Can You Fall In Love Online Without Meeting In-Person? It’s Complicated

Gone are the days when fostering a romantic connection with someone online was considered taboo. Dating apps have normalized using the internet to find love, but anyone who’s seen Catfish — the documentary-turned-reality series — knows that opening yourself up to love online can also come with some serious risks. So, can you fall in love online before meeting someone face-to-face? And if so, is it safe to open up to them without ever having been in the same room together? According to Diana Dorell, intuitive dating coach and author of The Dating Mirror: Trust Again, Love Again, without real-life contact, you run the risk of developing strong feelings for the idea of someone, not the person themselves.

“Without being able to spend time with someone in person [in] real life, it could be easier to fall in lust or fall in love with an idea of who they are [versus] who they actually are,” Dorell previously told Elite Daily. “It’s also an idealized version of love because without meeting in real life, you also conveniently skip the everyday nuances and challenges that arise when you share a life together.” Although this doesn’t necessarily mean that the person you’re falling for is lying or purposely trying to mislead you, it can mean you’re basing your connection on feelings that haven’t been reinforced by IRL experiences — making it more likely that you’re not seeing the full picture of who they are.

That said, Dorell explained that it is possible to experience falling in love virtually, especially if you’ve been communicating via video chat. “It’s possible to form a strong emotional connection, and even spiritual connection, to someone you’ve never met in real life — particularly now with things like FaceTime or Skype, it’s also possible to feel a physical attraction to someone,” she added. But it’s important to keep in mind that if all of your conversations have been through messaging, this can be a major red flag that the person you’re becoming invested in may have something to hide.

Silhouette of man's head in front of computer monitor light at night

Unfortunately, finding love can be hard, which makes it tempting to pursue connections that might not be as sound as you think they are. Behavioral scientist and relationship coach Clarissa Silva believes that the frustration of dating apps could be part of the problem. “Dating apps are creating a paradox effect: Giving off the illusion of many choices while making it harder to find viable options,” she said. “For many, the attachment to a person despite never meeting them is really about the desire to be loved.” Silva went on to explain that this type of relationship can lead to very real emotional responses, but it can also make it hard to know if you’re investing in a relationship that has IRL potential.

Although it’s easy to focus on the positives and ignore the red flags, proceed with caution if you’re getting close to someone who you’ve never met — especially if you haven’t even seen them via video chat. If they’re sincere, they’re probably just as eager as you are to set a date to meet in person, or to Skype if you’re long-distance or stuck at home.

There’s nothing wrong with meeting someone and developing an attachment to them online, but make sure you’re not rationalizing an irrational situation. “The idea [of someone] can create illusions that you’re in a healthy relationship because it is what we choose not to see,” says Silva. “Even though we might not be aware of it consciously, subconsciously we are compensating for the elements that are missing. So, it becomes a perfectly fine relationship.”

“If you find yourself rationalizing that it is a perfectly fine relationship to your family and friends, it may not be true love,” said Silva. And as scary as it may be to think that this person could be catfishing you, don’t let your fear get in the way of following your gut. Anyone who has good intentions will be more than willing to come out from behind their screen to solidify your relationship face-to-face.


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Life Before Quarantine – Part 9

During quarantine I’ve been fairly productive. I get my energy from people but I really enjoy my alone time. My daughter agrees. We’re both perfectly happy being on our own. I was looking through some photos the other day and I got some great memories of when we were all allowed to come out and play. I thought I’d share some of them with you. I’ll run this series every week until I run out of photos! If you see yourself, hit me up!

I’m very fortunate to have met you all and enjoyed the times we had together. Thank you!





Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every day.

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Why We Need To Stop Approaching This Pandemic From A Place Of Fear

It’s ultimately up to you how you approach the pandemic.

We all started this year hoping we would make it a better one than the last. We made a list of goals that we wanted to accomplish, and we were excited to see what surprises 2020 would bring.

However, what we never expected was for the whole world to stop due to a pandemic caused by the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). While the outbreak started in China, the virus has now spread internationally.

Everyone around the world is experiencing fear, worry, anxiety, and instability. Every day, more people are getting infected and others are dying.

Every time I go to the grocery store, I see empty shelves and I worry that one day, we might run out of food. Parks, schools, gyms, restaurants and all the places we would often go to are now closed. The streets are empty and our towns are starting to look like ghost towns.

Humans are losing their s*** and going into panic mode. People are being greedy and only thinking about themselves — they are buying everything in bulk, while others don’t know when their next paycheck will come or if they will be able to have enough food for their family.

I have seen many bad things, but for the first time in my adult life, I can honestly say I am scared of the future.

None of us were prepared for this. It arrived without warning, filling our days with confusion and chaos.

There is a lot of crazy s*** happening right now. These are scary and uncertain times for all of us, but there is a major decision to be made — and it’s how you will react to this situation.

This crisis can bring out both the worst and the best in human nature. Are you going to curl in a ball and panic? Or, are you going to make the best out of this situation?

The truth is: You can approach this crisis from either a place of fear or a place of possibility.

Yes, I know it’s hard to be positive when it seems like the world is taking a turn for the worst. But, I encourage you to look at the bigger picture.

You can do something great during this crisis. Some of the most iconic people that ever lived used crisis as an opportunity to make a difference in the world.

Let’s take a look back at our history.

In 1606, deaths from black death led to the closure of theaters in London. Shakespeare isolated himself to avoid getting infected by the deadly virus, and during that time, he wrote three plays: King Lear, Macbeth, and Anthony and Cleopatra.

In 1665, there was a major outbreak of the bubonic plague in the UK. During this time, Isaac Newton discovered Calculus when his Cambridge University classes were canceled due to the pandemic.

In 1918, the Great Influenza Pandemic reached just about every continent around the globe. Walt Disney was 17 years old at that time. Walt wanted to help, so he joined the Red Cross, and, weeks later, Disney came down with the flu. He returned home and recovered from the Influenza — 10 years later, he created Mickey Mouse.

I could go on and list more examples, but I think I proved my point. This is not the first pandemic and, unfortunately, it won’t be the last one.

You could get through all of this by doing nothing, or you can see the opportunity in the crisis and make the difference you were born to make.

Use this time to reflect on all the things you took for granted when everything was normal. Use this time to fix a broken relationship or leave a toxic one.

What’s more, use this time to work on yourself. Use this time to work on the foundation of your legacy.

We cannot control this virus, the government, or even the people around us. But, we can control our thoughts and our actions. We can make conscious choices and have a better response to the current situation.

How you act during this time of crisis will forever change the way you view your life.

Focus your energy on the present moment and figure out what you can do today, so you can have a better tomorrow.

Every dark cloud has a silver lining and this is your chance to take charge of your life so that you come out of this experience stronger.

You can use this time to lead and create a better future, or you can use this time to panic. What will you do?


Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every day.

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Be Careful Who You Trust—These 4 Zodiac Signs Are The Best Liars

Be honest—when was the last time you told a lie? Bet I can guess based on your sign! I took a look at which zodiac signs are the best liars, and if you think you can predict the lineup, you just might be shocked. The thing about telling lies is this: If you’re going to do it, you better be good at it. There’s no use in lying if you’re just going to get caught!

Like most other personality traits, your ability to fib is dependent on the stars—and some of us (like myself, a Cancer prone to laughing mid-lie) are bad at faking it. Look to planets like Mars and Mercury in your natal chart for insights on defensive nature and communication skills—these placements are crucial in predicting who can get away with what. Are you truthful like a Virgo, gentle and honest like a Pisces? Perhaps you’re a little more…mischievous, in which case you might be one of the best liars in the game.

If you consider yourself someone who ~hardly ever lies~, take a peek at your social media profiles and re-evaluate that claim. In showing only a highlight reel, aren’t you technically lying every now and again? Were you really happy to be staying in and eating dinner for one last weekend, or is that a faux smile underneath those filters? I’m just saying! Most of us tell more lies than we realize, and social media doesn’t help. That said, while we’ve all fibbed before, some of us are even more devious liars, cunning enough to spin whole webs of lies and make a clean getaway before ever being found out.

Don’t say I didn’t warn you! With that, here are the four astrological signs that are the best liars.

Cierra Miller


Keep an eye out for their poison tails: Scorpios are such good liars because they have an innate connection to the dark side (Read: the spooky and the occult). The sign of Scorpio is ruled by the planet Pluto, named after the Roman equivalent to Hades, the god of the underworld. It’s likely that at least one of your closest Scorpio friends is secretly a witch (if she’s not already out of the “broom closet,” so to speak). A stinging scorpion is just as emotional as a Cancer or Pisces, but because they’re the fixed sign of the water element (versus mutable and cardinal signs), they’re as stubborn as oxen, and know how to channel their emotions into real change. When people need someone to keep a secret or tell a lie, a scorpio is a smart go-to, as they have a known reputation for getting things done and keeping it on the DL.


Cierra Miller


The peacekeeper knows just what to say: Libras are good liars because they like mediating conflicts. Being the cardinal air sign (meaning they’re the leaders and initiators of that element), Libras know how to keep friendships and conversations light, and aren’t prone towards skulking and moping. As the sign of the scales, Libras want to keep everyone chill and level, even at the cost of their own sanity. Though peacemaking is admirable, this desire to please can often lead Libras to lie in attempts at making sure everyone else stays happy. Libras are the type to claim they don’t care where you go when making dinner plans, when in reality they’re totally craving Indian food. They know a little white lie helps them lock in plans faster, and they just want to make sure everyone else is happy! Libra squad: Tell the truth and be bold about it. Get those samosas!

Cierra Miller


Don’t be (too) afraid of their alien nature: Aquarians are good liars because they’re tough nuts to crack. If you’ve ever been at a bar or a party and made eye contact with someone whose energy you just couldn’t read, they were probably an Aquarius. They’re the mystics and the weirdos of the zodiac, and probably aren’t from this galaxy—never get an Aquarian started on conspiracy theories. Just trust me on this one. Aquarians are good at putting up a front, and they have the best poker faces of all the signs in the zodiac. Because Aquarius is the fixed air sign, Aquarians are just as stubborn as Scorpios. Between this and their often-icy-cold exterior, they’re good at keeping secrets from people. Aquarius, you’ll always be able to get away with lying to get what you want. Just don’t get on another Aquarian’s bad side, okay?

Cierra Miller


They keep matters strictly business (while hiding their true feelings): Caps are good liars because they are all about getting shit done. Capricorns will do whatever they have to do to make sure that work gets completed in a timely and efficient manner, even if it means glossing over the truth. Much like Libras, they’re a cardinal sign, and they’re also an earth sign. Capricorns are the ones who keep their cool in tough situations; because they’re leaders, they can keep both feet on the ground when others might float off into space (like our extraterrestrial Aquarians). This grounded nature gives people the impression of trustworthiness, even though a classic Capricorn might be totally swindling them. Lying comes so naturally to Caps that it sometimes doesn’t even feel wrong, and they don’t even realize they’re doing it. If you’re a Capricorn, take some time to work on mindfulness of speech—see how committing to total honesty for a week or two makes you feel.


Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every day.

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How To Stay Positive Despite Your Negative Spouse’s Bad Energy

Don’t allow yourself to be brought down by their negative energy.

“Nicola, my husband is chronically complaining and forever in a bad mood. He manages to find something wrong with everything and constantly feels down. I don’t know how to help him or live with him at times! I don’t want him to ruin life for me and my children. What can I do to stay positive in light of his strong negative energy?”

It’s extremely challenging to live with a negative person.

They may have depression or they may be habitually negative. They are so wrapped up in their bad energy that they can’t see how miserable they are making themselves, let alone grasp the toxic effect they have on others.

They may even mock you for your positive attitude or call you naive when you see the good in things and others.

If you’ve already tried talking to them and have only been met with more negativity, this article is for you, as I will share with you five secrets to keep your mood positive and your energy high.

In order to stay positive and protect yourself from a negative spouse’s bad energy, you need to first understand that your own good energy is everything —​ and I mean everything!

For You: When you feel good and positive, you not only attract more good things but stressful events are much easier to deal with f you feel alive and healthy. Keeping a positive vibration is the single most important thing you can do to for yourself, your relationship and any children.

For Them: Feeling good also puts you in a much better position to help your spouse.

In 2003, I began volunteering for the Samaritans, an emotional distress/crisis helpline, which I continued to do for four years. I quickly realized that if I was going to be successful in helping people, I couldn’t take on any negative energy. I uncovered many secrets to keeping my energy positive and clear, and was able to assist thousands of people in need without being adversely affected. In fact, I felt even more energized and fulfilled after.

The powerful secrets I learned helped me, and I hope they help you from absorbing negativity.

Important note: If you are the one who is feeling negative, my heart also goes out to you.

In my marriage counseling, I tend to help people feel better by supporting them to create a strong sense of purpose in their lives by finding something they are passionate about.

Often, when someone has dedicated their life to their marriage and children, they lose themselves. The consequences of being lost in life are loneliness and negativity — I know because I’ve been there.

But when individuals refocus on their own needs, they find their relationship also benefits.

Here are five ways to stay positive, protect yourself from your spouse’s negativity and (hopefully) save your marriage in the process.

1. Avoid using negative emotions to connect.

Often, in order to communicate and connect with our loved ones, we match their emotions. For example, if your partner is annoyed at something you mirror it, to get on the same wavelength.

The problem with this we compromise our own energy every time we use negative emotions as a tool to connect. We also become less effective in helping them if we are both operating at an emotionally low level. If we’re sad, depressed, stressed, and frustrated, it’s much more difficult to listen to others and find solutions.

It is possible, however, to offer compassion and understanding without compromising your own energy.

2. Accept that your spouse’s emotional energy is not your responsibility.

If you take their mood and negative energy as your responsibility, then it starts to belong to you, and your body, mind, and spirit respond as if you really are responsible and must fix it.

Often, when we carry this weight on our shoulders and take on their stress and worry, we can feel overwhelmed and run down. Sometimes we get sick or our performance at work is affected because we carry their baggage with us.

No matter how much you love and care about someone, you are not responsible for their happiness.

You are responsible for yourself and for your own experience of them, but not for them, if that makes sense.

Don’t think that by taking on your partner’s bad energy as your own you are helping them. The best way you can be helpful to your spouse is by keeping your spirits high and inviting them to meet you in that place of positivity.

Many clients I work with in marriage counseling find that when they release their feelings of responsibility for the other, they are able to show up in a more responsive way and be more of service to their partner. From a place of positivity, we can brainstorm actions they can take to support their partner to feel good, leaving the responsibility and choice to follow through with the other spouse.

How much of what you carry actually belongs to you? Take a moment to really think about this question.

3. Let go of judging them or thinking that you know better.

When we think that we know better and try to change our partner, not only does it often backfire, it also allows their energy to infiltrate ours. If you don’t want your spouse to affect your energy, then it is important to allow them to make their own choices and hold their own opinions.

Similarly, the act of judging, even if done silently to yourself, can bring in more negativity, as focusing on their negativity and what you perceive they are doing wrong puts you on the same low emotional vibe.

Give up trying to convince someone you know what is best for them or making judgments in your own mind. Your positive energy is the most powerful tool you have to live a happy and fulfilled life, so protect it!

4. Refuse to give your power away by reacting.

Is your spouse always creating a drama? Are they trying to invoke a negative emotional response from you in order to get energy or attention from you? Do you allow your spouse’s bad mood to dictate your own?

If you answered “yes,” know that the moment you react, you give away your power.

Doing this leads to a temporary gain for them that sets the cycle in motion to repeat itself.

That won’t help either of you in the long-term, especially if you want to save your marriage.

Remember, no one has power over you. They only have the power that you give to them, which is controlled by your thoughts, beliefs, and actions.

One woman I worked with found that the more she reacted the more her husband’s complaints, the more complaints he had, until it escalated to the point at which he passive-aggressively argued that she was just as angry and aggressive as him. To deal with his negative energy more effectively, she tried not reacting at all, instead saying, “You’re probably right,” before carrying on about her business. After a short amount of time, he changed his tune dramatically, which benefited them both. In short, she was able to save their marriage.

Before you react, pause ask yourself, “Is it worth it? Who will it help if I react?”

Note: this doesn’t mean that you cannot or should not speak your truth and set boundaries in a way that supports you and the relationship.

5. Stop accepting blame when it isn’t deserved.

When negativity is directed at you, do your best to shake it off as quickly as possible.

Don’t retaliate. Don’t brood. And don’t get caught in your own pity party because you’re married to them.

People blame us all the time for things that are out of our control. Just because someone blames you, it doesn’t mean you have to accept the blame.

If you are responsible, be responsible and rectify the situation, but don’t allow yourself to be their scapegoat otherwise.

You don’t need to react to or defend yourself from their blame. Simply allow it to pass.


Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every day.

Buy Phicklephilly THE BOOK now available on Amazon!

Listen to the Phicklephilly podcast LIVE on Spotify!

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The 8 Guys You’re Probably-Sort-Of-Definitely Dating During Quarantine

Look, just because you can’t go outside right now doesn’t mean you can’t put yourself out there…like, on apps, that is. And although it’s clear you haven’t left your apartment in weeks based on your “uh-is-that-chocolate?” sweatpants stain and fifth day of dry shampoo (no judgement), chances are you’ve still encountered one of these, um, Prince Charmings in one way or another.

If you’re at home on lockdown, now that you have all the time in the world to swipe, text, DM memes, and try out a taste of FaceTime and/or Zoom dates, you’re getting more action than you ever did—even pre-social distancing.

So behold (or feel personally attacked—how you see it is your choice) the eight guys you didn’t even realize you were dating right now.



You were texting for a solid four, maybe five days, with ping-pong conversations that made you actually laugh out loud. Your heart skipped a beat when he asked you out… for a FaceTime date. You even put on your fave going-out top, but kept on your staying-in bottoms (the same boxers you’ve been wearing since mid-March).

Then, seconds into your FT date, you couldn’t even pay attention to his patchy beard because you were too distracted by all the dirty dishes piled up on his nightstand. Um, please don’t tell me that’s ketchup. You don’t think you’ll wait for an IRL date to find out.



You started off strong—you even had daily, virtual Animal Crossing playdates together. Now every day it’s taking him longer and longer to text you back. His response rate used to be 32 seconds, now it feels like the longest three minutes of your life (and you’ve waited for a pregnancy test before).

You know you’re not exclusive, but, um, is he busy video chatting someone else? Does he play Animal Crossing with ALL his matches? A deep Instagram dive might answer these burning questions… just don’t double-tap.



This is the dude you went out with right before social distancing hit. After your date, you were feeling meh about him—maybe you even logged right back into Tinder. But now that you’ve had some time to think about it, the more and more you text him, the more you convince yourself that the date was actually ~magical~. (You forget he brought up his ex before your drinks even arrived).

At this point, you can’t tell the difference between actually, legitimately longing for a second date with him, or just longing to order Frosé at a bar on a date with anyone. Alas, now you have a 36-day SnapChat streak with someone that would suggest your first date wasn’t a total disaster.



He. Wasn’t. Even. Your. Last. Date. Before. This. Shit. Started. When things were normal, you kept rescheduling your second date, then blowing it off, and then rescheduling again. You’d think he’d get the message by now—but every single morning, like clockwork, he texts you: “Good morning.”

You’re bored, so you’ll chat throughout the day (“Wyd?” and “Nm, u?”), and he never forgets to send that “Sweet dreams 😴” as you fall asleep. The textual companionship is nice—but he already seems ready to make things offish with plans to cook you dinner, introduce you to all his friends at Trivia night, and take you on a weekend getaway when this is all over. You know you should really tell him you’re not interested, but you low-key like the attention.



This bro doesn’t understand the whole concept of “social distancing” when it affects how often he is getting laid. I mean, he literally invited you over to his place twenty minutes after you matched on a dating app. When you told him that you’re not meeting up with anyone rn because, duh, pandemic, he responds: “Don’t act like you don’t like breaking the rules every so often ;)” and also that he knows “there’s no way he could be COVID positive.”

FWIW, when all this is over, this is the same dude who’s going to pretend like he doesn’t know what a condom is. Run, do not walk, to your nearest exit.



Just like The Bachelor’s Listen To Your Heart, there is no way you’d be into this if it wasn’t for the quarantine. He lives too far away, doesn’t meet your height requirement, and/or was posing with a sedated tiger in one of his Hinge photos. Since lockdown, your standards have dropped so low that you’re even starting to see the sex appeal in Joe Exotic’s bleached mullet (this also might explain why you swiped right on his tiger pic).

But you keep him on rotation for the sexting because, yeah, okay, it’s pretty good—which is the other reason you for sure will not keep this up once the quarantine is lifted. How could you ever go on a first date with someone who’s already sent you a (solicited) dick pic?



You really have no idea. Your conversations are always light, friendly, and usually revolve around what you’re doing (nothing) and watching (everything). He started calling you “Buddy”…but he also texts you “sup” at 2 a.m. He may even use the iPhone audio feature because he’s too busy to text you anything more than, “WYD?” Is he just bored or is he actually into you? Unclear. And unfortunately for you, this is someone whose time you’d def like to occupy—pandemic or not.



Yeah, he’s been keeping tabs on you. He’s notoriously the first one to watch all your Instagram stories, and finds just about every opportunity to text you. From updating you on what one of your mutual friends posted on the ‘gram, to asking you easily Google-able questions like “What are the best seasons of The Simpsons to binge RN?” He’s annoying, but you secretly love that he has to result in texting his ex during this time. Who knows, maybe it’ll be different this time? (It probably won’t).


Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every day.

Buy Phicklephilly THE BOOK now available on Amazon!

Listen to the Phicklephilly podcast LIVE on Spotify!

Instagram: @phicklephilly    Facebook: phicklephilly    Twitter: @phicklephilly

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