View Full Version : Internet relationships/romances
11-25-2003, 10:59 PM
Just wondering what people's opinions are on relationships that are formed via the internet? Not through the multitude of personals available on-line, but perhaps through communicating in, say, a forum site?
11-25-2003, 11:09 PM
I have had 'relationships' with people in chat rooms. Never on forums.
The most significant one was with a girl from chicago. It wasn't long before we were talking on the phone. But then we lost contact.
Opinion? I am not against them. I would quite like to have one again, but am not desperate. It would be nice to have someone to e-mail every day, and talk with without an excuse to do so.
11-25-2003, 11:23 PM
I've known a lot of couples who met through their contact on messageboards and other sites. Three of them have since married, three more are living together, and many others have had more or less terrible experiences (she moved across the country to live with him, but he turned out to be a psycho; he took five trips to visit her, but she was just stringing him along; etc). Not unlike the experiences of friends who met in a more traditional way, when you think about it. I can think of two downsides to internet romance. One is the greater ability of people to deceive others if that's their intent, and the other is the problem posed by geographical distance. Most of the people I've known have been sincere, though, and with the mobility of people in the U.S., distance can be a problem no matter how you meet someone.
If you expand "relationships" to mean more than romances, I have personally formed very deep friendships with a number of people I first met online. Over the past five years or so, I've developed a circle of friends online, and even though we don't live in the same state, we visit each other frequently and stay in touch by email and AIM. I'd go so far as to say that about half of my closest friends are people I met online.
From my experience, I'd say that this is simply an extension of the ways that people have always met each other. In a way, the internet has enabled me to meet people who wouldn't otherwise have been in my social circle. I don't join many organizations or go out much since I had children. Most of my in-town friends are either people who I've known since before we all had children and gave up our social lives or parents of my children's friends. The friends I've made online, however, are people who share interests with me and who have the time (since we're all sitting in our houses at computers, simultaneously tending nominally to our other duties) for long discussions about the events of the day or philosophy or music or whatever. This leads to deeper connections than the kinds of conversations I tend to have at PTA meetings or in the course of coordinating carpools.
11-26-2003, 12:04 AM
Originally posted by InternetLegend
I can think of two downsides to internet romance. One is the greater ability of people to deceive others if that's their intent, and the other is the problem posed by geographical distance.To these I would add the astonishing ability to build up an idealized vision of someone whom you know only via Internet.
In building relationships, there's simply no substitute for lots and lots of "face-time." You don't really know someone until you see how she goes about her daily life (using feminine pronouns for simplicity's sake).
It's one thing to e-mail, IM, even talk on the phone, and say, "Oh wow, you like Hitchcock movies, Django Reinhardt records (on vinyl of course), Thai food, Sauvignon Blanc, and Jim Thompson novels too! That's amazing!"
But it's another thing entirely to see how she reacts when she's driving down the street and someone cuts her off; or when she's got a cold and you're stuck at work unable to come bring her soup; or to find out whether she wears too much perfume; or to find that her goddam cat likes to meow loudly all night and all she'll do is say, "Oh, Poopsie, you're so cute!" (Examples are entirely made up. Except the one about the goddam cat.)
In short, I'd say the Internet can be a good way to meet people with similar interests, but a very, very bad way to actually start relationships; those come from long nights of free-assiciating together over a bottle of wine or two.
I know there are people on these boards who've met their SOs via the Internet, even via the boards, and I'm certainly not trying to knock those relationships; more power to them. In general, though, I'm extremely wary of initiating a relationship through such a contrived and often stilted medium, and then expecting that relationship to work just as well in everyday life.
Also, Internet sex is far, far less satisfying than the real thing.
11-26-2003, 01:14 AM
Ditto what others have said about not getting the entire picture -- it's too easy, in an online relationship, to fill in the "missing details" with your own idealized/fantasized ideas. But just because you think he/she is the kind of person who will be wryly amused if you arrive ten minutes late for your date doesn't mean that's what he/she is really like -- and the reality is often what separates a long-term relationship from a bitter divorce battle.
The internet might be good for meeting people or staying in touch, but if you're not getting that face time, something's seriously wrong.
11-26-2003, 01:23 AM
Thanks to all those that have responded to this thread.... I will come back and comment my thoughts when I have a little more time.... I am very interested in peoples' attitudes on this topic...
11-26-2003, 01:54 AM
I had a very serious relationship on the internet once, we were introduces by a mutual aquaintance and started talking, we became fast friends and then started feeling romantically attached... I went to see her, and it blew the relationship apart. No chemistry whatsoever. You can argue all you want, but if there's no spark, nothing happens. We're still good friends but not as close.
If you ask me, the big diffuclty with internet relationships is that people change when they're on the internet. I don't mean the psychos that pretend to be someone else, or make uo interesting lives. I'm talking about ordinary people. Someone who si shy in real life might be more open on the internet because of the security it affords. Someone who is an asshole might be gentler on the internet, simply because he doesn't feel like lashing out in written form. It's not concious but you do change a bit. And when these changes are significant to relationships, the real life relationships break apart.
11-26-2003, 01:55 AM
My girlfriend and I met in a Usenet group, kinda like a forum, and got to know each other via ICQ before we actually met. We've been together something like 3 years now. You can ask some of the GA Dopers about us, heh.
My longest-lasting friendship is with a fellow game-dude I met online, too, as are most of the friends that have lasted through several major shifts in my life. I wouldn't suggest it as the ONLY means of making friends, mind, but I know some really good people.
11-26-2003, 03:16 AM
I've formed friendships over the course of being a member of the SDMB. Counting down to finding out what those friendships are like IRL in a couple of cases. I've got a feeling they'll be on a different plane from what I know online -- but will still blow my mind and make me glad I registered way back when.
Romance doesn't seem t' be for this Wolf. But the friendships are wonderful, and I'm blessed by them.
11-26-2003, 06:37 AM
I am one of maybe a dozen Dopers who are married to other Dopers we met via the Straight Dope (in the last three years). There are even more engaged to be married. TYPICALLY (at least in my case) we met in person at a DopeFest, then started dating. Some may fall in love and maybe even get engaged before meeting face to face, which I personally do not comprehend, but if it works for them, fabulous!
11-26-2003, 06:44 AM
Montfort and Anniz
Shayna and Spiny Norman
Gingerofthe North and Weirdave
(the above are international marriages)
Verrain and TruePisces
AirmanDoorsUSAF and MsRobyn
UncleBill and Geobabe
MrCynical and MissCreant
Plus more, I am sure I am not recalling at this minute.
11-26-2003, 07:43 AM
I met my soon-to-be husband online and I can honestly say I don't think I could have found someone more perfect for me. We met playing cards online and from the first moment on, something clicked between us. We took things really slow though....we were long-distance friends for several years before true feelings came out...after three years we did meet IRL and it only got better from there.
While there is much room for deception in the area of meeting online, there is also so much potential for getting to know someone without all the physical issues coming in to play. We chatted and talked on the phone for hours and hours getting to know one another. By the time we did meet, the physical things didn't even matter. It was wonderful.
11-26-2003, 08:55 AM
I've had several crushes online including one that I thought had the possibility to cross over offline but distance, procrastinating and lack of money soured things I guess.
I think it's wonderful to be able to widen your dating/friends pool with so many more choices but you have to be able to back it up with meeting and spending a lot of time together which can be costly and time consuming. It's much more effort than normal dating but if you can pull it off the payoff might be worth it.
11-26-2003, 10:42 AM
I haven't really had the desire to meet anyone IRL that I've talked to on-line. I guess you are asking about romantic relationships.
I did have a kind of withdrawl when a parenting board I had posted on for a couple of years was eliminated. I felt like I had gotten to 'know' alot of the moms in an e-kinda way and felt the loss of the board more strongly than I had expected.
11-26-2003, 03:18 PM
Well having just got engaged to another Doper (Emofkuniv take a bow!), I can say yes that they can work but you really do have to work at them. There has to be ultimate trust, honesty and patience - in fact, much like any other relationship anywhere else.
Having also had another internet relationship that didn't work (thank God!), I know there can be drawbacks, as noted by others here. In the end of the day, its not unlike how people met any other way - you still have to trust and you can still be lied to and cheated on.
However, if you're honest and the other person is honest and you really do feel a bond, then I say go for it... Emofkuniv and I did and we thank our lucky stars everyday. Now roll on 7 August 2004 and we can be Mr & Mrs Emodew :D
11-26-2003, 07:37 PM
There are good and bad things about them both. I've formed a lot of friendships and a few relationships that have been more. I have kept in touch with lovers for years strictly through email and IM and fund this enough to keep passion and love alive. YEt recently I have seen a few friends go through some trials with internet relatiojnships that I don't think would have happened had they been traditonal style relationships. So there are risks as well as benefits
11-26-2003, 11:26 PM
I've read with great interest everyone's comments regarding internet relationships.
The reason why I asked was doublefold. Firstly, just to find out how many people there are in here that have formed romantic relationships after having met over the internet. And secondly, just to see what people's general attitudes are toward this relatively new way of meeting a potential "mate".
I met my partner thanks to the Australian Big Brother forums a couple of years ago. We clicked instantly. Just reading each other's posts had both of us interested in the other, by their sense of humour and comments.
It grew from there to emails, voice chatting, phonecalls and eventually meeting IRL. He lived in another State so distance was a problem. Anyway, early this year he gave up all he had, to come and live with me.
My thoughts and beliefs regarding internet romances are very similar to a lot of you, particularly Kyann22 in that having to get to know someone only via non-physical contact can be very challenging. I found that simply posting messages and emails, made me really have to think about what it was I was trying to convey and how it could possibly be open to all sorts of interpretation.
So as well as really having to know exactly what I was trying to say, I also had to learn how my partner could "read" between the lines. I think having to communicate in this way for so long, really has built such a strong bond between us because we really do know and understand each other inside out.
Sure, there are a lot of false people out there, but I believe over time, you can sense that by the way they communicate, whether they are truly being themselves or hiding something or perhaps just pretending to be something that they're not.
I have also made a lot of good platonic friends via the internet, and like some of you others, feel a closer bond with them than I do with many of my face to face friends.
Anyway, good luck to all of you who are amongst the first generation to have founded relationships/marriages via the internet! Ain't love grand?! :D
11-26-2003, 11:37 PM
.... and by the way, Honeydew and Emofkuniv, all the best for the wedding in August! :)
Internet romances/friendship are totally valid. I've had two relationships that started out on the internet. The first one flopped when we met in person - no chemistry. The second was slightly more successful, probably because he was dating someone else the first time we met, at a Dopefest, so we were just buds for quite a while. I like Dopers better than most people I meet in my day-to-day life, so it seems like a logical place to look for friends, etc.
I have made a ton of great friends on the internet, through a few forums, but the ones I'm close with now are almost all Dopers. Many of them I am lucky enough to interact with in person quite often. Just a few days ago I went out drinking with some of the Dopers and had a blast. When I went to California a couple weeks ago to see my parents, I had dinner with the Bay Area Dopers, some of whom I have known for so long it's hard to believe they were ever anything as anonymous as an "internet friend" - these are people I've talked on the phone with, danced with, got stranded in a broken limo in LA with, stayed up all night in Vegas with, went to museums in New York and Chicago with, these are real friends.
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