Redefining Relationships

In “Digital Dating and Virtual Relating: Conceptualizing Computer Mediated Romantic Relationships,” Erich R. Merkle and Rhonda A. Richardson suggest several reasons for why people are attracted to computer mediated relationships. One reason is that there is much less risk involved in meeting people online. People do not have to deal with undesirable individuals online if they do not want to. It is easy to “disconnect” from others online and emotionally with just the click of a button. It is also easier for people to find others who have different personalities or share similar interests with them. This makes for more efficient interaction with people and less wasted time. However, I do not think it is possible to have a relationship that is as intimate or personal online than in person. Touch is one of the basic human senses that allows people to connect and feel close to one another. That sense is completely absent in a computer mediated relationship.

There are also several things that can go wrong in a computer mediated relationship. In the short film, Noah, a relationship is destroyed because of something that would not happen in a purely physical relationship. Noah, the main character, looks through his girlfriend’s messages on Facebook and sees that she is talking to another guy. He changes the relationship status on her account to “Single” and ends their relationship. He finds out at the end that the guy she was talking to is actually gay, showing how technology and online relationships can cause miscommunication and mistakes, such as jumping to a false conclusion. Another problem with online relationships is that although there can be face-to-face interaction, there can also be technical errors. In the short film, Noah, Noah’s Skype session with his girlfriend ends abruptly because her Skype was not working. This had caused a lack of communication afterwards.

People should stop relying on the Internet to form relationships. It is a great way to meet people, but not if the entire relationship is through a computer monitor. Future generations will eventually depend on this for the most part and relationships will not be as intimate as they once were. There are simply too many things that can go wrong, such as lack of human connection as well as miscommunication.



  1. I thought what you said about Noah really helped me understand the differences between the two forms of relationships, and the problem with sticking to a completely digital method. Very well formed and explained. Good post!

  2. I agree people need to not rely on the internet to form relationships. Human connection is an essential part of a successful relationship. I like your point that touch is a sense that helps people connect with one another and that this feeling is gone when computers and cell phones get involved. It’s too easy to miss-communicate through technology, and it’s sad that relationships have been transforming to more and more digital ways, for these digital relationships are losing that human connection that can only be found from physical presence and closeness.

  3. You bring up a very vital point regarding how Noah ruined his relationship. The Skype session ended rather abruptly and Noah started to jump to conclusions because of the sudden lack of communication with Amy. People underestimate the importance of being able to communicate face-to-face with people so that these false conclusions can be avoided. I know I tend to get a little uneasy when there are miscommunications, but I certainly don’t jump to conclusions like Noah. Great post!

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