In many ways, having a relationship with someone you met online is a lot like having a relationship IRL.
You probably talk to your online partner about stuff that’s important to you, look forward to their texts or chats, Skype with them for face-to-face convos, and you might even develop strong feelings for them.
Meeting someone on the internet – whether through social media, online dating sites, gaming sites or other forums – and developing an online relationship has become very common, and it’s a perfectly valid type of relationship.
But just like any other kind of relationship, online relationships can be healthy, unhealthy or abusive.
Here are a few safety tips you should know before you go looking for love online, with some reassurances from seasoned "virtual" daters. Wait until you actually meet the person and build up a level of trust before you share your address, phone number or real email address.
(You typically use an encrypted email on these sites.) Stay local.
Every relationship is going to have a different set of boundaries, because everyone is different; what’s important is that both you and your partner feel comfortable and safe.
To learn more about safety and relationships on the internet, check out this post on Scarleteen.
It’s also a good idea to spend some time getting to know someone.
When and how you communicate, how often you text, is Skyping okay, etc.
are all things to discuss with your partner to make sure you’re both comfortable with what’s happening.