Is Virtual Dating like Being Blindfolded?

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People all over the world are meeting and falling in love through the Internet.

They claim that the emotional connection they feel is real - despite the fact that they haven't yet laid their eyes on that other person.

Women send me email testimonials, describing how they "knew"

they'd met the love of their life online long before meeting him in-person.

Considering that they sometimes end up in happy, real life, long-term relationships with those men who started out as cyber loves, does that mean they really did "know"...

...or did they just get lucky?

Love-at-no-sight has never happened to me, though I did the online dating thing for a while.

In fact, when I was single, it always took me a while to feel confident that I liked a man - let alone loved him - even after I'd laid my eyes on him!

But love plays out in a unique way for every two people who find each other.

And just as people of days gone by used hand-written letters to woo potential mates, now we use technology to do it.2

My blog buddy Wendy (GoodCleanLove) wonders about this.

In a recent email, she asked a good question:

"Are we connected to others when we only share words on a screen?"

She also wrote this:

"Real intimate connections don't happen on the phone, in a text messageor on IM: they require a real-life presence when we pay full attentionto the people we live with.

Empathy grows in our brain through eyecontact, voice recognition, and touch - all of the time-intensive waysof knowing another person well enough that we can't objectify them."

I'd add - so that we can't romanticize them.

Therein lies a major problem with meeting someone of romantic interest online - through a dating site, blog, or discussion forum: no virtual reality check.

And before you know it, you've invested all that time and energy in a cyber love, created an elaborate fantasy about him, and then discovered one day, in-person, that you don' t look, smell, or feel right to each other.

He might even turn out to be kind of scary, upclose and personal.

Then again, you can meet someone in your day-to-day life, and still take some time to figure out that he's scary.

Love can be blind, even when you're looking right at the person.

So...what do you think about this idea of falling in love cyber-style, with someone you've never met.

As good an idea as most when it comes to lucking out in love?2

Or not-so-good an idea.

***

I've never experienced serious love-at-no-sight over the Internet.

But I have gotten to know some amazing people through blogging - some of whom I wouldn't recognize if they walked right up to me!

And the connection I feel to them sure seems real...

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