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Don't Dismiss Online Relationships As Fantasy

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 7 years ago | from the asl-dangers dept.

The Internet 357

Columnist Regina Lynn has a look at how online relationships seem to be blurring the lines between fantasy and reality. "The common thread among these stories is that people get deeply involved in online relationships and make decisions about their real lives. Calling any of these online relationships 'fantasy' dismisses the impact they have on the people involved and on those closest to them... I have yet to encounter anything that challenges my core belief: Relationships are real wherever they form."

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All relationships are a fantasy (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20506525)

I'm a nerd, remember?

Who says online relationships are not real? (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20506537)

They are real alright. People just get mocked for trusting someone whom they have never seen, smelled or heard, who has only given them words. Lip-service isn't what you want to go for in a relation.

Re:Who says online relationships are not real? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20506669)

Lip-service isn't what you want to go for in a relation.

True, I prefer the whole mouth.

Re:Who says online relationships are not real? (4, Insightful)

4D6963 (933028) | more than 7 years ago | (#20506679)

They are real alright.

Depends. As I have noticed, online relationships' realness depends on how well they pass the test of time, and how well the relationship survives the shit it goes through.

Now that I come to think about it, it's the exact same thing in real-life relationships. Real-life one night stands or relationships that live no longer than a couple of weeks have little credibility.

Re:Who says online relationships are not real? (2, Insightful)

somersault (912633) | more than 7 years ago | (#20507107)

Relating online is also totally different to spending time with someone for real. In real life you can't do funny animated emotes like on MSN, you have to use your actual emotions. You also have to go out and eat and generally do things which are more focused on the fact that you are with the person. When you are just chatting online, be it in text or voice, you are usually doing other things, but if you do that in real life then it's considered rude. People can also be fun in a purely virtual situation, but dull in real life. Like my ex girlfriend. She didn't even like the taste of alcohol (not saying that you need alcohol to have fun, but she could have done with relaxing a bit). Whoopee -.-

Re:Who says online relationships are not real? (3, Informative)

4D6963 (933028) | more than 7 years ago | (#20507241)

Wait, are you trying to say that interacting with someone online and in real-life produces different experiences!? NO WAI! Does it also mean I must put clothes on, look presentable and not pick my nose when I'd hypothetically interact with people in the real world?

Mind boggling!

Re:Who says online relationships are not real? (1)

somersault (912633) | more than 7 years ago | (#20507321)

Mostly saying that just because you get on with someone like a house on fire on the net, doesn't mean it will be like that for real. It's kind of obvious really. The reason we split up wasn't because of the differences anyway, I just noticed that I suddenly had a lot less time to spend on the computer when I was spending time with her for real :P Can be quite a shock when you've spent the last couple of decades doing nothing but using computers. So I reckon, find a girl that enjoys playing computer games too and I'm sorted.

Smelled? (1)

StressGuy (472374) | more than 7 years ago | (#20506781)

I think trying to sniff someone as a greeting could be grounds for a restraining order

Re:Who says online relationships are not real? (1)

plague3106 (71849) | more than 7 years ago | (#20507287)

Lip-service isn't what you want to go for in a relation.

I wouldn't dream of a relationship without that!

Re:Who says online relationships are not real? (4, Insightful)

analog_line (465182) | more than 7 years ago | (#20507589)

Right, because no one puts on perfume or aftershave to hide their true scent in person.

And no one works on changing their voice so they can appear to be more (or less depending) authoritative than their normal voice makes them seem.

And no one dresses up (or down) to try and mask their socio-economic status from whatever social circle they're trying to get into.

And no one flat out lies about themselves in the real world too. All perfectly honest.

Just because you're close enough to a person that you could slap them, doesn't mean the person is any less of a mirage than they are online. Hell, in the world of blogs, you can often find out more about someone than you can from meeting them.

reminds me of the time (5, Funny)

loafula (1080631) | more than 7 years ago | (#20506543)

i found out my beautiful elf princess was really a 56 year old man

living in the real world (5, Insightful)

chelanfarsight (835467) | more than 7 years ago | (#20506661)

recently i had a discussion with a friend concerning the nature of community in general and in particular the relationships that make up the online gaming experience. the emotions felt are real. the connections made between individuals are real. therefore imo online relationships are real just as the ones i experience in the office or at home or at the coffee shop are. however, while they may be real, because they comprise real human experience, they are qualitatively different. and i think that this is where it becomes difficult. we haven't related to each other in the ways presented through this new medium, ever. this means that in the social background the rules have yet to be established, the presupposed boundaries and entry points are not agreed upon, leaving us in a liminal stage. it appears to me that once these things are more hashed out the debates about the 'reality' of the nature of online relationships will fade.

Re:living in the real world (3, Insightful)

TeknoHog (164938) | more than 7 years ago | (#20507095)

however, while they may be real, because they comprise real human experience, they are qualitatively different.

I agree, but there are lots of problems with online relationships, though they are not inherent to the medium. In the grandparent's example, it's easy for a 56 year old male to fake being a young female. The idea bothers me, I'd much rather be conversing with the real person, since a real sexual relationship is out of the question anyway. Perhaps people don't value nonsexual friendship enough, and they try to turn everything into sex.

Re:living in the real world (1)

plague3106 (71849) | more than 7 years ago | (#20507333)

Perhaps people don't value nonsexual friendship enough, and they try to turn everything into sex.

Perhaps if sexual relationships were more common, they wouldn't be valued more than nonsexual ones.

I had a similar problem (5, Funny)

Mothra the III (631161) | more than 7 years ago | (#20507353)

I had been getting computer advise from someone who I thought was a fat, balding, middle-aged dude working from his moms basement, wearing a Yoda t-shirt and eating hot pockets. It turns out this person was really a ho, horny supermodel who was cruising the internet to find victims to satisfy her lusts and to spend her millions of dollars. You never get over that kind of betrayal

Re:reminds me of the time (1)

securityfolk (906041) | more than 7 years ago | (#20507391)

What?!? That was YOU?

Real? (4, Insightful)

Aladrin (926209) | more than 7 years ago | (#20506561)

Relationships are only as real as the people in them. If the person is pretending to be something their not, even by a little bit, that can be greatly magnified online. As long as the relationship STAYS online, it's fine... But meeting the person in real life can be a disaster.

So sure, don't just dismiss them as fantasy, but don't just accept them as reality, either. Same as pretty much everything else in the world.

Re:Real? (4, Insightful)

Rob T Firefly (844560) | more than 7 years ago | (#20506639)

If the person is pretending to be something their not, even by a little bit, that can be greatly magnified online.
That's a very good point, it's simply the modern version of the oldest relationship caveat in the book. It's not limited to online relationships by any means, it's just as possible to find someone who can still pretend to be something they're not face-to-face. Like with most of our modern problems and solutions, the Internet just makes it a damn sight easier.

Re:Real? (3, Funny)

nacturation (646836) | more than 7 years ago | (#20506675)

But meeting the person in real life can be a disaster.
"I don't care if you have a speech impediment. There's no way Bubba can be mispronounced as Betty."
 

Re:Real? (5, Insightful)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 7 years ago | (#20506691)

As long as the relationship STAYS online, it's fine... But meeting the person in real life can be a disaster.
Maybe, maybe not. My cousin is married to a woman with whom he was in an online relationship. I know of others who have had mixed success with converting online relationships into IRL relationships. It's kind of like turning a friendship into a real relationship -- sometimes it can work out, other times it won't. It all depends on the two people involved and how ready they are for the relationship and how honest they are with each other and whether or not there is good trust built between them.

And that's the big clue, guys -- relationships aren't built on sex, love, lust or any of those things (though they help to get a good relationship going). Relationships are built in characteristics like caring, trust, and honesty. If any two people share these characteristics with one another, no matter how they met, who they are, or what part of the world they live in, they can have a successful relationship, online or offline.

Re:Real? (5, Insightful)

Locarius (798304) | more than 7 years ago | (#20507251)

Romantic relationships are built on ATTRACTION. While it is not impossible to build initial attraction without physical contact (online), it is often difficult to maintain attraction without it. Things change chemically in the brain after a passionate kiss, after physical touch, after sex.

Caring, trust, and honesty are great things to have in a relationship, but remove the attraction and what do you have? You've got a friend.

Re:Real? (1)

Aladrin (926209) | more than 7 years ago | (#20507463)

I think I wasn't clear enough on that... As long as the relationship stays online, there's not much that will derail it. Meeting in meatspace, however, is a 50/50 chance at absolute disaster. Of course, the other half of that chance is continuing a great relationship.

I've had both, and fscked both of them up. I had a girl who was pretending to be single, but was in reality a junkie who wanted some fun away from her boyfriend, and I had a real sweetheart that moved in with me. The junkie I found out about because I called her on the phone... That's as close to a meet in meatspace as I got, since I her her 'father' in the background bitching at her. Uh huh, sure. The second screwup had nothing to do with the internet... I was an ass, she called me on it, and I was a bigger ass. Didn't go well.

So yeah, it can go either way once you meet in real life... But if you keep it online, you aren't taking as big a chance.

Re:Real? (4, Insightful)

Hatta (162192) | more than 7 years ago | (#20506805)

I would say the exact opposite. I met my girlfriend on IRC, we've been together over 2 years now. But that only happened after I met her face to face. For a couple years before we met my present GF was just a source of friendly chat. I didn't even (knowingly) flirt. I would never even think of getting romantically involved with someone I never met.

The point is, get to know someone without getting your feelings involved in it. Then when you meet them, you won't be disappointed if they're not like they are on line. Only AFTER you spend some real time with them is it reasonable to develop feelings. If you haven't put in the face time, you're not really falling in love with that person, but the idea of the person. Remember, it's just a game, or it's just chat. It's a great way to make connections, but do your loving in person.

Re:Real? (4, Funny)

Lord Apathy (584315) | more than 7 years ago | (#20507139)

The last online GF I tried to meet offline turned out to be a cop in drag.

Re:Real? (1)

UbuntuDupe (970646) | more than 7 years ago | (#20506831)

So sure, don't just dismiss them as fantasy, but don't just accept them as reality, either. Same as pretty much everything else in the world.
Yep, don't dimiss everything in the world as fantasy, but don't accept it as reality either.

I adhere to that by believing we live in a big computer simulation: it's all simulated, but has real impacts for people in the Overworld who are observing us.

Re:Real? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20507097)

Check out the thirteenth floor. The movie plays out your statement.

Re:Real? (4, Interesting)

garcia (6573) | more than 7 years ago | (#20506855)

Relationships are only as real as the people in them. If the person is pretending to be something their not, even by a little bit, that can be greatly magnified online. As long as the relationship STAYS online, it's fine... But meeting the person in real life can be a disaster.

I consider it to be like reading a book and then watching the movie. Regardless of the level truth put forth by the other person I always draw a different mental image of the person and their behavior. When I meet them in person it's always different than what my mental image of them was.

I do my best to act just as I would in real life online as I do anywhere else and I really hope that the other person does too. At least when people meet me they already know I'm a fucking foul mouthed asshole. The rest of me is just gravy ;)

Re:Real? (2, Interesting)

Mindwarp (15738) | more than 7 years ago | (#20506895)

"But meeting the person in real life can be a disaster." ...or it can work out. I met my wife online, eight years and three kids ago!

Just like any relationships in life, sometimes it's a disaster and sometimes it's great.

One name - Cyrano de Bergerac (1)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 7 years ago | (#20506927)

linky [wikipedia.org]

Cyrano's love for the beautiful Roxane, whom he is obliged to woo on behalf of a more conventionally handsome, but less articulate, friend, Christian de Neuvillette

Re:Real? (1)

spiritraveller (641174) | more than 7 years ago | (#20507127)

As long as the relationship STAYS online, it's fine... But meeting the person in real life can be a disaster.
If I was that terrified of disasters, I would not have travelled 600 miles to meet a woman that I met online.

I would not have enjoyed 5 years of blissful marriage with her (so far).

And I would not now have a beautiful 6-month-old baby boy with her.

Try jumping in the water every once in a while. If you dip your toe first, you can be reasonably sure it won't burn you.

Re:Real? (4, Insightful)

nine-times (778537) | more than 7 years ago | (#20507189)

As long as the relationship STAYS online, it's fine... But meeting the person in real life can be a disaster.

Interesting point. I'm generally the sort of person who would dismiss on "online relationship" as fantasy, since you don't really know who the other person is. For clarification, I would say that some relationship IRL are a fantasy, too. People often don't really bother to get to know each other, but instead build up little images in their own heads about each other. Sometimes this goes to an extreme, and the whole "relationship" isn't really a relationship at all.

Like, you know how the girlfriend you had in elementary school wasn't really your girlfriend? You're not really dating or anything, but it was more like you were putting on a play, trying to act how your little-kid mind thought boyfriends and girlfriends acted. Well, if you pay close attention, sometimes you'll catch some adults doing the same thing.

However, I think this one part of your post convinced me that I was wrong. Online relationships can be a real relationship of a sort. I mean, there are business relationships and casual acquaintances, and those are genuine relationships of their sort. They just don't necessarily have a lot of depth or weight. I think online relationships can be of the same sort of thing. They can be genuine online-relationships, but you shouldn't confuse that with being real friends.

I know some people will think this is an arbitrary distinction, but I have real reason for saying it. I think real friendships are forged over time through presence and actions. The bonding of physical presence can't be replaced with "virtual presence", and also actions can't be replaced with words. You can say all the flowery words you want, but my friends are the people who will pick me up from the gutter when I fall in.

And when I say, "pick me up from the gutter", I do mean that metaphorically, but not in the sense of "boost my spirits". I've known people who talk a good game and will tell you that they care about you, but when you actually need something from them, something that will cost them, they won't do it. The idea of "cost" is important here. Lots of people will say and do all sorts of nice things for you, up until the point where it becomes difficult or costly. It's the difference between someone who will spend an evening with you when you're injured, and someone who will spend an evening with you when you're injured even though they'd like to be out partying instead. It's the difference between someone who will help you up when you've slipped in some mud, and someone who will ruin their favorite pair of shoes helping you up when you've slipped in mud.

I just think that those are the moments that solidify friendships, and they're such complicated moments that I don't think they can be replicated over wires. Even if someone will "spend time with you" online while you're injured, they can still do it at their own convenience, in their own comfy chair. Even if they send you some money (which I think is the height of online trust), they're just sending some money. There's nothing very personal there. It's all detached.

If you really don't know what I mean by all of this, and you don't think that physical presence and real-life actions mean more than virtual presence and virtual actions, then I'm very sorry for you.

Happily Everquest After (5, Interesting)

ExE122 (954104) | more than 7 years ago | (#20506587)

This reminds me of a hilarious story a friend of mine told me about his Everquest days...

Apparently a group of players decided they're gonna have two of their friends get married in the game, complete with ceremony. I mean they were really serious about this! They apparently sent out invitations and got all worked up over it like it was real.

Unfortunately, upon hearing this, my friend built up an army of warriors to pay a visit to this little event. As the bride and groom exchanged vows, they charged in like Lancelot and began their slaughter. A paralyze spell was used on the bride who was then carried off onto a boat. The groom was hacked to bits and the rest of the wedding party was killed off as the bride and her captor sailed off into the sunset.

Now I have to ask myself this: Do those people have a right to be upset that their "wedding" was so rudely interrupted? Or did this serve as a healthy eye-opener to the ludicracy of the situation and a much needed return to reality for all persons involved?

I guess the point I'm trying to make is that while I believe these online relationships may indeed be very strong, there comes a point where you're just going taking this "fantasy" too far. There comes a point where you have to face reality, not escape it. Otherwise we will lose our ability to deal with problems in the real world.

Caller: "When his pet hamster died he yelled, 'Mommy, mommy, where's the reset button?' Lazlo, life does not have a reset button." Lazlo: "But this radio show does! -click- I love that button..."

Re:Happily Everquest After (1)

DaleGlass (1068434) | more than 7 years ago | (#20506643)

A MMORPG is a strange place where to hold a wedding.

Now in SL that sort of thing seems to happen pretty often. I'm not aware of the details because I don't get involved in things of the sort, but I think you can even rent a private simulator (part of SL run on one CPU) and make it private so that there can't be interruptions.

Let me sum it up what it did mean (2, Insightful)

unity100 (970058) | more than 7 years ago | (#20506713)

Your friend is an idiot, and he has deliberately harassed people during an online event. Thats what it means. It doesnt matter whether it is allowed by that game's rules or not - it is an uncivil act. If you need an analogy, there are still countries/cultures in the world that allows you go eye for en eye -> you can legally kill someone who accidentally dropped a brick on one of your close relative's head killing him/her.

Story tells me that your friend was a socially disturbed wannabee. Which, i can empathize much, actually, for i was one of the socially disturbed wannabees who sought out wannabees like your friend and whacked them with great pleasure.

Re:Let me sum it up what it did mean (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20506733)

Sorry to hear about your bride man, that's rough...

Re:Let me sum it up what it did mean (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20506775)

It doesnt matter whether it is allowed by that game's rules or not - it is an uncivil act

You're trying to turn a game which is designed around decidedly uncivil acts into something that it is not by declaring the rules of the game irrelevant, and thereby missed ExE122's whole point. If you're going to hold an online-wedding, don't do it where slaughtering avatars is par for the course.

Re:Let me sum it up what it did mean (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20506821)

Or at least bring your sword and battle ax with you...

Re:Let me sum it up what it did mean (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20506865)

You're trying to turn a game which is designed around decidedly uncivil acts into something that it is not by declaring the rules of the game irrelevant, and thereby missed ExE122's whole point. If you're going to hold an online-wedding, don't do it where slaughtering avatars is par for the course.
I could walk into a wedding ceremony in real life and start cursing at the top of my lungs and their only recourse would be to ask me to leave or be quiet.
Should I do this since it's allowed by the laws of real life?

Just cause it's a game doesn't mean you can't be a jerk. And ruining someone's in game ceremony for no other reason than for fun makes you an as$ hole.

Re:Let me sum it up what it did mean (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20507013)

The people whose ceremony you disturb can't do much to prevent it, but that doesn't mean that it is allowed by real life rules. The fact that they can ask you (tell you, actually) to be quiet or leave should be an indication. Games like EQ and WoW are designed around quests and raids and generally draw their attractiveness from the fact that real life rules don't apply. You should fully expect others to do things for no other reason than for fun. It's a GAME. In the spirit of the game, they could get back at them or could have "hired" guards to protect the ceremony from "as$ holes".

Re:Let me sum it up what it did mean (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20506825)

BAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

"Online event." That's priceless. You're playing a game, albeit one with a large amount of freedom. If you want RL type stuff, do it RL. Otherwise, play the game and expect others to play the game as well.

"Uncivil act." Comedy gold.

uh, what is everquest? (4, Insightful)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 7 years ago | (#20506877)

isn't it about swordplay and magic and killing things? it's called escapism: a place for people to go and do things they can't do in real life. therefore, you can't hold the standards of behavior of reality against it

so the guy made a bloody raiding party on a wedding. in reality, that's front page horrible news. in everquest, it seems to me to be par for the course

why do you expect any different, why do you think you ever could expect any different? everquest: people have swords and spells. they hurt things. that's the whole damn point of it to begin with: pointless violent escapism. and that's not bad: it's a harmless outlet

i don't think you are deluded. i don't think you are taking something too seriously. i just don't think you understand the rules here

Re:uh, what is everquest? (1)

Cro Magnon (467622) | more than 7 years ago | (#20507059)

isn't it about swordplay and magic and killing things? it's called escapism: a place for people to go and do things they can't do in real life. therefore, you can't hold the standards of behavior of reality against it


True. In real life, I would be very annoyed if some evil-doer raided my wedding, cut me into pieces, and cast a paralyze spell on my bride. :)

TROLL PARENT (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20506915)

Your friend is an idiot...
your friend was a socially disturbed wannabee

How can a comment that restorts to name-calling like this be modded up and not listed as a Troll?

there are still countries/cultures in the world that allows you go eye for en eye -> you can legally kill someone who accidentally dropped a brick on one of your close relative's head killing him/her

Not to mention your analagy is completely irrelevant. We're talking about a game where the point of it is to go around and kill things. So what are you saying, that the people should go after the wedding slasher and cast a spell on him? Well guess what? It's a game! It's perfectly "legal" for them to do that if they want...

Or are you even suggesting that they are justified to go to the guy's "real world" house and cause him physical harm? If so, that makes you the "socially disturbed wannabee", my friend...

Re:Let me sum it up what it did mean (1)

DogDude (805747) | more than 7 years ago | (#20507015)

Your friend is an idiot, and he has deliberately harassed people during an online event. Thats what it means. It doesnt matter whether it is allowed by that game's rules or not - it is an uncivil act. If you need an analogy, there are still countries/cultures in the world that allows you go eye for en eye -> you can legally kill someone who accidentally dropped a brick on one of your close relative's head killing him/her.

And I agree. I hope that the friend who did this, one day hopes to have an imaginary wedding ceremony, and has it ruined by somebody else. This kind of a person would probably get a kick out of getting hacked to pieces at his own pretend wedding. I know I would.

Yea, it reminded me of the famous.... (1)

StressGuy (472374) | more than 7 years ago | (#20507093)

"Greater Internet Fuckwad Theory" espoused by Penny Arcade some years ago.

Re:Let me sum it up what it did mean (1)

Cro Magnon (467622) | more than 7 years ago | (#20507105)

Your friend is an idiot, and he has deliberately harassed people during an online event. Thats what it means. It doesnt matter whether it is allowed by that game's rules or not - it is an uncivil act. If you need an analogy, there are still countries/cultures in the world that allows you go eye for en eye -> you can legally kill someone who accidentally dropped a brick on one of your close relative's head killing him/her.


Yup, and if I was in the groom's place, I'd be ready to kill that wedding crasher. In the game, of course.

Re:Let me sum it up what it did mean (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20507171)

Modded insightful? You've got to be kidding me...

"there are still countries/cultures in the world that allows you go eye for en eye -> you can legally kill someone who accidentally dropped a brick on one of your close relative's head killing him/her."

Really? Ironically you didn't name any of these countries/cultures because you're obviously talking out of your ass. Using such a stupid example does not make you "insightful".

Really disappointed in the moderators today...

Re:Let me sum it up what it did mean (0)

Lord Apathy (584315) | more than 7 years ago | (#20507187)

Your an idiot. It's a fucking game not real life. Get A Life!

Re:Let me sum it up what it did mean (1)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 7 years ago | (#20507481)

Your friend is an idiot, and he has deliberately harassed people during an online event. Thats what it means. It doesnt matter whether it is allowed by that game's rules or not - it is an uncivil act.

Wow. It's an on-line multi-player game in which people get to pretend to be whoever they want, and do things they couldn't do in normal life without getting killed, arrested, or what have you.

Calling it an un-civil act implies that in a world where you can kill anyone you feel like without recourse has an expectation of civil behaviour.

Story tells me that your friend was a socially disturbed wannabee.

Or, his friend played the game according to his own whim and guidelines knowing that, ultimately, it's a friggin' game. It's role playing. If you want to be evil, be evil. That's why people play it, no?

Which, i can empathize much, actually, for i was one of the socially disturbed wannabees who sought out wannabees like your friend and whacked them with great pleasure.

So, because you once acted like an equal jerk in an on-line forum, you are suddenly an authority on why such behaviour is both wrong and understandable? Good lord, that makes no sense whatsoever.

See, even non-gamers can grasp that if you're in a fantasy world where you can do what you like (in fact, that's the point, isn't it?) then there can't really be an expectation of people acting nicely, predictably, or in a way that makes you happy. It's not reality.

As a non-gamer, I actually find it amusing that (in a video game) someone mounted a raid on a wedding party and abducted the bride. Not least because it's something that would be appaling in real life. Just because the bridal party was appalled in virtual life doesn't change the fact that, clearly, in an online game like Everquest, you have no expectation whatsoever of 'good' behaviour by others. There's no social contract of mutually agreed rules of behaviour.

Isn't random player killings just a fact of life in these contexts? Unless you want to start outlawing general bad behaviour in on-line gaming, I fail to see how this instance is really any different. It's fantasy. Getting worked up about it is, well, kinda lame. (OK, go ahead, get worked up about it, but don't expect anyone else to really be all that concerned about it ... it's like mourning your Barbie. You can do it, but everyone else is gonna look at you funny.)

Cheers

Re:Let me sum it up what it did mean (1)

Hardhead_7 (987030) | more than 7 years ago | (#20507487)

I agree with the parent. When my wife and I got married, we had two weddings. One in "real life," the other in City of Heroes, since that's where we met. It seemed only appropriate that all our online friends be able to get together and be able to partake in the happy event.

We went through a lot of trouble to do it in the PvP Arena, since that's an instanced part of the game. We only invited people we trusted wouldn't abuse that to attack others, and it worked beautifully. I have no doubt that if we'd done it anywhere public, people would have harrassed us. Asssholes, that is, like your friend.

Re:Let me sum it up what it did mean (1)

zentinal (602572) | more than 7 years ago | (#20507489)

Really?

So following the rules of the game, playing in character if that character happens to be an orc or dark elf or undead whatever or evil magic user, and having that character do something evil makes the person behind the character a socially disturbed wannabee? Instead, I'd say that makes them an involved and effective player who is adding to the fun of the in-game world.

If you're in an MMORPG, and it allows PVP, isn't this type of action exactly what people are paying and playing for?

In the case of the wedding, wouldn't really, fully, effectively playing the game involve, not only guests and decorations and deciding what tunic to wear and whatnot, but also arranging for a bunch of well armed guards? Wouldn't that also be part of the fun? After all, there are orcs and brigands about! Seems to me the wedding planners forgot what game they were playing.

If that isn't your thing, well, there's always Second Life [secondlife.com] .

Re:Happily Everquest After (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20506729)

Well its a pretty crappy thing to do to a guy thats put so much work into it. Still if they could get together later and do a counter raid to rescue the bride it would have been more fun I think :)

Re:Happily Everquest After (2, Funny)

daeg (828071) | more than 7 years ago | (#20506731)

If only honorable knights could show up at every wedding and slay half the family. It'd be a quick, guilt-free way to get rid of that pesky Mother-in-Law that seriously won't stop coming by unannounced ten times a week who manages to break in through your locks despite them being changed and having a deadbolt added and calling your significant other 15 times a day to make sure you're not beating them and are providing enough food and making sure you really do plan to buy a house despite you being in college only to have her chase you down cursing you with things you didn't know full blooded Native Americans still believed in when you decide the relationship just isn't like it used to be.

What.. me? Bitter? Oh no. Not at all.

Re:Happily Everquest After (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20506783)

They absolutely do have a right to be upset. They were staging a drama using virtual avatars, and some asshats came and ruined it. They have exactly as much right to be upset as if they had been in a theater, on a stage, and bunch of hooligans came in, dressed in costumes, and disrupted a play they were putting on, shouting "theater is imaginary! It's ludicrous! Return to reality, people." The only difference is that in a theater, they could have the asshats arrested for trespassing and disorderly conduct.

Re:Happily Everquest After (1)

heinousjay (683506) | more than 7 years ago | (#20506883)

They certainly do have a right be upset, no question. What they did not have was the right to expect everyone else to play by their rules. Basically, they can cry about it, but that's it.

Boo hoo.

Re:Happily Everquest After (1)

Hardhead_7 (987030) | more than 7 years ago | (#20507595)

Exactly. If someone is powerless to do anything about, that makes it alright to abuse them. And, they are automatically crybabies.

Re:Happily Everquest After (1)

jimmyfrank (1106681) | more than 7 years ago | (#20506819)

EQ had free for all pvp?

Re:Happily Everquest After (5, Insightful)

Eivind (15695) | more than 7 years ago | (#20506857)

I don't see the problem. The internet is just a communication-medium. Sure they've got the right to be pissed.

Nobody was physically harmed, but quite possibly somone had their fun spoiled. Purposefully destroying the fun of others is rude, regardless of how it happens.

Similarily, if you're sitting in a park and having a quiet talk with someone, you'd be annoyed at someone who decided to leave their ghetto-blaster, playing the soundtrack of a porn-movie at full volume 2 meters away from you. This action too, hurts noone physically (aslong as it's not loud enough to be hearing-damaging) but nevertheless I think you'd find most people would be annoyed at it.

Is it ridicoloous for an amateur theatre-group to have a play where a wedding is part of it ?

And if not, why would it be more or less ridicolous if the players use online avatars rather than their own physical bodies ?

Does the ridicolousness change if some of the players involved have a crush on eachothers ? It's not as if it's unheard of for actors who *play* a couple to also *be* a couple. (or to become one during the period of the play)

I guess I just don't get it. Are relationships that depend in part or in whole on letters, telephones or any other method of communication not "real" ? Why'd it make a difference if your messages go trough the internet rather than trough the telephone-network ?

In all cases you're talking to real people. In all cases there's a real chance that one of the involved persons are less than completely honest. That's part of life, nothing new about it.

Maybe I'm biased. My first girlfriend I learned to know to a significant part trough writing old-fashioned letters. We had 2-3 wonderful years together. My wife I met trough exchanging email. I find the two situations to be very similar, and don't see what's so special about one being "online" and the other being in "real life" at all. If we'd been chatting or role-playing together online, I don't know what the fundamental difference between that and telephone should be.

Re:Happily Everquest After (1)

gardyloo (512791) | more than 7 years ago | (#20507427)

Is it ridicoloous for [...] why would it be more or less ridicolous if [...] Does the ridicolousness change if [...]
That's ridiculous!

GIFT (2, Insightful)

Tumbarumba (74816) | more than 7 years ago | (#20506947)

Another example of the Greater Internet Fuckwad Theory in action.

http://www.penny-arcade.com/comic/2004/03/19 [penny-arcade.com]

Re:GIFT (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20507003)

No, it's not.

Stop trotting that out every time someone isn't all kisses and kittens on the net.

It's a game, part of which involves killing other players. I'm more offended by those who take their virtual existence too seriously and try to equate game life with real life.

Myth (2, Informative)

MichailS (923773) | more than 7 years ago | (#20507067)

You can't pick up and carry a player in Everquest.

Also, a paralyze works for like 5 seconds or some such.

Re:Myth (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20507315)

That might be a myth, but the funeral that got raided in WoW ain't; that really happened.

Someone in some guild died IRL, so guild members held a memorial in Winterspring for that person, which was attended by horde and alliance alike. An alliance guild raided the service and laid waste. They posted the video on Youtube. People were screaming for their heads and their server board was pretty entertaining for a while after that.

same difference.

Re:Happily Everquest After (2, Insightful)

Loosifur (954968) | more than 7 years ago | (#20507389)

Similar thing happened in WoW with a funeral. I think it was an in-game funeral for someone's character who allegedly died IRL, but I'm not sure. The video's floating around on YouTube I believe. Point is, not only was it hilarious, but it's kind of the nature of the beast. If you are on a PvP server, where the rules dictate that you can be attacked and killed while you're in certain areas at any time, you have to expect that someone might actually do it. In this case, the funeral folks were whining that the group who attacked them wasn't role-playing, that they were griefers, etc. but the real reason they were upset is because they couldn't impose their sense of gravitas, their way of enjoying the game, on the other people playing. Remember when you were a kid and a girl wanted your GI Joe's to be in her My Little Pony wedding, whereas you wanted to launch rockets at the ponies? Same deal. You can't make people have your fun.

So how does this relate to the topic? Well, the way I see it, MMORPG's are basically like IRC with fighting and kewl graphics. You get attached to your character, you get in to the game because you have fun playing it, but you also are interacting with other people, and you definitely do form relationships of a sort. And no doubt you can form friendships which are totally valid, and they might even translate to the real world. But that's because you're sharing something in common with the real person you're communicating with. If you're friends with someone you've met in a game, you're friends with the scruffy twentysomething who's in to football and listens to metal, not the 45th level undead rogue he's playing.

If you actually are falling in love with a 20th level paladin, you need to go outside.

Reminds me of the time... (1)

Shivani1141 (996696) | more than 7 years ago | (#20506591)

Everyone found out I was a 25-year old man instead of a Nubile female Paladin ;p That Aside, the article is pretty much spot on. In terms of developing who I am and what matters to me, I've recieved far more moral support and guidance from those I MuD'd with than I did in most cases from my circle of friends. Largely because the MuD group was more balanced in viewpoints.

MMORPGs (2, Insightful)

endianx (1006895) | more than 7 years ago | (#20506599)

The author doesn't mention this, but I would just like to state that this usually does not apply to MMORPGs. I have seen "friendships" breakup so someone could boost their Stamina. While I'm sure some real friendships do take hold in that environment, most are purely superficial. Or at least that has been my experience in my 6 or so years of online gaming.

Re:MMORPGs (2, Interesting)

Shivani1141 (996696) | more than 7 years ago | (#20506697)

Wait... what?

  Being a recovering wow Addict, and Having spent nearly the whole of it's release period playing it (310 days played, total) I can say with utmost certainty that you develop real relationships with the players you've known for so much time. it cannot be avoided. if you avoid it, the game just won't consume 300 days of your time. Even now, having quit the game (I no longer PLAY it) I still maintain an account, not to attend raids or do dungeons, but simply to log on and chat with friends who know me so well.

Re:MMORPGs (1)

Runefox (905204) | more than 7 years ago | (#20506911)

And if my experience is any indication, the response should usually be:

"Sorry, I'm in an instance."

"Raiding, bbl."

"Cant talk now, fighting (x boss)" ... And so on. Can you really blame them for wanting to play the game they're shelling lots of good money out to access, though?

Re:MMORPGs (2, Insightful)

endianx (1006895) | more than 7 years ago | (#20507019)

Can you really blame them for wanting to play the game they're shelling lots of good money out to access, though?
Not at all. But some people don't think that way. Recently, a friend of mine lost a lot of his "friends" to another guild. He thought he was good friends with these people, but now they don't talk. I explained exactly what you said. This is a video game. The point is to have fun. That can mean making friends, but more often it just means "phat lewtz!!1".

I have seen real relationships formed, but for every one of those I have seen twenty superficial relationships ended by the promise of better loot or a bigger and better guild.

Re:MMORPGs (2, Insightful)

Cro Magnon (467622) | more than 7 years ago | (#20507225)

IME, a huge percentage of real-life relationships are equally superficial. One of my ex-cow-orkers, who I thought of as a friend, vanished of the face of the earth after he retired. That is no different from the online friendships.

Re:MMORPGs (1)

bogidu (300637) | more than 7 years ago | (#20506837)

I would have to say that this is from your perspective and experiences. I know friends that have met in game, then irl, then gotten married. Some friendships REALLY take hold. :)

Everything i learned.... (1)

elmaxxgt (980095) | more than 7 years ago | (#20506723)

I learned on /., i love you guys :')

Real? - of course (4, Funny)

The -e**(i*pi) (1150927) | more than 7 years ago | (#20506727)

I have had many meaningful conversations with my best online buddy Elisa. She wont agree to meet in the real world though.

Re:Real? - of course (4, Funny)

UbuntuDupe (970646) | more than 7 years ago | (#20507399)

How does it feel that she wont agree to meet in the real world though?

Re:Real? - of course (2, Funny)

jollyreaper (513215) | more than 7 years ago | (#20507515)

I have had many meaningful conversations with my best online buddy Elisa. She wont agree to meet in the real world though.
What?! That two-timing bitch!

it can work (3, Insightful)

trybywrench (584843) | more than 7 years ago | (#20506777)

I know multiple couples who are now married, 2 of which have children, who met online in a band's message forum (Eisley's Laughing City) so it can work. I've dated a couple girls through the forum but i don't have the personality for long distance relationships. With one I was very much in love but the distance just erodes things away.

I always shake my head when i hear respected professionals denounce online relationships as fake. It just goes to show they have no understanding of the online culture.

Re:it can work (1)

Hatta (162192) | more than 7 years ago | (#20506905)

I always shake my head when i hear respected professionals denounce online relationships as fake. It just goes to show they have no understanding of the online culture.

I'd argue that if you're not having sex at least once a week your relationship is fake whether it's online or not.

Re:it can work (1)

Cro Magnon (467622) | more than 7 years ago | (#20507247)

Does that include every marriage beyond the first year?

Re:it can work (1)

Hatta (162192) | more than 7 years ago | (#20507433)

Absolutely. If your wife thinks that once you're married she's won and doesn't need to have sex anymore, there was never any relationship there to begin with. Just a deceitful bitch. If she doesn't care about you enough to want to make you feel good once in a while, leave.

Re:it can work (1)

PunkOfLinux (870955) | more than 7 years ago | (#20507439)

My girlfriend and I have been dating for.. Shit >.> 7 months yesterday... and our relationship is fine even though we never have sex (literally, 7 months, I haven't gotten any) but that's fine, because I'd rather she be ready to have sex and whatnot.

My Wife and I met on #php (4, Interesting)

thenextpresident (559469) | more than 7 years ago | (#20506799)

We met back in 2001 on what now is FreeNode's #php channel. This past summer, we finally tied the knot. I ended up moving up to be with here (I was living in Pennsylvania at the time. She was living in Montreal). We are happily married, and have been a happy couple ever since we first started being a couple. Both of us are absolutely thrilled at the way we met. I've also developed a rather one-sided opinion that programming chat rooms are great places to pick up chicks. =)

Friendship can be real. (2, Interesting)

Zombie Ryushu (803103) | more than 7 years ago | (#20506803)

This month, a friend of mine I have known for over a decade flew accross the country to meet me in person for the first time. We had been friends since we worked on a failed project to produce an Open Source Mega Man video game that got to a certain point then failed. We stayed IRC friends for for 11 years, and he came to visit me for 6 days in August. This isn't to say I don't have friends in the real world that come visit me too, I do. but I had always known who he was, and he and I were really friends.

Now. Relationships are another matter. Relationships need an element of physical proximity. They fall apart anyway. I wouldn't feel comfortable in an online relationship. Long distance relationships generally don't work out even when its telephone conversations.

Re:Friendship can be real. (1)

thenextpresident (559469) | more than 7 years ago | (#20506835)

While it's true that you need that physical proximity to elevate the relationship, the relationship can start with and grow online without proximity. Besides, if you are in a real relationship, and you really want to be with the person, making the move to be with them isn't a difficult thing to do.

Re:Friendship can be real. (1)

Zombie Ryushu (803103) | more than 7 years ago | (#20507001)

While Human being sex drives are not genetically programmed, this plays a role here. For example, alot of people here are talking about Second Life, and EverQuest, and WoW, are you in love with the person? Or are you in love with the avatar?

Text based mediums create a different issue. Your much more likely to find out about a real person because they aren't quite so obviously playing a game. In the case of text media like IRC, are you in love with that person? or are you in love with the person created in your imagination based on what the other person has typed? Furthermore, being on a chat based medium insulates you from bad habits. Bad habits that will become visible in a face to face encounter.

Re:Friendship can be real. (2, Funny)

Cro Magnon (467622) | more than 7 years ago | (#20507325)

True. Very few game-characters snore.

strawman? (3, Insightful)

Joe the Lesser (533425) | more than 7 years ago | (#20506873)

I wonder what the actual percentage of 'relationships' online have turned out where one of them was being clearly deceitful, i.e. a male pretending to be female. It's probably really really low, yet people have this unreal anxiety that they can't trust someone simply because they haven't met them face to face.

Sure, caution is needed, but many people are finding love online, and if it works for them, can't we be happy for them? It's hard to meet people in today's society. It's not like we have town dances or whatever the devil they did 100 years ago. (yes, i'm sure some town's have dances still). And really, in the 19th and early 20th century many relationships developed via letters. My grandmother used to send daily 'what's up' postcards to people in the next town before phones, and when phones came along I'm sure many people new each other first only through that medium. So I don't think this is a new phenomenon. If you make the assumption that the other person is honest and fall in love with them, and that assumption is correct, you win. If it somehow isn't, well, there are 50 ways to leave your lover.

Based off what I've seen, we could all use more lovin, online or otherwise. Won't get it as easy by pigeonholing your possible relationships avenues.

ORLY? (1)

sauerkrause (1152853) | more than 7 years ago | (#20506917)

Online Gaming has been proving this for years. I've been playing computer games on the Internet since I was a young teenager, and have been to countless LAN parties with people that I had met playing on Quake 2 servers. The gaming culture opens us up to new friendships, especially for us introverted computer geek types. It allows us to project ourselves on other people without fear of ridicule for physical appearances or other quirks that we may or may not have. Many gamers feel more comfortable associating with people in this manner. Last summer I traveled to London and met with people I play Eve Online with. It was a great experience, and is exactly why I play games online; to meet new and interesting people regardless of race and culture.

"Me too" (1)

Cauchy (61097) | more than 7 years ago | (#20506943)

I met my wife on soc.penpals 14 years ago. She was living in South Africa at the time while I was living in the US. We have been married now for 10 1/2 years. Yesterday, when she was pissed at me for tracking mud into the house, I'd hardly say our relationship was a "fantasy".

I've always thought of it as thus. (1)

Runefox (905204) | more than 7 years ago | (#20506971)

Remember the whole concept of pen pals, and the love that can sometimes come from it? Online is no different; It's completely anonymous, so you're each depending on each other to at least tell the truth in some regard, and it completely bypasses the physical realm, which I'm sure many people find an interesting concept. The only real difference comes in that it's a lot more instantaneous, that it's much more interactive at times. While I'm sure games are possible with a pen pal, you can't hook up and blow each other to bits in Halo, for example, as though they were in the room with you, and you can't dive into the soul-sucking quagmire of WoW through pen and paper, either.

It's posts like this (2, Funny)

Toreo asesino (951231) | more than 7 years ago | (#20506989)

...that makes you wish /. had "+1 OMG Say it's not so" moderation points.

Various types (2, Insightful)

IvoryKnight (1153233) | more than 7 years ago | (#20507007)

The idea that relationships online aren't real is, as said multiple times above, is absurd. A relationship regardless of where it forms and in what form it takes is real. You can compare online relationships with relationships you develop at work. You encounter those people only at work and have varying degrees of intensity in the relationship between simply saying hi to each other out of a sense of "we both work here" to inviting a dude over to your cookout. Most work-born relationships stay at work. Online relationships are very, very similar. Most can be quite small in flavor and don't mean much, but like any place where you interact with people, they can develop into greater things. I have a lot of online relationships that don't mean much to me and that truly exist only online. And by the word relationships I'm talking about interaction varying between acquaintances and life partners. You can break it down into stimuli > response and get into arguments over "what really constitutes reality?" The main thought seems to be that if you meet face to face, you're meeting for real when in fact a chatroom is really interaction between multiple people. So why do I have to see their face in order to say I know them? I can say I know several without having met them or seen a picture (or having had hard evidence they are who they claim to be). But to counter that same statement, I don't think I would be as good a friend with my best friend (the one I met online) if I hadn't met them face to face. Meeting someone irl does have an impact, I believe, due to the intensity of information you gain about someone by seeing them. You immediately know their gender, relative age and appearance and can then tell things about their personality by their movements, the way they speak and form their words talking to you without the advantages or disadvantages of typing (the latter you can get from a phone call as well...). In an online relationship you can control what information gets to the other person, and it's harder for them to read nuances and subconsciously judge you. But none of this means that a relationship between you and another human being is any less "real" if its is online. Insert some more stuff that sounds soapbox-esque.

It's okay, nothing wierd going on.. (3, Funny)

e2d2 (115622) | more than 7 years ago | (#20507023)

That's what I tell myself when I catch two elves in the basement of Goldshire Inn behind the Kegs, coming out smoking long bottom leaf with a creepy smiles on their blushed faces.

EVERYTHING OKAY. Proceed with life

Matter of Definition (4, Interesting)

RAMMS+EIN (578166) | more than 7 years ago | (#20507027)

``Relationships are real wherever they form.''

That sounds like it wasn't what you expected. Apparently,
people have some idea that relationships should only
developed through normal means, for some definition of normal.

And there, I said the magic word: definition. What is the
definition of relationship? When is a relationship real? What
means are normal?

My feeling is that this is going to be similar to the question
whether machines can think. Some people define thinking in a way
that machines can't possibly satisfy (usually, the argument is
exactly "if a machine does it, it's not thinking"). Other people
use definitions where thinking machines are always just around
the corner, but never actually there. And some people use
definitions by which we've had thinking machines for a long
time now.

As for relationships, I think that, no matter what your definition
of a relationship is, the (real) feelings you get from interacting
in a virtual world are about the same as those you would get if
the interaction had happened in the Real World. For me, that makes
the relationship real.

Of course, some aspects of relationships that develop in the Real World
will be missing from relationships that develop in some virtual
reality. On the other hand, there may be things in virtual reality
relationships that aren't in Real World relationships. There are
some very interesting effects here. For example, there are great
opportunities for misrepresenting and hiding things...in both virtual
and Real relationships.

Virtual reality being virtual, it also provides great opportunities for
experimentation. Some people never get past the "let's offend people
and see what happens" stage, but other people go much, much further.
Some people get married and/or have children in virtual reality, and
I think that this gives them some insight in what it
would feel like if they did the same thing in Real Life. To me, this
seems a valuable experience. And I'd much rather this experiment be
run in virtual reality with virtual children than in Real Life with
Real children.

All this is my 2 cents, of course, but those cents have been given to
me as the result of having both Real World and virtual reality
relationships, and even some that were both.

It worked for me (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20507219)

I met this rather nice person in MSN chat back in 2000. We were married in 2002 and things have been going great. A few friends of mine didn't do so well with their online relationships.

Online = offline (at least socially) (2, Interesting)

KlaymenDK (713149) | more than 7 years ago | (#20507383)

Whether you're hooked on Day of Defeat or the latest XBox Live game, the real-life consequences are negligible (unless you forget to eat or something). Traditionally (if one can use such a word about the online media) games are relatively simple affairs. Do something, get a reward. Whee. Big deal.

However, during the last decade or so, games have developed an entirely new facet: social structure. Be it World of Warcraft or Second Life (is that even a game? I can't decide), people are getting deeply involved not only with the game itself but with each other, albeit in a virtual world. One might even say that actually playing the game is less important than being socially active in its context.

When social interactions become a part of the picture, changes occur in the balance between gaming and living. There separation between the game world and the real world begins to blur and fade as players make connections between game-world and real-world values. We have already seen people defining their real-life life by their in-game personas, businesses, and achievements. And this may be a problem. Maybe it's not very apparent now, but this kind of game is a relatively new phenomenon.

If a person forms a relationship in Second Life (for instance), there are bound to be more than virtual feelings involved. This is fundamentally different from being, say, a GTA addict. In GTA, one can be a car-stealin', cop-beatin' badass, and still be a loving family member (assuming that person can tell one world from the other).

A player's character would not start a virtual relationship with another player's ditto unless there is some emotional bond between the players themselves. One would have to be particularly schizophrenic (that's a joke) or an unnaturally good role player to claim that there is no conflict of interest between having a real-life relationship with one person and having an online romance with another. It would take a very well-spoken husband to convince his wife that he is happily married.

More and more, your online persona is a reflection and augmentation of your actual self. And yes, this is the case even if your online persona is Batman or GothGirl -- however radically different from your physical appearance, it's still a form of self-realization. Unless you're seriously schizophrenic (again with the humour...).

The old mantra that "on the Internet, nobody know you're a dog" is being obsoleted. Perhaps it should be replaced by "if you die in the game, you die for real" (what movie is that from again?). My point is that as games become ever more social, they're not just games anymore. Online romances equal emotional unfaithfulness and should be taken seriously.

my sister married a guy from the net (2, Interesting)

Ralph Spoilsport (673134) | more than 7 years ago | (#20507441)

They had a common interest, and corresponded from an email list. They found each other really entrancing from the emails, and after 8 months, he bought a plane ticket to visit her. They clicked, and were married a year later.

They've been married for almost 10 years now, and are doing just fine.

If it works - it works - nothing wrong with it. Lord knows it's better than going to Yente the Matchmaker...

Hodel, oh Hodel,
Have I made a match for you!
He's handsome, he's young!
Alright, he's 62.
But he's a nice man, a good catch, true?
True.

I promise you'll be happy,
And even if you're not,
There's more to life than that---
Don't ask me what.

Chava, I found him.
Won't you be a lucky bride!
He's handsome, he's tall,
That is from side to side.
But he's a nice man, a good catch, right?
Right.

You heard he has a temper.
He'll beat you every night,
But only when he's sober,
So you're alright.

Did you think you'd get a prince?
Well I do the best I can.
With no dowry, no money, no family background
Be glad you got a man!

Brrrrr. Between Yente, and the millions of Arranged Marriages that go down Every Single Year to this present day, and the resulting resentment and far-too-common acts of violence [wikipedia.org] , I think if people can find love in this hypersexualised culture it doesn't really matter what medium it takes to make that connection.

One of my very best friends met his wife through an advertisement in one of those cheezy urban free weekly newspaper. (SWM seeks SF, etc.) 14 years later - they're still fine and loving, with two adorable kids.

So it doesn't matter: SWM ISO SWF, OKCUPID.COM, or alt.tasteless - love is good where-ever you find it - as long as it is true.

RS

In fact... (2)

bestiarosa (938309) | more than 7 years ago | (#20507525)

Virtual relationships can make you suffer for real.

The ups and downs of online relationships (3, Interesting)

alvinrod (889928) | more than 7 years ago | (#20507559)

I've been around technology long enough to see some of the ups and downs of online relationships. I've met people online, both male and female, with whom I've developed good bonds of friendships. I've never 'e-dated' anyone, but I've seen plenty of people do it.

I've played World of Warcraft for the last year and a half or so and when that many people come together it's only natural that some of them develop relationships. Sometimes these things turn out really good and the people actually start seeing each other in real life if they're physically close enough to do so. I don't know if it's happened on the server I've played on, but I have heard of people getting married after meeting in an online game after e-dating for a while and eventually getting to know each other better in real life.

Of course there are also the horror stories of online dating as well. I've seen relationships that haven't worked out and it makes some people bitter. There have been people kicked from guilds or guilds that have been broken up over the drama caused by some online relationships. The worst (and perhaps the funniest) thing I've ever seen is when two people who were e-dating on our server broke up and the girl posted some pictures of the guy posing naked in front of a webcam for her. The thread managed to last overnight before the GM's removed it, but a substantial portion of the server got to see a guy grabbing his junk and trying to strike a sexy pose.

One of my friends had a younger brother who met someone online and recently moved to live with them on the east coast after visiting and having a good time. I think there are a lot of people who scoff the idea of online relationships, but with the technology we have in the world today, I think they can be a good thing. Of course when the people in them don't act intelligently they can turn out bad and people you know see you wearing nothing but a smile on the internet.

It's just not true (1)

williambbertram (958094) | more than 7 years ago | (#20507579)

Nobody could possibly let computer fantasy worlds dictate real life behavior. Take me for example. Never once have I let imaginary things like work, school, or social life influence my behavior in a PvP match. You just have to keep things in perspective.

My own geek story of fantasy turned reality (1)

rockwood (141675) | more than 7 years ago | (#20507603)

I am able to relate to the "Joe Trykoski and Michelle Pignatano" story all to well.

Eight years ago I separated from my (then) wife - a marriage that soon lead to the following:

ME: What happened to you saying you would do 'this', and be 'this' way and do 'these' things... HER: I told you exactly what you wanted to hear me say for you to marry me.

I couldn't believe it. The hell with it, I served divorce papers and within the next 30 days I decided to (for the first time) try an online dating service.

Within a week I met "Beth" on a now defunct site called kiss.com [kiss.com] [now powered by udate.com] - They received a lot of negative press due to their options for married people seeking secretive meetings (encouraging cheating) - within a year they closed

Anyway, as I said I met "Beth", we had talked briefly at first until I myself had uploaded a photo of myself. After I uploaded my own photo, giving proof to my personal description, our conversations increased. Within a few days we started talking on the phone. Within two weeks we had met for the first time.

First date: Aug 16 2001 She had four kids, I had two Nov 1st (3 months later) she moved 150 miles and moved in with me July 22, 2003 we got married

The key points to this story?
"Beth" is an absolute fantasy - I couldn't image meeting someone like this in real life, nor have I even come close.
To-date, we had never fought, argued, yelled, or had any negativity by any means. I'm now 36, and she is now 41. And our online relationships, even though short lived prior to becoming an RL relationship enabled us to speak our minds completely. I consider myself old school w/ a modern kink. Old school in that I believe the man is the MAN of the house. I am not the only word, but I AM the final word. I should be the bread winner, the person to support the entire family, I handle home finances, disciplining the kids. And I could tell her these things without repercussion - the most she could do is log of and not respond.

But what happened was amazing. Her responses were "I don't want to be in charge anymore" (single mother, etc..).

:) - ok, it gets better!
The 'kink' part in me was matched perfectly by her. Maybe it's just the nerd in me that brings the freak out in me... though she's matched it. And fully! She satisfies all desires I have - completely - from normal stuff to bringing a girlfriend home now and then to 'join' in.
It gets better -
She an information magnet, she truly interested in anything I have to explain to her in regards to the Net, UNIX, SEO/SEM, and gaming. She actively plays EQ (lvl 68 SK & 60 CLR), LastChaos, she even started her own blog to help others have the type of a happy relationship [marriage-h...nships.com] like we have.

Online relationships ARE absolute reality, though only if you want them to be, or allow them to become a reality.
I've been on the Internet since I was 13 - that was 23 years ago. And at 13 I met my first online girlfriend on a local BBS, who lived near me and became a true RL relationship. There is no difference between online and off line relationship as long as both parties realize this. It is the same issue if two people in RL are dating and one believes they are dating exclusively and the other believes it is more of an open relationship - the same issues will arise. I believe relationships that start online are far more superior to those that start off line because the online relationship allows people to layout everything on the table - I am 'this' way.. I like 'this'... I don't like 'this', and I 'need this' from my SO.
People focus on the online "Thomas Montgomery's" who shoot people in unjustifiable rages, when these things happen just as much, and more, in the off line scenarios. The internet is not to blame in that situation - the guy was messed up in the head. It reminds me of a cheating spouse where people blame the bar, or a certain person - in reality it wasn't the bar/club, environmental or anything else... it just happen to be the opportunity that was available. The person would have cheated anyway at a later offer or situation that became available.
Me personally - I couldn't imagine ever leaving my wife. The Internet genuinely earned my Kudos! (Does this mean I owe my happy life to Al Gore for inventing the Internet? :)

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