This is a really sensitive topic for me. Before you judge, let me explain. If you have problems accepting or concerning online relationships, I ask that you read this respectfully or close the entry right now.
A relationship online is no different from one that exists online. The lack of physical interaction causes distinct differences on how hte relationship works and exists, but essentially an online relationship is equally viable as an offline one. Some people will choose to have friends in the real world and not wish to make friends online. Others will enjoy chatting to complete strangers and forming online relationships instead of focusing on real life relationships. Both are fine and should be accepted for what it is.
Before you argue that there are hazards to having a friend base online, realize that there are hazards in those off the net as well. In real life, we are faced with the dilemmas of peer pressure, fitting in, and how to slowly build up a relationship. In an online relationship, things are a little bit easier as there is no peer pressure and no social norm to fit into. Believe me when I say there is no social norm. You can never be as free to be yourself as you can on the Internet. Yet there are problems as well when building a stronger relationship, trying to make the relationship last for a long period of time, and being careful of being deceived. Yet deception is a funny thing. It happens so much in real life as well. Probably even more than it happens online.
My standpoint on online relationships is somewhere between approving and understanding. I approve of them, but at the same time I approve of people who can never find themselves in one. Things are different for everyone. I’m not trying to make anyone see the world how I see it. I just want to share what I’m seeing. It’s perfectly fine for someone to love or hate online relationships. It is perfectly fine to approve or disapprove of them.
As I have mentioned, I have strong personal ties on the subject and I feel really touchy when it comes to this topic. I had, have, and will have online relationships for the rest of my life. 99% of online relationships don’t last. I know that from my own experience. Somewhere around 50-70% of friendships in real life don’t last. (These numbers are approximate, please don’t reuse them). Obviously, the rate of friendship loss online will be higher than those offline. It’s so easy to just disconnect from someone you’ve met online. So very easy.
I love my friends in real life. They’re fun, nice, and supporting friends. I wouldn’t trade them for anything. I value my friendships online equally. They offer me something else. They allow me to be who I really am and reflect on aspects of my life I can’t with my real life friends. In terms of interaction, offline relationships have always won. In terms of conversation, for myself, online relationships have always meant more.
I have shared things with people online that I wouldn’t tell a soul in real life. A perfect example is this blog entry. I would never talk about this to my friends in real life. I’m sure the majority of them wouldn’t understand how I feel this way at all. Sometimes I feel like I’m too embedded into the internet – too reliant on these online relationships. Yet I can’t bear to cut myself off completely. Alone. I hate being alone and when I lose these relationships, loneliness is the only emotion on my mind. Yes, I have friends in the flesh. Nevertheless, I don’t think I have ever had a deep conversation with any of my friends in the real world. I’m not quite sure I want to.
I don’t want to appear too wishy-washy, so I won’t go too personal into this blog. I’ll leave that for some other time.
Before I end this blog, I’d like to say a few things about online love. Does it exist? Yes and there can be no denial of that fact. Does it work? Sometimes, though for the most part, no. I have heard stories of people who have gotten married after a relationship online. Whether those relationships continue to work after marriage is something that I have no idea on. More often than not, when an online relationship becomes offline, a huge shift in perception will occur. Whether that shift is in the positive or the negative depends on the situation.
Have I ever experienced love on the internet? Hard to say. I’m too young to judge that. Will I ever take it seriously and consider taking online relationships to offline? Who knows. I could. I really could. Though I’ll have to wait for that. At the moment, online relationships are important to me, but I value them because they are online and not offline. For now, the two are distinctly different and I dont’ see myself interchanging the two anytime soon.
It’s not that I don’t wish for someone to talk to in real life.
It’s just that there is no one willing to listen.
Growth is definitely in my future.