Why Digital Relationships Become Addictive

Women's Dating

Why Digital Relationships Become Addictive

Dr. Wendy Walsh

Written by: Dr. Wendy Walsh

Dr. Wendy Walsh

Known as America's Relationship Expert, Dr. Wendy Walsh is an award-winning television journalist, radio host & podcaster, and the author of three books on relationships and thousands of print and digital articles. More than 1.5 million people follow her sage advice on social media. She holds a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology and teaches in the Psychology Department at California State University Channel Islands and has been the host of "The Dr. Wendy Walsh Show" on iHeart Radio's KFI AM 640 since 2015. Walsh is also a former Emmy-nominated co-host of "The Doctors," as well as former host of the nationally syndicated show "EXTRA." She was named a Time Magazine Person of the Year in 2017 after speaking out about harassment at a major news network.

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Edited by: Lillian Castro

Lillian Castro

Lillian Guevara-Castro brings more than 30 years of journalism experience to ensure DatingAdvice articles have been edited for overall clarity, accuracy, and reader engagement. She has worked at The Atlanta Journal and Constitution, The Gwinnett Daily News, and The Gainesville Sun covering lifestyle topics.

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Today, singles are connecting everywhere online, including dating sites, Facebook, Twitter and chat rooms.

However, what some of these singles looking for love fail to consider is the alluring quality of digital relationships, something that has now gone viral in America’s dating culture.

Simply put, a digital relationship may or may not involve phone calls or video chats, but it usually does not involve face-to-face relationship building.

Because of the time delay in transmitting emails, it does not involve real-time communication complete with body language, vocal tone and eye contact, but it does involve plenty of real-life feelings.

Digital relationships move fast.

Because an online relationship is mostly an attraction to your own projections (i.e. he fills in the blanks on your own fantasy), they develop at an enormous speed compared to real-life relationships.

In the first email, you’re disclosing basic information about yourself. Within days or weeks, you’re calling each other babe, sending sexy messages, sharing deep secrets and maybe even having cybersex.

This can even occur before an actual in-person date or introduction.

“Growing a healthy relationship

requires talk, touch and eye contact.”

Take face-to-face time to develop a relationship.

No amount of FaceTime or Skype can replace the connections that are created in person.

To top it off, sending promiscuous pictures and text messages early on in a relationship only sets you up for a relationship based on sex, not intimacy or commitment.

It baffles me that people would send pictures of their privates before they’ve even let someone into their home.

Remember, online dating sites are a misnomer. They should be called online meeting sites.

The dates should take place offline. Growing and maintaining healthy, intimate relationships requires plenty of talk, touch and eye contact.

Avoid falling into the trap of a digital relationship:

  1. Use online sites to identify potential partners, not to date.
  2. In the first few emails, use good boundaries and stay on G-rated topics and facts about yourself that you wouldn’t mind reading on Twitter.
  3. Move to telephone chat within one week of meeting. Ask for extra photos and maybe do a Skype chat. This will help you avoid online scams by people pretending to be something they aren’t.
  4. Meet in a public place within the first two weeks of chatting. Make it a short date for coffee. If you both decide you like each other, the second meeting can feel like the first date.
  5. If a potential mate won’t get on the phone or meet in person, stop emailing. This person is addicted to the online attention and is not interested in a real world relationship.

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