A happy couple IRL
It has been a growing trend for relationships to start over the internet. After all, social media and other platforms have made getting to know other people easy; it is only a matter of time before someone draws you in.

It has been a growing trend for relationships to start over the internet. After all, social media and other platforms have made getting to know other people easy; it is only a matter of time before someone draws you in. This is doubly the case now, considering how much time we’ve had to spend online recently since in-person socializing simply hasn’t been an option due to the pandemic. However, this does bring up a matter of transforming that online relationship into an offline one. To help you with this, we have prepared a list of ways to transition your virtual relationship into the real world.

Be careful

You should not rush when looking to transition your virtual relationship into a world. It would be best if you still took the time to properly get to know the person on the other side of the internet.

It means that, even if you want to hurry up and share everything about yourself with them, you shouldn’t! It is fine to share some information, of course. But it is still better to avoid oversharing during holidays, for example. Remember that it is not just your information that you would be exposing. It would be your family’s, as well.

Once you have spent some time with the other person and are sure they are trustworthy, you can start growing your relationship into something in the real world. Be that a romantic relationship or a friendship.

 

Go slow

You cannot just jump straight into moving to another part of the country for a relationship, only to transfer your whole life to a different state and regret it. There are steps to follow in a relationship even if you’ve known each other your entire life. Things are similar in an online relationship, too, especially if you had only been texting each other and exchanging photos for a while.

The first step can be switching to voice chat. This is an excellent way to get to know the other person without immediately jumping into showing them your appearance. Note this should still be a period when they are earning your trust.

When you feel more comfortable, you can start video chatting. You can confirm that the person you’ve been talking to is who they present themselves to be and figure out whether you like their appearance, as well. As shallow as it may seem, it is still an essential factor in a relationship, and it would be tragic to have it sour things between you once you meet in person.

Once you’ve gone through both of the previous hurdles, then and only then can you start working to transition your virtual relationship into the real world.

Never go to a first meeting alone

It is a saddening thought, yes. But you should still try and keep your safety in mind when meeting the person you have been in a virtual relationship with for the first time. Just think about it: we concern ourselves with how to safely make friends through online platforms. But even then, accidents do happen. It is best to be safe rather than sorry.

Besides, if you are in a virtual relationship, chances are you have some mutual friends – gaming buddies or friends you have introduced each other to. It is a pretty good opportunity to transition your virtual relationship into the real world and see not just a potential significant other but the friends you have made along the way as well!

Check if you get along in the real world

The next step in your quest to make your virtual relationship more real would be ensuring you are compatible out there in the real world.

It is discouraging how common it is for such relationships to fall apart once you’ve met. Having met online, it stands to reason that your interests on the internet are at least somewhat similar. However, do you only have those interests? What about the stuff you do offline? You might love hiking, collecting trinkets, or being into a sport. None of those things would be immediately apparent online.

Similarly, there are habits and behavior to consider. We do not behave the same in person as we do online. This is one of the reasons why voice and video chatting first is what we recommend. A person can be somewhat different when they have the chance to think and type out their answers compared to what immediately comes out of their mouth during a live conversation.

So, get to know their offline interests, habits, and behavior. Which of the things we used to enjoy before social media they were also into. You might find that, even if you agree with their choice of food, the way they eat or their mannerism drives you insane. That is not a very good ground for a long-term relationship and will end badly.

Work to keep the friendship alive

Finally, even if you have managed to transition your virtual relationship into the real world, remember that you can’t stop working on it! The second you stop putting work into a relationship, it starts breaking down.

So, remember that you were friends before you were in a relationship! Just because you have started officially meet in the real world does not mean you should stop playing games together. Or stop having silly conversations about anything that comes to mind until the late hours of the night. Everything you used to enjoy is still there, waiting for you, and it is up to you to keep the friendship that brought you together in the first place alive!

Final word

Now that you know how to transition your virtual relationship into the real world, you are likely thrilled to start working on it. However, we would like to remind you not to rush things! It will develop naturally with time, and your relationship will be all the stronger for it.

Julia Wels is a psychologist specializing in couple counseling. She likes to write blog posts that deal with relationship issues and enjoys knowing that her advice might help someone work out their problems or advance their relationship.