Most Helpful Guy
I think the answer is yes but to am extent. Online dating works as a crutch initially: you can chat to someone, sense if there is any connection and then set up a date. This removes some of the pressures of meeting a stranger and having to navigate all the way to the organisation of a date. That being said, if you rely on it too much it won't help, it will make things worse. It's all too easy to get comfortable chatting to someone online but you have to realise that this isn't the same as in-person contact. If you wait too long to meet them then things tend to be different to what you expected as you have created this image in your head of what this person is like. So my advice would be yes, use inline dating to cover the initial conversation and organisation of a date but don't rely on it for too long.1
Most Helpful Girl
If you haven't had a boyfriend before it can be a great way to start, but there are some simple rules you need to follow to make the relationship work:
*For every 3 online convos you have, have 1 over the phone. It might be difficult, even awkward but it makes the relationship a lot more real & is a timely reminder this is a real person not just text on a screen.
*DO NOT do sexual things via the chats or pictures. This very easily becomes a habit for the guy & in the way he acts & treats you he will treat you with a *lot* less respect, it won't have the effect you want it to or that he says it will. If you chose to do whatever, that's your choice I'm just warning you *before* it happens.
*If you don't live too far from each other (3hrs or less)
Plan to meet up AT LEAST once every 2 - 3 weeks. If other people you know/trust are there too that's even better.
3 - 7 hrs Once every 1 - 1 1/2 months
7 - 10 hrs Once every 2 months
10hrs + Once every 3 - 4 months
Meeting up will give you both a chance to get to know what the other is really like. Some of my online bf's (not in a bad way) have been totally different than what I thought they'd be. They acted a lot differently too. It gave me a chance to really get to know *them*. A number of people also see online relationships as pretty much no different from a dating sim & purposely go after people who live far away from them so they can excuse themselves from ever meeting up. They could even have a partner IRL but use the online bf/gf for their entertainment. Another great reason to *never* send 'racey' pictures online. That and the privacy risks *shudder*
*Take a realistic look at what it will take to meet up, how often you'll be able to & what the costs will be (time, money, effort) when planning.
I hope this helps. You can do it & it can be a great experience, especially if you get to know somebody over a site like this where it's less awkward. But remember social anxiety can be managed with strategies & handling it is like getting fit. The more you exercise, the stronger you get. The more you put yourself in different social situations, the easier it'll become.2