When I think back to my first date with Joseph, I knew within a few hours of time together that we had great relationship potential. We met during a summer mission trip and a few months later, I agreed to meet him to explore the local fair together and grab dinner at a local pizza joint. It was the perfect date, and Joseph just got me.
Even though our first date was only a few hours long, I was comfortable being myself around Joseph. He was (and still is!) honest, a great listener, and he showed me a lot of respect. Even after being together for four years now, he still opens my car door and intentionally listens when I share what is on my heart. But beyond those great qualities, he also was open about his faith life and goals. That first date taught me a lot about Joseph and our future relationship.
Before we met up for our first date, Joseph and I spent a lot of time online talking and getting to know each other. If you’re getting to know someone through your online dating profile, you may be sorting through a lot of questions about a potential relationship, too.
When should you meet your potential partner offline? Do you have a good connection? Would conversation together flow easily in person as it does online? Do you trust them?
Here are five signs that the person you met through online dating has the potential to be a great partner:
1. You share the same virtues and goals
A great indicator of relationship potential is how much you share in common with each other. It’s a good sign if, when you two talk about your goals in life, you share similar feelings on major life questions.
“A large body of research shows that we are attracted to people who are similar to us, especially those who share our attitudes and values,” relationship expert Dr. Gwendolyn Seidman writes. “When you like the same kinds of food, movies, or hobbies, and have the same attitudes toward work-leisure balance, child-rearing, and social obligations, there is just less to fight about.”
2. Spending time with them encourages you
Dr. John Gottman of the University of Washington is a leading relationship expert. After twenty years of research, he found that the single best predictor of divorce in a couple is when one or the other shows contempt in a relationship. Dr. Gottman defines contempt as the opposite of respect.
“When contempt begins to overwhelm your relationship you tend to forget entirely your partner’s positive qualities, at least while you’re feeling upset. You can’t remember a single positive quality or act. This immediate decay of admiration is an important reason why contempt ought to be banned from marital interactions,” Dr. Gottman writes.
Granted, you’re discerning starting a relationship, not marrying someone just yet. But it’s important to begin with the end in mind when it comes to romance.
If you find yourself disagreeing with your potential partner, how does he or she respond? If they’re able to separate their feelings about your disagreement from their feelings about you, this is a great sign for a potential long term relationship. However, if they personally attack you when you disagree, this can be a red flag for your relationship in the long run.
3. Conversation flows easily between the two of you
When you talk online, either via online dating or social media, does conversation flow naturally, or does it seem forced? Are you able to express yourself openly and honestly, or do you feel like you have to hide your true opinions to avoid conflict?
It’s important to note that good conversation is a learned skill. So if your potential partner is a little rusty when it comes to conversation, don’t fear that your potential relationship is doomed.
But it’s also important to have good rapport with each other. If you’re unsure, be intentional in your upcoming conversations together. Pay attention and see if they’re listening to what you have to say, and if they’re picking up on conversational cues.
4. They follow through on their online dating commitments
If the person you’re chatting with online struggles to follow through on their commitment to check in with you in a few days about something you shared, don’t have unrealistic expectations that this will change in a committed relationship.
Maybe you two agreed to talk on the phone this week, but he or she hasn’t mentioned finding a day and time that works well for a conversation. If they’re passing up on the opportunity to get to know you better, this isn’t a good sign for your relationship in the future. You both should be excited to spend time together, after all.
5. You’re on the same page about the relationship progressing
It’s a great sign if both of you are on the same page about the potential partnership. If you want to invest in a long term relationship and your potential partner is content with casual dating, this could cause problems down the road.
When you mention getting to know this person better, do they share expectations with you? If you’re knocking it out the park in terms of communication, you could have a strong relationship in your future!
Want to explore online dating even more?
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Our goal at Catholic Singles is to help you grow in love: your love of God, love of others, and hopefully love with your future spouse. Check out online dating with Catholic singles today!