This may sound like a silly question.
Virtual love is virtual by definition, and therefore cannot be real. However, the term is probably a misnomer. Virtual love does not refer to ‘unreal love’ but rather love that develops in a virtual world.
Therefore, the question becomes – can one find love in a virtual world? And if so, are those feelings real or fantasy?
Virtual worlds are fantasy worlds. Some of them are more fantastical than others. Online gaming worlds such as World of Warcraft or Everquest let you become elves, dwarves, or even orcs and let you battle fiercesome creatures including dragons, griffons, and cute little bunnies with wickedly sharp teeth.
Not all virtual worlds are quite that fantastical, some are like HubPages, and they are centered around an activity (e.g. writing) or around a topic (e.g. investing).
What is common with all these online virtual worlds, however, is that they are filled with real people, interacting with each other and forming friendships and possiblyfinding virtual love.
Is Virtual Love Real? – Online Dating
Let us first consider online dating sites.
Online dating is becoming more and more acceptable today as people become more comfortable with using computers as a means of communication. Electronic mail, instant messaging, and applications such as Facebook have increased the comfort level of talking with family, relatives, and friends online.
As such applications have become more pervasive, the concept of exchanging textual messages with the people we know has become less foreign and more accepted.
The next step then is to use this convenient form of communication to meet new people for the purpose of dating. This is what online dating sites allow you do.
The big advantage of dating online is that it gives you a large population of people to choose from and gives you the ability to ‘test out’ a large number of suitors, Unlike real-world face to face communication, which can be more stressful and demanding, online communication is low-key and gives you time to properly consider and form each of your responses. This will allow you to better impress your date.
Once you have found a likely dating match, you can take the virtual relationship to the next level, which is to set up a face to face meeting.
Clearly love can flourish in an online dating environment. Many people have gone on to have successful relationships and marriages to people that they meet on online dating sites.
The weakness of these online dating sites of course also comes from its key strength. It makes available to you a larger number of people to choose from, but it also does the same for someone who may be emotionally unbalanced. While such individuals also exist in the real world, their sphere of influence is not as large because they only have the people around them to interact with. However in an online dating venue, such individuals can get access to many more people.
Is Virtual Love Real? – Online Communities
However, relationships in more general online communities are a bit different. Strangers meet online, and form bonds, with the expectation that they will never meet in real-life.
In many ways, this last caveat – never meeting in real-life – gives us a lot of freedom. We need not worry about how attractive we are, our age, race, riches,how we dress, or many of the other things that we commonly worry about in real world relationships. We can be whomever we want to be, and explore aspects of ourselves that we may be too shy to reveal in a real world setting.
Some may argue that virtual relationships are more real for this reason.
In virtual worlds we are communicating on a mind-to-mind level without the limitations placed upon us by our physical appearance.
Not surprisingly, this anonymity can also become a weakness. Some people use this feature to present themselves in a way that will engender pity or sympathy from others and then utilize those feelings to obtain monetary or sometimes merely emotional gain.
Many people who have experienced these bad relationships become disillusioned, and prefer to stay away from forming any ties in virtual venues. There is also a very negative social stigma that is attached to those who have been deceived in this way, because they are seen as naive and foolish.
Confidence tricksters exist in the real world as well, but again, their reach is more limited, and it takes greater effort to deceive someone in the physical world where your appearance can be used to judge you.
Is Virtual Love Real?
I believe that most virtual relationships are real – they exist between two real people communicating across a virtual medium. The words come from them, the feelings come from them, the humor, advice, empathy, and sharing all come from real people.
Not all virtual love will last, just like not all love in the physical world lasts.
In fact, it takes a lot more skill and imagination to foster a lasting relationship in a virtual world because there are few visual cues, and no ability to touch and feel each other.
However, you are more free in a virtual world because you are protected to some degree by the shield of annonimity. In addition, because there are so many people that you can reach, you are more likely to find someone who shares more of your interests than the people you meet in the real world.
Is virtual love real? Yes – in many instances it is.
If you give it the chance, virtual love may even be deeper than real love.
Hi! It’s been six years since this comment. I hope you have now found real love in the physical world. Virtual love seems very real, and when it is ended, it is also just as painful. But virtual is virtual until you have finally met in the physical world and find yourselves still in love in all the reality.
Virtual love can be true. When it ends, it hurts deeply and leave you with a broken heart just like the way when a real love in the physival world ends. It is so difficult to share the experience with even your best friend when she has not experienced it. You will be left talking to yourself. 😐 So, guys beware of virtual love.
Aurora R. Agra says
Virtual love can be true. When a virtual love ends, it deeply hurts just like when real love in the physical world ends.
We had relations for about a year. He is from Latin America, I am from Eastern Europe. We used to talk long hours by skype, hangsout, whattsapp. … We shared all our moments together- sad, happy. We gave each other words of support. .. Every day I woke up and the first thing I did was taking my smart to read his morning message.
We were Planning his trip to me. That was really expensive, and we worked with it. Together.
Happy 11,5 mounths.
But a week ago he met another woman. Real woman.
I Do not know how to get used for the new life.
Our love looked like a virtual game. But my pain is real. I am not able to work… I don’t sleep well. I don’t want to eat.
Since I understansunderstand that I WILL NEVER feel his hand holding mine, I will never kiss his lips, I will never…. never…, meet him in the street by chance
guys, take care of virtual love
Jason John says
Mary: It is understandable that you are stuck in what will likely never be. I’m my faith tradition we say “Glory to God for all things.” Even in the face of such pain as yours, by glorifying God you can remember the good times you had. Perhaps someone better is looking for you. I pray that this is the case.
Annalyn Ramos says
Hi! I have the same situation right now, I have chat mates for almost 3 months and I think I gradually fell in love with that guy
yes, it does exist in the world without love we can’t live
Sweet Chococarrie says
Wow as i was reading this hub from the beginning to the end and wanted to write my comment and scrolling down the comment area i saw that i was here before, and that was 2 years ago, what a surprise that i landed here again, so funny, and this time i had a great time reading them slow and sure, very nice hub you wrote in here and you did touched a lot of those many possibilities, the advantages and disadvantages, all i can say is I LOVE IT!! Thanks for the beautiful share @Dear Aya_Hajime
I wish i meet that person which i’m dating online through Facebook and text messaging I really love her a lot hope she loves me too,She keeps on telling me that We are friends but I really want her to be with me in real life Hope she loves me too…. By the Way I would recommend u people to view these two movies ‘Catfish’ and ‘Talhotblond’ .. Its been a lot associated with virtual dating/love…. 🙂 I wish HAppy life.. to u all 🙂
Hello Aya can you say what game the pics are from?
I created the images using Daz 3D models and Carrara.
I think that the strenght of virtual relationships is that two people can comunicate, from the first time, in sincerity way, without constrains like , as you wrote, our aspect, our dress and particulary without fears and insecurities.
The dangerous is idealize the other person, but this can happen also in the “real” life.
That is a very good point. It is easy to fill in the blanks with rainbows and sunshine because that is how we *want* it to be.
On the other hand, if we don’t take it too seriously, it can be sometimes be fun to fantasize about our online friends … as long as we recognize it to be fantasy. 🙂
i have a virtual love, and i think the love is real. its very strange to me. but i can’t help it. im in love.
Sweet Chococarrie says
Informative hub and i just like it really 🙂 keep up the good work.
Nice hub Aya and lovely graphics as usual 🙂 I have often found that virtual friendships build up much faster than real ones…sometimes even turn into love. Perhaps it comes from the the knowledge that we may never meet the person and this makes us more open about facts which we may keep hidden from people who we have to meet on an everyday basis. On Hubpages too I have seen people very open about so many of their problems and asking for help. I wonder if they would do the same with friends and colleagues.
Hi Diana – That is a very good point. People tend to be more open online, I think. For example, there are many very personal hubs. I have also done one really personal one – which I would not be able to express in a face to face setting.
Thanks Philipo 🙂