Relationships And Dating - Online Versus Offline

Dr. Purushothaman
January 22, 2014


Whether you're in a "real-world" (physical) relationship, one that occurs solely online, or single and curious about either form, you might be wondering about the benefits and drawbacks of each. Here is a comparison of both the advantages and disadvantages of online and offline relationships and dating:

Online Relationships And Dating:

Great distance can be overcome allowing for a relationship that isn't physically possible

The initial connection is often based more on personality rather than physical appearance

Wide variety of potential partners

People often feel more at ease communicating online due to the lack of physical presence

Anonymity allows you to emphasize the characteristics of your personality that you see as your best qualities

Partners are "forced" to spend time apart, which can be healthy for the relationship

Partners can often pursue their own goals more easily without interference from the relationship

Offline Relationships And Dating:

Couples can share their affection physically (hugs, kisses, etc.)

Physical attraction tends to be the emphasis in new relationships

Meeting face-to-face allows for easier interpretation of the others true meaning in conversation through addition of body language and context awareness

Allow you to see more of your partner's behaviors, including those that might be potential "deal-breakers" in the long-term

Couples are able to see one another, in person, virtually any time they want

Couples can go out on physical dates to movies, dinners, etc.

Communication can be easier to maintain

These are just a sample of the differences a couple will face in the realm of online versus offline relationships. The success of the relationship, regardless of the avenue, will depend on many of the same factors, including such things as both partners' abilities to communicate well with one another, their overall compatibility, etc. The majority of the differences, or obstacles as some might see them, derive from the distance typically associated with an online relationship. Much like a typical long-distance relationship, one based solely online usually requires a greater deal of trust and dedication than a short-distance, physical relationship does in order to work successfully.

With the proliferation of online relationships and dating, one might wonder if it's possible to have a relationship based completely online where the two involved have never met (and maybe never will) in the offline world. It is possible, I assure you, as people do it more and more everyday. The real question is whether or not the relationship will have the possibility for a future in the long-term. As a general rule of thumb, in a long-distance or completely online relationship, couples will need to address the issue of if and when the two of them will make the move to the "real-world." Sooner or later, one or both partners will likely need to move in order for the relationship to continue to progress to the next level and beyond.

Some might argue, however, that their online relationship works just fine the way it is without the need to live in close proximity of their partner. This may be so, as every individual and his or her needs is completely different. As long as the needs and expectations of both partners are being met, the relationship should serve the two of them well.

With that being said, it is of the utmost importance that you discuss your needs and expectations for the relationship with your online (or offline, for that matter) partner from the onset of the relationship. If, for example, one of you has no intention of ever moving while the other silently hopes the relationship will lead to that point sooner or later, then the hopeful one is already setting him or herself up for disappointment later down the line.

With cell phones now outnumbering functioning toilets in the world along with dozens of other new means of long-distance communication including text messaging, video chat, etc., connecting people across endless boundaries, relationships are now possible that were once unheard of. Whether online or offline, a relationship still requires trust, communication, understanding, love, support, and dedication.

Choosing the right type of relationship for yourself is chiefly a matter of personal choice. In other cases, when you meet someone online and the relationship develops unexpectedly, for example, you and your partner might not be able to simply choose to move closer over trying to make the long-distance arrangement work. However, the two of you still have the choice and commitment to stick it out or not. Should you choose to go for it, be willing to give anything and everything to your partner and the relationship, and may success and happiness fill both of your hearts.
About the Author
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