For many of us, mature dating is entirely uncharted territory. We’d grown tired of waiting for love to find us and, instead, decided to get online and find love for ourselves.

Of course, it doesn’t take long for the messages to start rolling in (provided you took the time to build a profile!) and, before you know it, you’re chatting to amazing, funny, kind-hearted people. Not everyone will be to your taste, naturally, but one or two certainly will be.

Chatting on online dating platforms is amongst the best ways to get to know people. You’re free from the awkwardness of potentially stilted opening exchanges and loud public venues and able to talk openly, taking the time to think before you send your reply.

There comes a time in every bourgeoning relationship though that you’ve got to take the plunge and meet your chat-buddy in person. It’s every bit as nerve-wracking as the first date in a relationship that stated, but when should you do it? Join us as we share a few competing theories:

Theory #1: You should meet before 17/23 days of chatting

Science to the rescue! A study by the University of South Florida suggested that although messaging is fine, we shouldn’t wait too long before getting on our bikes and meeting in person. Why? Because the longer we wait, the more likely we are to feel let down.

According to the American researchers, the ‘tipping point’ for date disappointment comes around 17 to 23 days after the first message – plenty of time to get to know each other before meeting up in person.

The study took the form of a survey of 433 online daters, a relatively small sample, but large enough to give credence to the ‘tipping point’ theory.

Theory #2: As soon as possible

For us mature online daters, oftentimes, the old-fashioned ways are the best. We didn’t need long build-ups to dates before and we don’t need them now. After all, why waste your energy chatting online when you can meet up in person and test your chemistry right then and there?

If you’re both confident enough (and available), it’s a perfectly acceptable notion. However, it’s not the way many of us want to go about things and by forcing the issue, you risk alienating your potential date and losing your chance altogether.

Theory #3: When you’re both ready

You don’t need to be a mind reader or a scientist to know when it’s right for you and your opposite number to meet, all you need to do is to use your intuition.

From little hints, nods and winks to outright asking out, there are countless ways we indicate our desire to meet up in person. If you’re ready and they’re ready, then what are you waiting for? Get out there and see where your relationship goes. What do you have to lose?