Why "Online Only" Relationships Can Work

Modern digital technologies have wrought many changes in the world. Innovations like the internet have even shaped the ways people interact with each other. By now, online dating has become a commonly accepted norm. More recently, a new phenomenon in internet dating has arisen: online-only relationships. These arrangements involve people who share a romantic relationship, despite having never met each other in real life. At first the idea of an online-only relationship sounds distinctly odd. However, internet-only relationships have worked for many people. In fact, the number of internet-only couples has been steadily increasing. Those who find the idea weird should think again: there are plenty of reasons why such arrangements can work.

The simplest reason for why internet-only relationships are workable is that physical contact is not actually necessary for true romance. Ultimately, genuine relationships aren’t based on superficial attraction, or sexual compatibility — what’s more important is the emotional and intellectual connection between two people

Now, is there any reason to think that two people can’t get to know each other through the internet? People can show concern and care for each other through typed words and video, just as they can in person — emotional closeness simply does not depend on physical closeness. Internet-only romances are more than just possible — in fact, relationships that stay online actually have their share of advantages over traditional dating.

Advantages of Online-Only Relationships 

1. Being separated by a physical distance can, paradoxically, actually encourage a feeling of profound intimacy. This is because on the internet, a person can oftentimes more easily be their true self. In real life, we judge people based on their friends, career, and other external factors. Factors like these limit and condition behavior, heavily influencing how others perceive an individual. The internet offers an escape from all these things. There, people connect on the basis of personality.

2. Online-only relationships also allow couples to form a divide between their normal, regular life and their relationship. This divide can make the time spent with each other more valuable and enjoyable for each person. For many people in internet-only relationships, talking with each other becomes their favorite part of the day — a time when they can relax and share their concerns with someone who cares about them.

3. This divide between the online and real life self can also be a good thing if and when it comes time for the relationship to end. Without any real world entanglements, it’s much easier to have a clean, calm breakup, free of any messy drama and pain.

Any animus against internet-only relationships is unwarranted. While obviously arrangements of this sort are not for everyone, for others they can be ideal. Plus, an online-only relationship doesn’t necessarily have to stay online-only — a couple can eventually decide to transition to a traditional, real life relationship. Whatever case, internet-only relationships shouldn’t be considered strange or foolish — online- only dating is perfectly reasonable.

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