Online love is moving too fast

He says he loves me after four months of online dating — but we haven’t even met yet!

You are wise to apply the brakes, says our elder. Take this at your own pace.

Dear EWC

I have been shielding for four months due to health concerns, and have been online dating during this lockdown time. I have met someone online and we hit it off so well we are talking every night on the phone, but we haven’t met face to face yet. I am feeling anxious about meeting him in August because the text/talking chemistry is so intense, and he seems to already know I am the one for him and has even texted me to say he loves me which freaked me out and I told him so. This is all quite fast moving for me as I haven’t dated in a while. How do I not get carried away till we meet up as I don’t want to get emotionally attached until I get a chance to meet him? He seems to be genuine enough.

Joseph replies

You are involved in a months-long online relationship, and he seems to be moving faster than you are toward resolution. What’s the best way forward in light of your proposed August meeting?

I first want to compliment you on applying the brakes and seeking out a second opinion. A voice inside you is questioning the speed at which things are progressing, and I think you ought to listen to it. Going from zero-to-love in less than four months — and without yet having met face-to-face — is quite a feat. You may know a lot about each other at this stage — enough to get excited about — but there is still a lot that you don’t know given the speed of your relationship, and until all the cards are dealt it would not be wise to rush to any conclusions about your shared destiny.

Relationships usually begin with fireworks, but once the initial rush of emotions settles down, we get to know our partners on a deeper level, their likes, dislikes, habits, tolerances, goals, emotional profile, the way they handle anger, the way they communicate, their willingness to be close, etc. Over time the pieces of the jigsaw puzzle form a recognizable whole. This picture may or may not match up with our initial impression of that person. What seemed like a sure thing at first may seem uncomfortable at a later date. I don’t think you’ve known each other long enough to come to any conclusions about your future.

He may be gung-ho about declaring his love for you and crowning you his soulmate — and I’m sure that’s flattering — but don’t let it pressure you into reciprocating. You have legitimate concerns regarding how quickly things are moving, and how you might want to approach being in a relationship after not being in one for a while. Let these concerns serve as your hand breaks ahead of meeting him in person. Leave your possibilities open, sure, but allow your picture of him to fill in over time before making any important decisions.

Some time ago, I became swept up in an online relationship. It turned my world upside down. First in a good way, then in a bad way. I allowed my soaring feelings to get ahead of my good judgement, and boy did I pay the price. Love is as much about practicality as it is emotion. I urge you to hold on to your practical concerns as your relationship progresses. Move at a speed that feels comfortable to you. It’s how you’ll feel safe as events transpire.

Letter #: 462227
Category: Dating/Relationship

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