Chat With Nat - Something's a little (cat)fishy here

Hi Natalie,
I'm 21 years old, and in a long distance relationship with a 25- year-old woman that I met on a dating game in 2012. She lives in Fresno, California. Yes, she travels for work as a model or photography assistant. We do talk by email but she hasn't given me her number. I would like that so that we can really speak to each other and open up, also have a stronger relationship. We do have some fights, but overall we still forgive each other. We started dating near April 2013, and I'm starting to open up, saying I'll be by her side, etc. Yes, I do hope to meet her some day. Don't get me wrong, I'm starting to love her, not cheat and being faithful. But while I'm walking to class or hanging with friends on Fanshawe's main campus, I see other females. During the Boston school lockdown, no one could locate her. I got a message from her sister saying she disappeared while visiting the school. Yes, I admit I had tear a little, and while police started looking, I checked the deaths and people that are hospitalized to see if she were on the list. About Sunday or Monday, the next week, I got a message from her saying she's okay, and the guy's arrested. Also around June 2013, she went to HK. Yes, she told me she's trying hard to see me. I don't know if we should keep it going or move on. Should we talk about these issues? Please, I really need relationship advices.
Distance in Love

Dear Distance in Love,
Have you ever seen the documentary or MTV show Catfish? It's about online couples who finally get the chance to meet their partners in person. Sometimes their partners are exactly who they've claimed to be, but many other times, the meetings results in heartbreak, uncovered lies and total deception. (If you haven't already checked it out, give it a gander. I think you'll find it interesting.)

To be frank, something sounds fishy about your situation. Claiming that your girlfriend's making every effort to meet you but never following through is a huge red flag, especially when she has time to visit places like Hong Kong instead! Assuming that she's from Boston, Canada is only one country away... not even an ocean lies between you two! So what's the hold-up?

Additionally, the fact that she won't provide you with a phone number so you can at least talk or text adds even more suspicion to the picture. Let's do the math: You've known each other for a year, plus you're officially dating now, minus a telephone number... to me, that just comes out to a whole lot of negatives.

Great relationships come out of prioritizing and respecting your partner, being honest and having an open line of communication at any given point. With the information you've provided me, it just doesn't seem like your girlfriend is giving you any of those right now. (Not contacting you for a week after Boston was hit, but relying on her sister to get in touch? Something's not right here.)

Until your online girlfriend can at least provide you with a Skype VIDEO call, I'd strongly suggest taking a step back. If you really consider the big picture here, you'll realize that you don't actually know your girlfriend yet, and every possible suggestion you've made to make that happen seems to get shot down. Maybe giving her an ultimatum that either she steps up or you step back from the relationship with help put things in perspective. In any case, one thing's for sure: putting your foot down will get you one step closer to the truth, whether the outcome is sweet or sour. From there, you'll be able to make an educated decision about what to do next.

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