Wednesday, 31 October 2012
You’re in a chat room, and you begin a conversation with a guy who lives a few hundred miles away. He seems to be a nice enough guy; in fact, you are the same age and seem to enjoy many of the same things! Fast-forward two weeks: after chatting with him online daily, you find yourself absolutely smitten by him. You confess your feelings for him, and the two of you decide that you are now an official item.
Situations like these are becoming more and more common in this age of the Internet. Many websites serve as forums for people to converse with others who share their interests. Conversations about a common interest can often lead to the development of friendships – or more – among website users who may live hundreds or thousands of miles apart.
If you find yourself in a situation where you are dating a person you met online, there is always the tough question of whether or not to tell your family and friends about this relationship – or, if you decide to tell them, whether or not you should mention that the two of you met online.
Many people are strongly opposed to the idea of two people “dating” if they have never met face to face, and these people make some valid arguments. How can you really know if a person is exactly who he/she claims to be unless you have actually met the person? How do you know that the person isn’t already in a relationship with another person? How do you know that the two of you would even be compatible if you were together, in person?
With so many critics, how can you defend your online relationship to those who may question its validity? Or do you? Is your relationship a mistake?
Every relationship’s success – or failure – is completely dependent upon the two people involved. Some people have found ways to create lasting relationships from the strangest of circumstances, while other people end their relationships with bitter arguments, shocking revelations, lawsuits, or, in the most unfortunate and extreme cases, even violence and death.
In my own life, I have observed multiple examples of people who entered into relationships with people they met online. While most of those relationships did not work out for various reasons, a couple of them have long-term potential. One girl I knew, who met her boyfriend on an anime forum, told me that although most of her friends initially tried to talk her out of her relationship, she had confidence that the relationship was genuine.
They lived two states away from one another, but they traveled to see each other every couple of months and maintained constant contact over social networking sites and texting. Two years after they started dating, this girl and her boyfriend applied to and ultimately ended up attending the same college, and they are still together and are now in a situation where they can physically spend time together every day.
On the other hand, there is another girl I knew who, at the age of eighteen, entered into a relationship with a guy she met online, and let’s just say that relationship went downhill very quickly. Not only were her parents and friends completely opposed to this relationship from the start, but the girl was in for a complete shock herself when, after three months of dating, she learned that her dear “boyfriend” was, in fact, 40 years old and had two kids who were around her age!
Needless to say, this girl was completely heartbroken and never again attempted to form a romantic relationship with a person she met online.
Now that the Internet has become one of the most prominent means of communication in our society, it is likely that many strangers will use it as a means of finding people to date.
How do you feel about the idea of dating a person with whom you have only ever communicated online? Is it possible to truly be in a relationship with somebody you’ve never seen outside of your computer screen?
Should people use the Internet as a means to find a potential romantic partner, or should they rely solely on meeting people face to face?