Ending Thoughts - Stronger Foundations
Not only do virtual worlds make "impossible relationships" possible, but many respondents argued that the process itself provides much stronger foundations for a long-term relationship than is typical in F2F relationships.
With gaming together, you can screen people's quirks, their political views, temperament, religious beliefs, without the clouding of RL sex and lust complicating it. You can become friends FIRST. Then when you meet in real life AFTER developing the relationship, it's just, wow. [EQ2, F, 47]
And yes, we can 'yell' at each other and make up, and no, I don't think that's a bad thing. If nothing else, having been able to get to know each other so well before introducing all the trials of a relationship has helped us know how to deal with each other making mistakes. We're only human. [Ragnarok Online, M, 23]
The theme that the low-pressure game environment allowed them to become good friends before romantic partners was described by many other respondents. These players had gotten to know each other well, worked together, and gone through crises together before love happened.
The game WAS the reason we fell in love. Going through all the adventures and quests together really built our relationship. We found out how the other person is when they are mad, tired, sad, happy, excited, annoyed (etc). We got to know each other without the physical aspect of the relationship and I believe that made our emotional connection sooooo much stronger. [City of Villains, F, 25]
It has been the easiest to maintain. It wasn't the result of anything impulsive or simply hormonal, it has a much stronger foundation than that. [EQ2, F, 32]
It's easy to argue that MMO relationships are somehow superficial because they are "missing" things that people have in F2F relationships, but I think that argument fails to understand that sometimes less can be more, and that there can be something superficial about the emphasis on physical attributes in F2F relationships. The notion that the MMO can render the "impossible relationship" possible is intriguing indeed. But ultimately, the most interesting thing that we've learned from the narratives is this. The MMO relationship isn't something you can look for. It's something that happens to you.
Although I didn't meet my girlfriend In am MMO, online-communication played a big role in the early part of our relationship, so I can really relate to some of these ideas these people are putting forth.
I have the unique experience of "creating a monster", that is to say, I turned my girlfriend into a hardcore MMO player which brought up lots of issues and insights in our relationship.
When I met my girlfriend I was working for EB-Games, and I'd often get mailed invites to beta-test MMOs. I've beta-tested EQ, Planetside, Earth and Beyond (rest in peace), Starwars Galaxies, and WoW. I showed my girlfriend the beta test of SWG, let her make a character, and she was instantly hooked. When the game was released we started playing together and I started to learn new things about her.
Suddenly I started to gain insights on what kind of person she was by what type of character she played. We even started getting into arguments about the game. For instance, she was a brawler with lots of hitpoints, and i was a weakling droid engineer... she would run straight through mobs without getting a scratch, and I would either follow her and die, or take the long way around causing her to get too far ahead of me, and I'd become annoyed.
SWG even gave us a taste of what home life might be like. We eventually harvested enough minerals and saved enough cash for an in-game architect friend of ours to build us a house. We found that we had to spend a lot of time farming and making money and getting resources to keep maintaining the house. Eventually RL shool and work got the better of us and our house was allowed to run down and disappear. It was then that we decided that we "weren't ready for that kind of responsibility in a game" and we decided to quit SWG.
We now play WoW and, i believe, because of the things we learned about eachother in MMOs we've been able to cope with eachother's play styles and get along superbly in MMOs which translates into our real life relationship too.
I doubt we would have had a relationship if we had met in real life. At first glance, I'd say he definitely wasn't my type. Too nice, too accommodating, without a sense of adventure. I would have pigeonholed him without ever giving him a chance. [WoW, F, 25]
I find this particular quote really interesting, as it implies that playing an MMO with someone makes them inherently adventurous, as you spend time together literally adventuring. How could you call someone boring or accuse them of not "getting out" when they just helped you kill a dragon? Relationships that start in MMOs are like relationships that start in action movies, you save each other's lives then kiss like crazy.
I guess the weird thing is that the speaker really seems willing to overlook a specific problem with their partner because their virtual relationship provides a context where that element of their partner's personality is irrelevant or contradicted.
Hi Jer - I'm copying and pasting an earlier part of her response to give more context to that particular quote:
Contrary to idea that such relationships are superficial, I felt like I got to know him on a deeper level ... without being hindered by the superficial facade most people have in social situations 'IRL.'
So I don't think it's that her partner became more adventurous online as much as she had gotten to know him on a more substantive level rather than dismiss him offhand based on a snap judgment of superficial qualities.
To add on to this report...
I've personally found it much easier to meet people online than IRL. I work in a small company, and there are no dating possibilities. As a working adult with 1/2 my time spent at work, this limits my ability to meet people. Compound that with the fact that I hate partying and the night life (which I suppose, is one of the main ways to meet people when you're a working adult).
Being online has made it feel like I'm back in school. I see these guys everyday, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. The closer ones, I call, text message from my mobile phone or even snail mail when I'm overseas. Ah, but I am digressing...
I've had 2 relationships of some kind with people I've met online; got to the point we tried to meet but weren't able to so that's where it ended...but I still believe in it; it's just another space where we can meet people that's all.
I have to say that I've repeatedly been advised by fellow gamers NOT to develop feelings for someone online though. So, you might me interested to study that as well. Not everyone online is open to it...
I have found that there are many who want to role play relationships, but when it comes down to it, they really aren't interested in real life. I have fallen in love with someone on game and it took me over a year to get up courage to tell him how I felt. He thought I was joking and made an inappropriate joking comment. I cried myself to sleep for a week. This was a man I had spent 4 or more nights a week talking to for more than two years. He didn't take our relationship seriously at all. I know more about him than I did about my exhusband and this relationship lasted longer than my marriage did. I am so hurt. I had no idea that he really didn't want a relationship and I originally wasn't looking for one either. We became friends then feelings developed - at least on my part. I guess what I am trying to say is that some players really are just playing while others take their emotions and relationships online more seriously so you have to be careful.
I read all this and, I don't really know how to look at it. I may be in the middle of such a situation myself. As a role-player (in World of Warcraft) I'm usually careful about keeping my real emotions in check...
See, I'm currently involved in a role-play relationship. I actually "met" her several months ago via a chat channel, and we talked quite a bit, out-of-character, through tells before we ever met in-character. When we did meet in-character she initiated an IC relationship, which has been going on for a while now. We havn't really talked much about our real lives specifically, but I think you'd agree that it is more of the person's personality that comes across in interaction, that will make you fall for them.
Which is what is happening to me. What started as an out-of-character friendship, developing into an IC relationship, is now causing real feelings in me. I'm afraid to tell her, because being the friend-starved person I am, I value our friendship alot, and I'm afraid that it IS no more than Role-Play to her...
This is actually the second time a girl has initiated a role-play romance with me, though the first time was less serious, just flirt emotes and stuff, and we never really talked OOC.
This time though, I don't know, I mean, we spend hours upon hours sitting together in remote corners of Azeroth(her lower level makes questing together a bit hard), doing nothing besides being together, and neither of us gets bored. That has to be a sign of some kind of real feeling, doesn't it? She did initate the whole thing, and I never encouraged it back then. (And... I play a character I've had a long time; he behaves pretty much the way I would in any given situation, and similarly, I don't notice much of a change in her personality when she switches between IC and OOC)
I find myself hoping beyond hope that this isn't a one-sided thing, like every previous situation involving romantic intrest has been for me. (I bring new meaning to the term "loner", due to my shyness and general social incompatability.) I barely have friends IRL, let alone relationships. I think I'm really falling for this girl, or am I just a bad Role-Player?
While browsing the general forum of WoW, I stumbled across a link to this article. Most people won't read anything much longer than a paragraph on the forums, so it was refreshing to not see people spamming "TLDR" (Too long, didn't read) in response, but rather expressing an appreciation for having it posted. Among these grateful individuals I count myself. I've recently found myself, rather unexpectedly so, in a relationship sparked by an MMO. While still in it's infancy, it's been far more fruitful and rewarding than the majority of RL dating attempts.
I realize I'm merely reaffirming what's already been said before me, but it's reassuring to discover that I'm neither alone, nor a a fool for thinking that relationships forged online have potential. Thank you for this public service.
I think Nicky is right, that this study was very biased. Not all relationships that start out on MMPORG's go well, and many turn out ugly in the end. I was involved in UO and thought that he and I were perfect together, but we weren't. In real life we weren't cohesive and the lines of communication we'd found over the net disappeared when we were together face to face.
The ending of the relationship made me take a real look at my life and what was missing and how I had chosen to fill the voids with a game instead of working through my issues in reality.
I almost lost my marriage, hell, my whole life for pixels and the idea of someone, when that someone didn't exist, only his character did.
Just my two cents. =)
Here's a couple of questions I wish you had asked, or perhaps you did, and they just weren't summed up here. (btw i got here from a TN post that linked it)
1. I know from chat rooms that met up etc years ago via AOL that many online relationships would fizzle as soon as pictures were traded or as soon as people met IRL/F2F. But, I think most people are biased in treating an online relationship as fake or not real, UNTIL there's an offline component. So, you might get a lot of positive bias because of the nature of the beast. If the relationship fizzled as soon as the offline component came in, many might not have counted that a failed relationship any more than they might count being shot down in a bar with a cheesy pick-up line as a failed relationship. I'm not sure what question I wanted you to ask, but it should have helped to determine how biased the responders were regarding this.
2. also, I would have liked to know if the people in this study had been in other game/online relationships that had failed/succeeded in addition to the one they are currently in. I'm pretty sure you would have asked about these, but it wasn't mentioned in your summary.
Very interesting stuff, thanks for putting in all the work.
One thing that wasn't mentioned here is the fact that people whom you meet online can easily lie about themselves. The general answers were in the vein of "I found out more about him from chatting while playing..." Well, folks, guess what? I lie about myself ALL THE TIME. Because I want people to like me. And I have developed relationships with people online, some of whom I've met F2F based on those lies.
It's easier to lie online because they can't look into your eyes and see the dishonesty.
Hi Puff - Issues in honesty and deception are explored on page 7 more directly.
I've had two online relationships through an MMO. In the first case, the only thing that kept us apart was the distance between us. We were on opposite sides of the country, and neither could afford to travel to meet the other. In the end, we decided that our friendship was too important to risk. He remains my best friend and closest confidante, more than two years later.
The second is still in the early phases...a best friend who has become something more. I suppose it's still too early to tell, but I'm hopeful.
Hi Yitz - Great questions. For (1), I limited the target audience to people who had physically dated at some point, so they had gotten way past the trading photos stage. And given the distances usually involved (and the time it took most people to get to that point), it would be hard to count a flight across the country as something on par with a failed pick-up line at a bar.
For (2), most respondents were able to refer to one or more past relationships in comparing with the one that started online. A small handful, usually on the lower end of the age range, mentioned they had never had a romantic relationship prior to this one. But most respondents (although I don't have precise count) did explicitly mention prior romantic relationships they've had.
I think the study is skewed. The number of people who have had bad experiences with relationsthips online probably no longer play and therefore would not have responded to the survey.
I know of at least a dozen people who "fell in love" on EQ only to find out the person was less than ideal when they met in real life. Anyone can come across as a noble, brave adventurer online. In real life, you may discover they are a lying, unemployed, freeloader.
C - This bias is also something I point out on the very first page of the article. And throughout the article, I never generalize to "all" relationships that develop online. I am not arguing that all or most online relationships will work out. What I am arguing in the article though is that in certain cases, relationships that develop online may never have begun F2F due to superficial reasons, and that online relationships are all not inherently superficial.
Just because you don't have a representative sample doesn't mean you can't discover things that are nevertheless interesting and true. All it means is that you can't generalize to all relationships. And those two are very different things.
I agree with most people that meeting someone online in a game is more or less thier real self and they can find out more about that person through there, since the social aspect of the game is all you really have to play off of aside from the mechanics. I feel that if you pay attention and talk to the person over a large period of time that you can tell what about thier online persona is false.
Like what was stated you can tell how that person deals with leadership positions and how they deal with responcibility. Furthermore, obverving the other person in game you can somewhat learn how they express thier emotions. Thats not to say their online persona is the same as thier offline, but certain traits tend to carry over to each other.
Also, another thing that I noticed is that online relationships that tend to last beyond the F2F... are keeping the talking in game to a long period of time. My girlfriend and I talked online in game for about a year and a half before we ever started talking on the phone... then the natural progression started from there, we met each other (lived in different states) and the etc... now we have been together irl for 4 years, and known each other for about 6.
one thing that hasnt been discussed here is how friends and family have reacted when you have told them you are in love with someone you have met in a game/over the net and who you havent meet IRL yet.
my friends IRL consist of two groups of friends; those who are savvy with internet culture and regularly participate with it, and those who are totally clueless about it and have no idea about MMOs or internet communities. and of course theres also my family, who fall into the latter category.
I have a relationship with a girl i have met through ffxi which has been active for the last 6+ months. we became friends at first, it was clear that there was an attraction, and it was only after her RL relationship fell apart that we actually admitted there was something there.
anyways we are very happy and i am going to meet her soon IRL. the thing is, i havent told any of my friends about her, and she hasnt told any of her friends either - let alone our families. we arent ashamed of each other, but we both know that once we tell our friends we will have to constantly defend our relationship to them.
for me, internet culture is an accepted part of my life. im totally ok with it cos i understand it and have been part of it since i was 14 (im 26 now).
i have alot of RL friends who dont understand how people can form relationships with people they have only mate online, which is also another reason why i havent told any of my friends. even very few of my internet savvy friends understand, and those who would understand or have even experienced online relationships before have had to put up with criticism from our peers about internet relationships (another reason i have held back from telling them).
so to the people who are in successful relationships i ask you: when did you tell your RL friends about your relationship, and how was it taken initially and is it accepted now?
how do you introduce your partner to them? and have you told the truth or embellished how you met?
im interested to know.
also another question i want to ask is how many people have started same sex relationships online. i have noticed that i meet alot of bisexuals in MMOs. it seems that being in an online community, sexual freedom is far far easier, since you are essentially as annonymous as you want to be. as a member of the gay community, it always startles me to how many lesbians i meet in the game in comparison to meeting women IRL.
or is that a question that should be posed to gaming in general (therefore irrelevant to the current MMO research being conducted by the daedalus project)?
I just told one friend about it before I met him in person, before that, even if I felt things I couldn't take it completely seriously. After I had met him, it was another thing :) Worst thing was my parents I guess, they didn't know until I got back (I flew to another country) and then they were a bit upset over the whole thing...
About the lesbian thing; I think many of them are males. If sexual freedom felt easier, I think we would see as many male/male relationships as lesbian relationships... I haven't met a single "lesbian" so far in Wow who's prime-purpose in Wow *wasn't* cyber-sex. (And so far no girl either, they all turned out to be male). Too me (I am bi) it's not just about sex... But maybe I am just weird? :)
I've fell into an MMO relationship recently we were really far in distance, She in Norway and i'm in the USA. I guess the both of us were really addicted players and we spent our whole summer playing on the same server for at least 10 hours a day and 8 of those hours we spend our time talking with each other and getting to know one another, but as soon as school started for me i noticed i couldn't pull myself out of the game and it started to get in the way of my life.
Unfortunately i had to quit the server and deleted my character which i worked on so hard to end my addiction before i ruin my own life, but she took me quitting as a way of ending the relationship. and really stopped talking to me even outside of the game and still plays as much.
I suppose this is one of those relationships which it only revolves around the MMO we played and nothing beyond that, which really hurt me and made me not sleep for a few nights because i guess i took it really serious.
(But who knows how far we would have gone if wasn't for my own addiction and kept playing.)
I would like to issue a word of cautionary warning regarding online relationships, as well.
Granted, I am not against them as I met a wonderful man that way. But, although many regard the online aspect as a good quality, people should keep in mind how easy it is to be dishonest online. I had a guy cheat on me (we were F2F) via various online means; Dirty chat rooms, email, even an MMORPG we played together. One of the other women was even in our group, and I had, until I found out, considered her a close friend. In fact, the pain of her trickery hurt more than said boyfriend's.
So people need to be careful in every aspect... It's so easy to say the things people want to hear, and even easier to bask in the emotions that hearing them bring. As with finding true love online - Just because it's online does not mean it is not real. The feelings, either way, are still valid, and in my experience (in both love and pain) are magnified simply by the fact that it is online and goes straight to your heart.
Again, I'm not down on online relationships, I have one. But I urge caution. Don't cheat or be a willing participant to someone else's infidelity. If you suspect someone is hiding something from you, they probably are, and they probably have a reason, good or bad...
I don't want to underestimate the cheating aspect, but I think most of these MMORPG relationships don't start as "relationships" at all. Although some people do look specifically to find a partner through these means, most don't and just start enjoying playing together, and then it can become progressively more.
Up to this point, as both people are not usually seeking a relationship, they're not specifically cheating or hiding things either. I think you can really discover someone "inside out" as it was said before, and fall in love this way without even knowing it's happening.
I think MMOs' relationships are different in this respect than simple "on line" relationships. Sure, you don't know the player in front of you, but you know an "expression" (idealization) of him/her through the avatar that goes beyond simple conversation. People are usually not there to meet people in real life, they're there to play and to have fun.
Then you build things in game, most of the time with people you like (let it be events, fights, guild management and so on), and it helps revealing who they really are.
I've met many friends through MMOs, most of them not on the romance plane, but I was rarely surprised by the person I saw face to face.
Now as we talk romance, yes there is a special someone in my life who I met through a MMO, and meeting this person "in real life" was certainly determinant, but in many ways I was already hooked by many months of in-game discussions and teamspeak/MSN conversations. My case is not very different from what your questionnaire reveals, as I would probably never have met this person by other means (long distance relationship), and moreover this person is not what I would call "my type".
But I think playing together, building and creating virtual places for us and other players, and the fact that we were not in a seduction mood, led me to realize the person was probably more than just a friend. Learning that this feeling was shared was a powerful and sweet moment in my life.
Very interesting website. Keep up the outstanding work and thank you...
Very good work.
I just stopped saw your link and was instantly hooked. couldnt stop reading.
I have to say, on behalf of alot of people, thanks for creating a clean cut, professional looking site like this.
Its something to be proud of.
Im now in a MMO relationship, he live hundred of milles away from me in the UK since i live in south america in the worst social enviroment here...We just met in Second Life and he become in part of my real life just by mistake, hes divorcing now and i have been there helping him and supporting him he does the same to me becase when i meet him my now exboyfriend punch me and we break up a two years relationship, now we are doing plans because i dnt want to live here anymore and my english is well...not bad lol...i will go to the UK and we will try a F2F relationship, we have 5 months in this and well for the time i get there will be a year since we meet online.
Some ppl think that is just stupid, but i have meet maybe an esence that probably i wouldnt meet in real life, hes just in the other part of the world and the game make him to be next to me, opening me a heart that he used to have so closed, and give me the chance of believe in a love beyond obstacles, now i see the sea between us like a little river...i just have to take my thinks and cross it :D.
Excelent proyect...U have touch a venezuelan girl :D
Its just wonderful reading all these stories! I guess mine isnt as unique as I once thought. But we met through WoW over a year ago. We both had the same character class and were close to the same level. I grouped with him because it was convenient and he seemed to know alot more about the game and where everything was than I did. For the first 5 months of our friendship I honestly thought he was a female since his avatar was a NE Female! But later on somehow the discussion came up and I found out he was indeed a guy irl. I was so suprised because we got along so well and I guess part of that attributed to the fact that I thought he was a girl so didnt really feel the need to "watch" what I said.... Eventually we started talking on teamspeak and through messenger and on the phone. About 8 months after playing online together and talking offline we decided to meet. We are in seperate countries and it was a good 8 hour flight for one of us to visit the other. We have met on two seperate occasions now and shortly I plan on visiting him for summer vacation. We are best friends and so much alike its uncanny. He has a fantastic personality and wonderful sense of humor. Im excited to see where this goes! I was not at all looking for a relationship or even a friendship online, in fact I would have preferred not to enter into such a difficult long distance relationship, but since its started gaining steam its morphed into something very real and very valid and amazing.
I need to take a lot more time in looking over this site, but I'm very impressed by what I've seen so far.
I've been involved in online gaming for well over a decade. I started in text muds and then moved to MMO's. I did have a relationship that started online in a mud when I first started playing. It was one I hadn't been looking for and likely got "caught" in since I was basically young and naive. It did end badly (for me), but I stayed in the game for many years afterwards. I made many friends there; some online only, some whom I've met, and I maintain those friendships today. I've also attended a few weddings of my gaming friends who met online. Despite my own bad experience with online romance, I have no problems accepting meeting people in online games as a modern and valid path to friendship and love.
After the failed relationship that hurt badly, I felt like I became fairly savvy in deflecting inappropriate or unwanted advances from (assumed) male players in the game, and avoiding anything like a romantic entanglement, even just in game. (I'm a female who only plays female character.) I've continued to enjoy gaming very much since then.
Interestingly enough, I now find myself on the verge of a second potential online relationship, fourteen years after the first. The person is a player on my current MMO whom I've known in game for two months now. I've dated in the conventionally accepted method over the years, although outside of the adult bar scene that is the "valid" way to meet someone. The feelings of interest I have now for the person on this MMO aren't any different than if I had met him at my local coffee shop. There are different cautions about how to proceed with a relationship this way, and a different pace to discovering things about each other due to the distance involved.
It's very early days yet, and there seems to be a lot of palpable uncertainty about each other's intentions, i.e. is this in game only, or not? We seem to share the same fears though, which is oddly reassuring. There is no doubt, however, that we very much enjoy each other's company. I am hoping that one or the other of us will be brave enough to broach the subject of trying to get to know each other well enough to become friends, or that I can find out that we have different goals in time to avoid any problems.
There are a lot of major events coming up in my everyday life, and this will help serve as a brake on anything developing too fast. I would very much like to have several months talking with him before broaching a picture exchange or visits. If we can't be very good friends online first, I wouldn't expect anything past that. It will be interesting to see how this works out.
Would be interesting to do a look at MMORPGs and affairs or how it affects those already married. Great stuff here.
Ditto what Jane said. I know there are many couples who play WoW. I finally got my wife to subscribe a few weeks ago. She said she'll play it to humor me for a while, i know she's not into that type of thing. Anyway i like it! its very fun to adventure together, and i feel like we're spending quality time together (which is a very rare commodity for us).
Is a full fledged MMO relationship (similar to dating in their activities/words/actions, everything besides the actual physical intimacy) considered having an affair or cheating in general?
Some people claim that it is only a 'game' but others, like in my book, think that an avatar is an extension of one's self. A person normally makes their avatar's actions or words represent their thoughts and emotions.. others just do it for kicks, but how can one tell the difference?
You can't tell the difference which is what causes some of the problems in both virtual and real life. Someone being dishonest about their character or goals is not something that's restricted to MMO's, its just mildly easier/harder. Easier because its online...harder because I believe the majority of people guard their hearts more zealously because its online. There are tradegies and there are fairy tales, nice compilation there Nick.
I thank you very much for this research type article! I can totally relate to it, despite being probably the youngest commenter here. I too went through and found someone that I was interested in on an MMO (Guild Wars) but because I was in my early teens, it was alot more difficult discussing this with others. I know...that many people out there believe that teenagers are extremely gullible when it comes to love, and well, I guess I have to say that I can totally understand that.
When I first told my friends they did the whole 'automatically assume its a 40 year old fat man' thing, and basically put me down. Over time though, since its been 2 years (lasting longer then their relationships) I think they have grown to respect the way that I met him.
I know that I should not take things so seriously yet, that I am still in my mid teens, get out more, yeah yeah. Like many though, I too did not go out purposely looking for love. It just happened, as we started out as friends.
The first time we met F2F of course our parents worried that we might not be who we said we were (completely reasonable)our moms met each other with us, just to be on the safe side. It was about a year untill I could see him F2F though, and I guess my parents got tired of me begging and gave in. Its still difficult to see him, even though he lives shockingly/luckily only an hour away, but because of our age it still is a problem. He can drive no problem, but his mom is worried that he'll run away with me or something, so either she or his older sister insist on driving him down to the mall where he usually meets me.
I suppose I am 'blessed' to be able to live so close to him, but like I said, because of our age it hasn't been so easy. We've only met 11 times in 2 years, but I am glad at least that I was lucky enough to have met him at all.
I have noticed that we are starting to have more arguments on the game over little things, such as him knowing the game better then I do. But when we are F2F, we don't seem to have these problems, although it still reaches me in the back of my mind if this might effect our future together IRL.
Anyway, sorry that I sortof rambled off a bit on your comments, but I must end with one of my favorite quotes of all time, "Don't measure the distance, measure the love."
Strangely enough, I've had several of these encounters, and managed to be in contact with several more.
While not an official "MMO", Neverwinter Nights actually possessed the capability to have 50 or so players on at a given time and formed communities a little closer-knit than the large MMOs.
In fact, my server was included on a study about online communities done by a person for a thesis. "Myth Drannor" had approximately 12,000 players log in over the period of about 5 years.
During that time, I had three relationships with online friends, one of which I met IRL and had relations with for a short time.
Relationship #1 was with a young lady in Iceland, where the distance actually was prohibitive to seeing her. However, we did engage each other in conversation on a regular basis and became romantically involved (i.e. interested in each other sexually) over the period of just a few weeks. While I did not voice this to her, both of us were in relationships, and thus I did not feel that ethically we should be involved. We still talk seven years later. Age gap was also a concern, as well as physical appearance on both sides, quite in opposition to the stated point that "you look past the superficial". We were, however, both attracted to each other.
Relationship 2 was with a good friend (female) who I enjoyed talking to. We had met up while visiting a mutual friend and engaged in sexual relations while visiting him. She was not my physical ideal, nor really a personality match, but we both liked and admired each other. We are still friends on FB and she is currently married. There is still some flirtation, but my old-school values prevent me from going any further (even though I am not currently attached).
Relationship #3 was both physical and emotionally matching. Very attractive girl in WOW who was also the guild leader. We had discussed meeting, however, she was in a relationship and living with her boyfriend. She also had a child (not a concern, save the father was the current boyfriend). I thus ended the relationship before anything further developed.
I daresay that in the last case, many would not have ended it and would continue, causing a break-up. This was quite possible due to my financial situation being far better than her boyfriend, and a number of other compatibility factors.
Regardless, quite separately from my own experiences, being the lead administrator for this persistent world, I facilitated two marriages and three long-term relationships during the five years I was involved in the project. These all involved F2F and moving in.
Of the others, there were four relationships which did not work out formed on my server. Three parted on amicable terms (still talk and enjoy each others friendship) and one ended in total disaster.
In ALL cases of the relationships I was involved in, the ladies involved were at least 4-8 years younger than I was. Of the relationships I helped foster, I'd say 3 in 4 were younger woman to older man. Two of the nine were "same age bracket" and none were older woman and younger man.
I met him on wow, almost 3years from now.He invited me into his guild.We started chatting on line and got to know more about our rl.Like me, he was married but not happy!I was very lonely and he was very charming.We spent hours playing with our guild .During day we use to chat on msn.We shared pics and chat with web cam.He told me that he wanted more from me then an online relation but I was not able to give more.We lived in different country and I was also older then him.I found myself feeling like a teen ager when i was with him.He brought sunshine into my life and i fell desparatly in love with him.Finally he decided to leave his wife and got in a relation with someone else.I was hearthbroken and still can imagine my life with out him! :(