For many online dating, no longer carries the stigma it has had in the past. Picking up someone on the ‘net is just as, if not more, common than meeting a new boo at the local bar. Whether finding love or finding lust, sites such as EHarmony.com, Match.com and Blackpeoplemeet.com are just a few portals that provide the platform for people to meet and eventually date. Add Twitter, Facebook and all the other sites people are also using to get more than their “social networking” on, and you have an estimated 20 million singles using their MacBooks and PCs to find love, according to OnlineDatingMagazine.com.

While finding a mate online continues to rise in popularity, the concept of love may not be as concrete as it appears. The love rules online are noticeably different than more traditional methods of dating. Knowing the difference of being in love versus e-loving, a relationship reserved just for the computer, can be essential to your heart. Considering 69% of the black population is single, is finding love online worth it? Whether already in a online relationship or simply thinking about it, be sure to consider these five areas in the relationship. Are you in a real relationship, or are you just e-lovin’?

1. Communication
Online dating can put effective communication into practice more frequently, often because people are less likely to be shy behind the protective veil of their computer screens and because they’re more interested in finding out about someone they’ve never seen. Before you fall head over heels with someone over the Internet, beware. The type of communication put in practice dating online may become a disadvantage later on in the relationship. Conversations are not always natural — the time allotted for a response when dating online makes it easier to rethink and even rewrite a response, making someone seem a lot more clever and/or thoughtful than they are in real life. Before you crown him or her the “great communicator” – at least have a phone conversation first.

2. Familiarity
People really take the time to present and package themselves online. When you are in love with someone, you fall in love with them at their best and worst, not just with their most recent profile pic. When finding smitten online, remember that things are not always how they appear. It’s natural for people to post pictures that show them at their best, but without seeing someone in person, it becomes hard to gauge things like body language, mannerisms and the other small details that may become deal breakers. When you are in love with a person, you have had the chance to see the many faces of them and not just the best one they want to put forward.

3. Growth
Meeting and dating someone online? Cool. Maintaining the relationship online? Not cool. Keeping a relationship confined to emails, texts or AIM stagnates growth and may be a sign that you are not the only person the object of your affection is dating. Online dating is meant to be a relationship starter, with a bit more revealed as time goes on. If the relationship stays online, you may be in love, but the other person is definitely just E-loving you. Real love needs more than the satisfaction of turning on the computer.

(Continue Reading @ Black Voices…)

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