Recently, I started talking to a guy I met on the interwebz. He’s been in a few serious relationships, and I have been in exactly zero. I’m 28, and he’s 29. We both seem to like each other and have enough in common and enough in not common to keep the conversation going. However, since I am not familiar with how to build a relationship of the romantic type, I don’t know what to say or what to ask to foster that.
Also, he’s a couple of states away, so the relationship (if it gets romantic) will be long distance which is also something I don’t know how to do.
All of that to say, I hope that’s where it goes. I don’t mind the distance (except that I know it will be hard) because I don’t mind moving if it comes to it. I just want to make sure I get the beginning right, don’t get my hopes too high, and have fun.
I don’t know if any of this makes any sense. It’s just new to me to like someone and have him like me back.
New to This
I use to be anti-internet dating. It was my old person equivalent of “get off my lawn”. I didn’t want any of that newfangled nonsense getting in the way of romance making. Because there couldn’t be any real personal connection made over the internet, right?
I realized it’s really kind of medieval and I kinda started to like it.
Medieval? Sharideth, you know this 2013, right?
But when someone in the way back wanted to get to know someone else, they wrote letters. Today? Emails. Then Skype. Then eventually the IRL. It’s a great way to get to know someone without all the physical stuff muddying the waters.
So how do you do this?
You let it progress naturally. One step at a time. If you try to force the next thing…no bueno. Enjoy the time you’ve got to just learn how to talk to each other. In my never humble opinion, that’s is the bedrock of any relationship. Then…see what happens. If you’re both on the same page about the attraction, you will start to talk about the future, emails will become more intimate, the connection stronger.
Two of my friends were pretty sure they were going to get married before they ever met in person. Something I would have found crazy five years ago. They’ve all but set the date now and they’re adorable. Another couple of friends are successfully dating while she lives in Canada and he in Mississippi. They met in the comments section of a blog.
There’s no guarantee you will have the same happy ending, but that’s true for any dating situation. For now, breathe. Enjoy the conversation and relax. You just never know what could happen.
Oh so sincerely,
What advice do you guys have for our friend? I know some of you have been there, done that.
While I agree with Sharideth, my personal experience has proven on more than one occasion that just because you might have witty banter or even think you’re attracted to them that it all flops or dramatically explodes when it comes to the IRL. I ended up with one guy who I have zero sexual chemistry with though we have a great time (yay we’re friends) and the other turned out to be my crazy ex-fiance who I believe if I had known in IRL and not predominately via other forms of communication I would have seen the signs long before the relationship.
So that being said – I have had a (moderately) successful online dating relationship, I believe primarily because we were in the friend zone long before and a while after meeting in IRL and we kept up our meetings as often as we could which between Vancouver and New Jersey is hard. It was a great relationship, I still love him dearly but other stuff got in the way, so we are still really good friends.
So would I use online dating? I am using it now because my immediate social circle is 80% married men (yay seminary!). But I do it knowing that there are no proclamations of feelings of like or love and once there is a baseline of commonality there is a date, soon to make sure the other parts are there.
Sharideth, you tell her to let things progress naturally, but when you’re states apart, that’s kind of a hard thing; a relationship over distance requires clarity that in proximity can be covered up by ‘just dating’ or taking it slowly. That being said, I think that both internet dating and long distance can be the root of any relationship. Maybe the root just needs to go deeper than when you would have had the change to go out for coffee. I noticed my long distance (and at the time blurred lines status) relationship took a giant leap when we started playing together. Even if you’re not a prayer type of person, that level of intimacy, I feel, can deepen any relationship. Also, I’d advice not to leave each other (when you get to meet) with any questions. Progressing naturally works best if you both know where you are.
I once dated a girl on the other side of the world (she was on a missions trip temporarily, but only lived a state away normally), and it was pretty good. We had met offline first, but started dating later view the wonders of the internet. So my advice:
-Go slow and let it form naturally. Pushing for romance too quickly online makes you look either desperate or like you’ve got some hidden motive.
-Be flexible time-wise, but don’t set up your schedule around a chance to talk to the guy. Don’t disregard face-to-face friendships on the off-chance he might be online.
-Send real, touchy-feely good-old-fashioned handwritten letters sometimes. Yeah it’s slow, but letters are something you can hold onto and treasure, where chat messages are not.
-Be creative about bringing real life into the web. The girl was in Asia, and lamented the lack of snow in February, so I made a snowman for her and sent her a picture. We also rigged up a way to watch movies together via Skype (not pointing the webcam at the TV) and had fun with that. If you both like, say, reading, try reading the same book and discussing it together. Have coffee together via skype. That sort of stuff. Just don’t be creepy by suggesting such things before or near the start of a “dating relationship”.
I’m the Canadian Sharideth mentioned. The Mississippian and I get asked all of the time how we make long distance work. And my answer is this: I don’t know. We just do. And it’s hard. Relationships are hard on their own, and adding in distance right from the get-go is even harder. Very hard. Don’t overlook that. It’s hard. HARD, OKAY? Mind you, living closer than a 20 hour drive might make it a little different.
When Mr. MS came to visit the first time, I had no idea that we liked each other. I mean, I liked him and he liked me, but I didn’t think anything would come of it because it’s so absurd. We met and hit it off instantly. It was a really fun week. We didn’t have to try too hard to go from Internet friends to being romantically involved. It happened naturally, much like an IRL relationship. We just had to be better at communicating what we were expecting because we had limited face-to-face time.
Bottom line: just like any relationship, you can’t force it. It just has to happen. You can communicate and be honest about what you want, but you can’t jump into things too quickly, especially when distance puts the odds against you. Get to know each other. Take your time.