can actually arrange to meet live in person.  And yes, do give him something of a deadline of Summer 2013 to travel to meet you.  Naturally you will meet in a public place with your parents with you.  Once you all meet, they can sit at another table giving you two time to connect and talk in person.

The Religion aspect is not so much about RELIGION as it is about attitudes and beliefs.  And being Muslim can be lived out with quite a range of expression.  His beliefs about women can be fine when you two are friends, and you might feel significantly hampered maybe not even right away, but say in a few years into a relationship or marriage.  So, over time, do ask him about what he believes for women and what if you two were together might he be expecting from you.  Are they ok to you?  Or not?  And tell him.

I am so very glad that my coaching helped you so much!  That's the idea!  

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April Braswell


As seen in Dating for Dummies, 3rd edition. As a professional seminar speaker to singles about using online dating and other social media sites, I help singles to stay safe while pursuing the online soul mate in cyber dating space while in Web 2.0 world.


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As seen in Dating for Dummies, 3rd edition. CBS Radio Las Vegas GateHouse Media In Touch Weekly Boston Globe Kansas City Star Women's World

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