|How chat rooms, e-mail, and singles sites have changed the rules concerning courtship.|
A primary relationship between two people originating from having contacted each other initially through the Internet; a romance conducted using the Internet exclusively.
Chat room Romances
It began with the introduction of three Internet tools: chat, e-mail, and singles search sites. The ability to enter a chat room using a nickname alias to talk with members of the opposite sex is overwhelmingly inviting to most people. Although the first chat rooms were very basic and required several clicks to add a line of text, they are now very quick, graphically pleasing, and some (including one on this site) allow you to import your own photo (pic) to represent yourself each time you make a statement in the room.
Of course the chat room feature that has resulted in a literal boom of Internet romances is the instant message (IM) or private chat (pvt). These tools allow chatters the freedom to engage another willing individual in a private conversation. When people sense that they are "connecting" with someone, the excitement of being able to explore a romantic possibility without having to reveal one's true identity or too much private information becomes very tempting.
Depending upon the two people involved, "cybering" (virtual sex using word descriptions) can become part of the relationship. Although, it is definitely non-traditional, one must admit that it would definitely qualify as "safe. sex." There are those who are content to enjoy an ongoing romance with someone they will never actually meet. On the other hand, there are others who experience a growing attraction to each other and eventually consummate their love. This can either take the form of two single people who literally find soulmates on the net to a married woman getting on a plane and running off to Europe to be with her virtual lover (it happens).
To those who would condemn the use of chat rooms to connect with others for romantic reasons, we must make the point that committed people who use this means to find romance are definitely looking to fill a need that is not being met in their offline relationships. In such cases, the responsibility falls upon both parties; the chat user to back off from using chat rooms and their mate who should take the time to analyze what part they are playing in leaving their lover feeling unfulfilled enough to seek this venue to fill interpersonal needs. Denying culpability in regard to this could be very damaging to a committed relationship.
Finally, it must be said that, like all forms of human communication, the allure that chat provides is the ability to interact with another human being with the ability to do so anonymously. That is, until one or the other feels comfortable and trusting enough to provide any personal information. As a result, there are many who have abandoned their televisions and other interests in favor of this new medium. Each person must decide for themselves as to the degree of time, energy, emotion, risk, and fulfillment that is derived from a virtual romance or relationship.
It is natural for those who connect with each other via chat or singles search sites to get to know more about each other using e-mail. Some find no need to pursue the relationship any further, whereas, most eventually decide to meet. The most interesting facet of e-mail romances is that it gives both parties an advantage that they do not have in real time. Each one can really get to know the other; how he/she thinks, views life, approaches relationships, etc., without the fear of being rejected due to physical characteristics. This is especially inviting to women due to the male tendency to judge them solely by their looks. Of course, it can work both ways. Furthermore, as virtual relationships progress the need to see what each other looks like becomes an important factor. As a result, photos can be sent in the form of e-mail attachments (assuming that they are authentic). Still, the sender maintain
control in deciding which "pics" to send.
The net effect of taking time to get to know someone using e-mail is that an actual first meeting between virtual lovers takes on a completely different tone than when strangers meet for the first time. Even though such a meeting would be the first time they have actually made either visual or physical contact with each other, there is a definite understanding between the two that they are at least friends, if not already emotionally involved with each other. Still, like any other kind of interaction between two people, this could be very misleading or the best thing that could possibly ever have happened to either of them.
Singles Search Sites
How would you like to have the ability to read profiles and see actual photos of people living within fifty miles of your home who are looking for someone just like you?
Believe it or not, the Internet has made this a simple process. All one has to do is know where to go to get started. Those who place their ads on this type of site have relationship needs that span everything from searching for a permanent mate to simply finding a pen pal.
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