Well you've decided that the person you met on the Internet is worth a closer look. There are a few variables however that you should keep in mind when taking this step.
First, ask yourself in your mind not your heart if you believe everything about the relationship is truthful and upfront.
Take some time and make sure what you feel is really love. Are you genuinely attracted to this other person, are there truly things that connect the two of you together in romance or are you being affected by just hormones or testosterone. Have you seen this person in the flesh so-to-speak as in a web cam? If you traded photos, are they current or photo's from 15 years ago, which would definitely make a difference in a persons appearance. Are they or yourself really available? Sometimes people go through rough spots in their own relationships that make them seek consolation outside of their family circle. They are angry at their partner/spouse and are looking for a way to get back at them or "think" they want out of their current situation, when all they really are is confused at the moment. Always be truthful about your age and who you are with your online partner, lies are no way to start out.
For example, this situation is real and really happened to someone I know in a game. This person, a male, had a relationship for quite sometime with a female who also played the game. They spent hours together a day playing the game and slowly he was falling in love with the woman, she also fell in love with him or so she said. Anyhow, the relationship actually lasted for a few years when one day, the male found out from a close source to the woman (the source lived close to the woman's actual location and knew her) some facts which would tear them apart and their relationship. The male I knew was in his early 20's and the woman was approximately 18 years of age and they seemed happy but had never seen each other in anything else than a photograph of themselves. The male was honest and upfront and emailed her an actual photo of himself taken only a few weeks prior and the woman sent him a photograph as well, only her photograph was of her 18 year old daughter and not of herself she was in her late 40's.
The person that told this to this male person also went another step further and sent the male another photograph, it was of the woman and her husband together with her daughter whom she was impersonating online. You see the person that "disclosed" this to the young male was the woman's husband. He and his wife were in desperate times with their relationship and spent allot of time apart, while he was doing his thing, his wife spent hours at the computer and the marriage was suffering. She was looking for something to take the pain away from her marriage and this young male was in the middle of a triangle. The daughter does not like computers or computer games the husband told him and she never played. The young male was crushed and the whole thing unravelled. This is an extreme case but can be a disaster emotionally for all involved.
Another question you should ask yourself is this, why did I fall in love with this person? I know its an odd thought but it has a sound foundation. For example, if you met online while playing an MMOG (Massive Multi player Online Game) such as Ultima Online or Everquest, do you love the other persons character or really the person? It's happened time and time again that a person begins to associate their character in such a game with the actual person playing that character but, what is important to distinguish from is that person role-playing who they are or are they acting in the game the same way they do in any situation?
In another real case this happened. A woman and man I knew also in an online game that I played were also in love or so they thought. The game is medieval in nature, with dungeons and dragons and all sorts of creatures running about. Well in this game and in those situations people role play their bravery and chivalry, even women can become fierce warriors, strong and proud. Well these two played the game together for sometime and fell in love. The problem was he fell in love with her "paper doll" or characters image. You see in the game she was a beautiful redheaded warrior woman in sexy female armor slaying beasts 3 times her size and she was braver than any man he knew. To her, he was also a brave and charming man, a quick thinker and humorous at times but devoted to her, and handsome, all paper dolls are perfect human examples, the problem was they are not the real humans. You see these two spent so much time together that they decided to meet in Las Vegas for the first time. Both were really single by divorce. Anyhow, each was not what the other thought. She was really 51 years old, she was a redhead that part was true, but she was a tired woman, one who had lived a hard and rough real life and it showed, she looked 15 years older than her age. He was also in his 50's, short in stature and bald as a billiard ball. He was about 60 pounds overweight as well. Both were shocked and disappointed when they realized they did not resemble their in game characters and the relationship ended. And NO this is not my story :)
So you can see how coming to terms with the reason of your feelings is important in an online relationship and how truth above all else in these situations will prevent hurt for both parties.
One must also ask one's self, "is my personal life influencing how I feel about this person online?" Do you have personal issues with your current partner that is making you look elsewhere for sympathy? And are you mistaking this relief from the pain you feel as love? Most of the time its best not to let an oline fling come between you and sorting out your current relationship issues. If the person your seeing online really cares about you then they will understand if you discontinue the relationship until you have addressed the life issues first.
With all the warning I've written about I'm not trying to dissuade anyone from falling in love online. It does work as well. I met my wife online and we fell in love there talking with each other, met in real life and were not totally shocked "she thought I was going to be this big bearded lumberjack type of guy" and although I'm big built guy, I do not look like a lumberjack. Anyhow, she came to see what I was really like fron San Diego and took a two week leave of absence from work, she never went back and 18 months later we were married in Niagara Falls. Its now been 8 years and we've not regretted it.
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