cinema_babe: (Sexy)
If you don't follow my logic, please don't throw (big) stones at me, a simple comment such as, "HUH??" will suffice. So what does the Johari Window have to do with my theories on on-line romance?

According to the Johari Window, every relationship has the four quadrants (Hidden, Open, Blind and Unknown). When people are getting to know each other strictly through technologically mediated communication (internet, phone, IM, etc) there is a near inability to have a “Blind” quadrant. Everything you know about your inamorata (or new best buddy or whatever) is based on what they allow you to see and when they let you see it. I suspect that a large part of what determines if we want someone in our life as a friend and/or lover comes from the blind quadrant. Why? Think about this. How many times have you been on a first or even second date and the potential relationship just fizzled? S/he never called again. You might not know what it was that caused the person to lose interest. Maybe they were never that into you in the first place. That’s all part of your blind quadrant; The part of you that only that other person knows.

Anyone can *sound* sweet or sensitive, or whatever it is you need, in an email. Your perception of them is filtered through what they choose to show you of themselves. To be sure some people are very lousy at lying or hiding. You might know just by your interaction on line that this is not someone you can trust or want to be with. Even then, you are only seeing a part of the person, the part they choose to bring on line.

Let me clarify, I'm *not* talking about people who become acquainted on line but move their courtship into the F2F realm. I do believe that people who have only communicated via computer or phone can develop feelings that are very real and intense, but I liken those feelings to flowers grown in a hothouse: beautiful blooms that flower in an artificial environment. For me the question is always, can this survive outside of the hothouse? When someone is courting you on-line they will always seem far more perfect because that part of the other person that only you know is filtered through what they reveal you. Like many pack animals, humans depend on tangible contact, in real time, to fully assess their partner's worthiness (you can’t sniff someone’s ass through a DSL line!) I think so called on-line relationships rob humans of that chance to size up their new mate. This is the result of the loss of the blind quadrant.

Right now, there are probably people saying, “But I/my friend Millie/my aunt Joan, (pick one) met someone on line and we’re/they’re sooooo happy!”

To that I would say two things. One, I never said that people can’t *meet* and get to know each other each other on line. I just think the aliveness, the full sizing up, can’t take place without time spent together in person. I didn’t say these folks didn’t fall in love, I just have a hard time putting stock in it happening sight unseen (and a bunch of pixels arranged in JPEG format is not truly sight, lol.)

The other thing I would say is the whole concept of mating via the Internet is still relatively new. (Newsflash, 10 years is a drop in the bucket of time!) I think it will likely be another 10-30 years before we can really assess how successful Match.coms and eHarmonys of the world are over the long term.

True, there were mail order brides and arranged marriages years and in those cases the couple might not meet until the wedding. That is true however, we’ve never had the phenomenon of people meeting and marrying with so little face to face time in conjunction with the complete person freedom to be who you want. In the past, the roles of "husband" and "wife" were strictly delineated and and significant deviance could result in social censure. If a man ordered a bride from a catalog everyone knew that part of her role would be to take care of the house, while his would be to provide financial support. Today each person has an array of life choices to make. This complicates the idea of ordering up Mr and Ms Right. The meshing of roles and expectations is a tricky negotiation in the best of circumstances but conducted without the benefit of body language and vocal inflections it can create a minefield.

March 2017

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