People fall in love — it happens. You could even say that it is natural and “human” for people to feel attraction to one another when they communicate over a period of time. Online love and romance takes place all of the time, and usually begins as a back and forth of communication, be it emailing, talking on Myspace or Facebook, or commenting on blogs, etc. As with all things related to love and romance, there are ups and down to online love and romance that you should be aware of before you fall into a romantic situation with an online acquaintance.
The environment of the internet is the perfect breeding ground for fantasies and love — it allows people to become whatever they want. Unfortunately, sometimes we see some marvelous qualities that we want in our partner in someone that doesn’t really have them. The privacy of the internet is a double edged sword — in other words, you can be anyone or anything on the internet, and unfortunately, so can the people you meet. So, when you take plunge and have set up an online relationship, there are guidelines to doing it successfully.
Honesty in Online Love
Never create a misleading identity — this never works. If the idea behind your online romance is to eventually be involved physically with a person, why would you want to pretend to be someone or something that you aren’t? As soon as the person you’re in love with online discovers your real identity — and it will happen — they will be hurt, angry, embarassed, and perhaps worst of all, they will ignore you and run the other direction. Think before you say anything. Just as when you’re developing a romance in person, try to put your best foot forward. Before hitting the send button on a message to your online lover, always remember to read over the message. Bad spelling and grammar can really turn off some people, and you may find you’ve said something you didn’t mean to let slip. Once you hit the “Send” button there’s no going back — so be sure your messages to your online love are accurate, truthful, and grammatically correct.
Things to Discuss Before Falling In Love Online
Before falling in love online, the two of you will obviously want to know more about each other — give each other time to talk and answer all questions honestly. I’m not suggesting you submit your online romance to a kind of interrogation — but falling in love with someone, even online, requires communication, and communication always leads to certain topics, some of them sensitive. You can talk about people you admire in your life, talk about your families, your achievements and goals, your most prized possessions, your dreams, your strengths and weaknesses, and maybe most importantly, talk about just what kind of relationship both of you are looking for. And yes, you will eventually have to talk about the “no no” subjects of politics and religion. After all, romance and love does require openness, and there will come a time when your political or religious views will come up. Start the discussion gently, so that when a potential disagreement comes up, you’ll already know the basics of each other’s opinions, and can decide to avoid the topic altogether. Let’s face it — some people are just never going to agree about God or the death penalty or who should be President.
Privacy and Safety
One of the greatest things about falling in love online is the privacy and safety that it provides you. You don’t need to reveal all of yourself in the first few chats — things like your telephone number, address, work place and family details can and should be kept under wraps for a while. Once you and your online lover have created a sense of trust with each other, you can venture into deeper territory. The difference between withholding this information online and in person is that in person, these details tend to show themselves. People know exactly what you look like, they have the opportunity to figure out where you live, where you work, etc — in other words, you’re less in control of the situation. Online romance gives you the chance to decide when and how to reveal all types of information. You also need not meet the person offline until you really trust him or her. Another bonus — you can completely back off any time, if you feel like something’s going wrong or the person you’re falling in love with is not who they say they are. Changing email addresses, or blocking email or social networking access, is much easier than keeping someone out of your physical space.
Time to Meet Offline
Now that you and your online romance partner have sent messages, chatted, and emailed enough to each other, you will probably want to meet each other in the “real world”. Unless you’ve developed a serious sense of security with this person, it is usually a good idea to bring a friend along to ensure your safety. Be honest with your online lover and tell them in advance — “My friend is going to be with me — it isn’t that I don’t trust you, I’m just being safe”. Try to meet in public places initially — suggest a lunch date if possible, or meeting for coffee or something casual. For safety’s sake, if you don’t bring a friend along to you meeting, tell someone about your meeting and where are you going. I know I’m scaring a few people out there, but the private nature of online romance can lead to some security concerns. The main idea with online love is to relax and have fun, while keeping things as safe as possible.
Do not be surprised if you find yourself falling in love with someone you talk to on the internet. Human beings are designed to develop an attraction to someone they spend time with. Just be aware of the potential pitfalls of online love and romance, even while you enjoy the emotional high you get from falling in love online.