I came across the term 'textationship' today. Obviously, from combining 'texting' and 'relationship'. Defined as a romantic, sexual or platonic virtual relationship that is mostly via texting or messaging. Seen by many as as inferior to a 'real' relationship that involves face-to-face communication and physical touch. Judged by some as a 'pseudo-relationship' with false intimacy.
One of the core themes in my memoir, Bipolar Courage: are you sure you're not autistic? is asking the question, 'Are online relationships real?' I will let the reader decide for themselves. I am anticipating to self-publish the memoir by September 2023.
in defense of virtual relationships
Obviously, one needs to be wary about 'romance scams' aka 'catfishing'. Catfishers use stolen and fake identities to prey on lonely and vulnerable people for sex and/or money.
Here are some reasons why a virtual relationship can be valid:
cautions with virtual relationships
One of the biggest risks, is predators who do romance scams as a dodgey profession. This is using fake pictures, fake identity to lure vulnerable people. Have them develop feelings or an attachment for the fake persona, then use ask for money and/or use blackmail threats.
Another risk is a form of blackmail called 'sextortion', a form of extortion where the abuser theatens to share intimate pictures unless one gives into the blackmail demands. I've had this happen to me, when young guy couldn't handle that I cut him off, so he made blackmail threats.
I wrote about his in my first memoir, Bipolar Cringe (mature themes). This book was attacked by extremists because over their ideology, which I am trying to avoid as much as possible in the current memoir. Politics contaminates everything, hence I am trying to avoid details but it's not possible to completely.
Online relationships are just as suspectible for abuse than local relationships. I have started to use 'online' versus 'local' rather than 'virtual' versus 'real life' after an online friend told me why he does this.
There can be an element of fantasy with online interactions. This can make it more exciting. Some things like a person might smell bad (an intimacy killer for me) can be removed from the equation.
One or both parties can develop and obsession, which can turn toxic and hard to let go of. Yes, I will admit I was obsessed with 'Maxwell', who is the focus character in my second memoir.
It's very easy for past friends or lovers to distribute screenshots private conversations to 'dox' a former friend or lover they had a falling out with. Doxing is making identifying sensitive information public with malicious intent. It apparently comes from the word 'documents', in context of leaking sensitive documents.
There is an unfortunate vulnerability with social media, in that malicious lies and gossip can spread like wildfire, which is why I have put a damper on it sometimes.
is a local relationship superior
I'm going to say 'no' to this, and this includes friendships. It's just different. Technology has changed the way a lot of people interact.
It can be painful for one of both parties in the relationship, if they see a physically-present-in-the same-place-at-the-same-time relationship as superior to an online one. Having done both, there are pros and cons to both. Also, not that someone can be in the same room with someone and even having sex with someone, and not being 'present.'
With my personal situation, I actually like 'hybrid' relationship styles. I am happy to keep in touch online but if I get to meet an online friend, even if it's just once, that's special. As the connection has been there too. Sometimes, though, it's just not possible, due to distance.
I don't like the smothering of a 'full-time live-in' type relationship. In fact, I think that's to a large extent why I had such chronic depression. Sure, flying solo can be a bit lonely at times but I actually felt more lonely being 'attached.' Keeping busy with my creative projects barely gives me a chance to feel lonely.
My sweet spot would be to mostly keep in touch with people online and see a few special people on occasion.
I've had online friends that have been loyal and protective of me, despite never being able to be meet in the physical dimension. I've had both online and previously 'real life' friends let me down. It really depends on the person.
ethics writing memoir
I started writing about ethics of writing memoir, which was going off on a tangent, so I turned what I wrote into a new blog post. Blogs aren't as popular now as they used to be, but they can still be a useful way of sharing insights in a way that isn't too time-consuming. Also, they can link to each other and other things of interest, which is now the brain works. Linking. Although mine links a LOT. I put minimal links in my blog posts (opps - starting to go off on another tangent). Anyway, there are two blog posts for today, having a rest from my manuscript.
Disclaimer: the author of this blog is not an expert by profession and her opinions should not be taken as expert advice.