Romance Online?

Romance Online?

Now that social media is so prominent is our lives is there a possibility for people to maintain and be satisfied with online relationships? It can be argued that online relationships do not measure up to real world relationships in which you are actually in the presence of someone. This argument is typically supported by the claim that physically being with someone stimulates more intimacy and fluent conversation. I argue that this is not necessarily true and that online social platforms do a great job at facilitating what a real-life relationship is like. Many of the attributes of social platforms work to satisfy the many variables of relationship satisfaction such as similarity, commitment, intimacy, trust, attributional confidence, and communication satisfaction. Attributes such as being able to communicate in real time, and the text bubbles that appear with someone is typing facilitate the natural back and forth of a face to face communication. Posting pictures of yourself on social media platforms facilitates intimacy. Profiles that characterize a person and lists there likes, and dislikes confirm similarity and attributional confidence and lastly, openly committing to a person on a social media platform, like with Facebook’s relationship status feature, satisfies commitment. These are only a few examples of attributes that facilitate real human contact. Therefore, romantic relationships can actually thrive online. I have found a study that supports my thesis by an assistant professor at the Bryant University and an associate professor at the University of Nevada.

A study was conducted on people in online romantic relationships by Traci Anderson (PhD, University of Oklahoma) Assistant Professor at Bryant University and Tara Emmers-Sommer (PhD, Ohio University) Associate Professor at the University of Nevada-Las Vegas. Their goal was to find data on how the perceptions of different relationship satisfaction variables in online romantic relationships satisfy relationship needs. They also considered which variables were most important in the overall success of the online relationships. The study was made up of 114 people, ages ranging between 18-64. All the people involved in the survey had never met their partner in person. (Anderson & Emmers- Sommer). Many different measures were developed to asses what degree each variable is felt. All the individual variables ranked relatively high on each of their scales and overall relationship satisfaction was between 88%-96% relationships (Anderson & Emmers- Sommer). The research could conclude that intimacy, trust and communication satisfaction were the most important variables to consider when evaluating relationship satisfaction, with the most significance placed on communication satisfaction. Due to the tremendous amount of time and effort put into communicating in an online romantic relationship, it was found that online relationships sometimes have greater levels of intimacy, then face to face relationships (Anderson & Emmers- Sommer).Therefore, based on the conclusions drawn from the study my thesis is confirmed because it suggest that communication technologies can be utilized to fulfill relationship needs just as successfully as a face-to-face relationships.


Anderson, Traci L. and Emmers-Sommer, Tara M. “Predictors of Relationship Satisfaction in Online Romantic Relationships.” Communication Studies, vol. 57, no. 2, 2006, pp.153-172, Accessed 22 November 2017.



2 thoughts on “Romance Online?

  1. This is very true! I remember just a few years ago, before Instagram and all these other new social media platforms, Facebook was the biggest during the time, and when someone told their friends or family that they met on Facebook, it was considered “weird” or “unusual”, whereas now meeting someone online, specifically on social media, is very common.


  2. Romance online *can* work- however, I don’t think the importance of physicality can be understated. Simply google ‘physical intimacy in a relationship’ and you’ll be met with thousands of results detailing why it is such a key factor in maintaining a healthy, working relationship. Not only is it important for biological reasons, it is also important for compatibility as well. Simply put- it is easy to lie online. I can take time to consider my responses, type them out in a low risk environment, schedule skype sessions so that I look and act my best, etc. I don’t believe a genuine relationship can be maintained solely online, as our online selves and real selves are often two different entities. We shape our tools, but our tools shape us. The setting and usage of a computer encourages transmission rather than communication, something a relationship cannot stand on for long.


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