It's not possible to fall in love without meeting in person and spending some time together.
If someone hedges, uses various delay tactics, has excuses and personal crises and various other events to prevent a personal meeting ~~> red flag. If they are really interested they will make the time.
Manti basked in the glow of telling himself and others that he had a girlfriend - who he had never even met. Three YEARS?? The love of his life? Gimme a break.
At best, he had a fantasy relationship
I know of a couple people who first connected online and after a few weeks progressed to a personal meeting and it worked out - (one couple is happily married)
But if you haven't met in person, you don't have a real relationship
except in your dreams. Emailing, texting, FB posts/chats, and talking on the phone is NOT dating