The thing about living in a small town is it’s impossible to escape the past. Dating someone you’ve known all your life is fraught for you know the break up will be public, and you’ll run into that person time and again. They know it, too, so there has to be some sort of understanding from the beginning all wars end in peace.
Yet even given that, sides will be taken by friends, her friends, his friends, instead of our friends, for in the break up there were things said, or did, that might make one person or another decide there’s a right and wrong. It’s like dating in high school all over again, with a much older audience.
The internet made breaking up easier, less public, and with the ability to block a person from your social media you might be rid of them forever, even if that was not what you were looking for. Gone are the chance encounters in the parking lot of the one grocery store where both parties would like to have a neutral ground in which to bury the past, or at least have sex with someone safe and known for a night.
Of course, break ups and permanent we’re- not- speaking- anymore does happen in real life, and the term real life in and of itself suggests that relationships on the internet aren’t real and aren’t live. In a sense, this is true, yet we seem to have eased into the cultural acceptance that once wasn’t there. You rarely here, “Oh, is it one of those internet things?” spoken with the contempt it once held.
The truth is relationships are difficult enough, and every social situation brings with it innate minefields, hard terrain, and an ever flowing current, either fast or slow, that constantly threatens to push, or pull, two people away from one another.
Back in high school, where most people experienced their first date, there’s usually mutual friends, but there is also competition for attention, cheating, poaching, and innocence isn’t lost during sex, it’s lost in dealing with interpersonal relationships where lust, spite, boredom, and simple inexperience leads to betrayal and the death of trust.
The internet has proven to be a land of the faithless as well, for someone who might have been considered a good and trusted friend is actually interested in your significant other. Any fight or break up is seen as an opportunity, and a friendship once thought strong, is lost forever. The person you thought of as close you now see as accursed and evil.
At the end of all discussions, even this one, internet dating only has distance as its biggest difference than dating someone in high school in a town with a population of under a thousand. Everything found in every relationship in one culture is likely discovered in another, taken nuance away. Or perhaps it is always, “No matter where you go, there you are.”
Have you ever had a internet romance? What happened, and why?
Mike writes regularly at his site: The Hickory Head Hermit.
Opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those of the management of this site.