Sandwich: So You Say Online Relationships Aren’t Valid

Alisa Aistrup, Artistic Editor, Feature Editor, Staff Writer

Don’t judge me, but I’m craving a sandwich. I haven’t had lunch yet, but a good PB&J is exercising my mind. Besides that fact, someone said something to me earlier that really did just grind my gears. And I will rant about it because I can. 

There’s nothing I love more than when people constantly shame others for having online relationships. The sad thing is that I understand completely what they are getting at, but there are a lot more factors that contribute to online relationships. Dating someone you can’t physically see does not invalidate the relationship that two people may have by any circumstances whatsoever.


Usually, the people who argue against being in an online relationship have the same two arguments. These two key points are understandable to some certain degree, as they both are completely valid, but I will touch up more on that in a moment. 

The first counter-claim is that the person that you are dating might not be exactly who they say they are. This is referred to as “Catfishing”, which is the practice of luring in others to believe you are something or somebody you are not. 


The infamous MTV show “Catfish”,  co-hosted by Nev Schulman and Max Joseph, displays this trope pretty well. In fact, the entire premise, according to Wikipedia, is “an investigation into whether or not the other participant in the virtual relationship is legitimate or if they are, in fact, a ‘catfish'”. I used to watch this show when I was a stinky, geeky, and edgy teenager that had nothing better to do with my life than sit down and watch YouTube all day. What completely and genuinely fascinated me about this particular television series, however, was the ending part when Nev and Max reveal and show the main target of the show who they’re significant other truly is. 


Some results are saddening and terrible, and the most shocking cases are when they look and appear the exact opposite of what they put themselves out to be on the internet. That is what most people are opposed to when they hear the term “online relationship”, and because of that, they disregard an entire category of factors that contribute to most online relationships being successful and helping both participants grow as human beings.


Perhaps I have a huge bias since I have been in an online relationship before, but it honestly depends on the situation. For me, my relationship was very open, as most are, and we called and even face chatted a couple of times to prove to each other that we were who we said we were. I know that doesn’t disprove the fact that they could have been lying to me about their financial status, their family situation, their job, and other things, but I knew for a fact that I knew who they were. 

I am not saying that online relationships cannot be dangerous, because lord have mercy that is nowhere near what I am trying to get at. There are extreme cases, such as people meeting up and being abducted, even cases of women being sexually assaulted or even worse killed, but this is what is broadcasted to the media every day about online relationships. It is viewed as a bad thing to society, never once showing what it actually and possibly could be.


Take Stockton, for example. Stockton’s current population is around 300,000 people, and of that you have to narrow down that number to the particular area you live in, such as Downtown Stockton. That amount of people that you can meet and fall in love with drops drastically, and your chances at truly finding someone that makes you happy plummet along with it. Even then, chances are that you won’t meet the love of your life living down the street from you, not when there are 7.4 billion other people that populate the Earth. Online, the possibilities are endless. You have the world, and the boundaries of location have miraculously dissipated along with it. When you get to know someone, you get furthermore indulged in their culture, their lifestyle, the way they live and their hobbies. You both can grow as people, living separate lives in separate places, but both parties can teach the other what it is like to be them until/if they ever have the chance to meet up.

That leads to the next counter-argument, the dreaded “Oh, well you might never even get the chance to meet them, so it is pointless anyway.” Don’t even get me started on “But you will never have the chance to get physical with them, so it’s not even a relationship.”


So what I am getting out of that statement alone is that you believe that in order to be considered in a relationship with another person you must kiss them, hug them, and hold their hand? You MUST be physical with them? Because, if it is, then honey, sweetie, that’s where you’re wrong. There are other qualifications to being in a relationship than just being physical with somebody, and the whole just of being “in love” with somebody is to share who you are with another human being and being able to flourish together with them by presenting their livelihood to you. Physical romance is a bonus feature to being in love, for you can be in love with someone without even being in a relationship with somebody.

The beauty of online relationships is that you fall in love with THEM, not their face. You fall in love with their PERSONALITY, not their scent. You pray that you’ll be able to talk to them again because you love the way that they write to you, they talk about every small thing you can think about and share more things about yourself than you have with anyone before. Words are all you have with them and will ever have with them. You occupy your time with paragraphs and words as opposed to kisses. That is what makes online relationships beautiful; That is what is commonly misinterpreted. 

This version of online dating that figures in the media put out scares young people and this generation away from possibly meeting a person they might adore and cherish; it knocks that chance for them to be exposed to different cultures, different hobbies, and being able to see life through the perspective of someone else’s eyes. Most importantly, it brainwashing people into believing that all online relationships ever can be is the version presented in “Catfish”. It aggravates me beyond comprehension when people look down upon others for loving someone they can’t physically see and deem it as “not a real relationship.”


 As long as you make sure that the person you are talking to is who they say they are, as long as you are safe online, it is a wonderful thing to experience.

I’m going to get that sandwich now, but I’m glad I set some food for thought out there on the table for you all.