Years ago the idea of developing online relationships had a stigma about it. However, online dating has grown in both popularity and acceptance. Today, nearly 1 out of 5 people have dated someone they met online (online relationships have gained so much traction it is now the third most popular way for meeting new people). As the amount of people who use online dating has increased, the dating pool has become more diverse and high-quality. If you still think that online relationships are taboo, consider that over 280,000 marriages occur in the U.S. each year through online dating.
I used to have reservations about online dating, but after several years of being alone and not having much success meeting people through church or other activities, I decided to give it a try. It was a learning experience for me and took a bit of getting used to, but eventually, I got the hang of it and realized that I could meet people for a variety of different reasons. Not everyone that I met had to be romantic partners. You can meet people with similar interests and hobbies, to have coffee with, or just talk. Ridding myself of the idea that every person I met had to meet my criteria for my next mate allowed me to learn more about myself and have fun at the same time.
Safety Tips for Online Relationships
Whether you are meeting new people online or not you should always exercise caution and use practical safety tips. For starters:
- Safeguard your personal information – Don’t provide the following information in your profile-first and last name, place of employment, address, phone number or any other personal information that can lead to your true identity.
- Break off communication with people who aren’t willing to meet – People who aren’t willing to meet usually have an ulterior motive for being online, they may be scammers or married.
- Use an anonymous email account – Don’t use your work or usual email account for online dating. Set up a new Gmail, Hotmail, or Yahoo account that you can easily delete if necessary.
- Meet in a public place – Take it slow and until you get to know someone and feel comfortable with them meet in a public place. I prefer Starbucks.
- Have fun – Online relationships should be fun. If it isn’t then you need to re-evaluate why you are doing it and possibly stop. Meeting new people can be scary but if you relax and let go of expectations, it can also be fun and gratifying.
There are many websites that cater to Christian online relationships such as ChristianCafe.com.