Bismillahir Rahmaanir Raheem
Al Jawaab Billahit-Tawfeeq
Alhamdulillah you have taken the correct steps to ensure you gain the pleasure of Allah in your actions and plans.
In Ahadeeth, the prophet (peace be upon him) states that a woman is married for four reasons and he advised that we should choose "Religion" i.e. the one who practices Deen the most. When one chooses Deen over all the other qualities (Lineage, Wealth & Looks) then they have gone with the advice of the beloved prophet and there is nothing but success in this choice.
However, many times this reason is an excuse so first one needs to be sure. This is done in two ways.
First, it is crucial that a lengthy time is given with no contact with the non-Mahram (one who you can marry) to ensure that Shaytaan does not play with the heart.
Secondly, performing Istikharah to see which way Allah (swt) guides you.
For the final part, if everything is positive, his father or he himself can approach your family to meet. Some times, the actual meeting has made parent's change their mind about marrying outside of same background. That which Allah (swt) has destined will come to pass but not without means. This is where the steps we take within the boundaries of Sharee'ah help. In this case, the formal proposal from the family.
Once the proposal is made, there will be questions from your family. It is important you are honest and that you speak to your parents with respect. After all, the contact that was kept with him was Haraam and of no benefit. You must not talk to your family to convince them but rather to teach them the correct thing to choose and at the least, meet him and his family.
let them learn beforehand that you want to marry a person for their Deen and nothing but their Deen. Background is of no importance as this person can be better than anyone from your own background. You must also be open to the possibility that he may not be the right person and your family should be told that too that if they have anyone in mind, he must meet your criteria too as your criteria is according to Sunnah.
Until marriage, no one is a couple. Love before marriage is only attraction towards character, abilities, looks or personality and is not classed as love in its true sense. Attraction is not sinful if it is merely interest and no Haraam takes place such as chatting, meeting, talking on the phone etc.
Above all the advice, I have to strongly advise that you probably feel this because you kept contact. If you spoke to someone else on that forum and he was the same, you'd feel the same about that too. Only Allah knows what is best for you and knowing someone barely is the fastest route to believing they're the best choice as initially, one will only see the best things. This is not to say that he is not as you describe but you must accept that it just as possible that he may not be right for you as he may be.
Here are some answers on Istikharah:http://qa.muftisays.com/?31http://qa.muftisays.com?559http://www.albalagh.net/qa/istikharah.shtml
And Allah knows best