If you had mentioned online dating to someone ten years ago, you would probably have been met with a look of horror and warned about all the dangers of looking for a partner on the internet. Nowadays though, online dating is not as frowned upon as it once was. Online couples are becoming more and more common, but does it really compare to being a couple in real life? While the stigma attached to cyber-love is not as strong as it used to be, it does still exist which brings us to the question: are online couples real couples?
To explore opinions on the question of whether or not online couples are real couples, I spoke to five women to discover their thoughts on the subject.
Clare Dugmore said, “Yes, online couples most certainly are real couples. A friend of mine met her boyfriend online.”
Clare’s thoughts were echoed by Kimberly Bilyk who said, “Online couples are absolutely “real” couples. I defy anyone who dares to tell me my online relationship wasn’t REAL. We have been married for 9 years and ten months, and are happy and strong.”
Jennifer Amlie also agreed with the previous statements by saying, “I have a cousin who married someone she met online and they seem to be doing well. Also, we all consider our “online” friends real friends. I don’t see much difference, there.”
With social networking at it’s highest popularity peak and online dating sites like eHarmony developing good feedback from its users, those who once were dubious are now a little more understanding. Television advertisements for online matchmaking services appear much more regularly than they used to, and although they aren’t to everyone’s tastes, people are less wary about trying them out these days.
Online couples much more widely accepted by those who regularly use the internet and understand how bonds can be made, even from thousands of miles away.
On the other side of things, there are those who view online relationships negatively. Although Roberta Leite believes that online couples are real couples, she mentioned that her brother and sister in law have a different view, “Regarding people that don’t really believe in online relationships of any kind, I can name my brother and my sister in law. This is for me a problem, because sometimes they give me a hard time when I talk about it.”
Another non-believer in online relationships who wishes to remain anonymous stated, “Two people who have never met can’t really be a couple. You can’t get to know someone through a computer.”
This perspective about online couples is often held by people who don’t spend a lot of time chatting via the internet. Those who use the internet purely for work or research purposes, or who simply remain wary of unknown people tend to take the negative side on whether online couples are real couples.
These findings aren’t terribly surprising. Most people are dubious about things they haven’t experienced or don’t understand.
However, what those who are against online relationships may be surprised by, are the findings that an estimated 120,000 marriages are year are a result of online dating. While we don’t know the statistics on how many of these marriages have survived, it certainly indicates that couples take these relationships seriously. Very few people marry someone on a whim (accept maybe in Vegas but that’s a different story!), and so it is reasonable to assume that they have also taken the time to get to know each other offline before making a commitment as big as marriage.
Let’s not forget that it isn’t always possible or indeed sensible for a person to immediately move somewhere new to be with someone they have met online. A meeting at some point would be a natural progression of a relationship that has built up online, but that would require the couple to be getting closer through internet communication first.
While the majority of people I spoke to about this topic believe that online couples are real couples, those who don’t agree can still be found. Just like any other topic, it’s all about perspective!