General Question

discoinferno's avatar

Can you fall in love with someone you've never met in "real life" (only interact on the internet, phone)?

Asked by discoinferno (379points) July 13th, 2009
35 responses
“Great Question” (8points)
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Jeruba's avatar

You can think you have. But the person you fall in love with that way is just as likely as not to be the product of your imagination. It takes more than two dimensions to know a person. And how can you really love someone you don’t really know? The missing ingredient, shared experiences, is essential.

Tink's avatar

Yes, it has happened to me before, and I find it better than falling in love the other way

BurrMiester86's avatar

I believe and know for sure it is possible, if anything it is a more pure love than anyother kind. Its merely based on personality, Instead of just looks. Its completely possible!

skfinkel's avatar

I don’t think you can consider it “love” until you are in the same dimension and space as your new friend. Maybe it can be infatuation, though.

Deepness's avatar

A wise man once told me “You never really know a person until you live with that person”.

Mariah's avatar

Well, I’d say it’s probably possible to fall in love with who you think someone is on the internet. But on the internet, people can sit and think about what they’re about to say for as long as they want and they can present themselves as exactly who they want to be, and they’re just not going to be quite the same in real life.

Nefily's avatar

Yes, it is possible my friend is in this situation right now. I support her because she is my friend but I find it hard to consider it really “love” but who am I to judge.

seekingwolf's avatar

I think it’s possible to fall in love over the net/phone…I’ve done it myself before!

However, to have a relationship with that person, you NEED to meet in person. Even if you meet and then go back to having an online relationship (perhaps due to distance) and plan to meet again later, the real life meeting confirms to both parties the validity of the relationship.

The_Compassionate_Heretic's avatar

No you can’t but a person can surely delude themselves into thinking that.

Darwin's avatar

You can fall in love with the person you think they are. Sometimes this translates into real love once the two of you meet and really get to know each other. However, often some things get left out that turn out to be deal-breakers once physical presence reveals them.

And sometimes the person you think you love doesn’t exist at all but is actually the opposite sex and considerable larger and older than they have said. And up to no good.

Response moderated
discoinferno's avatar

Care to elaborate at all?

I think that you can fall in love, but that it’s not really love in its fully developed form. I think you need the physical connection, that’s the one missing ingredient to make it complete. And I think it’s pretty unpredictable…because you might be in love with someone online, but when you meet in person, the chemistry could be inexplicably absent. Basically, a piece of the puzzle is missing. But I think internet love entirely has the potential to grow into full-blown love. I believe it already has all the foundations.

Bluefreedom's avatar

I bet if I tried hard enough, I could fall in love with some of the beautiful women right here on Fluther. Just thinking out loud…......

Darwin's avatar

Careful, @Bluefreedom ! Some of us may be much older or fatter than we present ourselves, and some of us might have beards.

Bluefreedom's avatar

@Darwin. I’ll take that chance. You’re all beautiful in my eyes. =)

For those that do have beards though, can you shave them off first before we get together?

Corey_D's avatar

Of course I can and I have. I agree with @BurrMiester86 if anything it is a more pure kind of love. I love my girlfriend (hug_of_war of fluther) more than anything, even if we haven’t met in person yet. There are so much more important things than physical closeness. With any luck we will be together soon but I could continue the relationship like this as long as necessary. She knows me far better than anyone in “real life” ever has and I know her in the same way.

Our relationship may be different than most but that does not make it less real. What we have is real and very special and no one can tell me different.

Darwin's avatar

@Bluefreedom Now where did I put that razor…

The_Compassionate_Heretic's avatar

@discoinferno Certianly. People represent themselves online differently than they would in real life. It’s not that they’re trying to perpetrate a fraud, it’s that the interaction is inherently different. Until you meet a person, in person, you have no idea of what they’re really like.

Online, people get all sorts of ideas in their heads of what and who they think the other person is but who that person is, is never fully revealed until there is face to face interaction and even then it takes many many interactions for actual love to occur. People can talk to each other online for a year but their first date is still a first date and on the first date, people are never fully honest with each other despite their best intentions.

People who want to find love online are going to find ways to rationalize or otherwise romanticize their emotions and interactions to the point where they think their love is legitimate. Most times, they desperately want to believe that their infatuation is love. So they do.

kenmc's avatar

You can and I have. Well, we didn’t necessarily fall in love on line (that happened after we first met), but there was a real connection between us and being together only escalated it.

discoinferno's avatar

Hmm.. interesting. But do “real life” mannerisms really define who a person is? I think by talking to a person online and on the phone for say, 2–3 years, you get to know them pretty damn well. You just don’t get a sense of their physical presence, which is only a small portion of their being. People are complex and made up of so much more than what you can grasp physically. Who they are, the nature of their soul, the way you relate to one another, and understand one another, is what you fall in love with. Real life interaction only strengthens- but not necessarily creates- this bond.

dannyc's avatar

At your peril…

Bluefreedom's avatar

@The_Compassionate_Heretic. I have to tell you, that’s a damn fine answer. Lurve.

hungryhungryhortence's avatar

It’s the same as when people used to correspond via love letters to pen pals except now the transmission is quick and there are sounds and visuals to accompany. So, yes people can and do still fall in love but the IRL meet will seal to break the deal.

wundayatta's avatar

@discoinferno @The_Compassionate_Heretic is right on target. Relationships on the internet are largely based on fantasy. In real life, there are so many details and ways of knowing a person that we are hardly conscious of all of them. On the internet, the only thing that is there is words. Words are really good at one thing: creating a framework for a fantasy.

People fall in love with who they think famous people are all the time. They hear a voice on the radio and they imagine the person they want to imagine. The same happens on the internet. The only true test is if you meet the person, and you live with them for a while, and the feeling still holds.

I’m an expert at falling in love with fantasies. I was doing it 30 years ago when people placed one-paragraph ads in the Village Voice. I constructed a whole history and personality from those ads. I later realized that the fantasy was what attracted me. I love to fantasize.

I’ve done that on the Internet a lot, too. A lot. During one six month period a couple of years ago, I fell in love with six women (and they fell in love with me). Each relationship lasted about a month, but the intensity was incredible. In my defense, I was manic at the time, so I had an energy that was apparently somewhat intoxicating, and I lacked the judgment necessary to curb my passion.

I think that the internet attracts people who have more difficulty meeting people in the flesh. It also attracts people who are depressed. You can meet people without leaving your house, and you can build these total fantasies about them. You can call them on the phone, and love their voices, and get addicted to talking to them (and the phone sex is nothing to sneeze at, either).

If you meet—who knows? People only ever tell the stories of the successful relationships. Those are nice fairy tales. You don’t hear about the meetings that are disasters, unless they are total frauds or something.

So, you can fall in love with someone you’ve only met through words, but you better take that with a very large grain of salt. You have no idea how much fantasy is creating your image of the person. Your fantasy may bear a close resemblance to reality, or it may not.

This is not to say that people don’t create fantasies about people they know in real life. They do. It works similarly to what happens on the internet, even though you have a physical presence to deal with. However, over the internet, it is more purely a fantasy, and it is so, so easy to fool yourself. In that arena, I am a blue ribbon fool! Of course, ymmv.

chelseababyy's avatar

You definitely can. I’m living proof.
I met my boyfriend online, he was in Cali, and at the time I was in Florida.

We pretty much had a super quick connection, talked via webcam, phone, txt and email for a few months.

I knew I was falling for him, I couldn’t help it.. even without the physical element of the relationship being there. It didn’t matter. It was merely just personalities connecting. It was completely different than anything I had ever felt.. It was pretty crazy because I had never felt so strongly for someone I had never actually MET before. So…
I went to visit him in Cali for 2 weeks.. he asked me to stay. That was in Jan of ‘08.
We’re still together.

Jack79's avatar

In theory yes, but I think you’ll be in for a disappointment when you eventually meet. I wouldn’t really call it love. Maybe infatuation.

chelseababyy's avatar

Oh, and just to add. I was in love with him before we met in person.
Meeting just put the icing on the cake.

Jack_Haas's avatar

My wife and I fell in love 6 months before we met but none of us took it seriously… until we finally met for a week-end without really expecting anything except having a great time with a like minded acquaintance who it had been awesome to have a long distance passion with. Sparks flew, I returned home to pack a few stuff, left to go live with her, and we got married a year later because of my family using all sorts of legal and illegal means to keep us from getting married. That was 17 years ago. It can work, it has for many.

jbfletcherfan's avatar

Yes, you can. I’ve made a lot of male friends on here, but one is different than all the rest. I love him with all my heart. Always will.

OohSuzanna's avatar

As was said earlier, I think you can fall for the person you think you are talking online/on the phone with. When you subtract the whole real-life encounter thing, you have to formulate in your mind what you think this person really looks and acts like. I think sometimes, it does work out, the real-life person ends up matching or being similar to whoever you have in your mind. But I think more often than not, the persona you have of the person doesn’t match up with who they really are.

my_hearts_in_scotland's avatar

It’s happened to me. I fell in love with a man, by just talking to him and seeing him on cam. And when I finally met him in real life, it was like falling in love all over agian. It was, still is as we are still together, an amazing experience.

jennifermariex's avatar

strong. I dont think you can TRULY know until you hang out and get too know eachother.

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angel1974's avatar

You can fall in love with what you know of that person for sure, but I agree with The_Compassionate_Heretic. I thought I was head over hills for a guy and was pretty sure he could be my one, but when I met him in person we needed to start all over again because in reality we DON’T KNOW EACH OTHER. I harbored no delusions that we’d just run into each others arms, but it was still worse than I thought. I was not physically attracted to him and he’s not in terms of beauty “unattractive.” It was the way he carried himself. The body language…his energy face to face on top of us being in reality strangers but he wanted to hold my hand and act romantic. There are the things people say, but then there are the things they do. I’ve dated unattractive men that I’ve fallin for, but we knew each other first and the like then love grew. I simply did not really know this person. When you’re online and on the phone you are dealing with just what someone wants you to know. Love grows with time spent in person listening, watching, experiencing each other. Luck is when you meet, the attraction is there in person and you’re able to grow closer still. I still care for this guy very much. I can’t just cut him off because the emotions are genuinely there, but whether or not I could fall in love with him completely, I’d just have to spend time with him and see if the lack of physical attraction dissipates with me getting to really know and see all of him.

wundayatta's avatar

I don’t think it’s even necessarily that they are hiding things on purpose. Or pretending to be someone else. I think we don’t know ourselves well enough to be able to give someone a good picture. Who talks about how they brush their teeth, or whether they drink from the carton or if they like hamburgers all the time and no vegies.

It takes a long time of talking before those things even come up, if they ever come up, and they are likely not to come up. All you can talk about is love itself, and you can make each other feel good sexually and that seems to be enough to create the idea that there are very intense things going on between you.

Who knows? It could be real. More likely it is mostly fantasy. But by the time you figure that out you’ve spent a lot of time with a person. You’ve invested in that person to the detriment of other parts of your life. If other parts of your life are suffering, then I think the wisest thing to do is to get out as best you can. But your crazy feelings may be too overwhelming by then and getting out on your own may not be an option.

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