Guest Post: Online relationships and dating by Emma Sterner-Radley

I’m thrilled to welcome Emma Sterner-Radley. She’s a sweetheart and wonderful writer. And, her novella Life Pushes You Along is one of the books in the Fall in Love sale. Grab your copy today for only 99 cents. The sale ends on September 29th.


Psst … her wife’s novel Huntress is also part of the sale.

Without further ado, please welcome the wonderful Emma!

Online relationships and dating

Love at first sight. That is what everyone wants, right? But how does that work online? On a dating site you can see someone’s picture, sure, but what if you meet your partner somewhere online where there is no picture? Well, I can tell you what that’s like because that’s what I did eight years ago with my wife. And in previous long term relationships, too. When you meet someone online on a forum or in a chat for a shared interest, it’s possible that you won’t have a clue what they look like. Can you still fall in love? Yes. You fall in love with their way of interacting with people, their way of speaking, with their interests, with their personality. Okay, maybe not everyone can fall in love that way. I have met people who say they can’t fall for someone unless they fall for their looks too. Others have said that they can’t fall for someone online because they need that face-to-face chemistry. Which is why most people on dating sites seem to find someone with appropriate interests and a nice picture and then meet up with them to check them out. They don’t actually fall in love online, they simply find a match online. The difference in my situation was that I fell in love and started a relationship before I had even been in the same country as the person in question. How does that work?

Well, in the case of my wife, I fell for her extremely funny and intelligent posts at first. When I then saw that while she was quite sarcastic and teasing, she treated people fairly and helped those who need help – no matter what the cost for her was – I was fascinated. We were friends for a while as I was in a (failing) relationship. But when that relationship ended, we soon started drifting onto something deeper than friendship. (Sexy flirting included.) And it was like coming home for me. Everything I had looked for in a partner but never thought I could find in one single person – she had. And she really liked me for some reason! For the first weeks, we chatted whenever we had a moment free from work and studies and I was terrified, I kept thinking that I’d say something to show how dumb or shallow I was and she would realise that she was out of my league and run a mile. Luckily for me, she still hasn’t realised and it’s been eight years. Hmm, maybe she isn’t as smart as she seems?

All kidding aside, a lot of people are falling in love online these days. Especially those of us who are over the rainbow (I sometimes use that term instead of the cumbersome LGBTQIA+, mainly because it takes me forever to find the plus sign on this keyboard.) The simple reason being that there aren’t as many of us. If you live in a small town or a rural area, you’re not likely to have many gay bars to frequent. Besides, not everyone likes socialising in bars and clubs. So, we date online. And with today’s ease of modern communication and cheaper (not to mention faster) travel, it’s possible to have love on different continents, without having to spend decades writing long letters until one of you dies from dysentery. Or from a severe hand cramp.  

I still get a lot of questions about falling in love online. I particularly got a lot of them back in Sweden when I had a part time job as a care assistant while studying at university. I worked with straight women in their 40s to 60s and they were all confused to how my love life worked.

“You only talk? She’s so far away that you can’t go to a party together? Or meet up for coffee? Or have sex? How can you have a relationship then?”

I tried to explain that my online relationships always created deep bonds that my offline relationships never did.

I have the characters in my upcoming romance novel Long Distance Coffee (out in December) discuss this and one of the characters points out that if all you can do is talk to each other, you get to know each other extremely well. It’s easy to be distracted by someone who is very attractive or someone who is a lot of fun when you are out bowling, having drinks or even going to a museum. But if you’re online and just chatting, there is nothing to hide behind. You find out if you are compatible in other places than the bedroom and if you can still get along when you are not out having fun. Online dating/relationships have plenty of downsides. The main one being the lack of physical contact (perhaps not a problem if you are asexual, but even then, you’ll probably want to hug the person you love).

Another obvious downside is the dangers of dating online. People not being who they say they are or people being dangerous, meaning that when you do meet up with them, they chop you up and keep you in the freezer until they have time to make you into a stew. A quick and serious note about that – always meet people in public and preferably in daylight the first few times you meet them. It won’t completely safe guard you but it will go a long way.

Another downside can be that you get sick to death of just talking. (This is also brought up in Long Distance Coffee.) That is when you watch TV shows at the same time, share music with each other, play online games together or even read books out loud to each other. I’m not going to go into all the ways you can have a sex life online. But there are ways. Quite a lot of ways.

In short, you find ways to connect and not just talk. But yes, a part of you will probably wish that you had more chances to go out for coffee, have them as moral support at Aunt Carol’s birthday party, let them cuddle your cat (not a euphemism), or share a passionate kiss. That is why almost all long distance relationships soon become short distance, right?

Still. I’m very happy that I fell for my wife online. I got to talk to her when she came home from a gruelling day of work. When she couldn’t sleep late at night. When she was struggling with something emotional. All these things, she might have shaken off if she had to get dressed up and meet me at the bowling alley. I got straight into the core of her personality and talked through everything. Thereby making sure that we’d be a perfect match even when the fun and the sexual attraction might not be ramped up to 100%. And our relationship is that much stronger and well-founded for it.

No matter how you find a partner or how you fall in love, I wish everyone who reads this to get as great a relationship as I did. And if you are not in the search for a partner but prefer to be single, then I wish you as happy a relationship with yourself. I bet you can find that online too.


New York personal trainer Erin Black lives a solitary life plagued by insomnia. Isabella Martinez, a former CEO turned writer, is stuck in a platonic relationship in Florida with her baby boy.

One sleepless night on social media, they strike up a conversation that changes their lives and makes them question everything.  Over midnight cups of coffee, they try to resist the powerful chemistry that builds between them. They soon discover their connection could be the key to unlocking their personal issues.

Questions remain though. Are they more than friends? Could they be right for each other? And if they are, how will they handle a relationship a thousand miles apart?

A lesbian romance about closing the distance.

Add it to your Ylva wish list.


Emma Sterner-Radley spent far too much time hopping from subject to subject at university, back in her native country of Sweden. One day, she finally emerged with a degree in Library and Information Science. She thought libraries were her thing because she wanted to work with books, and being an author was just an impossible dream, right? Wrong. She’s now a writer and a publisher. (But still a librarian at heart, too.) She lives with her wife and two cats in England. She spends her free time writing, reading, daydreaming, working out, and watching whichever television show has the most lesbian subtext at the time.

Facebook / Twitter / Website

Thanks Emma for stopping by today!

If you haven’t read Emma’s book Life Pushes You Along, I highly recommend it. And, it’s currently on sale for 99 cents. To find Emma’s book and all the lesfic goodies on sale, click on this page.

Happy reading!



About TBM

TB Markinson is an American who's recently returned to the US after a seven-year stint in the UK and Ireland. When she isn't writing, she's traveling the world, watching sports on the telly, visiting pubs in New England, or reading. Not necessarily in that order. Her novels have hit Amazon bestseller lists for lesbian fiction and lesbian romance. She cohosts the Lesbians Who Write Podcast ( with Clare Lydon. TB also runs I Heart Lesfic (, a place for authors and fans of lesfic to come together to celebrate lesbian fiction.
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5 Responses to Guest Post: Online relationships and dating by Emma Sterner-Radley

  1. I met my wife on! We’ve been together now for 14 years!

    • TBM says:

      14 years. That’s wonderful. I’ve been with my partner for over 11 years. We didn’t meet online, but we did have a long-distance relationship in the beginning.

  2. Anne Hagan says:

    I met my wife via Craigslist, online. We both tried online dating but we both struggled. I placed a Craigslist ad one day, she responded a few days later. She lived nearly an hour and a half away so we just talked for a few weeks but then we just had to meet. It wasn’t long before one or the other of us (mostly her) was making that long drive as often as possible. We’ve been together nearly 11 years now and, around the same time in November we’ll celebrate our 7th wedding anniversary.

  3. Pingback: I Heart Lesfic Guest Post: Online relationships and dating - Emma Sterner-Radley

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