In the article “Digital Dating and Virtual Dating: Conceptualizing Computer Mediated Romantic Relationships” by Erich R. Merkle and Rhonda A. Richardson, the writers suggest that computer mediated relationships can clash with traditional relationships. When trying to carry out an emotional relationship over the Internet there are a lot of obstacles to get over. These are just a few reasons why I don’t think online dating is a good idea. First off, there is no physical contact. How can two people be in an intimate relationship without being able to touch each other or show any physical affection? Next, do you really know who the person is? When looking into this topic further I have come across some frightening experiences. I think the worst was a 17 year old boy who was involved with a girl online for 2 and a half years and fell in love with plans of marriage until he found out that the girl was actually 40 years old with a husband and two kids. Without that physical proof a person will never truly know who they are talking to. Then, with keeping the first two in mind of no physical contact and not really knowing the person, you can devote years of your life to someone and get nothing out of it. They can be both not loyal to you and be in other relationships on the side, they can just being using you for the attention they receive, or they can even just get bored with the situation and block you or ignore you and there is nothing you can do about it.
With no body present and interactions fully taking place over the Internet, I do not believe it is possible to have a fully functioning, intimate relationship. I don’t see how it can be possible to be in an emotional and sexual relationship with someone when the person’s not physically present. Very fundamental signs of a relationship include physical contact. By contact I mean the simple things such as holding hands, hugging, kissing, etc. Relationships over the Internet cannot include the basic gestures we use to show that we have feelings for someone. As seen in the short film Noah, after he ends things with his girlfriend, he enters a virtual chat room where users are in front of the webcam and can interact with each other. The main girl he speaks to towards the end, he seems to have a connection with. Assuming they are in different states at least, what can really come out of that relationship? They can at most speak to each other through the computer and that’s where their relationship will stay. Unless they make an effort to meet with each other physically, their relationship will never pass talking to each other. One of the main components to an intimate relationship is the sexual aspect. Without physically being able to touch someone then they will never reach that part of the relationship and then I really don’t see it lasting.
My personal experiences don’t work well with these situations. I met my fiancé in high school and have been with her ever since. We have been together for about 5 and a half years. My situation is seen more as an exception. Generally when someone my age gets engaged it’s because they are having a child together or something. In terms of technology, it would seem most if not all dating methods include digital courtship. It seems quite uncommon these days to see traditional dating methods used. Mostly in this day in age, social media plays a huge role. I am sure a lot of people meet over social media. A typical situation is as follows, it starts by seeing a picture or post you like and then you follow them, then they get to know each other better by looking through pictures and maybe messaging back and forth. The next step would be getting a bit more personal and exchanging phone numbers to more frequently stay in contact. Texting would then take over and mostly all communication will be through text messages. Finally, eventually if both people want to then they may meet in person and most of the time it’s at a party or group gathering and not really alone. It seems like people are afraid or uncomfortable of being with someone new alone. Also, the above situation can occur over about a month span of time or maybe even more.
With the constant new and upcoming methods of social media, I can only think that the process will get worse over time. Future generations will be even more engulfed in their social media and traditional dating will be a thing of the past. Especially now with kids getting phones at such a young age, they get involved in the social media even earlier. A few years down the line, intimacy may turn digital?