10 Ways To Take Virtual Dating To The Next Level And Find A Meaningful Connection
COVID has made the search for love much more difficult than it should be. Isn’t that hard enough ?? The use of dating apps has increased during a lockdown, but as restrictions loosen, taking a new relationship offline can be intimidating. Relationships Australia NSW CEO Elisabeth Shaw has some advice for you.
If you are Single and looking for love, your recent efforts to meet a romantic partner would have been called into question by the pandemic containment. Many dating apps have reported an increase in users and messaging usage, but it hasn’t been possible for many of those who have established good relationships to take the relationship “offline”.
Despite the limitations of the online environment, we can learn a lot about someone and make a strong bond without meeting in real life (IRL).
The built-in distance online or over the phone can make us feel safer and more willing to reveal ourselves in a way that creates “privacyBut that often happens at odds with what we might disclose when dating IRL. The key question here is, “How well can you really know someone online?” “
With the easing of blockages, opportunities to spend virtual meetings at IRI appear. Modern dating, whether online or IRL, can be a risk, vulnerable and confusing effort at best.
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So how do we navigate this transition and explore if there’s someone right for you? How do you keep your feet on the ground and not get carried away by the alluring hope of romance fueled by how well you get along online?
Keep the arrangements relaxed and simple
Meet for a coffee or a simple meal in a social environment. Plan an opportunity to escape if things don’t go well.
To be realistic
Don’t put too much pressure on your date. Take it as it comes and if it doesn’t go as planned, don’t dwell on it. Just rate and move on.
Expect the situation to seem awkward
Just because you’re connected online doesn’t mean you know the other person well. Treat him like you are meeting for the first time because in some ways you are. Meeting the IRL may be more difficult if there have been shared nude exchanges or online sex that will require the integration of the online experience with the IRL sensory experience. You may feel shy and want to go slow after a rushed start, or you may feel like rushing after a slow start! Either way, give yourself time to catch up.
Learn more if you can
There is nothing wrong with finding out more through mutual friends or online profiles.
Prepare “get to know yourself” questions
Build on what you know so far without being questionable. What information will give you a better idea of who they are IRL? If they say they liked a movie, ask them what they liked. How do they react when you ask more meaningful questions?
Meeting IRL can reveal more about the person than you expected. They might stare at everyone and ignore you, answer phone calls and texts, make critical comments about others, or other unexpected disappointing behavior.
People can express their likes and dislikes just to get our approval. Do they have a strong sense of themselves and can they have their own opinions and values, while still letting you have your own?
What happens when you talk about the vulnerable aspects of your life?
Maybe you don’t get along well with a coworker. Are they kind, responsive and supportive? Or do they offer advice and tell you how to “fix” the situation? Or dismiss your concerns as stupid or excessive? Are they showing their vulnerable side?
Trust your instincts
If you are feeling “negative,” listen to them. Do they accept you for who you are or are they critical in some way and want to change you? Do you have common interests? If they speak with contempt of others, let it be a red flag. You can ignore a gut response and later regret not listening to it then.
Take your time
Allow time to reflect on how the IRL meeting went and to absorb your responses. Wait before inviting them over to the house or involving your friends and family.
Meeting people online is exciting and scary. It’s good to have a friend on hand to check out your thoughts and experiences, just like you would with actual dating. If you find that a more neutral discussion would help you stay grounded in your personal goals and the process it will cost you to wait to have the relationship you want, a professional debriefing might help.
Elisabeth Shaw is CEO of Australia NSW Relations and a clinical psychologist and counselor specializing in couple and family work.
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