The “right time” to transition from online to in-person dating will depend on each person’s comfort level. “You can begin by playfully testing the waters with the person you’re communicating with virtually,” couples therapist Alicia Muñoz, LPC, tells mbg. Do this by telling them where you’d feel comfortable meeting up and asking them where they’d like to meet up in the future.
“Toying with different ideas will help you learn more about this person,” she says. “Based on how this conversation goes, you’ll either feel more (or possibly less) comfortable moving forward into planning an actual IRL date.”
It’s also important to consider what’s motivating the transition. “Does your desire to connect with this person feel like it’s about them?” Muñoz says. “Or about something else unrelated to them? Are you lonely, restless, anxious, or bored?” If these feelings are stronger than your interest in the date, it may not be worth risking the exposure. “Also, if you’re going on a date to cope with anxiety, grief, or boredom, it may interfere with a satisfying connection for both of you,” she adds. If the interest is there, however, finding ways to meet up safely is possible.