Dating has definitely changed since the Internet came into the scene.
It's now easier to connect with people, and you can have a wider range of potential dates, when decades ago your lolo's options were limited to his friends and his friends' social network. You're also now able to filter, without having to meet so many gals before zeroing on the one that has the qualities you like.
The problem: The mentality that online dating is just for casual hookups and whatever happens, relationships that start online will never work.
"Many people who meet online actually have lasting relationships," says Kay Vardeleon, RPsy, counseling psychologist at Childfam-Possibilities. "There are pitfalls you have to avoid, just like with traditional couples, but when you get past them, your relationship has a good chance."
First off, you need to establish a friendship. By the time you feel comfortable with each other, you can take the relationship to the next level (a.k.a. ligawan stage). Make sure you pick someone who has the same intention as yours.
"If you're looking for a long-term commitment, make sure the other person is on the same page. Don't start an interaction with someone merely looking for a fling when your interests are for the long haul," Vardeleon advises.
Also, as with any relationship, it's important to focus on communication. Aim to get to know each other really well—from her favorite color to food, and from work to family background, and everything else in between.
"Talk about your interests and your plans. Online communication can be more honest since people are more comfortable sharing more about themselves from behind the comfort a computer provides."
Meanwhile, Dr. Harry Trinidad, founding partner of and consultant at Better Steps Psychology, Inc., says like traditional dating, online relationships require time, effort, and investment to make it work.
"The only real way to make an online relationship work is to bring it into real life," Dr. Trinidad says.
"The exchange of thoughts, ideas, dreams, and some emotions through digital means is possible, but it pales in comparison to the complete experience of a relationship. A relationship that works always has to include physical touch, hearing the real sound of the other person's voice as well as the emotions conveyed in it, and having the proximity to each other, allowing for actual shared experiences," he adds.
But don't jump into commitment as soon as your first meet-up. You may have been chatting for months, but for all you know, seeing the offline persona may make you realize she is not "the one" after all.
Take it a step at a time.
Kay Vardeleon, RPsy is a counseling psychologist at Childfam-Possibilities Psychosocial Services, #5 West Ave. Quezon City. She may be reached through (02) 404-06-99, (+63)910-126-9540, (+63)927-224-4558 or email@example.com.
Dr Harry Trinidad is the Founding Partner of and a Consultant at Better Steps Psychology, Inc. Their office is located in Unit 305 Fortune Building, 144 Pasig Blvd, Pasig City. Reach them via Facebook for inquiries.