Meeting people online can be exciting, scary and even thrilling, especially when a virtual stranger is attracted to you and sends a personal email. Ongoing email exchanges and online chats may help bring you closer to each other but are far from the reality of what it takes to establish a serious, long-term relationship. To make the transition from ‘just online friends’ to ‘serious romance’ requires patience and time. Move too fast and you may come across as desperate, too slow and you may seem indifferent.

A successful online relationship depends on active involvement on the dating site and sends a clear message that you’re looking for more than a one-night-stand. Establishing honest, open communication is the key to all successful relationships and perhaps even more important when you’re looking to make a connection online. One of the most common complaints about online dating is delayed responses or, even worse, no responses from prospective partners. If you’re hoping for a serious relationship, be sure to actively participate on the dating website, forums and blogs. Procrastinating a week or more before responding to an email shows a lack of initiative or interest or that you’re only looking for fun and games.

When you’ve decided that you’re ready to make a move a little closer, choose your words carefully. Delving into more serious topics like religion, politics, etc., are important in determining your compatibility. A joke, comment or opinion told in person has the benefit of body language and facial expression to convey the intent; however the same comment may come off crude, tacky or rude when shared in an email. Inadvertently sending a message that is seen as overtly sexual may be the end of a budding romance.

The next step in moving the relationship forward is to make a personal phone call. You will be able to discern a lot from their tone of voice, attitude and demeanor. When we share in the ebb and flow of a spontaneous conversation, without the time to prepare answers in advance, levels of confidence and intelligence shine through, as well.

The most excitingly, frightful step in moving an online friendship toward romance is to meet in person. The first ‘date’ should be short and sweet and preferably in a public place, so that both people can relax, without the stress of putting on airs in a stuffy environment. Consider meeting at a coffee house or local café that offers a friendly place to talk and get to know each other better.
Once you’ve met face-to-face, traditional dating comes into play and the opportunity to continue pursuing the relationship to its full potential.

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