Falling in love online can be as completely emotionally real as falling in
love in real time. It seems utterly silly to think that we can give our
hearts to someone we have never even met in person, and yet, it happens a
million times a day on the internet.
When new to the internet, most are innocent people who venture into chat
rooms or instant messages, with hopes of finding some stimulation for an
hour or two, but when they get into chatting, they are possessed by a
current and dragged down a river of virtual sensations that completely
sweep them away. They are surprised when they notice the time and hours
and hours have passed. And in not too long a time, they are addicted.
The human is such a gregarious being, that most of us crave deep emotional
attention but haven't figured out how to get it and keep hold of it in
real time. Now, with this outlet for our psyches to feed and get
nourishment, we are finding that our addiction is easy to justify and
chalked off to the techno onslaught and being able to keep up with it.
Even if we are not in love with anyone in particular online, we are in
love with being online, knowing that we can get our fix, whenever we want
it. Most of us have learned that when one online romance ends, our heart
is severely broken, but miraculously we heal because another arises on the
horizon in virtually no time flat....LOL.
Why is it so abundantly easy to fall in love online and what are the
long-term results of such a development?
As we all know and have experienced, the Internet has given us a whole new
way of life. The age of this new and ever-evolving technology has changed
dating in a BIG way. Never again will people who have access to a
computer, be lonely and ignored, even if they are shut-ins. They just have
to turn on the pc, and whamo, the world is at their fingertips.
Once one has been online for a short amount of time, one realizes the
intricacies of "chatting." Chatting is a dialect that has emerged from
communicating on this venue, no matter what language it is done in. There
are all kinds of hidden nuances of this form of communicating. A
well-seasoned "chatter" can create and project any mood, any emotion, any
feeling imaginable, with the combination of several different "cyber
graphics," "emoticons," (the little smiley face icons), words, keyboard
symbols (@#^*((( ))) !~), and acronyms (LMAO, LOL etc).
Chatting one on one in instant messages, is one of the ways to get to know
a person, very personally. Something magical happens during this type of
communication that seems to be unique to this venue. Especially if you are
speaking to someone who is a romantic interest, it seems like you have a
more direct connection to his/her psyche. How many times have I sensed the
answer to a question or virtually read their mind? It seems to happen at
an uncanny rate when in an instant message. Is it the electrical energy
that is freely flowing from their pc to yours? If this online connection
does something to our powers of exchanging thought, does this mean that we
are developing a NEW sensory perception that has been latent in us but now
coming to life?
Somehow, this new sense dominates our powers of perception and creates
feelings, deep feelings, for some of the people we connect with online.
Since we only have the written word and no other obvious audio or visual
cues to clue us in on the chatters personality, we have to go on what we
read, assimilate the meaning, and somehow imagine the person who is at the
other end typing these words. We have to, in our minds eye, create a real
person who we have no other information about except for what they have
told us. We cannot see how they dress, how they maintain their weight,
personal hygiene, how they laugh or smile, what their voice is like, what
kind of car they drive or if they have a nervous twitch or have all their
limbs. We simply have their written word. Most of us believe the other
person to be telling us the truth, and because they are giving us what
seems to be a unique look into their psyche, we develop a kindred ness
with them that is very special. This dynamic is what makes us able to fall
in love online so easily.
Most humans are basically the same. We want the opportunity to love
someone, and have our love reciprocated. How we go about achieving that
goal is what differs for each of us. So when we chat in instant messages
or in chat rooms, we extend a part of our selves that may not normally be
revealed in a person to person or "real life" scenario. Since we have no
outside cues or distractions, it makes it easy for us to be totally
honest, because we have nothing to lose by being so. In so doing, the
connection between parties escalates at a rapid rate. The safety of
extending ones emotional self across the cyber field seems to be almost
unavoidable as well as incredibly fulfilling. The down side to this is
that you might find yourself creating a fantasy of the person, which is
totally unrealistic. This is generally what happens. Since there is no
visual input for the mind's eye to focus on, the brain has to assimilate
the info, the input, and the sensory exchanges, and make enough sense of
it to justify the feelings being felt.
There are a few "tools" that help us make further determinations. We might
have a picture of the person, we might have heard the person's voice on
the phone, and we might have even be able to see them on video web camera,
which overrides some of the data. If the intent is to actually "meet" this
person for a date, it is important for our brain to collect as much data
as it can in order for us to actually feel safe enough to meet face to
face. BUT, and this is a big BUT, sadly many people never have any
intention of ever venturing outside the confines of their safe little
homes, in order to actually meet face to face. They are finding themselves
making deep rooted connections with people online, and are getting
themselves into trouble by either falling in love (without the capability
to take appropriate action) or they are causing others to fall in love
with them (thereby, breaking hearts, right, left and center when it has
evolved to the "meeting" stage and one party has no intention of doing
so). Sound familiar??
Pointers for protecting yourself in case of this happening to you:
1) Find out right up front if the person is seeking a real time
relationship, or simply wants a virtual one. Many are simply filling time
and have no intention on ever leaving the comfort of their own homes to
meet you, no matter how close you feel you've become.
2) If you are considering meeting the person in person, make sure you
clearly state this disclaimer: If, when we meet, one of us is NOT
attracted, it must be made known, and all aforementioned plans or
activities discussed are null and void.
3) Realize that people confide in you way more readily online, because
they know they will never meet you, see you or otherwise find your
knowledge of their secrets as any kind of a threat to them.
4) If you have met someone and you have both fallen in love online,
realize that true love cannot truly be established until you find out
whether you are in love in real time. Energy from online may not
necessarily transfer, so be realistic, and save your self a lot of
heartache. And don't fall into the trap of saying "I love you" online if
you haven't met yet.
5) Realize that you are probably guilty of creating a "super" mate in your
mind and that meeting with expectations is one of the major things that
cause problems. If you go in totally open minded, with NO expectations,
you can't possibly be disappointed.
6) Lastly, don't think that just because you fell once and failed, that
every time will be the same. Keep trying, be REAL, and some day, you might
find a keeper!!! <Smile>.
© 2003 Tami Fox. All rights reserved.
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