“Premature Escalation” Is Ruining Online Dating & It Needs To Stop

You’re chatting to a guy before going on a date with him and loving it. You might think it’s a good thing, but it could backfire. “Premature escalation” is when a guy chats to you loads via text but then when you eventually meet up for a date, he’s nothing like what you thought he was. Or, the texting doesn’t actually lead to anything. Here are 12 signs that premature escalation is happening to you.

  1. He sets up a date but the texts keep coming. He says he’d love to meet up with you on the weekend, but until then you keep on chatting. Loads. It’s cool to have that communication going before your date, but if there’s too much of it, it can totally zap the anticipation of the date. Leave some conversation for the actual meeting, FFS!
  2. He wants to get dirty. He suggests you exchange pics. Um, why? You’re meeting in a few days! Couldn’t he just wait to see what you’re like in RL? If you exchange pics, you’re taking things to the next level prematurely. Hey, you have no idea what the guy’s really like, and there’s nothing worse than exchanging naked selfies then meeting in RL and seeing that the guy’s a total creep. If he can’t wait for the date to see what you look like, then he’s not serious about you.
  3. He’s always on your phone. He texts you throughout the day with silly little messages or check-ins. Talk about killing the excitement. The dude’s making things so boring! Why would you feel excited to meet the guy in RL if he’s already exhausting the conversation?
  4. You’re building up the idea of him. You can’t help but have an idea of who you think the guy is and you’re assuming that’s what he’s really going to be like in RL just because he’s been texting and emailing you so much. Be careful. As Emily Morse, a sex and relationship expert, told the New York Post, “Since our whole world is so instant now, people can craft entire personas through their slew of tests… by the time you meet your partner for an actual date, you’ve built up this whole image and fantasy in your head of who you think they are, and then they turn out to be totally different.” Yikes.
  5. He’s giving you lots of backstory. The guy’s been sending you long texts about what he’s like, his family, his past, his job. This creates the feeling that you’re really getting to know him on a deep level. The problem? Those are just stories but they don’t mean you’re really connecting.
  6. You go “wtf?” when you meet him. When you finally get together with the guy you’ve been chatting to on a dating app for weeks, all you can think is, “Where’s the guy I was talking to ’cause this isn’t him!” You think you’ve been pranked ’cause he’s so different in RL to what he was like when you were texting each other. His textual persona just doesn’t match what he’s really like, and it’s disturbing AF.
  7. He gives the impression he’s going to cancel the date. He makes plans to see you next week but he’s chatting to you so much in the meantime that it feels like he might bail on your date altogether. And he might ’cause he’s getting everything he needs via text. There’s nothing to look forward to.
  8. You feel intimate. You really feel like you know the guy so well through his texts and you believe you’ve forged some intimacy with him. But this isn’t real! You really don’t know the guy until you’ve met him and getting ahead of yourself could lead to serious disappointment when you guys eventually meet up.
  9. He plans dates weeks in advance. He enjoys chatting to you and he’s made plans to see you, but he’s never available sooner. So, for instance, he wants to see you next week, but you can’t help but wonder why this weekend’s off the table. Still, he continues chatting to you during that time, which makes you think he’s still keen to date. But the date might never actually come. He might be stalling you to get his conversation kicks in the meantime, without having to commit to anything. Sneaky AF.
  10. You’re friends on facebook. It felt right to add him on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter because you guys have been chatting for what feels like ages even though you’re strangers in RL. If you’ve already exchanged your social media usernames but you haven’t met or hung out in RL, you’re setting yourself up for future awkwardness. What if the date goes really badly? What if he shows his true, clingy AF colors? Eek, you’ll have lots of deleting and blocking to do.
  11. Conversation is easier via text. When you chat via text, the conversation is smooth and flows beautifully. When you chat in RL, the conversation feels a little rocky or there are long silences that feel awkward AF. This is the classic sign of disconnect. It’s easier to feel connected to someone through texts and emojis, but sometimes this can mask incompatibility. That’s why, it’s just better to ditch all that texting and get on with a real date!
  12. The whole thing can be fake AF. One of the worst things about texting so much and feeling like you really know and like the guy is that if the date goes badly, bam—the texting is over. All that buildup was for nothing, which can feel like more of a loss than the actual RL date sucking! Save your energy and data for now. Keep texting to a minimum, at least until you’ve met the guy and seen that you really like him, not just how well he texts.
Giulia Simolo is a writer from Johannesburg, South Africa with a degree in English Language and Literature. She has been working as a journalist for more than a decade, writing for sites including AskMen, Native Interiors, and Live Eco. You can find out more about her on Facebook and LinkedIn, or follow her on Twitter @GiuliaSimolo.