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Gender

 

Virtual Relationships and Love Pangs

Desire to love and be loved is intricate in homo sapiens. Feeling of love is as old as human existence on this planet. However, love changes its shapes and forms but its true essence remains intact. Modern man adapted different facades and forms to seek love satisfactions, gone are days when feelings of sexual or love relationships were limited to opposite genders and conservative values to express feelings of love. Nowadays, it includes diverse ways which include but not limited to gay or lesbian relationships, threesomes, couple swapping, sexting, online dating and such other unique ideas: albeit, desire to seek true love lies at the core.
In today's techno fast-paced era, to be engaged in relationships via social networking sites, online dating applications becomes accessible for everyone. Anyone can easily approach and convey feelings of love. Non-stop chatting, sharing illusionary existences, engaging in intimate bonds creates pleasurable feelings in which two people remain in distant geographical entities yet remain in touch with each other’s feelings via their gadgets. The day starts from morning texts and ends to good night hugs and cuddles and time seem to stop uniquely in between such ordeal. Virtual relationships invest a great deal of emotional and psychological energies, daydream about potential loves, delusions and illusionary identities of loved ones lie at the heart of virtual relationships.
Heightened emotional attractions create based on self–disclosures, exchange of ideas and views, however, no one can ascertain the reality of such virtual relationships as there is a high risk of anonymity, faking of identity and factitious expressions of feelings. Exchange of emoticons to express feelings of joy, love and pleasures can never substitute in-person first-hand observations of true feelings, In virtual relationships manipulation of emotions, words and processing of thoughts due to availability of time to text and communicate creates a barrier to fully engage in relationships.
Doubts for reciprocity of feelings run high in case of virtual relationships and there is a chance that another person is not genuinely interested, fraudulent or simply turns toward virtual relationships as a leisure deed. Masking identities creates an easy outlet for disadvantaged groups, minorities, people with mental disorders, disabilities, unique personality traits. Personal choices to suddenly disappear into the vast virtual world in such relationships are common practices also there is a discretionary power to block or remove the person from one's contact without giving second chance for explanations could be detrimental in case of deep emotionally invested long-distance relationships.
Virtual relationships provide easy ways for non-judgmental communication with the opposite gender, explore their personal opinions and ideas and engage in deeper levels of communications which could be otherwise difficult. However, it is detrimental for the development of emotional intelligence, social and cognitive skills which is a pre-requisite in the real world. Cyber-bulling and cybercrimes, misuse of personal data and other information create a threat to personal identity and social status.
Despite equally weighted pros and cons, it is solely dependent upon personal choices to either engage or avoid virtual relationships. For some it may appear idiosyncratic to invest energies in some remote relationships, however, for people with specific attachment styles: avoidant/ distant, personality traits: introversion, shy, such relationships are an outlet to maintain sanity and seek satisfaction for pangs of love inherited in genes of homo- sapiens.

About the author

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Dr. Afreen Faiza

She is a Clinical Psychologist at a private hospital and also a faculty member in different universities. She also is an Adhoc reviewer and editorial member in several renowned national and international academic journals.

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