In this internet age we live in, online romance bas become a valid means through which we can meet our partners, just like meeting them at work, in the club, at church, etc. I know some will say that a lot of such relationships never mature into something serious but does meeting in real life guarantee marriage? Some argue that you cannot love someone you have not seen. I do not agree. We are more than our bodies. Our writings or how we talk about life can give a window into our mind and soul. These are also great for getting to know another human being.

The major advantage of online romance is the privacy, and safety it provides. You don’t need to expose everything about you immediately. Stuff like your telephone number, address, where you work and family details can and should be kept under wraps for a while. It is only when you trust the other person more that you can decide how open to be. Online romance gives you the control, you can decide when and how to reveal any type of information. You can also completely back off at any time, if you feel like something is going wrong or the other person is not who they say they are. Changing your email addresses, or blocking a chat buddy or access to your FB or twitter profile, is much easier than keeping someone out of your physical space.

That said; there are some things to be aware of with online romance. The advantage of privacy in meeting someone online first could become a double-edged sword. This is because it makes it easier to be dishonest online. The person you are chatting with could be a 12 years old, or married, or 42 instead of 22, or a man instead of a woman and vice versa. It is so easy to develop a different persona online, be whoever you want, say whatever and become an overnight superstar. The anonymity and privacy of the internet thereby becomes a tool for deception. A waiter becomes a doctor, 5’1 becomes six feet and CUNY becomes Harvard or Yale. Remember that this cuts both ways. Are you being your real honest self while looking for love online?

The next important part of online romance is communication. What do you guys discuss? Don’t burn phone cards talking about Kim Kardashian or the World Cup. OK, you can do that too. But more important, give each other time to talk about your lives. Ask questions and be as honest as you can. I’m not saying you should interview each other, but a relationship requires true and deep communication. You can talk about your dreams, your achievements and goals, talk about your families, people you admire in your life, your most prized possessions, your strengths and weaknesses, and maybe most importantly, talk about the kind of relationship both of you are looking for. This last will determine what direction your romance goes.

Finally, it boils down to the nitty-gritty. After starting a romance online, there is the temptation to just let it roll along on sweet talk via the phone, chat or email. You cannot live life online and in the same way, any romance that starts and remains solely online for say, one year, is a bit suspicious. The next thing a couple that met online should discuss when they realize that the admiration is mutual is how to meet up. Some say love is spiritual, that is true, but it is also physical. People in an online romance must find ways to balance both sides of the attraction. Apart from the physicality of attraction, meeting face to face also helps determine honesty. Is that really him? Is he really interested in me enough to make the effort?

Once you have met for the first time, you are no different from the next couple who first met in real life. Keep your head up and enjoy your love.

By Myne Whitman

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