The border between offline and virtual life almost completely erased. On the Internet, we buy and sell, find work and travel companions, and start a relationship. Communication on different sides of the screen is convenient at the first stage of acquaintance - it allows you to make a choice, almost without wasting time and emotional energy. With its help, it is easy to maintain relationships at a distance: virtual hugs in video chat may well become an alternative to a real meeting, and sexting - to physical intimacy. But sometimes communication begins, continues and ends exclusively on the Internet, so that the participants never meet, hold hands and do not steal fries from each other from the plate. We talked to various girls about the pros and cons of online romance.
Interview: Irina Kuzmicheva
I was nineteen years old. At that time, Odnoklassniki, by and large, was the only dating site, a real passage yard. We got to know each other trite: he liked my photos, I wrote something back. I bought a pretty picture, he bought daring answers. Later, however, it turned out that the avatar had a photo of another person, but by that time I had already become attached to a virtual acquaintance. He was funny, not like everyone else.
There was correspondence on social networks and constant SMS during working hours. The communication was very intense, with a rare break for the day - even when he was on a business trip or if we had an argument. No calls or videos - it was encrypted. A few months later, I found out why he does not invite me on a date: his wife, children. I mentally put an end to these "relationships", but we continued to communicate - I became very attached. For this format, the story lasted a long time, about a year and a half. It was like an obsession: we always had something to talk about, the topics did not end. The absurdity of the situation is that we both had feelings, but we never met.
The story ended when I began an office romance - a real one - which I honestly confessed to my virtual "love". We deleted each other's numbers and then very rarely got in touch by email. At the same time, feelings for a man, about whom I, in fact, knew nothing, were quite real. I needed it: at that time a loved one passed away and it was not easy. Probably, the emotions from communication filled the emptiness inside, saved from the depressive abyss.
However, I would not like to repeat this experience. What is the point in such communication? If it does not move from online to offline, then there is no sincerity, trust, there is a barrier. Online dating is the norm of our time, I have no prejudices against them. I know of many alliances formed in this way. But for me, relationships only in digital format will never be real, even if they are friendly.
I began to get acquainted on the Internet at the age of thirteen with the help of some kind of mail.ru services. I didn't have any criteria for choosing an interlocutor, I just liked chatting, waiting for letters, checking my mailbox. Any boys and girls willing to chat came up. I did not attach any importance to the age of the interlocutor, because from childhood I was used to communicating with adults - it seemed to me that it works the same on the Internet. With one guy, everything went on a romantic track. Now it is difficult to remember, but, most likely, I knew that he was twenty-five years old, but I lied about my age. I couldn't even imagine that communication could be more than a discussion of how the day went. One day he sent a particularly gentle message. It shocked me so much that I showed the messages to my friends, and together we thought about how to react.
He worked in Moscow, and I lived in Tula. Every time he came, I dynamic him with a meeting.I could not imagine him in real life and was even afraid: I understood that if we met in person, there would be an additional context for which I was absolutely not ready. Messages were the only thing I needed. For me, it was probing the soil of the adult world, a game in which I played along. Now I understand that I liked to show and formulate the first feelings, to receive something in return. Over time, he began to clarify my age, so I had to confess. On the one hand, I was terribly ashamed of lying, on the other, I was proud that I had been able to pass myself off as a person twice as old for a month and a half.
Any communication can be considered a relationship, but for me virtual novels are a hopeless pursuit, an escape from reality. It takes a lot of time and effort. I can't imagine how I dump everything in my soul on a stranger's head, it seems to me that the Internet creates only the illusion of closeness. I am also worried about cybersecurity: it’s dumb to tell something personal to someone who doesn’t know. I can't imagine that such communication can develop into real, but I am sure that this way you can maintain an already established relationship.
In 2003, I took my dad's phone with WAP and met blindly with a guy who loved girls with tattoos. I had no tattoos, but I was curious where such a fetish came from. Relationships grew into real ones, and I believed in the happy outcome of such acquaintances.
When I started working in an advertising agency among female colleagues, I decided to resume the practice of dating in social networks. So, I met a famous athlete in narrow circles, a successful smart handsome man. My pride was amused that I had such an "enviable groom" who would one day surely return from his numerous business trips and arrange a happy ending for us. I naively expected that he would put a ring on my finger and take me to the ocean.
We corresponded and called each other. Six months later, the hero of my novel began to unequivocally hint that it was time for me to surrender to him, because they still do it. Then I did not understand whether it should be natural or virtual. And she answered: "No, we are not very familiar yet." He was taken aback, said that it was all "kindergarten", and stopped writing to me. Unless, at first, I congratulated you on your birthday and New Year. I think he was just too lazy to spend his resources on building relationships.
After that, there were several more acquaintances on the Web, after which I was counting on a meeting, but she was not there. Only once did we accidentally run into one of these friends in the metro on the neighboring escalators, which was later written off in social networks. When several of these stories ended in nothing, I told my inner Turgenev girlfriend that it was time to stop. Of course, this creates a sense of relationship without cost: no need to worry, get ready for dates, choose a place, share lively emotions. But for me it's all like a Tamagotchi instead of a real dog - a time killer and a trap for the psyche.
For the first time I came across relationships on social networks a couple of years ago - I met a girl in text role-playing games on VK. It's fun where people agree on the plot and then take turns describing the actions of their characters to develop the story. Naturally, there is also communication in parallel with the game. So we became closer, but I did not immediately understand what was happening and what it was called.
We lived in different cities. We called each other, sent photos to each other, but didn't go on Skype. I liked to communicate more in text. I didn’t take it seriously and was sure that there could be nothing real on the Internet. The story lasted six months, and ended in a quarrel for some far-fetched reason - but with an ardent showdown, first in VK, and then by phone.
I decided that I would never get into a relationship of this kind again, but, of course, I got in - and more than once. We met with some in real life, with some we did not have time.But it was in role-playing games that I met the girl with whom I now live. We are from different countries, and we simply had no chance to meet differently.
The Internet has long ceased to be a quarantine zone from which one cannot escape into real life. And real life is no longer perceived without the Internet. We order food in apps, we haven’t seen many of our friends for years, but we know about their life through Instagram and we feel involved, we are worried when someone touched us on social networks. Relationships that take place online are not much different from dating in a club or on the street. In the same way, you first come across the image that a person shows, and only then you find out what he really is. Relationships are real when they evoke real emotions in the participants - it's just that the story with social networks is more comfortable for introverts.
We met in early 2008 in one of the then popular Facebook game applications, something like the predecessor of tinder. We began to communicate in MSN, corresponded by phone. There were video calls, sexting, photos, gifts by mail. For example, for his birthday, I made a photo collage for him, drawing each letter of congratulation on different parts of my body.
He lived in London - I even went there. We made an appointment in advance, but when I got there and informed about it, there was only silence in response. The story lasted almost a year. The person on the other end periodically disappeared and at some point disappeared completely. The experience was quite excruciating. This was not the case again, and I would not repeat it, even if I was not married. For five years, my husband and I saw each other every two or three months, and the rest of the time we talked at a distance. But it so happened that we did not meet on the web.
It seems to me that if we feel something, then it is always for real. But I have always tried to transfer online communication to offline - it was not enough for me. Now I see no point in such communication when there are living people around. I would like to at least hug a person.
My first and last experience of relationships on the Internet happened ten years ago, during the heyday of Odnoklassniki. He wrote to me first, immediately called me somewhere for a drink. I walked away from the sentence with the phrase "let's stay pen pals for now." I was moving away from a breakup after four years of relationship, and remote communication was ideal for me.
I was afraid to send him my candid photos. We limited ourselves to the most frank correspondence and pictures of different parts of the body, which at the same time did not give away the writer: lips, breasts and others. We've been doing this for over a year for sure. It all ended as easily as it began. It became uninteresting to me, and I think he was not interested either. The correspondence cautiously faded away.
This relationship fueled me even more than some real ones. On the one hand, no one is obliged to each other, but at the same time, nothing prevents you from entering the chat and writing any vulgarity to the cool guy from the picture. And I also liked not to be disappointed in him: he was cute, witty, with a sense of beauty, with humor. And so it remained.
Now I would not practice such a relationship. By occupation, I am in social networks 24/7. Dating only online is too much for me. But if the format satisfies someone's need for communication, flirting, sex and does not require anything else from you, why not. Moreover, such communication can develop into something more.
Photos: zhitkov - stock.adobe.com (1, 2)