The Buzz; Internet Relationship

45 Somewhere in the back of my distorted mind, when the unconscious gears of the subconscious grind away, I know, my brain is supervising the character of my relationship. I know this as there are few pit stops i make for emails, social networks everyday to respond to and/ OR update each of these in the most constructive ways i can come up with. In the physical world (OFF the Internet) i engage in similar drills, answering phone calls, texts, get together.

At times i wonder, however, about the ways a relationship exist due to Internet are quite separated from relationships that take place “in person” that is, the physical world. The definition could possibly be “Internet relationships are interpersonal relationships, often including intimate relationships, between people who have met online, and in many cases know each other only via the Internet. Online relationships are similar in many ways to pen pal relationships.”Certainly there are differences between the two, but are they significant enough differences to determine one of these two types of relationships as superior to the other? As for pre-existing, “in person” relationships: Does the quality of an engagement between people improve once certain aspects of communication are facilitated by the Internet? Or does the relationship degrade once it is online? Does it essentially remain the same? Back in the nineties, when dating websites were in their infancy, internet relationships were generally frowned upon. The stigma it carried seemed to label people who dated over the internet as incapable of getting a date, relying on the internet to do it for them. It was greatly associated with weirdoes and potential stalkers or perverts roaming the web to prey on unsuspecting internet users.

The advancement of technology and its peripherals has indeed turned the basic purpose of Internet - the Internet was originally established to expedite communication between governmental scientists and defense experts and was not at all intended to be the popular 'interpersonal mass medium' it has become." New revolutionary devices enabling the mass public to communicate online are constantly being developed and released. There is no doubt that the internet has revolutionized how we communicate with the rest of the world. It has taken the role that newspapers, radios and televisions used to play and pushed it a step further. Internet encounters are living proof that we have become a part of a global village as the internet transcends provincial, national and international borders and boundaries. I have met scores of people suffering as to the consequences of hurtful internet affairs and sexual abuse and help them deal with the emotional pain caused by such interactions. When i reviewed these bumps with internet relationships and try to understand the psychology of such relationships, I had five outputs

46 INTERNET FRIENDSHIP
The healthiest of all where men and women connect and meet physically as of geographical locations. They Share common interest, hobbies and passions and as time passes their relationships develop a creative network to support, inspire and challenge each other in a constructive way.

INTERNET DATING
A mixed blessing to allow an opportunity to those shy or socially isolated people. While some people find a suitable mate there are many who feel quite frustrated with the process. Some also lose thousands of dollars as some agencies charge large fees to provide such services.

EMOTIONALLY-DEPENDENT RELATIONSHIP
Enters on a slippery slope and begins with a lot of support and fills the emotional vacuum but over a period of time one party becomes more and more demanding and the other party with all the good intentions cannot keep up with the need. It is not uncommon for the needy person to project their unfulfilled desires and dreams and get involved in an emotional affair. This is quite tricky if one or both parties are involved in monogamous and committed relationships as their partners can perceive such relationships as affairs and feel jealous.

INTERNET EXTRA-MARTIAL AFFAIRS
Usually upset spouses choose to have extra-marital affairs or people who do not believe in monogamous relationships choose to meet other available men and women. On discussions, people defined an affair in sexual terms while the other defined it in emotional terms and felt that secret relationships were affairs.

INTERNET ABUSE
The result of unhealthy, painful or betrayal relations urge few people to conceal their identity and present themselves of different gender, age or marital status and have an affair based on a series of lies. The recent face of this has taken its toll to different level. Few people ending their relationship on a bad note posts some the private and secure materials from the relationship to world to take his/her revenge.

Whether as friends, lovers or well-wisher those people who respect the power of words and feelings of other human beings benefit a lot from it. On the other hand it can be a dangerous tool in the hands of frustrated, angry and bitter people. Since Internet has bloomed the other way round and new users are not fully aware of its impact on human psychology. I am optimistic that as we become more experienced as internet users we would be able to increase its usefulness and decrease its abuse. Internet relationships are a new chapter in human evolution and are gradually developing its own dynamics and identity. As such relationships grow we hope we become wiser and enrich our personal, romantic and professional lives and points of view.

~ Swapan Pradhan is the Web Producer for Saathi Sanga Manka Kura.

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