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Online Love

By WiseWoman

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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