Meeting new people through online dating websites can result in successful relationships, but what happens when you start drawing out the process?
A few weeks ago a close friend of mine called me up all excited and on cloud nine. From the tone of his voice I could hear that glorious buzz so I asked him to spill...
"Alpa, I’ve met this really nice girl from an online Asian dating website. We get along so well, there’s great banter, we have lots of things in common and we have been talking and texting for the last 4 weeks..."
I was genuinely pleased for him, and jokingly commented that I hoped that he was a true gentleman on there first date. I was slightly taken back by his response.
"Oh we still haven’t met. But hopefully next week. I am just waiting for her to let me know if she can meet. But we’ve exchanged photos and she’s really hot! We are still communicating so I’m guessing that she also found my photo appealing".
Fast-forward 2 weeks later, I had not heard from him so I decided to call. The buzz in his tone was replaced with deflation. The story goes that they eventually met up, the plan was to go for a few drinks and then on for dinner. He was psyched to meet her and had even booked a nice restaurant but when she arrived at the bar, he felt like he came tumbling down from the highest height. In his opinion, she did not look like her photograph, the phone chemistry and excitement that they had shared was missing – gone, nothing! After one drink they called it a night. He did not contact her again and she did not contact him. He felt like he had gone through a break-up, although he recognised that in the cold light of day he was never in a real relationship. I guess if my friend had spent less time on the phone getting to know this lady, he may not have felt so bad. The irony is that he vowed never to be in this kind of situation but somehow he got carried away and ended up in an ‘e-relationship’.
When you delay meeting up with someone, this is arguably one aspect of online dating, which can risk leaving you open to creating a relationship in your mind and heart that does not exist in reality. You genuinely start experiencing the same euphoric emotions and feelings when you first start dating someone that you really like. You have long phone conversations, which you never want to end. You get excited every time your phone rings, or you receive a text message, hoping that it’s the other person as they also can’t stop thinking about you. I guess if you ever needed a good reason to meet potential partners face-to-face this would be it!
So why do people delay meeting up face-to-face, when it comes to online dating?
Some people feel that they come across better via the phone and email and want to build up a rapport before they meet someone. So by the time that they actually meet that person, they feel that they are less likely to be rejected. If a person is dating other people, or perhaps already in an unhappy relationship, they delay meeting someone as they are not actually available. They get a thrill from being desired, unfortunately with no regard for the other person who is genuinely hoping to meet someone. A person can also create an ideal relationship, with another, by physically avoiding meeting up. It serves to fill a void in their life. They do not have to deal with the trials and tribulations of a real relationship and yet it provides them a false sense of security of being in a relationship. There are also cases where people are not entirely happy with their appearance. They send an old photo, which portrays them at their best and use delaying tactics to become the person in that photo again.
Of course, other genuine reasons stem from a lack of time. People lead such busy lives and due to work or family commitments, it may be difficult to schedule meeting up sooner rather than later. Again in this scenario, in order to keep the momentum going and express continued interest you could fall into a comfortable pattern of just communicating via phone, text and emails, with no urgency to meet up. But again, you risk creating a false illusion of a relationship.
Just to clarify, investing time in finding a partner and building a relationship – is never a waste of a time – if you do not think it is important enough to make an effort, who will? When we really consider something to be a priority, we will make the time. If you imagine putting a jigsaw puzzle together without a picture, you’ll start by making a frame, then place pieces around the frame and work your way inwards. Even if you can start making out that it is a beautiful landscape, your full (or lack of) appreciation of this landscape will not materialise until the whole puzzle is completed. And when you do look at it in its entirety, you may even change your initial opinion and not like it as much. Similarly, people have different facets to their personality, which come to light as you start putting the pieces together. Whilst you may get along very well by text and on the phone, it’s not until you complete the final piece of the puzzle – meeting face-to-face – can you really judge whether you like someone or not. So why delay the inevitable task of putting the final puzzle pieces together?Alpa Saujani