Online romantic relationships transitioning offline : impact of intimacy and relationship uncertainty on relational characteristics
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Guided by a conceptual framework regarding how relationships experience points of transition, this research explored individuals’ perceptions of their online romantic relationship’s transition from a casual to serious relationship in comparison to how individuals in face-to-face romantic relationships experience points of transition. Participants were asked to answer questions regarding their perceptions of relational characteristics during different points in their relational transition. Perceptions regarding intimacy, relationship uncertainty, partner interference, directness of communication, topic avoidance, turmoil, deception and met expectations were assessed. Additionally, individuals in both online and face-to-face relationships responded to questions regarding their relationship status, commitment, length, proximity and other demographic questions. Results indicated that individuals in online relationships perceive more intimacy and less uncertainty prior to a transition while perceiving less intimacy and more uncertainty after a transition than face-to-face relationships. Relationships uncertainty was associated with topic avoidance and turmoil in online romantic relationships. Further results and the relevance of perceptions of relational characteristics on online transitioning relationships are discussed.