107. Online dating thoughts

Friday, July 22, 2005

With the creation of the Internet some years ago, a door was opened to the world. This door was opened just a crack because at first with any new thing, things bumped along just a little. It wasn’t easy, things were slow, and computers were slow. As things sped up, both connection wise and computer wise, more and more people jumped on the World Wide Web. People began to meet and converse with people that instead of meeting somewhere down the street from them they meet online. This person you meet may not be close. In fact, they can be states or countries away. Chat rooms, journaling and blogging sites, and message boards all allow people that share similar interests to meet and converse.

Once you meet, you can go into the safety of conversing privately through emails or instant messengers such as AIM or ICQ. Friendships develop and build. Some feel that the safety of the computer screen between them that it is safe to open up and completely let someone in. Their thoughts and feelings all on display. For some, their is worry because some that surf the World Wide Web aren’t all that honorable. Some are looking to exploit those that they meet. People of all ages surf the Internet, and teenagers and children that surf are at risk.

This isn’t the point of this post though. Sometimes people meet and over time things just click time after time. The closer you allow someone in, even if it is just words and nicely colored fonts, they are still your feelings you are putting out there. Crushes are common, feelings developing is not unheard of, and yes some even go so far as online date when the feelings are returned. Over the years, I’ve seen others enter online relationships. Those people I consider friends have entered them, and yes I have entered them myself. Both times with a female.

I’ve seen them not work and fail miserably among those I know. I didn’t have much success either, and I'd pretty much sworn off the whole online dating thing. Then I wake up one morning with the realization I have a crush on someone I’ve met online, and after banging my head against a hard wall for a few days I come to the conclusion that it really isn’t that much of a bad thing. For all those, I’ve seen fail I have seen just as many work. I’ve seen the stories of those I know through message boards about how they meet their wife or husband of so many years online. So yes online dating can work. It can be made to work between two people.

I think the problem when it comes to online dating is when the relationship remains only an online one. People want to see the person they love standing in front of them. They want to be able to look into their eyes when they tell them those three little infamous words expressing their love. They want to hold and touch, and as much as we all love the Internet and as much as the Internet has progressed in recent years, we just cant do that.

Yes, you can see them if you’re lucky enough to have a web cam, but still you cant reach through the computer screen and touch the person. You cant wipe away their tears when they cry, or tickle them to make them laugh and bring a smile to their face. I think this is what causes some online relationships to falter. They can only go so far online. Pretty soon the one or the other wants more, and sometimes that more isn’t possible. That's when the relationship comes to an end, and just because a relationship is online based it doesn’t mean that it means any less when a break-up occurs in an off line based relationship.

As a writer that spends a great deal of her time online, online relationships have always held some kind of fascination for me. I practically live online working and writing. I'm not the type to go out. I’ve dated people off line, but it just hasn’t clicked yet. I seem to click more with people I meet here online. That's when the internal debate starts to go through my head. I’ve also always wanted to write a story in which two people online and thus fall in love, but I haven’t yet.

I think online relationships can work if they can move on to the next level. If two people can one day stand in front of each other and the feelings remain, then maybe just maybe the relationship has a chance. I’ve heard of people being totally in love online, but then meet and kissing the other person felt like kissing their brother. If that spark remains in person, then it could work. Then you have those that have sworn off meeting online contacts off line, but that is a discussion for another time.

What do you think about online dating? Have you been in an online relationship or seen someone you know go through one? Or do you think the whole concept is crazy?


Joe said...

I think you already know my stance on the entire issue. Online dating I don't think is something that I'm any good at and I don't think it's something that I, personally, could do successfully. But I don't think it's a crazy thought. In fact, I think that there are a lot of people that could make e-dating work for them. As long as both people are dedicated and focused on making it work and eventually taking the relationship to an offline place as well.

I don't know though. I think the Internet is a great way to see someone's personality before getting the chance to judge them based on their physical appearance, like people have a tendency to do offline. And the personality and how much two people click that way is what's most important in relationships. So no, I don't think it's a crazy idea at all.

chryscat said...

I don't think it's a crazy idea, per se. But I think there's a lot of room to hide stuff. Of course, if you really want to hide something, it won't matter whether it's online or in person.
I have several friends who have met online and hooked up. They seem to be quite happy. And for this, I'm thankful.

E L Frederick said...

The problem with online dating is that people can appear to be whatever they want to think they are online.

I have had several rather dis-heartening experiences that have left me rather cynical and suspecious of anyone in the online dating scene.

To many times, it seems, they aren't looking for Mr/Miss Right, but Mr/Miss Right Now. Or seem to be only interested in being a gold-digger.

I hope someone has had better luck than me, but my experiences have left me very cold and jaded to the whole thing.

Gina Ritter said...

I honestly think it's the same as traditional dating in some ways. In other ways it's more exciting and it fulfills fantasies, but can lead to crashes of realities.

I HAVE seen successful relationships from the Internet. I've seen smashing failures too - but those were at least usually very very passionate.

Internet dating allows you to move past everything you get hung up on in person at first and sometimes that makes you more able to find a good match. You really do tend to go by personalities sometimes and forgive the extra few pounds or the hair color you usually don't like, etc..

I guess it's the same thing to me - but maybe more positive. It gives you thousands of possibilities instead of, oh say, 2. LOL

The biggest problem for me are the personal relationships. I now know thousands of women I wouldn't have known before. That means there are thousands of stories of hardship, death, financial ruin, bratty kids, sick husbands, etc..

I FEEL for these people, so essentially I've been taken on thousands of emotional rollercoasters.

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