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» Scarleteen Boards: 2000 - 2014 (Archive) » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » Sexual Ethics and Politics » "Virtual" Relationships

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Author Topic: "Virtual" Relationships
Executive Director & Founder
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Many, many people are starting relationships based on personals, e-mail or internet chat. Sometimes it's safe, and other times it isn't, but the major risk is that the people involved are working far more in fantasy than in reality.

Have you ever started a relationship this way? What happened? What do you think about "e-lationships," anyway?

Posts: 68290 | From: An island near Seattle | Registered: May 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
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Hi again,

I really disapprove of "e-relationships", but I actually met my first boyfriend thru the Internet and he was really the best thing that ever happened to me. He wasn't a crook at all: he showered me with gifts and love, bought me anything I wanted, and was really good to me. He didn't pressure me for anything in return, and was good to me right till the end. He was the same age as I was then - 17 - and we both shared the same interests. I broke up with him after meeting my present bf (sometimes I regret it a little). Our relationship lasted 10 months.

The thing is, with a virtual relationship, you're really taking a gamble. I guess I was really lucky: the guy I was involved with was 100% honest (he never lied to me about anything), and he wasn't into it for anything (e.g. sex, money, etc). But I've read a lot about young girls being tricked into having sex with this unknown guy on a first date, or being duped of their cash or valuables. It happens a lot where I live (not the US), and there is growing concern over this trickery business. Ever since the Internet became popular here and people started entering chatrooms 'n' stuff the number of rape cases here shot up, and there're even cases of pedophilia. The stories can get pretty gross.

I think nothing beats the sensation of a true, real-life relationship. At least you know who you're dealing with. Here's an example to illustrate: a girl I read about in the papers had been communicating with this guy who claimed to be 15 years old (the girl was 11 herself). They had been communicating for about 6 months after which they decided to meet. The girl went alone to meet the guy at the void deck of an apartment block. The guy turned out to be 24. He molested the girl (luckily it didn't turn out to be rape 'cos it was daytime and in a public place, so not too much hanky panky can happen, but just imagine....) and tried to use his finger to penetrate her (but failed; she ran away). The guy was caught in the end.

The situation could have been worse. It's a gamble really.

as cloudy as you can get.....

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Hi MizScarlet,

I hope you don't mind me posting here, since you already know me from another board, and if you think that I shouldn't then I won't, but I did feel compelled to respond to this one.

I've never been romantically involved with anyone over the net, but I have made some very good friends online, and I have observed enough people getting into online relationships to be able to comment.

The net is often better for getting to know someone than RL. While there's a lot of people scared about perverted 50 year olds out there looking for cybersex from 13 year old girls, the truth is that with many people, they are able to be more honest because they aren't constrained by the social conditioning that they have to put up with IRL. As such, it is easier to get to know someone. You're also getting to know them for who they are, rather than for what they look like, or anything like that.

From what I've seen it also depends on where you go to meet them. You could walk into a Miscellaneous chat on Yahoo, and find someone who becomes a great friend- but you're just as likely to walk into a random pinball palour IRL and find someone like that. Most people who end up falling for each other, IMO, probably met up in some place where there were people discussing common interests, such as online Role-Playing groups, Newsgroups, Message Boards and the like. From what I have seen this is the case. In these cases it is often easier to find people you gel with than it is IRL, because you've got people with your same interests from all over the world at your fingertips.

HOWEVER (and it is a big "however" that's why I posted it in capitals ), online relationships often end in heartbreak, due to the nasty little factor of distance, especially if you've got two people in different countries together. I knew one guy on the net, an American, who fell in love with a girl from Australia. It just ended up in heartbreak (at least for him, I really don't know how she felt about it, since I didn't speak to her online). The times when I have seen it work out for people have been when they lived close enough to each other to meet up IRL and begin their relationship there. And those relationships do normally work out quite well- they have the big advantage that the relationship is based on communication; always a good thing.

If you do get into an online relationship, do look at it realistically- consider whether or not you can meet up IRL, but before you even think about that, do make sure you're not doing anything foolish. How long have you known the person? I've heard some people say they've fallen for someone over the net after knowing them for a month- just consider, in RL, would you really think that you knew someone well enough to be in love with them after one month? It's possible, but unlikely. While you might be more honest and more able to meet the "real" person online, remember that chatting on ICQ or AOL is a lot slower than chatting IRL- what might take half an hour in Real Time might take two hours online- so if you're basing your feelings on maybe two 2-hour chats a week for four weeks, I'd recommend getting to know them better.

And do be careful. There are wierdos out there- and the younger you are, the more precautions I recommend that you take. If the relationship is something that has real potential, then you will keep in touch over the net- there is no hurry to meet up IRL- just so long as the potential to do so is there. One of the people I know who is now with a guy she met online didn't even tell him her real name until they'd known each other for a year online.

The net can be a great way to meet people, especially for people who are in the traditional outcast roles at school. But you have to use your common sense- much of this common sense is the same as what you would use IRL- if someone seems a bit dodgy, then trust your instincts. And you do have to be realistic, unfortunately. If you live in New York and your loved one lives in London- especially if you're a teenager from a family with an average income- it's probably not going to be possible to have a long term romantic relationship with this person. But hey, if you find out that both of you live in Conetticut, you've known each other for a while online, and you want to give it a go- well, it could be the start of something great.

Posts: 2710 | From: Australia | Registered: Jun 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Executive Director & Founder
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Beppie and Cloudy,
What excellent diverse viewpoints and issues for folks to think about from you both!

(and Beppie, welcome! Good to see you

Posts: 68290 | From: An island near Seattle | Registered: May 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
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Hey. I just found this place. Well I was in a online relationship. Um, one of my concerns was him saying the truth or not. But after I got to know him there were things about him that other people would of hidden. We never talked about things really sexual. We bothed agreed on getting to know eachother. We met from rping and we were friends for two months before we went out. We became close but we both hid info about ourselves. Like the city we live in and address. We never said those. He is the one that thought normal mail would not be good because I might not trust him if he had mine. I mean alot of relationships end up breaking up. My brother is in love and lives in Texas with his once was just his online girlfriend. Thats a success story. I mean everyone has breakups everywhere there is usually only one relationship that you havent broken up and thats the one your in right now. There is my two cents.

Posts: 3 | From: USA | Registered: Jun 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
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I would like to say that online relationships, or rather meeting someone online, can be great, and safe.

I met my current boyfriend online in a teen chat. he had a friend with him and i had a friend with me and we just talked and goofed around for a while. He lived 2000 miles away from me and only a little while ago came to meet me. Yes, it was very very stressful knowing that he was so far away, but i was able to deal with it knowing that he would be comming someday.

For a long time while i was just talking to him i was afraid that when we did meet that i would dissapoint him in some way. But he has reassured me that i could look like a 500 pound man and he would still love me because he fell in love with my personaltiy and not my body. and by the way he wasnt dissapointed in me even though i am not his "dream girl"

The reason i believe it can be more safe is: if you walk into a club (or anywhere else for that matter) to meet someone they could still lie to you and do all that stuff that could happen with online people. and you are in more danger since they could just grab you and rape you or what not. I have seen some of my friends meet guys in teen clubs then find out they were lying to them about the same thing you get lied to about online.

I think that the only downfall of beggining a relationship online (if you find the right person) is the distance. I dont think there should be strictly online relationships but i think that its ok to meet people online if you are very careful. but the distance thing is hard, especially if there is no way to go and visit eah other.I had to wait a little over 3 months to finally see my man. But its been great ever since.

Everything has its upsides and downsides. And we constantly hear stories of girls getting raped my men they meet online, well what about all those stories about girls getting raped by men the met in real life? the online stories just feed to the anxiety of something new. and the internet is new in these terms. not yet even a decade old to the public. No matter what you do there is always a chance that something bad can happen. But like in real life if you are careful and responsable then your chances of being hurt are much less.

Oh and before i met my boyfriend guy would always aske me if i would be their online girlfirend. That is the biggest load of dookie ive ever heard. That means all they want is a little cyber so they can get off and just have a pretend girlfriend. I dont mind cyber but im not gonna call someone my boyfriend just to get some of it. LAME! I know i would never meet them in real life, there is no reasin to waste my time on that.

but thats just my opinion.

Posts: 523 | From: Ashland, Oregon, US | Registered: Jun 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
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Hey everyone...I'm new here, so bear with me. ::grin:: As for having relationships online, it's an iffy kind of thing for me. I've met some great people online, but who knows if they're telling the truth? I, for one, have lied about my age online, so why wouldn't other people? The thing that happened with me, though, was that I met this amazing guy online...He's not the cutest, but has a great personality and we have so much to talk about...Not to mention the sexual attraction between us(Which is very intense). Anyway, we met each other in person after conversing both online and on the phone for about a year. He lives fairly close by, so it wasn't too hard. Anyway, things went great. We had a blast. We continued to see each other and talk to each other more often, and I eventually lost my virginity to him. It was so perfect...Until his GIRLFRIEND contacted me. She got my number off of his caller ID, and when she found out that he had been cheating on her with me for the past 2 years, she was devastated...And so was I. I took it a little better than her, though. He ended up having to get a restraining order on her. I was thoroughly(sp?) pissed, but we're working on being friends again. And to everyone out there...Be VERY careful when meeting someone outside the online world. Meet the person in a public place. There are some whack jobs out there. Peace.
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The thing is Wildchica, is that it's like Etch said- there's risks involved in any relationship, whether it starts online or off. What that guy did to you was inexcusable, but plently of guys who have never had an online relationship have done that too.
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yeah thats exactly what i meant beppie. i just think its wrong to judge all online relationships because of one bad one. or for parents and the media (and anyone else) to judge all online relationships because of the instances where people did get seriously hurt.
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Ooh. I have experience here. ::hops on in::

I'lll start with someone else's story, then I'll go onto my own.

My aunt met her fiance on the internet. They're in love now, and they get along very well. Not to mention they're adorable together. So, in some cases, OL (online) relationships are good, other times, not. It depends on the people involved.

I seem to last longer in OL relationships then RL (real life) realtionships. My longest RL relationship was three weeks, my longest OL one was six months. See what I mean? What happened was that with the OL ones, I fell in love, or I was more emotionally attracted than physically; I'd fall for them before I saw their pictures. RL ones seemed more based on physical appearance. It may seem shallow, but its the way it was.

My onlien girlfriend and I recently broke up, around three weeks ago. I love her. (Seeing how as real love never fades away) On the other hand, I'm also in love with a guy in RL. And I have crusehs on various girl and guys OL and in RL. So its rather confusing. I have a boyfriend in RL who I had doubts with after a week, but I got over it.

So. In conclusion from this mess of ranting about my love life, internet relationships can be good if you know the person well and trust them

"So what do we do now?"
"We go forward."

[This message has been edited by mentalxashtray (edited July 13, 2000).]

Posts: 62 | From: Here. I assume.. that you're there. | Registered: Jul 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
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Yes!! I had a relationship like that once. I met this guy names Lewis while I was down in South Carolina <I live in Delaware> online who lived in Delaware! It happens that he thought I was someone else when he first started talking to me. But then he realized that it wasnt who he thought it was. but we kept on talking anyway. We talked every night on the computer for a week and he even called me in south carolina a couple of times. Well, we made a date back at my house for pizza and to swim in my pool. And the date was wonderful! It was really laid back and my mom really liked him. We dated for about 3-4 months and then we broke up because of distance. He lived a 1/2 hour away from me and I didnt have a car at the time so I couldnt travel up to see him. and it was hard for him to pay for gay and since I didnt have a job, I cou,ldnt help him.... But he was a really nice guy,. Not all relationships turn out like that one.

Give it all you got.. and if that doesn't work, give it some more!!!

Posts: 145 | From: Dover, Delaware USA | Registered: Jun 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
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I was an admin of an Internet community for somewhere around 8 months, and watched a lot of this happen around me. I encountered the guys 'looking for love'- several men of various ages and locations had crushes on me, though I always refused to give them much personal info. Looking for love on the internet, as it turns out, is just as perilous as looking for love in the real world. The people you find are not who you might choose were you acting anything other than desparate- and you are (at least from my personal observations) more likely to end up with a broken heart. I watched relationships form, and end, broken up by mutual incompatability. I also watched distances get in the way of what was thought to be true love.

Now, after watching these various people come and go, there was a guy who I knew for nearly a year and a half, just as a friend. He met a girl on the 'net, fell in love with her and went out with her after a month. She had just gotten a divorce, cried on his shoulder, and left him. She was seven years older. He was heartbroken.

We were still friends, and had never thought of being more. Eventually, things changed, we decided to meet (with lots of various precautions taken, public place, proof of identification, and so on).

RULE: If they try to tell you that you should trust them more than to ask them to prove themselves, tell them to go screw themselves, since they won't be raping you.

Anyhow, all was done, the meeting went well, and that one and I are still going strong. But, and here's the big but-

It's just like RL, really. Friendships that blossom into romances are a lot better bets than spur of the moment 'I met you today- I love you instantly!' One month, as my current can testify, is not enough. A year may not be enough.

Don't seek it out, don't hurry it, and be very careful. The danger is real, but not everyone on the 'net is a bloodsucking pedophile. If they really care about you and they really do want to meet you, also, then asking them to provide definite assurances is not outrageous. Have them fax you some proof of identity, perhaps. Do the same for them. If you really trust each other, it will only be an issue of mutual assurance. It's just like a condom-if you really care each other, it's not going to break the mood to make sure you're both safe.

Meeting in a safe place is also key. Public is your friend. Daylight is also your friend. Don't take risks. Once you've assured yourself, then things can proceed... however. Just don't think that 'net relationships are any different from RL ones in all their pitfalls and problems. Be strong, assertive, and watch out for yourself. No one else will.

What about being a minor? Ahh, yes. A problem that, yes, I personally faced in the beginning. A lot of parents are wary and paranoid of the Internet- and yes, there are reasons that do make some sense. As I said, it ain't dream-boy and sweet-heart. However, some assume that _everyone_ out there is out for blood, which is simply not true. You may think they will never let something like this happen. But think very, very, _very_ carefully before you decide to take something like this RL without their knowledge. In my case, it very nearly ended things before they ever began. No matter how smart you think you are, no matter how sneaky you think you can be- don't do it lightly. Remember- counting days until you are 18 is an option. It's an option in a lot of things.

Also, as Beppie mentioned above- location matters. I met my boyfriend in a place for roleplaying- a place where the title did not include the words 'teen' 'sex' 'love' or anything else like that. Consider meeting someone in a single's bar versus meeting them on, say, a tennis court if you like tennis, or in an arcade if you're a game fanatic. Common interest does matter, and people in those above ('teensexlove' whatever) chatrooms are probably a lot more likely to be 50-year-old pervs out for a jacking.

Anyhow, that's a lot- but in summary- be smart, don't look too hard, keep your wits about you, and watch your own back. And have fun. Yes, you can do it all.

Silver (successful survivor- flourisher! of a net-relationship)

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Great post silver!

Give it all you got.. and if that doesn't work, give it some more!!!

Posts: 145 | From: Dover, Delaware USA | Registered: Jun 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
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I met a really great guy online once. I don't find anything wrong with online relationships as long as you are careful and don't give out too much info. The guy I talked to was very trustworthy- he lives 1 city away from me, and he wrote me every day and sent me pictures.


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Hi all !
Personnaly I think that "e-lationships" are ok depending on how sincere you think the other person is. And by the way, if the person lives in another city or so, kinda far I don't think it's good.

One day I was in a chat room and I chatted with an interesting girl. As we started talking I knew she was sincere and I discobered that she was going to a girls-only college a few streets of my house. We then discussed for a few months on ICQ until we decide to meet each other after school. She was a really nice girl with who I had a crush on after we met. After a time I asked her if she felt something for me and she said no so we just are good friends.

As I said, it depends of the person, although some can be really good liars. I was lucky in a certain way so I guess that everyone can have their own opinion on this one. So if anyone would like to meet someone like that, try to know the person for a few months before to see if their says are sincere and not contradictional (spell?).


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the online stories just feed to the anxiety of something new.

Exactly my point. People get raped by people that they meet through personal services. People get raped by people that they meet at the movies. People get raped by people they meet at stores...well, you get my point.

I met my boyfriend online. He lives in the same city that I live in, so that was a definate plus. We actually met on a newsgroup for a band that we're both huge fans of I ended up meeting him at that band's show The thing though, is that it wasn't a physical thing at all. I never saw a picture of him until a few weeks before we decided to meet. I'd been talking to him for about a year before that, and I knew that it was for real. I was in love with him, not his looks...which is something I rarely was able to find in my tiny suburb.

BUT, just because I happened to meet a wonderful guy, doesn't mean that everyone is going to. I guess we never really were looking for each other, we weren't even looking for anyone (We started talking because we were trading a CD-R show, lol) We were on "just friends" terms basically when we met, but then it progressed

One thing that I would be very cautious about when meeting someone offline that you know from online, is that you've gotta remember that you only know the part of that person that they want you to see. You only know their positives, what they've chosen to tell you. Therefore, they could be dealing with something that you strongly disagree with, even though they seem like a perfect angel through the pixels.

"Can't this wait til I'm old?"-Phish

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My experience:

At the end of 98, I met a girl online. She's probably the only good thing AOL ever did for me.

It was the first day I had my modem, which is kinda romantic, I guess.

We swapped pictures after 2-3 months, and gradually grew closer and closer. After 2 months, I knew I loved her - at least as much as you can love a set of characters and the occasional phone call.

We took things slowly, and they went well. We kept "seeing" each other very regularly, even with my hideously busy studies (you have NO idea!).

Through it all, probably the only things that made it last was our openness and trust. We could talk things out, and we could trust each other not to cheat.
Also, it helped that we got PC-telephony set up. We weren't just text any more - a human voice goes a long way.

Eventually my degree finished, and I got to visit her. After 18 months of waiting, it was 3 months of pure bliss.
Again, we didn't rush. It took some time before we were at a sexual level, and I think it was worth it.
In some ways, meeting a virtual lover is like meeting a new person - theres a definite need to "fade in" the physical side to things.You're used to each others thoughts and voices, but the body that goes with that is still new. And I'm not just talking about the sexual side to things.

At the end of it, I proposed. Before I left to visit her, I'd told myself that I wouldn't propose for a while yet. I'd always planned to marry after I was 25.
This just felt right - things worked that well. For the record, I never make a decision lightly. This wasn't youthful impetuosity.

Unfortunately, she's one of you nasty little Americans, and I'm Australian. There were visa problems and now I probably won't be able to go back til the end of the year.

So, given my experience, whats my take on this?
Online relationships can work, and work brilliantly. Or they can turn into horror stories.
Whats the difference? Common sense, basically. You cannot eliminate all the risk, but a bit of sense goes a long way.

For instance, it is usually possible to independently verify their location using your computer. Its also possible to gauge their age from their voice, over the phone.

But the important thing is time. Its nice to be able to run across town and meet em after a month, but should you do it? Is it safe?

All I can say is, unless you're dead sure of things, try to meet in a neutral place, with friends around.

As far as children and e-relationships go, I'd say its a major no-no. If I had a child - of either gender - who was in one, I'd think long and hard about letting it continue. Its a risk for adults, but I shudder to think what could happen to a kid.

Posts: 915 | From: Australia | Registered: Aug 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
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God, everyone on these boards actually thinks... it's a miracle! I think meeting someone online isn't really different from meeting them anyplace else. People are people, and you can usually take the measure of a person by talking to them and inferring clues from their responses. Others will say "Well, you just met this person online. You don't really know anything about them." But, you don't really know anything about anyone in RL either. Both environments allow creeps to hide information about themselves quite easily. Another thing people say is that e-lationships are too illusory. Granted, many of them are. However, it's possible for any type of relationship to be firmly anchored in a fantasy world - like the person who, despite the mistreatment they receive from their partner, steadfastly refuses to acknowledge their partner's defects. I suppose that what I'm saying is that I feel that as long as you initially view the person with a healthy dose of optimistic skepticism (just enough to protect yourself from horrible people, who are many in this world), it doesn't matter whether your relationship begins online or not. Just watch your back.
Posts: 55 | From: West Sand Lake (aka Cow Pasture), NY | Registered: Aug 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator

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