Monday, April 21, 2008

Relationships Found on the Internet

With the need to date fast and find quick relationships, the internet has taken on the role of a hook-up location. Unfortunately, it is also a potential stalking ground for relationship seeking gone awry.

There are some inherent problems with internet relationship seeking. It is difficult to read body language, eye lingo, and verbal pacing of sentences via email. One of the ways people can keep themselves safe in dating relationships is to feel and respond to their red flags. Red flags are greatly reduced by the inability to see first hand someone’s immediate response to statements or questions. Email, which is usually how people first talk when met on the internet, impairs the ability to get early insight into potential relationship problems.

Screen your Internet Relationships
People have created false senses of intimacy via internet relationships. I know of one woman who met a man from Iran on the internet and went there to marry him without ever having met him in person. It was a disaster and hard for her to get back to the states. He was nothing that he had represented himself as.

A false sense of relationship intimacy increases rapid personal disclosure. The relationship connection with someone online (that you have no idea if he is safe or not or who he says he is) becomes privy to a bulimic-like purge of personal problems and information. This is very common for women to rapidly disclose and over disclose personal and historical information. Dangerous and predatory men have stated that “women who rapidly and overly disclose make my approach easy.” Men who are not highly verbal in person may be very verbal online and the woman perceives this as ‘relationship,’ ‘connection,’ ‘knowledge about the person,’ and ‘intimacy.’

The internet increases relationship fantasy—you can be whoever you want to be with someone you aren’t sure you will ever meet. The increase in non-credible information about someone is significantly higher. People can lie about where they live, their marriage status, previous relationship history, career, appearance, or criminal history.

People who are unhappy in their marriage find internet relationships to be the perceived escape out of misery they have been seeking. Many are disappointed (or even horrified) to find the relationship online is all fantasy and not much reality. Women have left husbands for online men who never materialize. When it comes to who the person is or what the relationship is, they find it’s more about what the person has projected and fantasized the relationship to be—not what it will become in the future.

While it is unlikely that internet relationship seeking will ever disappear, women need to understand the risks of internet hook-ups and the ways it puts a woman at a distinct disadvantage in reading body language and red flags.

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