I get the point. You enter online dating feeling like you just want to meet the first person who makes sense and settle down into a relationship. After a while, you realize that does not work. You get to a point where you really just want love and romance to happen naturally. You're still meeting people online - hey, it can't happen naturally if it never gets started - but you want to make sure it's clear you won't be rushing into a relationship. You want to give yourself time and space to allow feelings to happen and develop - and freedom to move on if they don't.
It would be great if no one felt they had to make that clear. It should go without saying that's how dating works. Unfortunately, in the world of online dating, it doesn't. People easily leap to the conclusion that
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Some people take it too far, though. [By "people" I of course mean men, but that's only because I only have experience dating men. I'm sure women are just as guilty] By just messaging now and then (maybe once or twice a week) and keeping it superficial (How's your week going? How was your weekend?) it's very hard to make any sort of a connection.
If you're not connecting, you always have at least one foot in the dreaded friend zone.
Don't get me wrong - I know some people truly are looking for friendship, and that's cool. I also know sometimes people do this because after the initial conversation (or maybe even a first meeting) they prefer to just be friends.
I'm talking about people who want more - and want a chance to get to know this person better to see if they want more with her - but still hold back. It's like they're resisting saying or doing what they really feel because they figure it'll make them seem more interested than they want (even if that's how interested they really are), so they keep their steps in check.
I understand not wanting to get hurt. I understand not wanting to settle. I understand not wanting to rush into anything, or feel pressure (or pressure someone else). I also understand not wanting to become "just friends" with someone when you're feeling more. I understand wanting a relationship.
Seems to me there's a better answer than going to either extreme. There's no rule that says you have to either jump in without looking, or sit on the shore without even getting your feet wet. Not everything has to be a big leap; there is something to be said for taking small steps.
After all, if you want love to do its thing and "happen naturally," at some point you have to get out of the way - and let it happen.