Can you fall in love with someone you met on the Internet? Studies from The Center for the Study of Long Distance Relationships have shown the number of people engaging in long distance relationships (known as LDR’s) have grown to include over 10 million people in the USA alone. This includes those who may be only a 100 miles apart to those who have established a relationship with someone on another continent. Those same studies have concluded that the success rate is about the same as for those who have a relationship within their own community.
Finding a partner or soulmate online through dating sites, phone apps, or free chat line sites can be both enjoyable and emotionally rewarding, especially if it leads to a lifetime commitment. Just as with dating anyone who lives locally, forming a relationship online also comes with its own unique challenges, especially if one partner lives in another country. The very nature of the medium itself creates new opportunities for people around the world who are looking for love. However, it also opens the door to a complete and different set of problems involving distance, how to stay romantically connected, along with the logistics in determining how a personal meeting will take place.
At the same time, it can give two people the opportunity to have a relationship that otherwise would have been impossible. How successful that relationship will be depends on the two people involved, what type of relationship is desirable and how committed each is to making the connection you have together work.
There is still the exact same process of learning about each other, talking about what your likes or dislikes are, and what other views exist that may be similar or different. Discussing places you would like to live, and the type of living arrangement you think would work best can determine what type of relationship you would have in the future. Here are a few guidelines everyone should consider.
1) Establish ground rules!!
Tell each other what your expectations are and what each person needs from their partner and then stick to them. Be clear and concise. If this means letters each month, phone calls every day and no more dating of anyone else, then that is what you do. Tell them you love and need them. Never assume they know even if you told them yesterday. Each partner needs to hear it and it reinforces the bond between both of you.
Make plans about when you will meet each other, especially if it will be for the first time. Make a date when both of you can expect to make this happen. Studies have shown that the average time for many couples to meet is 14 months. That amount of time is only an average. There are couples who spent literally years apart before they could finally be together in the same physical location.
Consider the paperwork you may need if traveling to another country. Having your visa, passport, and other documents ready will speed up the process; therefore, get that completed as soon as appropriately possible.
2) Postpone any immediate marriage discussion.
Do not elope and get married if you have only talked to each other via text or email for a few weeks or even months. As with any relationship, it takes time to develop into something more than just friendship based solely on several hours of talking to each other. Even though some people may fall in love “at first sight”, it is a rare occurrence. Do not confuse a crush on someone as love, especially for a long-term commitment.
3) Txts, emails, cellphone.
At the same time, use those texts, emails, or even cellphone calls to form a mental image of how the other person thinks, his or her life philosophy, along with their ethics, values, and general belief system. Share photographs and videos of each other to not only see each other, but to share a closeness that is impossible until you can physically meet each other. Use a webcam and become involved by watching movies or listening to music together, or even being an active participant at a party.
4) Find out what you have in common.
Does your online partner make you laugh? Does he or she like to do the things that you are passionate about or is willing to develop an interest in them? Use the time to discover what makes each other tick and how compatible your individual lifestyles may be. Agree on being able to spend time apart if one partner has no interest is going to a specific event or participating in whatever endeavor the other is involved with. “Me time”, where one takes a few hours for themselves is as important as time spent together.
5) Establish his or her availability.
You do not want to travel to another state or even a continent, only to find out your beloved already has a significant other, such as a spouse and several children. That would put an immediate kink into your love life, let alone any long-term commitment.
Unlike growing up with the guy next door, developing a relationship online requires more than just knowing who his or her parents are. Keep those lines of communication open and talk, talk, talk. Ask specific questions and tell the truth when asked about any aspect of your life. The result will be trust, respect, understanding, and if you are fortunate, falling in love with each other.
Note any evasive answers or acts of omission. Remember, if the person cannot handle your questions online where they have the ability to think through their answer before it is given, there may be a hidden problem. Besides, if your online partner cannot respond in an appropriate manner when faraway, think how it could be if you were living together.
Discuss your every day activities and make your partner an integral part of your movements. Share stories of what is happening in your life. Write him or her a poem or song. It will not matter to the other person if it sounds a little goofy, because they will know it comes from your heart. Become comfortable with engaging in intimacy via letters and phone calls.
It is also important to understand that disagreements and misunderstandings can happen regardless of where you are. Talk about what is causing a problem. Apologize when and where it is necessary. Beg for forgiveness if you have to and send those flowers pronto! Each person is an individual and unique entity. It takes hard work and lots of it to make any relationship grow and become strong.
Beware of individuals and even groups that may pretend to be the one you are interested in having a relationship. Fraud is commonplace on the Internet and not even romance is unaffected. Otherwise, you may end up in a situation that is both emotionally and financially devastating.
Online tools may help you determine if he or she has been in legal civil or criminal trouble. Use them. If necessary, hire someone. At the same time, remember you are likely going to face those self-same questions and investigation.
If your guy or gal lives in another country, find out all you can about the area. With the advent of Google Earth, search engines, and other public data available, you can get a good sense of how things are in a different culture that may be divergent to your own. Learn how his or her culture may affect your preferred lifestyle. Talk about what areas are subject to compromise and what those compromises may entail. Leave no stone unturned if you expect to be comfortable and happy with your partner.
Falling in love is hard enough when you are in a familiar comfort zone. Think things through and determine if the benefits outweigh possible risks and consequences. Search your heart as to whether you can leave behind family and friends if you will need to another country and whether your partner would be able to do the same. Even so, the most important thing you can do is use your common sense. It can save you a lot of unnecessary heartache along with potential financial woes if your chosen partner is not the one for you.
Can you fall in love on the Internet? Yes, you can. With love, trust, perseverance, understanding, and commitment, loving another person – even across the world – can work for you.