The Internet has been a godsend to many people as a way of keeping up with family and friends.
“E-mail allows us to keep in touch with friends and family across the world. “It makes missing them a little easier”.
Online tools such as instant messaging, videoconferencing software, webcams, and Internet phone connections also make it possible to keep long-distance love relationships alive.
In addition, as people move around the country, they are using the Net as a way to find new friends.
But how effective is the Internet as a means of finding the perfect mate?
“When it comes to the search for lasting love,” says one report, “psychologists are finding that chat rooms, message boards, and especially online dating services may have built-in mechanisms that make any off screen romance very likely to fail”.
• Online life and real life aren’t the same: Psychologists say there is little similarity between “disembodied e-mail consciousness” and a real-life encounter. Therefore, it’s impossible to say whether two people who get along well online will get along in the real world.
• Online connections can be emotionally intense: “Most people you encounter, online or off, are those you will not be [emotionally] interested in.” “What’s different about the Internet is surprise” at how quickly feelings bloom. “The medium sucks you in.”
• Online text communication doesn’t allow nonverbal communication: Motion and activity—gestures, smiles, eye contact, and other nonverbal communication—are not available with email.
Yet it is these nuances that transcend words and that, of course, are missing from online text-based relationships. One Hawaiian man developed an email romance with a woman in Michigan whom he met through an online bulletin board. When they finally met, he discovered that she wore heavy eye mascara—a turnoff to a man who considered himself a hippie.
• People meeting online showcase their good points: With a burgeoning online romance, “you get the sensitivity and thoughtfulness. “If you meet [offline] spontaneously, you build your impression from real data, not from an idealized basis. It is nearly impossible for people to live up to such an artificially high, idealized range of expectations” as can be built up by online correspondence. Still, the Internet does allow the possibility that a couple may develop real rather than false intimacy.
“In real life you don’t talk to strangers. But online you are encouraged to talk to strangers.
The Internet lets people have relationships they could not have any other way.”
Have you had or do you have an online relationship with someone that you have never met in person?
We would love to hear your story and read about your experience.
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