What matters is prudence and knowing yourself well. That way, the Internet is not only another symbol of success or failure in the search for the perfect relationship, because you’re an important factor to make it work.
Life on the Internet involves a multiplicity of facets and forms of conduct. Today, undoubtedly, the Internet serves all tastes and ages. Social networks that are now functioning as social clubs of the past generate the possibility of "flirting", of immediate contacts and, from this, of all the advances that characterize relationships in general.
It's always been hard for some people to find their "other half". There have been, and still exists, cultures where the family seeks and chooses a husband or wife for their children.
The internet has come to facilitate this, because there’s nothing more practical than knowing someone without getting off the couch, especially when new technologies allow information to come more and more complete. We can know how the person is physically, hear her voice and know her ideas even before she is in front of you.
Not to mention that the Internet increases the number of people who might know each other. People who don’t go to the same places or who don’t have friends in common would be totally impossible to get to know each other. But with the Internet there are no limits.
Relationship websites open doors for people of any age. People who might be inhibited by being singles shortly after long relationships may be more comfortable on the internet due to the possibility of "successive approximations", meaning you don’t have to go on a conversation and come face to face with a new person. Gentler contacts can be made with quick messages and for short periods of time, until the person feels more comfortable to talk openly with someone he has never seen.
Timid and introverted people also have a chance to gradually move into social interactions so that they feel the courage to talk more about themselves.
For years the Internet has been influencing the deconstruction of patterns of behavior in affective relationships: virtual knowledge irreversibly modifies live relationships. People today, much more detached from this type of relationship, goes to concrete relationships, with the possibility of starting something with greater awareness.
For those who are attentive and familiar with the language of the Web and the subtleties that appear between the lines of conversation, you risk an affective undertaking derived from this knowledge, more secure of what you can find and you have more defined what you’ll develop or consolidate. Of course that surprises always occur. Being alert to what is projected in the other and the authentic reality of who this other is, will always be a primordial question, in the virtual aspect or outside it. Blaming the Internet for not providing the ideal pair, or for camouflaging aspects of the other's personality, wouldn’t be fair within this approach.
You need to know what you want and be clear about that, to others and to yourself
Despite all announced progress, the human being remains the same in his personal pursuits and needs. The point is that most are still unaware of what really drives their desires, longings and pursuits.
For example, many men look for self-sufficient women and delight in their virtual conversations. When they know them, however, deep down they want to be the classical males, craving to see the females in their “right” place. Note that this is just one example that can create confusion. The opposite may also occur when independent women seek men who value them as such.
The conversation via the Internet rolls in this direction, enchanting both, but when things start to get real, everything looks very different. When the woman explodes in its most primitive needs, somehow requiring that this guy one protects her, evidencing an emotional aspect not previously combined in the virtual conversation, the guy gets confused. People, in general, have no idea how they work. With no clue about themselves, they seek someone in the projected patterns, without the least correspondence with what they are in intimacy.
Sometimes, you’re lucky and everything goes well, but this doesn’t always happen. Therefore, the importance of self-analysis and self-knowledge is very important, and in this case, it doesn’t matter if you met the other person through the Internet or not.
Both men and women use the virtual world to get to know each other. There’s no prevalence of genders in this type of search.
Social networks, like every version of online communication, can be good or bad. See that we’re going through the age of "everyone hears, everyone gives feedback" and this builds true communication via the Internet. The way in which the network is used – the overexposure – can only better evidence the personalities of the ones involved.
Anyone looking for a relationship on the internet should be alert and with a reasonable prior knowledge of himself. The danger posed by the new "tribes" and the trivialization of difficult emotional situations often function as a distortion of what is considered as normal and viable. Teenagers are often the most impaired in this regard.
How to make a relationship that started on the internet work?
There are no ready-made recipes or templates offering a solution. Trying to understand the magic that makes people like this or like that, what brings people together, has always been a compelling mystery to artists and scientists; for men and women; for lovers and abandoned.
Marriage and the affective bond between two people wasn’t always lived in the way we know it today. The idea of marriage for love and romantic love is relatively recent in human history. The idea of romantic love arose in medieval times, associated with platonic love and in a way not linked to marriage. This form of stable, monogamous and eternal union, associated with love, brings us back to the last century. But because of the differences in power at the time between male and female genders, it’s hard to imagine that the choices were really free.
Today, the idea of choosing love reaches its peak. The "other half" dream is something that many people seek. Though many claim they no longer believe in such thing, all of us are searching for a partner. This may seem strange, when we find that the amount of separations also seems to be greater than at any other time in history. The question is inevitable: why, when we have greater freedom to make choices guided by our feelings, do marriages seem to last so little? Is there really such a quest after love?
It occurs, however, that beyond the idea of romantic love, another ideal is placed for us in the present day: individualism. In addition to ask us to find someplace that’s only ours in this planet, we also look for someone who will satisfy us completely. Society almost compels us to be rich, professionally well-placed, personally resolved, beautiful, effective, among many other difficult goals for us "mere mortals".
These two ideals – which may seem antagonistic (romanticism and individualism) – that are present when we speak of the choice of love, are very close, for they touch on the following point: they place the other in the role of the one who exists to make us happy, like someone who answers only to us. Dating, marriage, or any closer loving bond gets the difficult role of being perfect: either because it completes (so there is no place for failure), or because no one needs it ("if I have to work so hard for it, then it’s better to be alone").
So, starting an Internet relationship can work?
There’s no denying the important role that dating sites, chats, emails and all other forms of communication between people via the Internet are becoming even more important on this search for a loving partner.
Every day, thousands of people communicate over the Internet in an effort to find someone who meets their expectations of completeness and, at the same time, of freedom. Some of these dates "work out", others don’t. As it always has been and perhaps will always be.
But the Internet provides an element that seems fundamental in the first moment of conquest, but which can be a weapon for or against its success: the possibility of people taking refuge in fantasy. To match this ideal of non-frustration, people must also be perfect.
At this point, the virtual space provided by the internet facilitates the creation of fantasies and idealizations, which can be very seductive at the beginning of a relationship, but which bring in their core the risk of increasing the frustrations while this relationship unfolds.
Some characteristics of Internet contact (anonymity, the possibility of experiencing other facets of our personality, the lack of commitment), facilitate some "disguise" of our fragilities and difficulties, which are not seen with good eyes today. We try to look perfect and the other person tries that as well. In this way, idealization, which to a certain extent is always present in the bond of love, can prevent this relationship from surviving a face-to-face contact.
Virtual relationships can work when the two sides have genuine interest in each other. No one has the intention of hurting anyone and it’s a relationship between the two people. And that goes for friendship, love, romance, marriage and whatever else exists. I find it funny when I hear someone say they dated or even married someone they met online, but now I know this is not unlikely or strange. It just happens. It’s not because the person lives far away that you were not born to relate to her. In fact, nothing in life is an impediment to anything. You want, you chase after it.
Just like any relationship, no one has the guarantee that it will last forever, but it doesn’t hurt to try, right? I have longtime and childhood friends who today are not as close as people with whom I have contact only over the internet. Would it be strange to say that I've only seen my best friend once in the last year? It isn’t! He remains my best friend, even though I don’t see him more often. Of course, living with the person only reinforces the bonds (or unties everything, once and for all), but it doesn’t mean that it is strictly fundamental.
So, what to do?
As always, there are no "recipes” or pre-made solutions! However, we can propose, as an alternative to this difficult moment of transition, that we try to show ourselves in full (be it on the net, in a bar, in a cinema or in a club) with our imperfections and potentialities. And at the same time, keep in mind that there is another person in front of us who, like us, is both frightened and delighted with the possibility of a new love affair; or, who knows, the famous other half!
Relationships are based on trust, affinity and interest, and this you can find either in the person sitting next to you at work or in class, in someone who lives on the other side of the world or in someone on the other side of your screen. Making it work is up to you both.