Do Online, Virtual Relationships Really Work?

In the world of online dating, it’s easy to build relationships with people that you’ve never met.

You get all the benefits of having a relationship with someone, but without the negatives that inherently come with a real-life relationship, for example, your online boyfriend will never leave the toilet seat up and your online girlfriend will never decorate your bachelor pad with floral prints.

But are online relationships really all they’re cracked up to be?

Dear Dan and Jennifer,

Hi, I’ve seen some of your videos and you guys seem to give some good advice. Maybe you can help me. I’ve been in an online relationship with a girl for around 3 years. We are planning to meet this summer… But for last couple weeks we’ve been having some problems. She’s been talking to this other guy a lot online and I’ve asked her about it and she says that he’s only a “good” friend. (She has cheated on me in the past). I love her, and she says she loves me but I don’t know what to do. She never wants to talk about it. If you can give me some advice I’d really appreciate it.

–Tom, Illinois

The Positives

Online dating definitely has it’s pluses. You can meet tons of great people who really share the same interests you do, and you can find them quickly and easily with just a few clicks of your computer mouse. Online dating is a great way to safely meet people and get to know them a little bit without some of the awkwardness that often follows a real life introduction.

In reality, however, online dating is better served as simply “online introductions.” You can use an online dating website to your advantage to meet like minded people who you would enjoy spending time with, but often times virtual dating won’t get you very far.

The Negatives

Sure, online dating websites have their perks, there’s no doubt about that. But having an online, virtual relationship? That’s definitely harder than it sounds. People were designed to be social creatures.

Humans crave being around other humans, and we all crave another human’s touch. Unfortunately, that’s the one thing that online dating websites can’t provide – physical contact and a real life relationship with another human being.

While many people spend months or even years developing these long distance, virtual relationships with people, these relationships are often lacking a lot. First off, you definitely don’t get the physical intimacy that you need, and we’re not just talking about sex here. Second, it’s really impossible to get to know everything about someone online.

Filling in the Blanks

While you think you might know your online boyfriend or girlfriend pretty well, chances are, your mind has filled in a lot of the gaps. This actually happens a lot!

When your mind fills in the gaps when getting to know someone online, you actually end up having a relationship with someone who you really don’t know; someone you’ve really helped to shape in your mind. This usually leads to disappointments later on in the relationship.

What You Can Do

Use online dating websites to your advantage; as online introductions. Get to know someone a little bit, and then take that next step to meet them in real life. Look for people who you could possibly develop a real relationship with, such as people that share the same interests as you and who live in your general area.

That way, you can really immerse yourself in the dating world and find the person who is right for you. As tempting as it can be to keep emailing someone, or even talking to them on the phone, realizing that an actual, physical, real life relationship is necessary for it to last is a crucial step in making online dating really work for you.


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