Online dating timing isn’t something most daters think about but should. Why is it so important? Without setting a timetable to stop messaging and start dating, you are setting yourself up for trouble.
Starting a relationship online can be exhilarating; you both seem to have so much in common and chatting online or on the phone has been both fun and exciting. Before you get too comfortable with your new potential love-interest, keep in mind that timing is important for building a good, solid relationship.
While it makes good sense to exchange a few emails and then chat a couple times on the phone before that first face-to-face date, you have to set guidelines for moving through these early stages of online dating slow enough to stay safe but fast enough to avoid creating a false connection.
Rule of Four
Relationship expert, Lisa Hayes, recommends the “Rule of Four.” Start with four email exchanges before picking up the phone. Then, by the fourth phone conversation, you should be setting up that first date. If things really click, two of each is fine. Just remember, four is the maximum.
So what’s wrong with enjoying a lengthy phone or e-relationship? For starters, virtual relationships build a false sense of security. You feel like you are getting to know the person or that you are establishing a true bond. Unfortunately, this is not the case. “It’s easy to get comfortable in the phone stage,” Hayes says. “I’ve had clients spend weeks or months developing a ‘relationship’ on the phone. However, these are imaginary relationships at best.”
People can withhold critical information, like already being married, when they engage in virtual relationships. Even worse, predators often use this tactic to gain trust from their victims. Take note, guys, you are not immune from being scammed here either.
Avoiding a False Connection
The larger problem with not moving quickly to the face-to-face stage is that phone relationships allow you to feel like you have a connection that might not really exist. However, since you’ve been developing an emotional attachment during this stage, you are more likely to feel disappointment or even heartbreak when you find out there’s no real connection or chemistry. “Love is literally a drug,” Hayes says. “Our brain chemicals go crazy in the early stages of love and attraction. It takes very little time to form an artificial connection in the virtual world that feels very real.”
Remember to use the Rule of Four and watch for these red flags to avoid losing your head or your heart:
• If someone you’ve met online doesn’t want to meet or keeps having things “come up,” this is a warning sign they might be a predator.
• Inappropriate expressions of intimacy or attachment too early (especially before a date) might make your heart swell, but it can’t be true so early in the relationship. It’s more likely that this person has an underlying emotional problem that is making them cling too quickly.
• If it feels like things are moving too fast before the first date, they probably are. Take a step back and make sure you set up a physical date and go into it with your eyes open.
How many times do you talk on the phone before setting up a first date? Tell us if you’ve ever felt yourself falling for someone before meeting in person