I love you can be powerful but should you expect to hear that while using a dating site online?
I Love You: The most intoxicating words on the Internet!
Online dating can be fun and exciting. The thought of possibly finding someone who matches all your dreams and wishes is very motivating. I cannot imagine anyone approaching the Internet without the strong motivation that this could be the vehicle where they find their ‘love.’
One day you walk in and either find a profile that blows your mind or an email from someone who shares how they read your profile and found a lot of common ground. The words begin to flow (either from them or perhaps from you to them) as you share with excitement how much they match what you have been seeking. The excitement is heightened when the other person responds and they share your excitement. Wow – now hearts begin to pound and your mind races as you send emails blazing back and forth.
This activity continues for several days and now you decide that you would like to speak over the phone and get to know one another better. The phone call is made and exhilaration grows.
Then it happens! It pops up in the middle of an email or in the middle of a phone conversation. One of you writes or says – ‘I love you!’ These are the most intoxicating words that I believe one can say online (or in person). Often these words sweep away reality and enter in a cloud or two and an aura that disconnects any use of brainpower. I do not mean to be unkind. It is that I have seen and heard of this happening time and time again.
“Hearts begin to pound and your mind races as you send emails blazing back and forth.”
Perhaps there are times when one will use these words ‘knowing’ the power of them and the motivation is to manipulate and take advantage of the other person’s emotions. However, I believe that most of the time the words come pouring forth in sincerity and honesty. The fact is that it is not ‘love’ that has entered into this relationship, but a very dangerous dose of fantasy. This happens over and over and over again in online dating. Most of the time, the “I Love You”, happens BEFORE they have had the benefit of a face-to-face meeting.
Think for a moment of all the ingredients that are necessary for a relationship to be successful and have a firm foundation. I suggest that it is far more than the emotional dimension. Is it possible to know all that one needs to know about another person in a few days, a few emails and a few phone calls? Is it even possible to know after a few weeks of dating? While one may get an indication of the potential of a relationship in this time, I firmly believe that it is not possible to ‘fall in love’ in such a short timeframe.
What should you do if YOU feel like saying I LOVE YOU?
- Find a friend of your own gender and share what is taking place. This should obviously be a friend in whom you can trust and who has some maturity and wisdom. Ask for their input on where you find your emotions.
- Take a piece of paper and write down all the qualities that you desire in a mate. Next write down what qualities that you have found in the other person. Now do a very important thing. Pray and think about how long it would take you to understand and confirm these qualities. Negative character and behavioral traits do not usually reveal themselves in the first few weeks or even months of dating. You need to allow the relationship to mature and season – in many settings, to confirm whether or not this is the relationship for you.
- Recognize that there are some ‘forces’ at work that are likely voids trying to be filled from your past. When one has been lonely for a long time, or has come from a rejection or dysfunctional previous relationship, there is a force to find a way to fill this void. One is tired of the pain and is tempted to rush to find value, affirmation, and soothing. The emotions are a powerful force. They do not reason whether or not something is right or wrong. They have an autopilot that reads what your spirit wants to have happen and it sets out to find and fill the need. When something begins to ‘ring’ the bells that might fill this void, there is a strong force to ‘make’ it happen.
- This behavior and force is not love but raw emotions trying to be fed. If you jump to a conclusion at this stage that your long lost soul mate is now arrived, you have greatly increased your chances for more pain and rejection in your future. You are betting on something that you have no substance to support that it is a wise choice.
Check out: What Is Love?
Here are some suggestions to consider as you enjoy and walk forward in this relationship:
- Enjoy the new relationships but keep it at a friendship level and walk forward with purpose and a plan. Affirm one another and, if you are open to the potential of a relationship, tell the other person that you are interested to understand how this will develop.
- Build a support/accountability system of one or two other Christians of your own gender. Share enough detail with them so that they can serve as wise and objective partners with you. They will help you keep your perspective.
- I do not know at what moment it will become clear to each of you that you are ‘falling in love,’ but it should be after you have sufficient time to see and grow to understand a good deal about the other person.
- The point is to not be led by just your emotions, but allow plenty of time for the love to mature and have a solid footing.
Love is grand and exciting! Do not give your emotions away too easily for it makes it more challenging in the future for you to know real from fantasy. I leave you with this final thought. Love is something that is easy to describe as God has provided a definition for us. Read 1Cor. 13 to find all the qualities that you and your mate should be embracing as you grow toward ‘I love you.’
Author of “Guide to Successful Online Christian Dating”