Te'o's false romance a story nearly as old as love
Love, deception long entwined
MIT's Turkle, who studies how technology plays a role in our interpersonal relationships, says there is also a desire among romance-seekers for exclusively online relationships.
''Both parties can be genuine, both parties can be seriously looking for gratification," Turkle says. "They invest a lot of time in these relationships, but they want to keep it virtual. Even if they're both pretending to be someone they're not, it fills a need in their lives. But if one is genuine and the other is not, the result can be heartbreaking."
These specialists point out that most people using online dating websites such as Match.com, eHarmony, or OKCupid are usually looking for a serious, real-life relationship. The expectation of these sites is that you will connect online, and then meet for a date.
According to Schulman, finding true love can be dicier through social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram. It may seem impossible to enter into a serious online relationship in 2013 without the aid of video chatting, but Schulman said in his case he was so smitten that he ignored the warning signs.
''I was the victim of a nine-month virtual romance," Schulman said. "During which time I suggested video chatting and offered to purchase a webcam for her. All along the way I heard any number of excuses about why it couldn't happen. It never dawned on me that everything this person was saying could possibly be untrue."
Which is why Adam LoDolce, a Boston-based "dating confidence coach," adamantly advises his clients to meet people the old-fashioned way: Approach them and say hello.
''A lot of dating coaches focus on online. My focus is offline," LoDolce says. "For thousands of years, we managed to meet people in everyday settings. It may sound old-fashioned, but if people don't want to get scammed by an Internet romance, don't look for love on the Internet."
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