Moving an Online Relationship into Real Life

online relationship

Taking your relationship from the online world into the real world can be frightening. To deal with your worries and doubts, communicating is key. Learn what questions to ask and how to move to the next step by reading advice from a dating coach.

Learn How to Take an Online Relationship to Real Life

Reader Question

Hello...I have a relationship question and I hope you can help me. I met an amazing guy online line a little over a month ago. My job is re-locating to another state within the next 3 months, so I joined an online dating service to meet guys in the new city that I will be moving to.

I met him the very first day I joined the site. We chatted online for about an hour, then he asked me if I wanted to exchange phone numbers, and I said yes...2 minutes later he called me. That night we talked on the phone for 3 hours. We talked about everything, our jobs, what we like to do for fun, past relationships, our families, etc.

We've been talking just about every day since we met and sometimes several times a day for hours. We text each other back and forth and send each other pictures on our cell phones. Sometimes he'll call me and say "I just wanted to hear your voice" or "I just wanted to call and let you know that I was thinking about you" He seems like a really sweet guy. He calls me just to say good morning or to ask me how my day was.

We have a lot in common and seem to be what each other is looking for. This past weekend he went to Atlanta to visit one of his friends from college. I really wasn't expecting him to call me since he was on vacation, but he called me twice and he texted me to say he wished he was here with me instead. He seems like a sweet guy and I like him a lot but in a way I feel a little silly for having such strong feelings for someone I met online.

At this point, we both think it's time to move to the next level and meet in person. We talked about meeting sometime within the next 3-4 weeks. My first question is do you think it's too soon for us to meet? (in 3-4 weeks we will have known each other for 2 months) Since he lives 5 hours away we talked about meeting somewhere in between but since we live in the Midwest the weather in the winter is very unpredictable. Therefore, I really don't want to be bothered with driving. I considered the possibility of flying to see each other.

My next question is suppose he flew here (I'm assuming it's going to be over the weekend) do I let him stay at my apartment? Or should we get a hotel room? If we do get a room, should we get separate rooms? Or one room but sleep in separate beds? Who should pay for the hotel, dinner, entertainment, etc.?

I really need your advice on what to do. This is the first person I met online and definitely, the first long distance relationship I've had.

I hope to hear from you soon.

-- Contributed by: McKenna

Expert Reply

Dear McKenna,

Online dating is very popular because it creates opportunities for people to meet who otherwise wouldn't. Communicating via the Internet, phone and text have one thing in common. They create a false sense of security. It is only through being in the same place that you really have the opportunity to see if your image of your date matches your experiences with him. In person, is he really as romantic, interesting or attractive, as he appeared to be online, or over the phone? This is why you shouldn't wait too long before meeting. Planning a time and place to meet, gives both of you a chance to work together toward a common goal as well as give you information about him. Does he initiate or wait for you to take care of everything? When it comes to discussing sleeping arrangements, does he put you at ease or does he raise your anxiety with his assumptions? How do the two of you plan activities or make arrangements? By bringing up some of the concerns you raised in your question with this guy, you get a sense of how well the two of you communicate, problem-solve and support each other.

Sometimes when two people finally meet, there's disconnect between the image you have and the reality you see. This can initially change the relationship. On the other hand, sometimes two people meet and your image is exactly what you get.


When to Ask out on that First Date?

Reader Question

I was wondering how to deal with the first dates. I am going to ask a single mom to go out and have a dinner with me. But I am afraid she will refuse. I met her from and we had a good talk there. I think I like her and want to know her in real life. What can I do? I knew lovetoknow could give me good advice, so I want to get help from you. Thanks!-- Contributed by: kevinshyrol

Expert Reply

Dear Kevin,

I am not sure why you are afraid the woman you want to ask out might refuse you? One indication that she is open to the idea of dating is you met her on a date sight. The other indication is that you had a good talk utilizing the site. Therefore, I am guessing that you are wondering if having one good talk is enough information for her to consider going out with you. The answer is, probably not. It usually takes more that one talk to convince someone to go out on a date with a total stranger.

My suggestion is to spend a little more time exchanging communication via the internet. If she continues to respond to you in a timely manner, you can then suggest a phone conversation. Let her know that you understand she might have concerns about giving out her phone number so if she would feel more comfortable, you would be happy to give her your number and she can call at her convenience.

Once the two of you have had the opportunity to talk by phone a few times and she has demonstrated her interest, i.e., returning calls timely, being available for calls when she says she will be, etc., then you can suggest meeting for coffee. Should coffee go well that is when you ask her if she would like to go out to dinner with you.

While this process may seem slow moving for asking someone out on a date, it is really much more than that. Dating as a single parent is a lot different then dating without children. When you are a parent, your decisions also affect your children. So by moving slowly, you are saying to her, "I understand; I get it that you are being cautious." In addition, by being patient and taking your time, you are also letting her get to know you. As she gets to know you, she is building a trusting relationship. In addition, by moving slowly you are both learning to trust yourselves and your judgment of potential dates.


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