Love in a Digital Age

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Dating by use of digital devices is a rather new development in our society. It is something that has exploded on the internet in recent years, especially with the use of multiple dating sites. People make profiles of themselves hoping to meet people online. I have had friends who have created several accounts and talked to multiple people at the same time. There is no true intimacy in this. People can lie and hide behind their devices without any repercussions. Women pretend to be men and men pretend to be women. People exaggerate their age or pretend they are younger. It is easy enough to put a picture up on a profile that isn’t actually you but something you might think is ‘more desirable’ or just something completely different for fun.

I do not believe that it is possible to have a truly fulfilling emotional and sexual relationship online. Certainly you can meet people online through numerous various ways, but there is no way one can have a relationship without the physical connection. If a couple says they are together and their relationship is exclusively online – and they have never met – than their relationship is lacking. A person needs to be attracted both emotionally AND physically to a person to have a real and meaningful relationship. Without this, the relationship is not fulfilling.

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Without the face-to face and physical connection, it is easier to break up because there is already distance between the couple. By hiding behind technology, the personal closeness needed for intimacy is removed, making everything much more impersonal and ultimately easier. By not getting close to someone, the emotion from a breakup is much less painful. If things start to go bad and the couple has not built the proper foundation to whether the storm – due to distance or physical absence- cutting ties is much easier. Erich R. Merkle and Rhonda A. Richardson explain this in their article “Digital Dating and Virtual Relating: Conceptualizing Computer Mediated Romantic Relationships:” “In contrast to face-to-face relationships, individuals in CMR are likely to have ready access to more desirable alternatives via their Internet connections. At that point when the costs outweigh the rewards, it would be relatively easy to find someone else to interact with in cyberspace. Similarly, without having a face-to-face component to a CMR, there are likely to be fewer barriers to breaking up. It’s easier to break up with someone through a digital means than in person and this takes more of the humanity and authenticity out of a relationship.

The short film Noah was fascinating because the entire movie took place online. The main character, Noah, assumes his girlfriend is cheating on him because of information he finds on a social media site. Without confronting her face-to-face, he sabotages his relationship by hacking her Facebook account and changing her relationship status to single. This shows his lack of trust and confidence in their relationship. He didn’t trust that she was true to him because one of her male friends was constantly liking and commenting on her pictures, and he didn’t have the confidence to talk to her face-to-face about these issues. If he had simply talked to her instead of making assumptions, he would not have ruined his relationship like that. The end result was that she wasn’t cheating on him but she blocks him on Facebook and the relationship is completely over. This lack of face-to-face communication and dependence on social media sites is a problem in today’s society. People are unable to confront and talk to each other physically and instead hide behind their phones and computers.

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My dating methods are completely traditional. I want a man to ask me out face-to-face and take me on a physical date. We live in a digital age, so whether we want a digital courtship or not, it’s going to happen. Things like texting, emails, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and Skype are a part of every relationship because they have become the norm in our society. Everyone has a cell phone and just about everybody has a Facebook page. Some people believe that relationships aren’t official until they’re ‘Facebook official.’ When you are in a relationship on Facebook, it’s pretty standard that your profile picture is going to be of the two of you and you each like everything the other person posts. These are things that ten years ago didn’t even exist, but today are expected and considered ‘normal.’

Greater success in a relationship will be had if it is physical and face-to-face, and not through means of digital devices.  In their article “Digital Dating and Virtual Relating: Conceptualizing Computer Mediated Romantic Relationships, Merkle and Richardson state that: “Should attitudinal similarity and physical attractiveness be discovered in one individual, the likelihood that a successful and intimate relationship will develop substantially increases.” Having a strong relationship with someone requires building a strong foundation of trust and intimacy. This can only be had when two people are physically present. You need a physical relationship to have intimacy. When two people are face-to-face, one can build a relationship. When people try to have a digital relationship, there is always going to be a wall (their device) between them.

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One comment

  1. I completely agree that there is no intimacy in having multiple accounts or trying to talk to multiple people on online dating sites. There is also the problem of fake accounts and people exaggerating details about themselves.People should talk face to face for better communication and clearer understandings of each other rather than have misunderstandings and like you said, hide behind phones and computers.

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