Virtual love: Dream or reality?

Love   ›   Being in a relationship  ›   Virtual love: Dream or reality?

It’s easy to meet people we’ve never seen online. We can chat, send photos, share videos, talk, become friends… and even fall in love! But this kind of relationship can also be dangerous. Here are some tips for staying safe and comfortable.

Why do people fall in love online?

There are no barriers online. Since we can’t see the other person, it’s easier to ask and answer personal questions. The more we reveal about ourselves, the closer we feel to the other person. And sometimes, we fall in love.


Virtual love contains its share of dreams. We imagine the person: his/her smile, face, body, what we’d say, what we’d do together… But in reality, that person might be very different! If you met him/her, would you find him/her physically attractive? Would you like the way he/she behaves? Would you share the same values?


Do you really know the person?

In the online world, we only show part of ourselves. Consciously or unconsciously, it’s easy to enhance the truth or gloss over some aspects of our personality. A person with bad intentions can lie, hide his/her true nature, or pretend to be someone else. So use caution!


Ask yourself a few questions about the other person:


  • “Do I know who I’m talking to?” That’s hard to know if you’re writing to each other so you can’t hear the other person’s voice or see him/her on a webcam.
  • “Do I really know the other person?” The Internet can foster lies and half truths. The other person is telling you what he/she wants to tell you!
  • “Am I keeping my safety in mind?” Safety first! Don’t give out personal information: name, address, phone number, photo, etc.


Ask yourself about your own needs and wishes:


  • “What place does this virtual relationship have in my life? Is it preventing me from experiencing things in real life with the people around me?”
  • “Why do I feel more comfortable talking to a lover online rather than face to face?”
  • “Am I comfortable with the advantages and disadvantages of online love? Not seeing the other person? Not meeting him/her in person?”


Careful what you reveal!

Online, people can start asking personal questions, confiding in each other, talking about sensitive topics… and it all happens very fast. Even if your feelings are very strong, don’t send overly intimate photos or videos of yourself. You don’t know how the other person might use them or who he/she might show them to. And avoid giving him/her too much information about yourself, such as your address or workplace, or the name of your school or your teacher.


Set up a first date

Actions speak louder than words. You’ll have a better idea of who the other person is when you see how he/she acts with you, his/her friends, his/her parents.


If you meet the other person, you’ll know right away if your hopes can ever become reality! His/her actions, attitude, and behaviour with you and his/her friends or parents will give you a better idea of his/her personality. 


Some advice:


  • Tell someone where and when you’re meeting
  • Choose a public place
  • Ask a friend to go with you
  • During the meeting, ask lots of questions


Don’t meet someone who...


  • Refuses to show you his/her face
  • Doesn’t want you to talk about him/her to other people
  • Doesn’t accept it if you say no
  • Pressures you because he/she is absolutely determined to meet you
  • Pays way too much attention to you


Most of all, listen to your intuition. If something bothers you or worries you, talk about it to an adult you trust or call us!


Exchange photos... but don’t go too far!

A photo can help you get to know the other person. On the other hand, avoid sexy photos as much as possible: you don’t know what the other person will do with them! And remember that people tend to show only their good sides in photos.


Set up a video meeting

A video meeting is a good way of getting to know the other person better: you find out how he/she looks and talks, and his/her attitude, facial expressions, energy, and personality. However, you also commit yourself a bit more with a video. You deepen your bond with the other person, become more vulnerable, and run a greater risk of experiencing rejection.


If you doubt the other person’s honesty, you can talk to him/her directly or do some research to find out if all his/her information adds up. Listen to your intuition: if a little voice tells you there’s something weird about him/her, it’s probably true! Make sure you have people around you whom you can talk to about this relationship and your questions.