Picture this scenario: You meet a nice guy online. You exchange a few messages via the website before deciding to exchange numbers. You start to text each other. A lot! You begin to feel a little flutter each time his name appears on your Whatsapp screen.
For the first time, you speak to each other on the phone. For a few hours! It’s great! You have so much in common: he seems to “get” you, you have in-jokes, maybe even nicknames for each other. You text late into the night and again upon waking.
The following night is the same. He calls you at 7pm and before you know it, it’s almost midnight and you remember you have an early meeting tomorrow! Of course, it doesn’t end there but message each other a bit before falling asleep. Sound familiar?
This becomes a daily pattern. Suddenly, you have someone to brighten up your day! This is all going so well! Or is it?… Already your mind and heart may be swimming with ideas of where this is going and how you will break the news to your family.
But sisters, until you meet face to face (and no! Skype to Skype is not the same) your “relationship” is existing in a virtual world and is as unstable and unpredictable as modern technology!
So how can we ensure that we avoid disappointment and heartbreak in this situation? Next time you meet a wonderful guy online I invite you to do the following:
1. Keep your interactions short and sweet in the beginning.
I know it feels great to meet someone you really connect with and all you want to do is spend every waking moment getting to know them so you can hurry up and get married! But sisters, giving up hours of your time every evening to chat to a man you have never met is the equivalent of the lady who “gives it all” on the first date.
Until you have physically met and established a real connection, keep the first few phone calls short and sweet, friendly and fun, engaging and exciting. Never longer than 30 minutes! Find a polite way to end the conversation. If your first phone calls are lasting hours, the message is that you are willingly giving a man you have never met so much of your time and energy. He gets to have someone listen to him, he feels needed and appreciated and you have reaffirmed that he is a catch!
Like the lady who gives it all on the first date, maybe that’s all the fix he needs. Where is his incentive to pursue you and discover more about you?
2. Meet Him!
I know for some sisters it takes time to feel comfortable to meet someone face to face. But the longer you are talking on the phone and messaging, you are falling further into the virtual relationship trap rather than cultivating a real relationship.
The reality can be quite different. You can tell so much more about each other face to face than you can in a week’s worth of phone calls and texting.
The worst thing you can do is to have built up all kinds of hopes and plans for the future in your virtual relationship only to realise upon meeting, that you are not compatible. You will feel like you have wasted your time, not to mention, embarrassed at all the deep and personal stuff you may have now shared! On the phone you may have had lots to talk about but let’s face it, you are new to each other. There will be lots you want to know and share.
Can you sustain the conversation in person? Can it go beyond stories from your childhood and questions about where you want to live one day?
3. Do not step off the ride!
By this I mean do not bring your entire life, world, daily routine to a halt and lavish all of your attention and time on this man.
Go out with your friends, continue to meet and chat to other prospective husbands, pursue your hobbies, go ahead and book that summer holiday. Do not cancel social events with friends to stay home and chat to him!
You haven’t met him, he hasn’t yet earned the right to that much of your time or any type of commitment!
By continuing your life as normal, the message you will give him is that you have a rich and fulfilled life, you are an interesting person and the pressure is not on him to fill your life with meaning.
Trust me, nothing is more alluring to a man than a woman who enjoys life!
It can feel truly frustrating, after all you want to get married, you want to show someone that you are serious but until you have physically met and both decided that you wish to pursue it further you are both existing in a virtual world.