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Laura Hunt

Love in the Times of the Internet

Johanna Kaestner

How much has the computer and consequently the Internet, taken over our lives: work place, communication, shopping, banking, research. Why not use it for finding your partner or spouse?

I have talked with several couples who met through the Internet. They are happily married or about to be happily married. Yet all of them caution others about meeting through the Internet.

Years ago, when I got angry at the computer because the machine or I made some mistakes, my husband always told me: "It is just a machine. When you put garbage in, garbage comes out." In a way it is similar with the Internet. It is a reflection of our society. There are good people and bad people: wonderful, caring, nurturing, well-meaning people and at the same time thugs, manipulators, predators, and stalkers.

Every person yearning to be in a relationship and hoping to be rescued easily can be victimized. I was told that it is very simple to produce a profile perfectly fitting an ad. However, this happens in real life, too; people can fool others and lure them into unhealthy or even abusive relationships. For example, in Anita's and Jim's chat room was a woman who posed so well as a man, that everybody was in shock when the deception was discovered.

So be careful before giving your real name or phone number, don't believe everything, and be aware of what you communicate; your answer can reveal more than you intended.

A positive thing all these Internet surfers commented about was that you can become acquainted and actually become good friends without the distraction of sexual tension. Some of the partners fell in love before they actually met. They suggest going first to chat rooms related to your interests; sports, reading, movies, e.g., before you place an ad in the personal sections on different Internet sites. The most important advice: Use your gut feeling!!!!!!

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