The Dangers of Cyber Relationships

September 28, 2016

Many couples today are formed through the internet. In many cases, they produce lasting and healthy relationships, but there are also plenty of cases that have not turned out so well. 

The focus of today’s conversation are the dangers of cyber relationships. We all know that there are millions of people on the internet, sitting behind a screen. It makes it very easy for them to portray a false identity or hide their defects.

When we see a person face to face, we see both their virtues and their flaws. So if we decide to enter a relationship it’s with a good sense of who they are as a person.

The fewer flaws we see in a person, the more illusion and infatuation we feel. The more flaws you see, the more it lessens the intensity of  those feelings, although we continue to admire them.

What happens when a relationship isn’t face-to-face?

When we are communicating with someone through a screen, we miss non-verbal language. The way a person looks at you, talks and laughs, and their overall presence is quite important.

Although it’s obvious that no one falls in love over a person’s physical appearance alone, there must be some attraction; something that moves on the inside of us.

It’s OK to get to know someone’s personality online, but we must be aware that this is only one part which must be complemented by another more important one, which is to meet in person. Only when the two facets (cyber and reality) join, can we say that we truly like someone.

ipad hearts

We’ve all seen stories online or on television about people who claim to be in love with someone whom they haven’t met in person. But that’s not real – those feelings are the product of their imagination.

That fantasy feeds on pleasant texts that we receive through a screen. Since there is no image we can see, the mind invents one, idealizing the other person and creating the prototype we desire.

Love through the internet has brought problems for many people. There are many disappointments, such as someone receiving photos that don’t look at all like the actual person, as well as sensitivity and understanding that, though given off in writing, aren’t part of the person’s true personality. 

Therefore it’s best not to insist that any cyber relationship become a real-life one, as soon as possible. The sooner we see the reality of the situation and deal with the person face to face, the sooner we can make an informed decision.

Why are emotions stronger online?

Many people claim to have had much stronger feelings with a person online than in reality. This is because face-to-face relationships have reality covered, and the eyes see what there is to see.

However, when a person has yet to see reality, the mind begins to imagine and create an idealized figure of what they would like to encounter. Of the person they believe would be ideal for them.

All of these things happen unconsciously. So, gradually the person enters into an illusion that they’ve created, until reaching such a great intensity that it has the potential to create more damage than really necessary.

I’ve known several cases of people that have suffered from having cyber relationships. Once they understood what the mind does when it doesn’t have enough real information, they managed to put their feet back on the ground and stop those false feelings dead in their tracks.

Talking to someone online without ever seeing them in person is like entering a fantasy world. The people who are most vulnerable to falling into the dangers of cyber relationships, are those who have a tendency to be dreamers and who are dissatisfied with their real lives.

couple online love

Five tips to follow if you decide to look for love online

  1. When you start having feelings for someone, remember that if you haven’t seen them in person, it’s not valid. Since your mind doesn’t have actual information, like you would if you were face-to-face, it begins to idealize and create a figure that’s unreal and quite different from the truth.
  2. Don’t engage solely in cyber relationships. It’s okay to start to get to know someone in writing, but this phase shouldn’t go on for too long. Getting to know someone through a screen should always include the intention of meeting shortly thereafter.
  3. Don’t build a relationship with someone who lives in a different country. I have known many cases of people who have fallen in love with someone they can’t see, because they live in another country and have spent years communicating virtually. Suffering for a love that can’t be, because everyone has a life and a job back home and most aren’t able to move easily. People who do this engage in an imaginary platonic love.
  4. Forget about people who are married or committed, even if they say the relationship is about to end. Many people fall into delusions of this type. The committed person reassures the other that, although they’re currently in a relationship, it’s not going well and they’re about to separate. But in almost all of these cases, they’re simply trying to convince the person in question so they can be unfaithful to their partners. With so many people you could meet, why risk it with someone who contributes problems from the very start?
  5. Keep in mind that you never know who you might be speaking with. Anyone can be kind, caring, attentive and practically perfect through a screen. But behind that screen could hide someone with a psychological disorder which doesn’t allow them to have regular relationships in real life, or who creates a false life for themselves as they go.

The dangers of cyber relationships increase when real life isn’t satisfactory, since people seek online what they haven’t achieved in reality. One must be very careful, because just like there are honest people online who are worth meeting, there are also people on the complete opposite of the spectrum who are sick and deceiving.

Images courtesy of Alexander Kuznetsov and JenavieveMarie