9 Online Dating Stages for Serious or Long-Term Relationships

How does one exactly find a serious relationship out of online dating apps like Tinder, Bumble, Hinge, OkCupid, etc.? What stages do couples who met online undergo to turn from total strangers to long-term partners? Is there some sort of pattern or consecutive flow of events to anticipate or possibly prepare for? Is there a map one can follow to navigate their way through dating apps to arrive at their desired destination: an actual relationship?

9 Online Dating Stages for Serious or Long-Term Relationships

9 Online Dating Stages for Long-Term Relationships

There are all sorts of love stories that can come out of online dating apps. Each story is special and distinct to every couple who went beyond matching on an app on their phones. But in a perfect scenario of a person meeting a person where a relationship is guaranteed at the end, what should both parties expect? Well, today I’m here to tell you all about the 9 Online Dating Stages for Serious or Long-term Relationships! Disclaimer that what I’m about to share with you is purely based on my personal experience with online dating and the stories I’ve heard from the countless friends I met from there.

9 Online Dating Stages for Serious or Long-Term Relationships

It’s a Match

They swiped right on you too! The interest is mutual. This means that they found you attractive or saw something in your pictures and profile that piqued their interest even a little bit. This may lead somewhere or nowhere at all, but you’ll never really know until one of you takes the next step.

Also please, do not hoard your matches because it’s ultimately useless. No matter how many matches you have, they’ll be nothing more than icons on your phone if you don’t try and see the person on the other side.

The First Hello

Yes, it’s flattering when the other party does the first move, but know that you also have that power. Get the conversation started and have the confidence to speak first. Some apps like Bumble, hold matches for only 24 hours to encourage people to talk to each other. For heteros, the girls have to chat first. For LGBTQIA+ though, anybody can be the first to chat and the other person only has 24 hours to respond or the match expires.

You also have to take that risk now, because you’re more likely to get a response the sooner you send a message. And besides, the worst thing that could happen is if they don’t respond.

If the person does reply, try and make the conversation fun and exciting. Stray away from boring and basic questions like “where do you live?” and “what do you do?”. Instead, share things in common or ask thought-provoking questions that allow personal opinions to be made. Discover things about each other that will make both of you want to find out more and talk longer. Keep it as light and natural as possible.

Transferring out of the Dating App

When both parties get to a comfortable level, one might suggest transferring over to another platform like maybe Instagram, Facebook, Viber, or Telegram. This means that they grew so fond of talking to you that they want to establish a connection outside of the app. They want to continue talking, and don’t wanna risk losing you over the other matches inside the dating app or because they don’t open the dating app as often. You’re then separated from the crowd and most of their attention might be on you.

You can get in touch with them easier, and also get a chance to learn more about each other on social media. You can browse through their feed, watch their stories, and exchange more information about each other. A lot more things to talk about!

Talking Stage

You find each other interesting enough to spend hours of the day glued to your phone. You may be communicating through chat messages, voice calls, and even video calls, all virtually. The excitement of first getting to know each other and seemingly endless conversations never get tiring at all. This is the sweet bliss of the talking stage. The more time you spend talking and getting to know each other, the more ideas you build in your head of what that person might be. Be careful now because your mind might be running too fast. It might start building expectations that will only lead to disappointment afterward.

First Meet Up

This is it. This is judgment day. This is when you meet each other in the real world and see each other face to face. There’s a lot at stake here. This is where you confirm if the person you’ve been talking to online is who they say they are. Are they actually the person you thought they were, or maybe they’re better? The first meet-up also determines if both of you have some sort of connection or chemistry. Are you actually attracted to each other and not just the ideas of each other or being together?

Try not to overthink and set too many expectations. This will only get on your nerves. Meeting people for the first time is always awkward, but try to break the ice right away to allow both of you to become comfortable. Have fun and go along with the flow. Try to be yourself around this person and everything else should fall into place. If you need help with first dates, I have some First Date Tips When You Finally Meet Your Online Match.

Second Meet Up

Believe it or not, even if you guys had a successful first date, it would not guarantee a second date. You might have had a fantastic first date, but if one person wasn’t as sure, it might as well end there.  So if you guys end up actually having a second date then, congratulations! You might actually have found someone willing to keep trying. Maybe they were even so enamored by you that they couldn’t wait to spend more time together. A second date is a  good thing. Far better than a first-date-only-turned-last-date to be honest.

Since you know a bit about each other already, I suggest activities that would be physically engaging for the next couple of dates. Go and have some fun in each other’s presence. Try and go for activities you could do together that require less talking. Do stuff that would allow you to gain more familiarity with each other’s presence. It’s up to both of your preferences at the end of the day.


This is when you guys make an effort to make time for each other. You’ve met up a bunch of times already, but you are still eager to see each other on a regular basis. You’re slowly getting attached and used to the idea of being in each other’s lives. Maybe you’re considering plans for the future as well.


A friend of mine told me that, exclusivity should be communicated especially with online dating. No matter how long you’ve been talking or dating, as long as they are in the app, they’re probably talking to a bunch of different people. If you come to a point where you want exclusivity, you have to outwardly ask this from the person. If they have the exact same feelings for you, then this wouldn’t be that much of a hard decision. But if they decline, are hesitant, or take too long to decide, then they might not be as sure of you as you are of them. 


Relationship comes after exclusivity and requires a formal question. A serious relationship isn’t for everyone, but some people want someone they can trust and love will all of their hearts. We all deserve this kind of love, to have someone to share the rest of our lives with. Now, a serious relationship is so not a happy ending. Being in a relationship is not all butterflies and rainbows. There are more challenges you’ll encounter and issues to address. Do believe that both of you will get through them and grow together.

There you have it those are the 9 Online Dating Stages for Serious or Long-term Relationships. Each Online Dating Stage doesn’t last a specific period of time. Most of the people you match with may end it or drop off at different points or stages of online dating. Each has its own timeline of when they come into your life, how long they stay, and when they go. I always appreciate every person I’ve had the chance of meeting from online dating apps. I’ve made so many friends, but relationships not so much. Haha.

Dating is tough and online dating doesn’t exactly make it easier.

If your intention for being in online dating apps is to look for love or a serious long-term relationship, then you should expect countless rounds of trial and error, a lot of wasted effort, annoyingly repetitive disappointments, and a couple of possible heartbreaks. And even after all of that, you might not even land on your one true love. 

You may go through several online dating stages again and again. You may even be at more than one stage at a time if you’re dating several people at the same time. That’s completely fine, especially when you’re trying to consider your options. It’s like searching for a nameless person in a crowd full of strangers with different personalities.

Also, you don’t have to go through each stage of online dating to arrive at the next. Love may come at different stages. That will be the magic moment only both of you will share. Again, everybody has their own love stories to write. It may be a bit messy or actually plain and simple. Just remember that there is no formula or rulebook when it comes to love. Love is a risk and almost every time, it’s entirely up to luck. Once you find the right one though, none of the things I’ve mentioned would even matter!

We don’t know when the right person will come, but just be open to love and live your life as happy as you want to be.

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16 thoughts on “9 Online Dating Stages for Serious or Long-Term Relationships”

  1. Barbies Beauty Bits

    Oh, the judgment day. But now with COVID, a lot can see before meeting in person. And I kinda like that idea. But I do know plenty of people who have gotten married from online dating, including my mom!

  2. Ahaha I love how you summarized the experience into 9 different stages! Very relatable and I think what many people seem to have trouble with is exclusivity for some reason.

  3. I got married before online dating became a big thing, but I am always wondering about it. This is great information and I have a few friends that I’ll be passing this on to! Thank you for the great and humorous post!

  4. I don’t have any experience with dating apps and online so I take pleasure in reading your blogs. This was interesting. I imagine the first meet ups are can be scary and exciting, lots of awkward moments too

  5. Blair Villanueva

    Some find dating apps quite hard, but if you were a busy person and have no time to go out there, then dating apps are the best option. Works on me years ago, until I found my husband.
    Another tip – just enjoy your dating app experience and don’t feel so stress about it. If the first meet-up didn’t work, then move on quickly. But make sure you had at least a shag, to compensate for the time you’ve spent, lol.

  6. Tanyi Melvis Bechemnyo

    WOW! This is such an informative article. I’ve never been able to bring myself to try dating apps. After reading your article, I feel confident to try one. Thank you so much for sharing.

      1. I never experienced this pero all your suggestions are sensible. I just hope you guys, take care well, ah. Lalo na sa meet-up stages. 🙂 I wish you luck and love. Love love.

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