Online Relationships: Transitioning from online dating to the next level requires a wider understanding of what you’re expecting, honesty and perspective.
So you’ve met someone on a dating service whom you feel a real connection with? There are definitely butterflies soaring inside when you text each other, and all the virtual flirting is stoking the anticipation about how well you will gel when you eventually get together, face-to-face? There is no reason why the transition from the online dating to the offline world shouldn’t go smoothly, as long as you are aware of the potential pitfalls. Here’s what you need to know about taking your online relationship to the next level.
Ensure you are fully committed
The most basic question you have to ask before taking any relationship to the next level is how much does this person mean to me? It can be very easy to connect with any number of individuals in the welcoming and relaxing environment of a dating website, but actually forming a strong bond which will work in the outside world is something altogether different. So before arranging somewhere to meet and get to know them, you need to be 100% about your feelings. If you are experiencing the slightest sliver of doubt, or are weighing up the possibility of getting in touch with someone else you’ve been chatting to online, you’re not ready.
Is every skeleton out of the closet?
Most people who go onto dating sites will refrain from sharing their most intimate secrets, at least in the early stages of message exchanges. Those people who do feel like exposing everything from the get-go will quickly learn that such a forward attitude tends to scare as many people as those who find it endearing to be trusted with tales of possessive ex-partners or spells in rehab. But if you’re going to take your relationship into the offline world, it is so important to start with a clean slate. If there are any issues which you would normally refrain from divulging, you need to be prepared to be totally honest and upfront. Consider the alternative – the person you are connecting with
suddenly discovering some of those aspects of your character or history which have decided to hide from them. This is a trust issue.
Be fully honest about the longer-term picture
If you are going to take your relationship to the next level, it’s important to move beyond the informal chit-chat which may have characterized your online discussions. If you are serious about this person, it is important to put your feelings into some sort of context. An excellent way to do this is to consider your future together. Have you invited this person out on a date as a casual extrapolation of your virtual romance? Or are you preparing to share your longer-term ambitions? If you’re feelings are reciprocated and you begin to discuss future plans honestly and maturely, you will have achieved a successful transition from online to offline.
Consider the wider picture
When you step up the level of commitment to your relationship, you are no longer going to be a couple exchanging messages via a website’s communication service. You will be entering the wider network of your partner in terms of their friends and family. Social media gives you the ability to tap into this network beforehand.
Decide on appropriate date venues
Finally, it is so important to put some thought into where to rendezvous with your new partner. Your choice of venue will say so much about where you wish this relationship to progress. It might be tempting to meet in a burger bar, but an exclusive restaurant would be much more of a statement.