You bet they can! There are millions of single people online these days and some are better than others at getting an internet relationship going. Some people are able to write great messages that are witty, intelligent and really warm. The biggest difference between using a personals service and the real world is that you are always building a picture of someone before you meet. You may exchange photographs but that still won't really tell you whether there's any physical attraction or chemistry between you.
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For some, using online personals can make your imagination run away with you and before long you've convinced yourself that this is the man or woman you're going to marry and set up home with. As we said earlier, we recommend moving outside your personals service as soon as you both feel comfortable doing so. Until then hang on to your heart and don't allow yourself fall in love with an image that you've created and only exists inside your head. Once you've talked on the phone or, better still, met in person you'll be in a much better position to decide how much chemistry there is between you. If it doesn't feel right then at least you have tried and there are many more people online for you to get in contact with.
This brings us on to another good point - there are some people online that don't ever actually want to meet in person and are happy just to have a virtual relationship. This appears more likely to be a problem with free personals services and chat rooms etc. However, it might be an idea to make it clear fairly early on that you need your contact to be looking for a real rather than a virtual relationship. If it looks like your aren't going to find what you're looking for from a particular relationship remember that there are lots more people looking for someone just like you! So don't be afraid of saying what you are looking for from the relationship and asking if they are looking for the same thing fairly early on.
If you've read some other parts of this guide you'll probably have come across this before but we feel it's very appropriate for this section - you must remember that it is very easy to be misinterpreted when using email. What seems witty to you can come across in any number of other ways to someone else. Couples who have been together for several years and who have a close relationship can easily start arguments by email just because one of them has misinterpreted the other. So please do be very careful. Perhaps end a joke with 'lol' or a smiley :-) just to be sure!
On the other hand any electronic messaging system can be very powerful. It can allow you to get to know each other very rapidly as people often seem more willing to open up when not face-to-face with someone. If you are willing to learn to use the system properly then it really can be very good. The golden rule is to re-read everything you've just written before hitting the send button. Make sure it says what you meant it to say in the way you intended to say it...
Next - If you think this might be true love then there are questions that responsible dating services should recommend that you ask.
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