|Home | Issues | The Daily Star Home | Volume 3, Issue 53, Tuesday August 22, 2006|
On the side
Locks and knobs
Dilemmas in romance
FALLING in love over the Internet is no longer something bizarre. Hundreds of people around us have found their soul mates while chatting in mIRC, banglacafé or ICQ. Although this was unthinkable some ten years ago, it is reality today. Many people look down on lovers who have found someone online but those who fall in love without seeing their partners think differently. Iftekhar, who met his girlfriend Dipika in mIRC says that the absence of physical presence resulted in deeper understanding between them. Beauty and appearance played little or no role in bringing them together. Iftekhar also says that beauty, which is only skin-deep, does attract the opposite sex but when you fall for a person's look only it's difficult to take a relationship to a higher level.
Although it's difficult for many of us to even think of falling in love without seeing, there are people who have maintained long-distance relationships for years without ever meeting. Samia (not her real name) met her boyfriend only once before he left for Canada to pursue higher studies and came back to Dhaka earlier this year after completing his M.Sc. The couple is now planning their wedding, which will take place next November. Samia thinks that hers was a platonic bond that kept her from feeling depressed for staying away from her partner for years. Unlike most couples, they never dated in the past three years, never held each other's hands or quarrelled face to face. But despite that, their relationship never faced any trouble. Advances in communication techniques have made life easier than before. Internet, telephone, cell phone, web cams have all narrowed down physical distance dramatically. It now takes no more than thirty seconds to send a text message to anyone living thousands of miles away. With a web camera you can now see your loved one live 24/7. But then again, it requires a lot of patience to wait for someone, who lives so far from you. It's also difficult to trust someone without seeing. It's also quite impossible to test whether the person on the other side of the phone is actually fibbing or being truthful. All these create a lot of tension and uncertainty in the minds of the people who date online.
The best part of searching for partners online is that it allows you to meet more people than any other way. People who are shy and feel uncomfortable speaking to the opposite sex in person think online dating is the most effective way to find someone. Besides, one can also choose to communicate anonymously on the net, if s/he wants to. At the same time, one can also test whether there is a level of understanding between two people before meeting in real life.
However, the biggest flaw of online romance is probably the fear of deceit. People who meet in chat rooms may lie about themselves, including their age, gender, marital status, religion, occupation, academic qualification and so forth.
Although people like Iftekhar and Samia say that they are happy with the partners they have found online, it is also true that there is difference between virtual and real love.
Last but not least, online dating can sometimes be overwhelming, addicting and time consuming. People can become so obsessed with online chatting that they give up studies and work just to be in front of their PC's.
It is important to remember that every decision or action has its pros and cons. While virtual love is not flawless, real life love is not perfect either. Had it been so, fewer relationships would have ended up in separation. No disguise can long conceal love where it exists, or long feign it where it is lacking.' -Francois La Rochefoucauld.
By Wara Karim
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