Are Virtual Relationships Healthy?

Robert Weiss wrote an article for the online magazine, Psychology Today, where he talks about virtual relationships. The parallels he draws from the movie Her, in which he describes the real emotions that are felt during such virtual relationships, is pretty spot on, and from my experience it’s real and happening today.
 

So if you do get the chance to read the full article, I highly recommend it. (Click here to read the full article on Psychologytoday.com) 

Otherwise, here are some excerpts of what I think summarises the digital relationship choice really well. Although I would beg to differ in one area, which is that it mainly only applies to the younger folk.  I have met three men in six months that have chosen to have digital relationships, and some that still are; and they are all 43+.  So it isn’t just happening to the younger folk, it’s a growing phenomena effecting us all!

 
Her is Happening Already!
 
While some older folks (digital immigrants) might find this bizarre, younger people typically do not. For them, digital life and real-world life are merely two sides of the same coin, each to be enjoyed, nurtured, and cherished, with neither side more real, more important, or more meaningful than the other.
 
So interacting on an emotional level with a perfectly matched digital creation, as occurs in Her,may not be as far-fetched as many people might think. Nevertheless, Theodore, who sits on the cusp of the digital native/digital immigrant divide, wrestles mightily with the “What is real?” dilemma. In fact, his internal debate on this topic forms the crux of movie.

Further down, Robert wraps up the article with a few very important closing paragraphs. I have bolded the reduction in emotional challenges and increase in control as I believe this is a very real reason for some people to choose digital interactions, over Real Life! 

Are Virtual Relationships Healthy?

Right about now some readers may be wondering about the future of humanity, thinking that if we’re all running around being sexual with avatars and robots and operating systems instead of each other, not much actual procreation will take place.

That, of course, is a rather extreme viewpoint. In actuality, no matter how real technology becomes most emotionally healthy people will eventually find digital/robotic relationships unfulfilling, growing bored with them and longing for the pairing of emotional intimacy with physical intimacy that (as of now) can only be found in the real world with real people. And we should definitely not forget that today, thanks to technological advances, people are able to meet and to develop relationships in new and exciting ways, which actually makes real-world romances more rather than less likely.

 That said, at least a few folks have already opted for tech-sex over IRL encounters, preferring the reduction in emotional challenges and the increase in control that digital interactions provide. And as sexnology improves and proliferates, our expectations of sex and romance will also evolve. Is it possible that at some point real people may not be able to keep pace? Maybe, but only time will tell.

 

Yours Truly

A.R.T.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s