I have a friend Monika, 45 plus, attractive as any pretty young thing, with an intellect quotient that soars and a matching career graph. In the process of getting there and putting her all in the corporate career, she naturally neglected her need for personal relationships — especially with the opposite sex. Now, when she thought about it and loneliness loomed when she turned the key to enter her empty apartment every evening, she took the way that most in her situation are delving into — friendships on the internet.
She found a friendship that blossomed at every level and was so promising that she began to see it as a permanent partnership. A personal meeting was arranged. But to cut this long story short, it was a case of total deceit. The man was not 44 as he had claimed, and even lacked the wit and charisma that his written word promised. This sent her into a shock, and close to a nervous breakdown.
Of course this is a bad story, and there are many good stories as well. The point I’m making is that these friendships do meet a very opportune need that exists in our times. There are thousands of career-oriented individuals driven into a similar lonely vacuum and many such friendships may be happy ones. Often their expectation is only friendship. But like many opposite sex friendships, a special affinity comes about and sometimes very happy marriages are made over the final personal meetings.
These friendships are definitely adventurous and have that allure of exploration. Sometimes they are so satisfying that they end up in happy matrimony. But the dark side is so threatening and devastating sometimes, that one needs to be aware of the cautionary side.
You must have heard of 50 and 60-year-old ladies sending their daughters’ or nieces’ pictures on internet, soliciting friendships with eligible young men. The same is the case with ‘dirty old men’ luring young ladies into friendships with feigned sensitivity and understanding, which actually doesn’t exist. The young girls get so attached that even after realising that the person is so different from what was projected, the infatuated girls are unable to break it off, leading to long-term and life changing, disastrous results.
It would be not only practical but forward thinking to be safe by using all the means available at one’s disposal to suss out the reality behind the online façade. You can even hire a detective of any reputed agency if you feel you’re falling into deeper waters of intimacy.
One may begin by imagining that it is harmless, after all you’re not meeting the person physically. But there’s that something to the evening! You come back home, and with a click you’re in a bonhomous interchange. Loneliness vanishes. It goes on and slowly at least one vulnerable party becomes emotionally dependent. The other person sometimes becomes so indispensable that good sense flies out of the window and very damaging alliances are made based on deception and dishonesty which is so ‘convenient’ to don and so difficult to detect on the internet.
All those who venture into these adventures — be cautioned. You do not know who is behind the profile — all the qualities cited are after all just words in cyber-space. Sometimes it’s cyber-adultery that you may be, unknowingly, a party to and you may be in a far greater danger than you may realise. You may have heard of a wife driven to severe grief and suicide with the unrelenting husband not listening to her — because after all “it’s a harmless diversion. Where is the question of physical adultery?” he dismisses her concern. Wives stumble unsuspectingly onto such ‘unfaithful’ dalliances causing pain and disruption. Break-ups, divorces, and at the least heart-break are the consequences that you must think of in advance. You could even be black-mailed with all the ‘proof’ the other party has collected on chats and skype.
Wouldn’t you think it wise to know all about the individual on the other side before getting so attached that the consequences are thrown to the winds, and later regretting bitterly the relationship.
The writer is a columnist, designer and brand consultant. Mail her at email@example.com...