What’s different about a relationship that starts online versus IRL? Turns out the biggest differences come before you’ve even had your first date! Believe it or not, these differences might also set up your new relationship for success. Of course every relationship is different, but we’ve outlined the three most common phases of an online dating relationship. What phase are you in?
Phase 1: Attraction
Every relationship starts with attraction, whether it’s online or off. The difference is online, the attraction is based on so much more than a cute smile or a bit of eye contact. An online dating profile gives you a glimpse into the personality, beliefs, and passions of the other person, which helps you decide whether you want to move forward or not. Why wait until the first date to learn that he or she is nothing but a pretty face?
Phase 2: Communication
This stage usually doesn’t happen when you meet someone IRL, but it can be the most fun! In Phase 2, you’re testing the waters, flirting, and basically getting to know each other before taking the next step. Communication can start with online winks and private messages, move on to texting, and maybe eventually to a phone call or video chat. Not only is this some pretty fun and flirtatious foreplay, but it’s a way to get to move past the initial physical attraction and start getting to know each other. This important phase can take some awkwardness out of a first date, while also helping you decide if a first date is in your cards at all.
Phase 3: The first date
After all those flirtatious messages, your first date might actually feel like your third! You’ve done your homework, you’re pretty sure you’re compatible, and odds are your first date will have better chemistry than your offline counterparts. Maybe he or she is not quite how you pictured…or maybe they’re better! If all goes well, the anticipation will have become so great that you might have a hard time keeping your hands to yourselves.
Because you’ve already got a lot of the “getting to know each other” stuff out of the way, an online relationship tends to move quicker than an offline one.
The rest is up to you!