blogging gobbledygook and such

If we can call people we have only met through the Internet friends, surely we can have a relationship the same way, albeit a virtual one? But… if you do break up with your online partner (whom you have never met in person before), can he or she be considered an ex-boyfriend or ex-girlfriend? Can they be held in equal esteem to your past relationships that involved actual physical contact?

Isn’t there a missing element somewhere? Or have relationships been redefined by technology?

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Going on that same train of thought, if you don’t consider virtual relationships to be on equal status with the “real” thing, would that mean you don’t consider friends you made over the computer “real” friends too because there’s no physical contact?

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Comments on: "Are virtual romances considered real relationships?" (19)

  1. Interesting questions.

    Although I regard internet friends as viable friends, the contact can be tenuous. I find often, that the relationship with internet friends develops far faster than do those in real life – maybe because of the lack of proximity. (It kind of relates to the stranger on a train syndrome, I think.)

    But the relationshipc can also break much more easily. A few days or a couple of weeks of not logging on to their site; a few emails not replied to and the connection is gone. Removed from the blogroll, removed from the address book. Easy come, easy go.

    Possibly, these are just symptoms of the currents times – we are conditioned to want instant gratification, we no longer have time to savour life, we often are physically and socially very isolated, despite living (often) in large metropolises (metropoli?).

    Maybe the great, touted internet crash might just be a good thing – get us back to making true, long-lasting face-to-face connections again, instead of relying on our pixelated friends.

    And…if I separate from my on-line husband, do I get half of his Bookmarks?

    sulz: you hit the nail right on the head (though personally have never bonded with strangers that way)! “removed from the blogroll” – light poke at self, eh? 😛

    is there an internet crash touted? good goat, no!

    lol! 😆 what good are bookmarks for! you should be gunning for his online bank account. :mrgreen:

  2. It does count as something of a communication, but because of a lack of “identity” and vital contact, the lack of realism in this kind of thing is obvious. It’s like getting motion sickness, really. The brain fights over something that doesn’t really exist but does, in a sense that it confuses.

    sulz: indeed, the communication is there but it’s one of a superficial level, despite the ability to reveal your most intimate secrets.

    but motion sickness is real, at least for some people. does that make motion sickness all in the head? can that same conclusion be applied to virtual romances?

  3. sulz dear

    is this a very non-subtle way of telllme you dont love me anymore:

    sob!!! 😦

    me

    sulz: hahahahahahah!!!

    you really crack this girl up. 😆

  4. I am worrying about this a lot lately. Its wierd stuff. Does a virual affair count as infidelity?

    sulz: that really adds a different dimension to this issue. if a person doesn’t consider virtual romance as real, then they shouldn’t consider a virtual affair as infidelity. and yet, virtual romances do contain emotional involvement, whether superficial or otherwise…

  5. It’s always an interesting question. After all, what makes a relationship? If you break a relationship up into 100 equal parts, how many of those parts go where to create a whole?

    I guess it varies from person to person. to some you might have a significant amount of those 100 parts in physical aspects, which means they could probably have plenty of friends online (even friends of the opposite sex) and not ever think twice about the seriousness of those relationships.

    On the other hand, you can have somebody who puts very little weight in the physical aspects of a relationship in which case they could form very important and perhaps even “intimate” relationships with people online. I have known people who had “emotional affairs” in this manner where they may have been married or have a significant other yet had very important “intimate” relationships with somebody else online.

    It seems odd to consider that sort of thing “cheating” but again, it all depends on what’s considered important to the person. Does the person doing it feel guilt or feel they need to hide it? If so, it’s probably a bad thing. If it is just a friend to chat with here or there and the thought of “relationship” never enters the person’s mind, is it really such a bad thing? I would think that it’s easier to address the problem on a case-by-case manner.

    But that’s just my two cents 🙂

    sulz: sure, there are always exceptions to the rule. but for them to be exceptions, a rule has to be established. what’s the common thought of people regarding this issue? what do you think about the issue in general?

    am a bit torn personally. on one hand, would like to believe that am capable of having a good friendship online, as good as one offline. but that would mean acknowledging that virtual romance has the same capability of an actual one, just without the physical aspect, when personally do not believe in online relationships!

    and yet if self had a boyfriend who’s having a virtual fling, it could very well be a good reason to break up with him…

    urgh! 🙂

  6. Good point, but I think the only rule is that there is no rule. It’s a paradox. What one person finds acceptable, another might not despite the fact they’re both looking at the exact same thing.

    Perhaps a better way to judge would be to judge motive. If somebody is seeking companionship and “intimacy” online and it is in any way harmful or malicious in nature, it’s probably a completely different story than somebody who just enjoys some daily chit chat or conversation online.

    I look at it this way. I used to go out to lunch with a couple of female coworkers here or there. It was innocent, fun and not malicious in nature. They were nothing more than coworkers who were fun to talk to. Was it wrong of me? No, of course not. Now if I regularly would have had lunch with a female coworker and done it because it was “naughty” or because we talked dirty or shared intimacy in any way, then that’s a different story.

    I think online relationships are like that. If you can look at an online relationship and find that it is somebody you could have lunch with for the enjoyment of it, not the intimacy or or naughtiness of it, then you’re ok.

    sulz: that’s an interesting point of view. so you believe that online relationships are as real as the ones offline as long as the intention is there… well, that’s a valid reason.

  7. I guess that was what I was trying to say, yes 🙂

  8. timethief said:

    IMO sexual infidelity hinges on violating the intimacy in a relationship by becoming intimate with another at the same point in time.

    Intimacy can take many forms and I dare say every sexual fantasy and steamy dream I have that is not feature my husband in the leading male role may be considered by some people to be “infidelity”. However, I don’t view it that way at all.

    IMO we are all entitled to our fantasies and our dreams. And, as long as we do not act these things out in either the real world or in the cyber world IMO it’s not infidelity.

    Depending on their level of self esteem and mindset perhaps the most important part of having a significant other is not to hurt them by letting them know that we have sexual fantasies and dreams that do not feature them in the leading roles.

    sulz: does infidelity have to be sexual? definitely our own sexual fantasies featuring celebrities or other people do not count as infidelity; acting them out virtually with another real person, however, does somewhat blur the line between infidelity and fantasy.

  9. I am worrying about this a lot lately. Its wierd stuff. Does a virual affair count as infidelity? Well, I’ve read a post about the addiction to World of Warcraft and it tells about a woman who has lost her husband to the game and another woman; a person he met in the game that he had abandoned his real wife and kids and ran away with to another place in real life. So in this case, it does count as infidelity.

    sulz: did you read that article in startwo on monday?

  10. The rule of thumb is if the events could cause trouble in real life then they can do the same over the Internet. I have seen this discussed in several professionals columns and the answer always comes out the same. Never do anything in fantasy that could compromise you real life.

    sulz: that’s logical. after all, the common thing between virtual and real life is the intention.

  11. Interesting post this. I have always wondered if internet friendships can be the same as real ones. Truly speaking, I enjoy talking to my “online” friends more than the real ones. But what if I just lose internet access one day? That friend, that girlfriend or whatever is gone. It’s over just like that?

    Of course it does feel bad when your online girl ditches you for some other online guy. I’ve seen people fall in love over the internet, meet and get married but that’s rare. I don’t think the two things can be the same. It’s difficult to have an online lover but friends can be there.

    One of the things which I wonder is that..what if I happen to meet my net friend somewhere. Will they be the same to me or was the chemistry between us only over the keyboard?

    sulz: internet friendships can be cultivated even after meeting in person. online personas are mostly different than their real life ones, simply because the media through which they express themselves are somewhat different. that’s why falling in love over the internet hardly ever works.

    as for internet friends, it wouldn’t be over just like that if you lost access; at least, not if they’re sincere in their friendship.

  12. […] 31st, 2007 by brightfeather This post was inspired by sulz’s post and Root’s post […]

  13. […] dialogue about the feasibility of entering into relationships on the internet. Jennifer responded, Sulz had some thoughts, and now BrightFeather has responded as well. Looks like my response is long […]

  14. I have got a new thought which worries me now.
    If you had an online thing that went wrong does that make her the ex girlfriend / boyfriend ?
    I need to get out more. 🙂

    But… if you do break up with your online partner (whom you have never met in person before), can he or she be considered an ex-boyfriend or ex-girlfriend?

    sulz: got inspired by self, eh? 😛 😛

  15. I’ve met in RL over 100 people I knew first online, and I can tell you that romantic chemistry does NOT generally transfer to meatspace, while friendship does. I’ve never met someone who was a friend online and had them be incompatible with me in real life, but I certainly have met men I thought might be “more than friends” in real life, only to discover quickly (like, INSTANTLY) that no, it wasn’t ever going to happen. We could be friends, but nothing else. And I’ve met men I knew online first as friends, only to discover something more in person. Sexual relationships are, HELLO, sexual, and depend at least in part on sexual attraction. It’s easy to pretend that’s not the case when it’s all online.

    The fellow who runs Plenty of Fish spoke at a blogging conference I was at, on a panel about internet dating, and he and all the panelists agreed that if you want it to ever become real in meatspace, you’ve got to get offline and face to face as quickly as possible, otherwise it will be pigeonholed to “fantasy” and never actually happen.

    There’s also this:
    http://www.wired.com/politics/law/magazine/15-09/ff_internetlies

    sulz: definitely agree with you about romantic feelings online not translating into reality when you meet the person. more often than not s/he doesn’t look like what you imagined and that just completely turns you off.

    so going by what plenty of fish said, it just means that people should put up pictures of their real faces first so as not to create a ‘fantasy’ image as such? wonder how people would take the way self look, after hotlips making an appearance for so long. 😦

  16. This ain’t a dating site, so why would it make a difference? If you register on match.com, use a good pic of yourself; not one that makes you look like JLo, but one that makes you look like you on a day you look good.

    sulz: that’s true… am not going to match.com and the likes, and of course should self ever show a picture of self, you could actually recognise self in person with it. 🙂

  17. Having recently had a 5 month “friendship” over the internet, I truly wanted to MEET this person. I suppose I shared things with him that many other people would not have been “privy” to. He became someone who brightened up my day by simply being in my Inbox. After 5 months, I decided I truly wanted to meet him and SEE or investigate if this friendship might be something more. I then travelled a couple of thousand miles to meet him. I was so anxious to finally meet this person that meant so much to me. So, yup, when he turned up in Starbucks cafe, looking much the same as his picture, I was happy and “open” to see where this all went. We didn’t have to go through any of the pleasanties “Hi, what do you do?” etc…for they had been dispensed with some months previous. We got on fabulously or so I thought, until the question was posed, later in the evening “what did you expect when you met me and what do you think of me?” To which I replied “I find you very attractive and funny”. To which he replied “Sorry, but I’ve got to be honest here, I don’t have any feelings for you” I suppose, the whole email correspondence didn’t transport into sexual chemistry and whilst I felt “something”, he felt only the desertland of an email correspondante. Needless to say, that was the end of that. How do I feel? Sad. I miss him. I look for him everyday. He is alive somewhere but not with me anymore. Was this a real relationship for me with real feelings? YOU BET!

    sulz: thanks for sharing your experience. pity he isn’t keeping in touch anymore, even as friends. 🙂 hope you have a happier ending should you encounter another online romance.

  18. […] dialogue about the feasibility of entering into relationships on the internet. Jennifer responded, Sulz had some thoughts, and now BrightFeather has responded as well. Looks like my response is long […]

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