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July 31, 2013

Real Connection

I’ve run into many guys lately spending a lot of time in various forms of online relationships. I’ve said to almost all of them that I really don’t understand the preoccupation we’re having with online relationships.

Really, how many times can I say hello to someone I don’t know on Grindr or Skruff? I’ve never met anyone from these apps and I’ve come to the conclusion that they’re just for playing around.

There are only 24 hours in a day and I much prefer real physical relationships over virtual, online ones. Sure it’s nice to keep in touch with friends who aren’t in my area, but that is a poor substitute for real connection.

Yet, I think we’ve managed to create a situation where many of our relationships are virtual. Even look at our sex scandals lately, Anthony Weiner didn’t actually have any sex yet he’s in the midst of a sex scandal without having any actual sex! As written in the Huffington Post, “Instead, Weiner, like so many others online, has become accustomed to on-demand sexuality, where relationships with another person are convenient, controllable and entirely on his terms. We’re adopting an Amazon.com or Seamless Web approach to our sex lives, expecting that sexual fulfillment can be ordered up over the Internet like sneakers or pad thai.”

Setting aside the political scandal, I’ve seen this version of sanitized, virtual relationships way too much lately. We’ve created our equivalent of the Star Trek holodeck, where any fantasy can be manufactured. The unfortunate impact is that no real person will ever live up to our fantasy creations.

The challenge in any relationship is how we navigate through the things that don’t quite work for us. These virtual relationships that we create online don’t have any defects so we’ve lost skill and patience navigating though those imperfections when they occur in real life.

I’ll take real flesh and blood over bits any day.

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