Ask yourself, are online relationships in real life relationships?
The answer is yes, and I’m going to tell you why.
My partner and I met online in 2011. We would stay up late messaging each other, sharing jokes, video chatting – you name it. We had fun together and every moment between us, on the phone, over video calls or over text, made the butterflies in my stomach go nuts. So when someone told me my relationship wasn’t real because we hadn’t met in person yet, it confused me.
We had met, we had spent time together. It wasn’t in person, but those conversations that sent swarms of butterflies through me happened. They were real, my feelings were real. We both existed. Our interactions existed. But over and over again, my partner and I were told that it wasn’t real life. I noticed that sort of energy in the online community too. Other people in online relationships referred to meeting up in person for the first time as “meeting irl”.
Many of us use the terms “in real life” and “in person” synonymously. I feel like doing that enables others to say that our relationships aren’t real. It gets really frustrating for those of us who see the distinction. The interactions and things that we do online, they are in real life. What we do online isn’t in a fictional world. We are still doing things – still playing a game together, having a conversation, hanging out – just not in person.
I think the best way I have found to explain it, is comparing it to talking on the phone. That’s still a real life conversation, right? It was a conversation that happened, just not in person.
In real life and in person are not interchangeable terms. So when someone says, “you can’t be in love with them, you’ve never met” explain that you have met, just not in person. Don’t let anyone make you feel like your relationship is invalid, because it’s not.
It totally sucks to hear that over and over again. It gets really upsetting so you put those who disagree in their place!
Make the distinction between irl and in person, and help them see that online relationships are real life relationships.
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