And while once we grappled with the question about sex before marriage, now people are plodding through a world in which they can have “sex” even before meeting—or without ever meeting. We live in a world where people now introduce themselves to us as our Facebook friends—“friends,” who know all about us, whom we have never met.
One has to ponder, is all this technology a good thing for relationships or bad? Fortunately, reality is not a black and white phenomenon, and if we approach our “relationships” with a bit of wisdom, we can have the best of “both worlds.”
For sure, the world of online dating has an amazingly successful track record. I know numerous couples that found each other online and report that it is unlikely that they would have found each other any other way. Simultaneously, there are others who are completely disenchanted with online dating and find it as time consuming as searching for a penny in the beach. But hey, if you can reframe it so that the journey is as much fun as the destination, it may be time well spent.
So, how do you maximize the journey? Use the whole experience like an exercise in personal growth. Allow every aspect of it to mirror to you what you need to see in yourself.
• Notice how you feel as you answer the profile questions. Evaluate your honesty. Any time you feel inclined to lie or are uncomfortable answering, you are revealing something about you (not about dating online). Are you embarrassed or harboring shame about an aspect of your body, life, career, family or age? If so, use that information as an excellent opportunity to do some work either on self-acceptance, or personal transformation—aka change!
• Watch the stories you make up without any actual knowledge of their truth. We all do this, however, few of us are aware that we are doing it! When you express interest in someone online (or off) and they don’t respond, or turn you down, what do you tell yourself? Do you make up a story about what a jerk he is or how stuck up she is? In truth, it is possible that the email never even made it to its destination, or that they aren’t available anymore or they don’t think they are good enough for you…. Most of us come to “conclusions” (usually negative) about ourselves or the other person, when in actuality, they may just think you live too far away.
We tend to make up stories to fill in the gaps left from missing information. If you find yourself doing this, either ask some questions to check for accuracy or make up a story that serves you better.
• Observe your tendency to give up or persevere. How important is your goal? How much effort do you give?
• Do you compromise your values (or adhere to them) more on the Internet or less? I’ve observed people being mean to others online, which they would never do face to face, because they don’t see the pain in the eyes of the other. I’ve also observed people using the anonymity of the Internet as a practice ground for telling the truth in a way they may never have off line.
Most of us haven’t taken the time to identify our values, especially as they relate to the use of the Internet. It will be worth your effort to take the time to clarify what you believe and hold strong to what you stand for. This is a powerful effort, online or off.
Intellectual Foreplay Question of the Week
Do you spend more time on you online (or on text or on phone) relationships, than you do on your up close and personal ones?
Love Tip of the Week
Just like fire, impact of the technology of the 21st century completely depends on how you are using it. Raise your level of awareness and it will clearly be a useful tool!