What Makes Internet Relationships So Desirable?
by Paula Host
People are drawn to cyber-romances for the same reasons they are drawn to face-to-face romances - either they don't have a "real-life" love relationship, or there is something missing in their "real-life" love relationship. On the internet, they may indeed find what they are missing. Or, because of the partial anonymity of cyberspace - which allows lots of room for fantasy and imagination - they may only THINK they have found what they are missing.
The "exotic" and/or "magical" quality of a cyber-romances might be one factor that attracts some people. The lover's presence enters your home (or office) without the person physically being there, which feels very magical. People also enjoy the secrecy that an internet romance provides. An internet romance can be carried out from home or office without the knowledge of others around us.
It's well known that people say and do things in cyberspace that they wouldn't ordinarily say or do in the face-to-face world.
They loosen up, feel more uninhibited, express themselves more openly. Researchers call this the "disinhibition effect." When people have the opportunity to separate their actions from their real world and identity, they feel less vulnerable about opening up. Whatever they say or do can't be directly linked to the rest of their lives. They don't have to own their behavior by acknowledging it within the full context of who they "really" are. When acting out hostile feelings, the person doesn't have to take responsibility for those actions. In fact, people might even convince themselves that those behaviors "aren't me at all." In psychology this is called "dissociation."
[list][*]Online relationships can happen incredibly fast.[*]When involved online with someone, you don't experience the negative body language or warning signals that may occur when you meet face to face.[*]You are taking the other person's word on trust - while he or she may be romancing four or five others with the same lines that you find appealing.[*]You may be giving a false impression of yourself due to disinhibition.[/list:u]