You never know where love could be waiting for you. It could be at your friend's birthday party, in your next class, or with someone you spot while taking a walk. Or as is the case for many people, new romance could be waiting to bloom with someone online, who might not even live near you. While being open to this possibility can certainly increase your chances of falling for someone, the question is, should you start a relationship without meeting in person first? Or should you define the relationship only after you’ve had a real face-to-face? This is a question people are facing now more than ever, as social distancing is being added to already complicated modern dating dynamics.
But just because meeting someone new is currently more likely to happen online than IRL, that doesn’t mean you have to put the breaks on a budding relationship entirely, as Diana Dorell, intuitive dating coach and author of The Dating Mirror: Trust Again, Love Again, tells Elite Daily, provided you enter with reasonable expectations. “It's easy to glamorize and idealize the relationship when you don't have the day to day energy of being with them. So get to know them but also keep things in perspective and take it slow!” she says.
If you’ve met someone new online but haven’t met face-to-face, here’s what the experts say you should know about starting a relationship with them.
Online Interaction Has Its Limits.
One of the best things about getting to know someone online is how deep the conversations can become. Long chats into the wee hours can allow you to connect on an emotional and intellectual level. Plus, with the advent of video chat, you can get an inkling of whether or not there may be physical chemistry, too. But even if you do feel that kind of connection, being in a relationship with someone you haven’t met inherently means sacrificing the physical aspect of the relationship. Connell Barrett, dating coach for The League and author of the forthcoming book, Dating Sucks But You Don’t, tells Elite Daily not to underestimate the importance of touch in your relationship, especially over the long term. “Physical touching is a very important part of a great relationship, and if you’re dating without ever meeting, you could both grow frustrated because you’re unable to express yourself in an intimate, physical way,” he explains.
While the relationship may progress naturally before you have a chance to meet, Dorell suggests setting a time to meet up before things get too serious between you. “Making a point to meet in person at a specific time is so important. Before committing your whole self to a relationship where there may not be physical chemistry,” she says. “Once you meet in person, you can see if you want to make the commitment to the next level.”
Be Wary Of Red Flags.
It can be so easy to get caught up in the excitement and promise of a new romance, to where it can even blind you from potential issues. Eric Resnick, professional dating profile writer and online dating coach tells Elite Daily, it’s always important to keep an eye out for red flags, especially when entering a relationship with someone you haven’t met in person. That’s because it can be easier for someone online to only show you the parts of themselves they want you to see, behind the safety of a screen. “When you start a relationship, everything feels magical, but nothing is real until you meet,” says Resnick. “Distance has a habit of breeding artificial intimacy. If you’re going to start a relationship without meeting someone in person, just make sure you are keeping your expectations in check and you aren't getting lost in the romantic fantasy of what might be.”
One thing to be on the lookout for are people who are trying to portray themselves as someone they aren’t. “You should never start a relationship if you see red flags that you’re being cat-fished,” says Barrett. “Before becoming a couple, make sure the person is who they say they are.”
The best defense against getting into the wrong relationship online, Dorrell says, is to avoid rushing into things in the heat of the moment. She advises taking things slowly, day by day.
While it's a good idea to take your time and be thoughtful about entering a relationship with someone new, whether it’s online or face-to-face, ultimately it’s up to you to decide what's right for you. However if you’re concerned about proceeding, the key is to strike a balance between following your heart and your head. “If You're getting to know someone before meeting them, you should probably avoid proposing. But if you connect, you can define your relationship and become exclusive until the time you're able to have more than a virtual hug,” she concludes. If it's truly meant to be, it will be, so there’s no need to rush. In other words: Listen to your heart, just don't leave your head on-read in the process.
Connell Barrett, dating coach for The League and author of the forthcoming book, Dating Sucks But You Don’t.
Eric Resnick, professional dating profile writer and online dating coach
Julie Spira, online dating expert and author of Love in the Age of Trump: How Politics is Polarizing Relationships