1. Don’t wait too long to take your relationship offline
2. Have high hopes and low expectations
3. Assess their character
3. Don’t give out too much personal information too early
Get to know someone properly! If he’s sharing the depths of his soul to you during your very first conversation, he may not know how to have a healthy relationship. Likewise, if you’re divulging where you live and work and intimate details of your life to a person you’ve only known for a little while and only online, you’re giving away too much.
Someone who is not in a committed relationship with you does not need to know how much money you make, what temptations you struggle most with, or your medical history, or anything of the sort! Giving out this kind of information early on can create a false sense of intimacy which can lead to trying to control the other person’s life or sending a potential partner packing.
4. Don’t make excuses
Red flags are red flags! Online dating gives you a unique opportunity to suss out someone’s intentions while remaining safely distant emotionally and physically.
Does he always put you down? Red flag. Does she continually try to run over boundaries you’ve set? Red flag. If you have a disagreement but he’s not willing to talk or work it out, that’s a red flag. If she’s constantly harshly critiquing past significant others, that’s a red flag, too.
Red flags pave the roads of abusive relationships so take some time to understand what red flags are, how to spot them, and then don’t excuse one if you run into it. Get out of a relationship that raises red flags. Better yet, don’t get into a relationship with red flags at all! Also, learn what signs are the mark of a good relationship– it’s good to see the positives, too.
5. Don’t be too eager to please
Agreeing too quickly, readily, and too often are signs you’re trying really hard and the other person isn’t trying hard enough. Give the other person space to try!
Cut yourself some slack. You do not have to be readily available in all ways, all the time. Don’t play hard to get, either. That won’t give you what you want. Be willing to meet in the middle.
For example, my now-husband and I literally met in the middle for our first date. We lived several hours apart and there was a possibility I was moving even farther away soon, so we decided to meet in a town in the middle of our locations to split the distance and responsibility of driving all that way.
You are human! You have limitations! The more willing you are to take care of yourself and respect your own needs, while respecting the needs and limitations of others, the more willing a potential partner is to do the same for you. Now that’s a great basis for a relationship!
6. Don’t be afraid to say no
Don’t compromise on your non-negotiable, there are plenty of fish in the sea. This doesn’t always feel true, I know, but it is. You do not want to be partnered with someone who will not respect your boundaries, morals, or beliefs anyway. A person like that would make a terrible partner and being in a bad, abusive relationship is without a doubt much, much worse than being single.
If you find yourself thinking that any relationship is better than no relationship, consider taking a break from online dating.
This passage from Isaiah always gives me hope that the Lord does not abandon us in any sense: ” You shall be a glorious crown in the hand of the LORD, a royal diadem in the hand of your God. No more shall you be called ‘Forsaken,’ nor your land called ‘Desolate,’ But you shall be called ‘My Delight is in her,’ and your land ‘Espoused.’ For the LORD delights in you, and your land shall be espoused. For as a young man marries a virgin, your Builder shall marry you; And as a bridegroom rejoices in his bride, so shall your God rejoice in you” (Isaiah 62: 3-5).
7. Don’t forget to enjoy dating!
Getting to know another person should be fun! So have fun! Tell jokes, enjoy the (online) company of another person, have silly, interesting conversations. Find a common interest! Have a lighthearted disagreement! Discuss the best type of cheese! Plan a future date (once we can really get out of our houses again).
Don’t be afraid to let go of people that just won’t fit into your life. When my best friend and her now-husband first met online, it was because they discovered a mutual love of Kevin Smith movies and the and Incubus. How cool is that? These are the things that make getting to know someone and dating fun and that make relationships not only worth it, but endurable for the long run.