Can Online Relationships Turn Into the Real Deal?

A man in an online relationships, laughing at his computer screen wrapped up in a blanket in bed.

Back in fifth grade, my family signed up for AOL. Typically, my family was behind the times as far as technology was concerned, so it was kind of a big deal for us. At that point, having the internet was extremely rare. I only knew one other girl who had access to AOL, and feverishly searched for her username whenever I logged on. This was well before buddy lists, and when you only know one other person online, it wasn’t as creepy as it sounds—it was just the solution that made the most sense.

Times have changed so much since then. As you know, the internet is now in everyone’s homes and is viewed more as a necessary utility than a luxury. Even though the stigma behind online dating has lessened tremendously in the last decade or so, sometimes people still view the concept of an online relationship as a dead end—especially if you and your online partner don’t live in the same town, or even state or country.

If you’re wondering whether or not your online relationship can turn into the real deal, here are a few reasons why it’s worth pursuing:

1. You already know how to interact with an online partner.
When you’re chatting online, one of the most interactive things you can do is stream a movie together. And even that involves a lot of texting. You don’t need a special venue to get things started—you can just openly talk to someone and have a good time. And chances are, you mostly talk through a messaging app. That means that every in-person date you have with your online significant other will be an all-new experience with someone you already feel close and safe with. It’s almost like you’re bypassing the awkward first and second dates all together.

2. You’re smart enough to know if you’re being catfished.
Thanks to Nev and Max, you already have the tools at hand to make sure the person you’re talking to is legit. If their camera is constantly broken? Or they say they’re a model? Or if they always have a big excuse as to why they’re not able to meet? Red flags. Having that knowledge at hand makes online dating so much easier and safer. It’s 2018—you’re internet savvy and know that when someone seems too good to be true, they probably are.

3. You were probably attracted to their personality before their looks.
Being physically attracted to your partner is important—but when you meet someone new through a game or an online profile, it’s likely their words that hold all the weight. Yes, you perused their pictures, but it was their about me description that made you contact them directly. That means your relationship isn’t based on anything superficial. There’s just something about their personality that makes them special.

4. Distance isn’t as big of an issue these days.
Distance makes things harder—seriously. But these days, people aren’t as tied to their hometown as they used to. People are willing to move for better opportunities, and love is one of them. It might not be smart to pack your bags and relocate a month after chatting with someone, but if you feel as if you have a real connection—and have had a bunch of successful in-person meet ups beforehand—it’s not the worst idea.

Even if you plan on keeping things long distance for a while, which is often smart, you can usually find pretty cheap flights that won’t force you to cancel your already-planned summer vacation. That, or you can get ready for an unforgettable road trip.

5. Often times, people aren’t as afraid to be themselves online.
There’s something powerful about being behind a computer. Having that safety net often lets you think before you type, and unless you’re on Skype (or, a rampant fan of emojis)  it’s a way to have your words speak for themselves. When chatting online, usually people are a little less nervous and a little more eager to start up big conversations. Plus, YouTube videos and funny gifs are often great ice breakers to get things flowing.

6. A lot of people meet their spouse online.
Back in December, we reported on a survey done by The Knot that 19% of brides met their significant other online—17% through dating sites, and 2% through social media. That’s a statistic worth repeating. The Knot even found that dating sites were the most popular way for romantic relationships to start overall.

7. It’s nice to meet someone who knows you for you.
When you meet someone online, you weren’t introduced  by a friend who, unfortunately, knows about your checkered dating history. Nor do they know your family, who everyone in town knows due to their high profile jobs. Obviously, if things get serious, your significant other will figure out these details—as they should. But they’ll be seeing it from their own perspective, and not someone else’s. You’ll be you, not so-and-so’s younger sister, or somebody’s cousin, or (even worse) someone else’s ex.

Each and every relationship that you have will have its own set of hurdles. But meeting someone special online shouldn’t be a reason to give up the chase. While your relationship might not be as easy as, say, meeting someone at a friend’s party, it doesn’t mean that it’s doomed to fail. Like all other romantic relationships, it’ll require work and if you’re both equally invested, good things will come.

Karen Belz

Freelance Writer

Karen Belz has written for sites like Bustle, PreviouslyTV, Heavy, and HelloGiggles. She’s also the founder of Best Recap Ever, a site that’s focused on television news and reviews. She’s a fan of sketch comedy shows and most movies that involve Muppets, and has been addicted to Sugar Free Red Bull since 2005.

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