Cyberspace: The Next Romantic Frontier

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Love is complex. There’s just no getting around that. There are steps and processes that all hope to reach the goal of finding that special someone. Over the years the rules have been altered and rewritten but nothing has been as much of a game changer as the world wide web.  In the article Digital Dating and Virtual Relations, Erich Merkle emphasizes how complex relationships root from variables in communication. “The absense of any face-to-face interaction guarantees that two people can never come to know one another. ” Before the internet, that line was common sense. How could one fall in love with someone they have never seen or spoken to? In the modern era of social networking this statement almost sounds obselete. Websites like Facebook and Tumblr alongside numerous others have shattered the barrier of communication worldwide. But is that really a good thing?

In the short film Noah, we see the flaws in an online relationship or even regular relationships that are influenced by the internet. How successful an online relationship goes varies from person to person. Anyone given the chance to see someone elses life through social media is succeptable to temptations. If you have your partners password how do you know you might not be tempted to take a peak. What if you find something you didn’t want to or weren’t supposed to see. This is exactly why this kind of relationship can be dangerous. On top of that, if the relation is strictly online how do you know whats true and whats false. People make up entire personas just for online communication.

masksannoymousNow for my 2 cents on the subject.

Do you believe it is possible to have a truly fulfilling online relationship? Emotionally? Sexually?

I feel once again that this varies from person to person but personally I couldn’t. The idea of a strictly online relationship just escapes me. I always saw the internet as a place to meet people and share ideas. But never did I think of it as a place to date someone. Now conversation can be sustained between people worldwide. Maybe I could have an emotionally sustaining relationship but never a physical one. I guess I’m one of those people that needs someone there for me. Also the idea of phone sex, sexting and other forms of sex by proxy just don’t make sense to me.

How would you describe your own dating experience?

To clarify, I’ve only dated one person and that was back in highschool. I’m one of the most inexperienced people you can ask on the subject. That doesn’t mean I don’t have any input on the matter at hand. I have dated very little but that doesn’t mean I haven’t tried. I like to consider myself more of the traditional type. If you’ve read my first article, you know I’m the hopeless romantic type. I always thought of dating as a physical thing. As in going places and being together. My view on the subject hasn’t changed in the last few years  that much. With the introduction of social networking its almost considered weird to not use it. Instead of asking for someones phone number first, you usually ask for their name on facebook. I also follow this rule. My problem with communication via social network comes from the fact that its a vague and decieving experience. You can only understand so much from a person based on their facebook page. And how sure are you of whats real and whats a facade? It’s great that you now can find people with common interests so easily but we forget that it’s not just that concept that spawns a healthy relationship.

How will this affect future generations?

I’m honestly not sure. With the convenience of social media and social networking comes a dependency. 20 years ago people lived their days without the internet. Now we can’t go 2 hours without it. It certainly plays a big role but I doubt we will reach a day where 100% of all relationships will be virtual.

I feel that there is something important lost when we take emotions online. Maybe that’s okay.  In the end it’s whatever makes you happy.

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3 comments

  1. I agree with you. You mention social media and networking in your article; and as you and I discussed, this is changing the very dynamics of relationships in general. There is such pressure on being in a relationship, emphasized in numerous TV shows, including ones for children! Being single or even being in an online relationship is seen in a negative light. I know many who scoff at the idea of meeting and dating someone from a dating website-it’s seen as a joke, or less meaningful. But for some people, it isn’t. I have a friend who met an English girl online, dated her online for a while, and only after one or two years did he actually meet her in person! I don’t know if my friend is still together with this girl, but I do know he was happy. As you said, maybe there is something lost in online dating, but if it makes one happy, then it’s ok.

  2. I too feel like something is lost when we take emotions online in a romantic sense. When one interacts on the internet, he or she has the ability to manipulate the way he or she acts and looks. This becomes a performance, a performance limited to a small fragment of the self, an exaggerated fragment, or something entirely alien. This eliminates the possibility of actually getting to know someone. I would not feel comfortable engaging in cyber-sexual relations with such a person. In traditional dating, such manipulation of the self is difficult and therefore, it is much easier to get to know who someone truly is. Getting to know who someone truly is allows a healthy emotional and sexual relationship.

  3. I agree with you on a lot of the topics you talk about, however when you say, “If you have your partners password how do you know you might not be tempted to take a peak. What if you find something you didn’t want to or weren’t supposed to see,” I have a slight problem there. Personally, I believe that if you’re in a relationship, you should be trusting enough to not care if the significant other “takes a peak.” Although, there are some privacy and trust issues being given off when one feels the need to “peak,” I still believe that there should be nothing to hide from the start. I see it as a tool that can show your partner that you CAN trust him/her.

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