There is a lot of conflicting opinions when it comes to whether or not the internet has allowed us to get closer to one another. Some will say that the internet makes it easy to connect with people from all over the world and all walks of life, people you wouldn't usually come into contact with any other way, while others think it's taking the 'connection' out of relationships. No matter which side of the argument you are on the question: are online relationships healthy, is a valid one.
While most people think that each relationship has to be judged on it's own merits, there are some things you can look for to make sure your relationship is a healthy one.
Here are some tips for making the most out of your online relationships:
1. For one thing, don't pay to join a dating site, with so many social sites available like Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, etc. there's really no reason for most people to pay to join a dating site. Some people may like the idea of all of their 'matches' being screened by someone else but for the most part, it's probably an unnecessary step... and it will cost you.
2. When you first meet someone online take full advantage of all the technology to slow things down, or speed them up if you prefer. You can communicate with just email if you want to take things slowly, after a while if you're comfortable with each other you can start to instant message each other and you may want to eventually use a web cam to communicate. The point is that with an online relationship both of you have a lot more control over the pace of the relationship which can help you build a very solid relationship.
3. To make sure that you're not having an online relationship solely because you are afraid to have a 'real' offline one, it might be a good idea to plan to meet at some point if things go well. Most people want and need human contact and will eventually want to move a good relationship into the physical world. If the person you are dating online is reluctant to do that it could be a red flag. Maybe they are already in a relationship with someone or maybe they have some behavioral issues that makes them fear a real world relationship.
4. When the two of you do decide it's time to meet offline, don't ever forget that the person you've been chatting with and getting to know may not really be the person they say they are. That's one of the drawbacks of only communicating via instant messages and email, people can lie about who they are. Always arrange to meet them in a public place and even thought you may have spent months getting to know each other online, when you actually meet it should be almost like starting from scratch and you should take it slowly.
Many people have asked the question: are online relationships healthy? The truth is that it depends on each individual relationship. Use the information above to make sure that the relationship you have is a good and healthy one, that's really all that matters.