Erich R. Merkle and Rhonda A. Richardson suggest that Computer Mediated Relationships are only similar to face-to-face relationships by having the goal of maximizing rewards and minimizing negative costs. The development of such relationships are much different and altered from the customary way of developing a relationship in person. You do not have “spatial proximity” because the act of doing everything behind a screen initiates enough space as is. There is also anonymity on the Internet because you cannot see who you are talking with unless you video chat with them.
I do not believe it is possible to have a solely online relationship with the goal of making it last long-term or be a marital partner. I think having long distance relationships are possible, because there is the mindset that one day you will be connected in person. If there is no goal to have a body present or fulfill any sexual desires with the other person, I do not see how it could last forever. I believe a big part of feeling emotionally fulfilled in a relationship comes from face-to-face communication, such as giving the person a hug or kiss or doing a hobby you both like. Relationships with only online interaction also risk more instances of miscommunication because there is no tone or mood that can be displayed with the text that is being typed.
As a college student in 2014, there is a mix of communication types that one does in developing relationships. Most are initiated in person, then enhanced through digital courtship. You begin by meeting someone, whether it be on your own, through friends, etc. and then the relationship builds by adding the person on Facebook and eventually getting their number to start texting/calling them. Since it is hard to see the same person every day unless you live with them, the space in between is filled with digital communication. The consequence of this however, is the feeling of no longer having privacy. There is this notion that one must always be reachable because they have a cell phone that more often than not is on and near you. Future generations may have the problem of too much intimacy and the feeling of exhaustion from their partner if they feel they cannot have a moment to themselves because of the need to be connected.