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How to Have an Online Relationship/Re: How to amicably end an online relationship


QUESTION: Dear Sonya,

About seven months ago I joined a social app on my phone and began chatting with people around the world. I will be honest - I did not have any desire for anything actually serious, but I simply wanted to see what would happen and just experience it. I live in the United States and a very kind girl from Turkey messaged me and we had nice conversations. We have been talking for the last seven months and she has fallen in love with me, but I simply cannot actually pursue this.

She is very sensitive and I do not want to cause her so much pain, but I know my mistake of not taking this seriously has put another person's emotional stability at risk and that is my fault and I take responsibility for this. However, to be fair to myself, I did feel a strong connection with her and if there was a chance that this could turn into something real, I wouldn't be writing to you, but I know there is simply no way and I don't have any intention for it to be real at this point regardless. I have tried telling her a few times about how I will be busy with school for the next five years (at least) of my life and that I cannot see her until then (hoping that this huge time span would cause her to rethink the whole thing), but she continuously asserts that she will wait while at times sending me grieving messages and how she it brings her pain. She has told her entire family about me, as well.

I know that the longer I keep this up, the more painful it can potentially be when this inevitably comes to an end, so it's wisest to end it as soon as possible. I just need the right words and right advice on how to handle the situation. I have contemplated the easy route which is simply disappearing (it's very easy, just ignoring her messages on Viber and getting a new phone number), but that is cruel in my eyes and she deserves closure, at the very least.

Any advice, I would be most grateful.

ANSWER: Dear Bilial, here goes -

Never lead anyone on.

If you have no intentions say so.

On line you CAN have pen pals with no romantic focus, but you must seek this out and define it well.

So, what to say? Your options you listed showed a fairly self centered individual with no regard for how much truth is valued.

Try this -

" Dear .......

I am writing to you to apologize. When we first started writing I was intrigued but wasn't expecting a relationship. As we continued I did feel drawn to you, but still didn't have any intentions of continuing such a long distance relationship.

The roadblocks I have put up saying my school will be for 5 years, was to give you a way to back out and decide for us that this wasn't a good fit. I am sorry I have been a coward and afraid to tell you that I am still not inclined to further our relationship beyond pen pals.

When you refused all my excuses and showed great loyalty I was ashamed. You deserve someone who can return your beautiful and honest emotions that I cannot share.

I wish you all the very best. I should not have let it go on this long, I hope you can forgive me. I simply didn't want to hurt you, but now realize that prolonging the inevitable was going to cause you more pain in the long run and I can't do that to you.

I hope you will one day forgive me, and on my end, I wish you much happiness in the future...."

There, try these words, and don't do this again with anyone!

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

QUESTION: I think your understanding of cowardice is a bit faulted. Cowardice would be disappearing entirely which I referenced in my original question. Furthermore, this is a very delicate situation and needs to be handled with absolute care (hence my hesitations in writing to her). Words are very powerful, they can make or break a soul.

The entire story is not clear to you. I have told her three times before, clearly, that we cannot be together. I cannot say I had zero intentions of a long distance relationship because, as I reflect back on it, I realize I was not thinking about the future at all. I was simply thinking about being: in the present. I allowed this to spontaneously unravel and to see where it would lead me. When two people enter any sort of relationship, they should be aware of the risks and therefore are both responsible for how it may end, if it does. It is an unwritten contract, I believe, which two people sign and should be aware that things may fall apart.

I'm not trying to defend myself, I know I am in the wrong here. But at the same time, I told her three times, clearly, that we cannot be together. She refused, and she made a new email account using her first name with my last name as if we were married. This is a kind of emotional blackmail.

Anyway, I have made it clear to her that we cannot be together in this world and that I hope she forgives me, that she deserves someone better who will be loyal to her. I simply came to terms with the impossibility of reality. She is still in the dream, and likely fell in love with the idea of me. I don't believe you can love someone you've never met; she just fell in love with my words.

ANSWER: Dear Bilal,

Let me be more direct.

Perhaps your pride is preventing you from handling this humbly and as a gentleman.

In addition to what you just wrote, my first response was and remains dead-on.

If you want the  proper response, and to break it off ethically, and with class,  THAT is how a gentleman does it.

REGARDLESS of your rationalizations about her actions or feelings, which, BTW, you cannot know for sure, do the RIGHT thing

It's up to you if you will choose to be honorable or not. I gave you excellent advice that still stands.

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

QUESTION: I totally agree about humility, but there is a fine line between humility and delusion. I asked this exact question to another expert to cross-reference advice, and I was told by the other individual that she engaged in emotional blackmail.

To me, honesty is honorable. Your original advice is good, don't get me wrong, but I disagree that it is dead-on. As I stated in my previous email, my intentions were simply to live in the moment. Therefore, there is dishonesty if I were to use your letter verbatim. I did not think about the future. This is a fault of mine which I absolutely take responsibility for.

Almost all of that original letter you provided was great, and I used it. She has been harassing me since then, however; refusing to accept it, messaging me nonstop that she's been crying and sobbing. This is passive aggressive behavior which she has exhibited in the past, and this is what I want to know how to deal with, also. She is trying to guilt-trip me into staying with her and refusing to accept the break. She further has told me she is booking flight to come see me and I have told her several times not to do that, so she is not respecting my requests which are, in the long-run, in her favor.

Don't take my queries and concerns as seeming defiance to your advice, nor as some sort of "pride" issue. I am very, very concerned about her well-being and that is why I want to be as thorough as I possibly can to make sure she is hurt in the least painful way possible, because hurt is obviously inevitable. This involves analyzing and questioning the advice I receive, and being as critical as I can.

Regarding your comment about the rationalizations: of course I cannot know them for sure, but doing the right thing means to take her actions and feelings into account; I can't disregard them. I absolutely have to adapt my methodology with her actions and her feelings in context, or else there is no "right thing." I will rely on her honest expressions of her feelings to assess my responses accordingly, but of course with the same intention. As far as her feelings are concerned, she hasn't hesitated to express those to me either.

Thank you so much for your help. Again, I'm just trying to be critical and careful, not prideful. I'm simply apprehensive.


Once you do what I said in the first letter, go no contact and DO NOT CONTACT HER.

It takes two to tango, and you are responding. Then it is on you if it doesnt end, and that is cruel.  STOP.

In a few days to weeks to months, depending on her emotional state, she will move on. Remember if you talked with her after the letter I explained, then do it again and then go no contact. Best of luck!

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Sonya Snyder


All questions from how to, to warnings about how not to communicate on line. Offering best and worst case scenarios and suggestions for being safe, and succeeding in, on line dating.


21-year study into the minds of abnormal behavior, and also an on-line dating specialist in the psychological profiles of this new form of dating. Predators abound on the internet - How to spot them is a specialty of mine for readers concerned about who they are conversing with. One in 16 people is a sociopath in the USA - the vast majority are not murderers, but are predatory cons who prey on unsuspecting children, men and women for primarily money, sex and other forms of manipulation and control. Serial sociopathic con artists and offenders in everyday life are responsible for many forms of financial, emotional, physical, psychological and environmental abuse, child abuse, date rape, and domestic violence, which costs the USA $4 Billion dollars annually to repair damage to victims. I am an advocate for safer surfing through on-line dating.

BA in Journalism, and completing MA in Forensic Psychology, specializing in abnormal psychological profiles. Detailing a thesis for a nation-wide school age/classroom program to protect students from future serial offender interaction, by giving them the insight and knowledge to be able to "spot" the signs and classic methods of operation of such individuals who function around us on dating sites and in our every day lives.

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