“I like to compare an online relationship to an online RPG (role-playing game), you sort of build up all these false ideas and ideals about the person you’re dating, and because they only appear in positive light, you see them as perfect.”.

The main difference between online relationships and in person is that it gives people the opportunity to show them in a different light. They can exaggerate parts of their lives or hide things to make them appear, as they want to be.This is made even more obvious when the relationship is not started with a preconceived idea of dating, as I found out from interviewing a few friends who had experienced the highs and lows of online dating first hand.

To start with, I spoke to Dan, a 24 year old video game artist and composer, who met his online love Heidi through an online hobby group dedicated to recreating classic games.
“Right from the get go, an interest was sparked as we quickly found that we had quite a lot in common”, Dan explained.

“This lead to us talking outside of the group most days and generally enjoying each others company, staying up late talking regardless of commitments the next day. After time, she eventually confessed to me that she is transgender, a male in the process of becoming female.

“At the time I felt more confusion than anything else because my mind couldn’t figure out what to think or to say. I kept questioning myself on should this change how I feel? I tried to continue the relationship but for all of the wrong reasons, as I know in my gut that it isn’t the kind of relationship I really want.”

Whilst the reasoning behind this well kept secret is understandable due to the growth in online bullying in recent years, I asked Dan why he thought Heidi would pursue him online and keep her secret for so long.

“I can understand why Heidi would hold this detail a secret, as she is still striving for acceptance for who she wants to be. It’s a tough thing to accept and live with the world around you when something isn’t considered “the norm”.

I also interviewed a couple that had successfully dated online for more than two years: Jack, a 24-year-old artist from England, and Aleks, a 22-year-old photographer from New York.

“I came across her modeling account on an art website and loved her work. We began chatting after I asked if I could use one of her images in my artwork, and things just escalated from there.”

“When I flew over there for the first time I started judging from the off, good and bad points were jotted down in your mind and that then affected the rest of the time we spent together. It was like being bombarded with information I thought I already had.”

With some online relationships it’s not lies and deception that are the downfall, but there is also the issue of rose-tinted-spectacles, as Aleks explained.

“In physical relationships you usually see the person in their own environments and with different aspects of their personality, warts and all. It is not as easy to hide in real life, as it is online with the click of a sign off button.”

Whilst it is not my place to comment on the success of solely online relationships, it seems that they are like a slow motion version of a physical relationship, the honeymoon period goes on for much longer because the more realistic or negative aspects of a person can be hidden for much longer.Of course there are positive aspects to it, like building up an emotional relationship through long conversations, rather than one based on physical interaction. I think that’s what made our relationship last so long, is that we really connected on an emotional if not spiritual level.

The relationship is mainly based on imagined ideals of what each partner wants the person to be, because online you can be anything. And why would you want to be anything less than perfect?

Hannah Andrews, 24.

Game Design Graduate/Artist/Sales Assistant.

See our Online Dating results here.