Researched Works

Internet Romance - From Online to Offline Relationship Ideas

For people involved in long distance Internet romance, how to make it real is not an easy process. Yet, it is still possible to realize such transition.

A lot of people advise against having a long distance Internet romance. Their reasons are quite valid: online lover could be a sociopath or a sex offender, he/she could be a scammer, no physical contact or a shoulder to cry on during tough times, and nil chance of meeting in person, among others. However, such is not always the case.

Not a few couples claim that they met their mates first through cyberspace. Not only has the Internet served as a means to reach out to distant loved ones, it has also become a socialization engine, capable of forging romantic affairs for those who are willing to take the risk. Much like actual relationships, there are ways for Internet lovers to overcome the odds.

Romance with a Cyberspace Lover - How to Make it Real

In "Making Long Distance Relationships Work" (n.d.), Joe Tracy of Online Dating Magazine says that people involved in long distance romance need to define their relationship rules and parameters: "This includes an agreement that you will not date others, that you will communicate daily, and that you'll see each other at least once every 2-3 months in person." Such agreement is applicable to those involved in online romance.

Lovers have to spend time for and with each other in spite of the distance. This may entail having daily phone conversations or setting a regular time to chat online with or without a webcam. Thus, similar to offline relationships, communication is a key factor in successful online love affairs.

Communicating with a cyberspace partner can be done in various ways. Internet communication technology (ICT), including the use of mobile phones to go online, plays a critical role in nurturing long distance love through sending emails or e-cards, instant messaging, chatting, text messaging, and making calls. Internet and phone companies try their best to come up with cheap promos to facilitate such connection. Others write snail mails and send care packages to surprise their distant mate.

The quantity of communication would mean nothing if the quality of talk between partners is weak or poor. Both parties should be able to express their feelings freely and honestly. A planned first date is always part of the agenda and concretely pursued; otherwise, the Internet relationship is just a scam. Of course, the relationship does not stop after the initial meeting. Certainly, having a goal to spend time together in actual or physical terms - either by dating or vacationing several times - is essential in making Internet romance real.

From Online to Offline - What Makes a Successful Relationship

Distant lovers should "Never Make Assumptions" and "Trust One Another", according to Tracy. Again, communication plays a crucial role in this context. Until marriage happens, a sincere and committed "getting-to-know-you" stage is essential to a successful relationship. Reuters Africa (2010) reports that those who met online have much shorter courtship period of almost 19 months than their traditional counterparts at 42 months.

Being honest and clear about one's intentions is vital to making a successful online relationship. Like offline couples, online lovers need dedication and patience in dealing with each other. Everyone has insecurities. It is also understandable to have doubts. But, if there are efforts towards making amends after a misunderstanding and reassurances of commitment, the distance is not viewed as a problem, but a challenge that both are willing to overcome.

Finding Genuine Internet Romance

Based on "Mate Selection in the Network Society: The Role of the Internet in Reconfiguring Marriages in Australia, the United Kingdom and United States" (2008), there is "ample evidence that people do make friends and initiate romantic relationships in cyberspace and often these relationships progress offline." It also notes that those who met online put more premium on "personality, emotional characteristics, and physical attraction – than are those who met their partner offline."

The study further recognizes that the Internet has given users the opportunity to meet people they are unlikely to meet through traditional means - "It opens people to more diversity in their choice of a partner, such as by introducing individuals with greater differences in age or education, but with more similar interests and values." Moreover, it describes online dating as "a more measured approach for people interested in finding a partner."

Sources

Dutton, William H., Helsper, Ellen J., Whitty, Monica T., Buckwalter, Galen and Lee, Erina. 2008. "Mate Selection in the Network Society: The Role of the Internet in Reconfiguring Marriages in Australia, the United Kingdom and United States". A working paper for ‘Me, My Spouse and the Internet’ project at the Oxford Internet Institute, supported by eHarmony. (accessed February 26, 2011)

Reuters Africa. 2010. "Time Constraints Boost Popularity of Online Dating". (accessed February 26, 2011)

Tracy, Joe. n.d. "Making Long Distance Relationships Work". Online Dating Magazine. (accessed February 26, 2011)


Written by Leann Zarah (leannzarah@gmail.com)

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