How Does One Cultivate A "Romantic Relationship" Online?
For the record, I'm not condemning anything, nor am I passing judgment. I'm merely questioning, which I believe we're still allowed to do.
On the one hand, I really think it's a great story. I do. You hear so many horror stories of online buddies finally meeting, only to result in unfortunate disaster, and this certainly seems encouraging and downright heartwarming. And as the currently happy couple is engaged, I wish them the best of luck in the future.
You can read the story through the link; basically, the two met in an online lobby playing Halo 3 five years ago. That much, I can accept. I can accept that the two have stayed in touch during that span of time, and it makes sense that their meeting - captured on video for the world to see - was the duo's first in the physical world. But then there's this- "The couple met five years ago in a Halo 3 game lobby, became virtual best friends, and began a romantic relationship two years ago, and met for the first time in March."
Hence, they say the were in a romantic relationship for two years, right? You'll have to forgive me, but being at least a former student of psychology (and a continuing student of humanity in general), I have to wonder how one would create, maintain, and cultivate a "romantic relationship" exclusively through alternate forms of communication. Let's face it, that's what everything besides face-to-face interaction is: Alternatives. If we had the choice, we should choose the only form of interaction that has proven effective for human relationships.
I can see keeping tabs on someone and even remaining friends through the digital wonders of email, Skype, and various social services. Heck, you could be talking and even seeing each other at least once a day, which is in all actuality more often than some couples who live together. ...okay, sorry for the cheap shot at monogamy there. But the fact remains that when romance is factored in, that mysterious magical quality that has been the muse of many a master's pen since the beginning of time requires one thing. It requires two people to see and touch one another.
There's just no way around that...is there?
Without it, the correct foundations for actual romance can't really exist, can they? Friendship, certainly; I can see becoming friends online because you two have a lot in common and get along, but romance involves vastly deeper feelings and emotions that metaphorically starve to death without physical nourishment. And I'm not talking about sex, either. Although difficult and uncommon, romance has thrived in the absence of sex. No, I'm referring to the general nearness of the object of one's desire; that inexplicable, all-powerful urge to simply hold a hand, graze a shoulder, or - God forbid - look deep into their eyes.
Those are the sort of connections that are exclusive to the physical realm, and are also essential for romance to bloom. And if that's the case, how is it possible for anything even approaching the ridiculous complexity of love be fostered without the necessary building blocks? I only ask, as a humble and interested party.
7/17/2012 8:53:53 PM Ben Dutka