I have a cousin (daughter of my maternal aunt) who seems to be religiously committed and of good character, but I do not know much about her personality and outlook on life, or how well we would get along. I used the internet as a means to get to know her, whilst being very careful to adhere to proper etiquette, especially since we come from a conservative family. Praise be to Allaah, I reached the decision to marry her in sha Allah, but it may take two years or more until I am ready, because I am still a student in the last year of university.
My question is: Is what I did permissible? Especially since it went on for nearly a year, because the customs of marriage in our society do not allow one partner to get to know the character of the other until they get engaged, but after that if it becomes clear that the two are not compatible and they cancel the engagement, that will lead to problems and severing of family ties. I feel worried about what I did and I am afraid that it may be considered a sin or an act of treachery. It is permissible to continue our correspondence until I come and propose marriage to her?.