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Internet Relationship Freaking Me Out

Published: May 14, 2012
Dear TeenHealthFX,
There is this guy that I really like. We met over the internet, but I know better than to meet with him. I felt that we had something really serious. Then he started to really freak me out. When there were days that I couldn't sign on, he worried about me and at first I thought it was sweet. Then he started to say things like that he hadn't eaten that day because he didn't get to talk to me. I started to get a bit nervous when I sent him a picture of me that I cropped so my friends wouldn't show and he started talking about he doesn't like other people being near me. He always acts scared that I will forget about him. It wasn't very serious but it was very weird so i tried to avoid being there at the same time as him. He noticed and told me to forget him forever and I felt so bad for ignoring him. Then he said that every time I didn't talk to him, he would go out and get in trouble, sometimes getting arrested because he was in a bad mood from not talking to me. Lately I have been ignoring him again and making excuses like school tests and work. He doesn't know where I live or how to contact me, but I can't ignore him forever. Any advice?
Signed: Internet Relationship Freaking Me Out

Dear Internet Relationship Freaking Me Out,

 

TeenHealthFX is glad that this guy does not have any personal information on you in terms of where you live, go to school, or other ways in which to find or contact you. This is one of those examples of why it is so important to be careful about who you can meet online and the need to be cautious about how much personal information you put out there to people you don’t know very well. So good job on keeping your personal information private and reaching out for help now that you see this relationship has taken an unhealthy turn.

 

As for how to deal with this guy, FX recommends that you let him know that you are not comfortable being in contact with him anymore. Tell him that you worry that he is currently in an emotional space where he will get in such a bad mood or do self-destructive things simply from not talking to you, and that he seems to be overly possessive in terms of how he feels about your being with other people. Let him know that you do not want to be hurtful or rejecting, but that you think it is important that he reach out for help from trained professionals. You could pass onto him the resource information that we have listed below. Let him know that you would like there to be no further contact. Be clear that it is not your wish to be hurtful or rejecting, but that you think the most important thing for him right now is for him to focus on getting himself the help he needs.

 

If this guy chooses to be self-destructive or act out in any way because of your desire to cut contact, than you need to know that it is not your fault. He alone is responsible for his actions, emotions, and decisions – you cannot make him do anything or feel anything that he doesn’t already want to.

 

FX does think it is important that you tell your parents or another trusted adult about this situation. FX also recommends that you think carefully about whether there is any way he could track you down. Since you did send the picture of yourself – is there any identifying information in the picture (for example, a t-shirt with your school name) or anything that you had ever said to him that would give him an idea of who you are and where you are. Since this guy is obviously not operating in an emotionally healthy way, it is important that you take any necessary precautions to ensure your ongoing safety. So talk to a trusted adult right away about any further steps that may need to be taken with this situation.

 

To learn more about staying safe online, go to www.cyberangels.org.

Signed: TeenHealthFX

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