Which form of relational growth is most effective: helps in building an intimate bond or a playful interaction? What exactly is a “relationship coach”? Is it just a person in another country or is it a kind of psychotherapy over the Internet?
“There’s no doubt that online dating can bring people together, but it’s an encounter that can easily slip under the radar,” according to German psychologist and psychoanalyst Professor Frank Heinz from the University of Mainz. “Online flirting is much less intensive and direct than face-to-face communication and the non-verbal, inner dimensions of human relationships are overlooked.” “Internet dating is based on a kind of ‘distance love’ where the partner lives on the other side of the planet and, even if emotions are displayed emotionally, there is no personal contact.”
However, are such short, online interactions, like the ones people have on sex chat, in fact enough in order to develop a worthwhile relationship? The “question of how relationships can be brought about online has not yet been asked with sufficient depth,” says Heinz. His extensive research project has produced results for which anyone who wants to improve their relationship can take advantage of the advice.
How Online Dating and Online Relationships Work
A study conducted by Heinz and his colleague and sociologist Dr. Andrei Schmid into the relationship dynamic of online relationships first of all revealed that a person’s own beliefs about their partner play a key role. “In online relationships you can easily deceive yourself and tell yourself that you’re communicating with multiple people.”
Heinz found that having a good self-image and great self-confidence was key for relationships to develop. “Those who consider themselves as ‘hot’ or ‘charming’ get along better with others,” the psychologist says. “That’s also why people are better at developing relationships when they are in their forties.”
In order to be able to successfully navigate these new relationships, people need to take account of the fact that online relationships and Internet dating are based on a kind of self-deception. Schmid and Heinz point out that people only share what they are really feeling and that people in bad relationships only wish that things were different.
On the other side of the Internet, this often leads to the impression that the person is not only “out of touch,” but also “brutal,” and then the other person quickly distances themselves from the person. In the end, the whole Internet dating experience can also be described as a “crisis,” it says, noting that the relationships are built and broken quickly.
“That’s why it’s important for people to understand how they can use the Internet to develop their own successful relationship,” says Heinz. At the end of the day, it’s often more important to have the right intention with a person than to have a perfect relationship. And the Internet offers you plenty of opportunities to work on your relationship with others.
Ways to Improve Your Relationship Using the Internet
Talking and listening
When you create an online profile, you first need to know that you have to listen. “You need to be more observant; be attentive and have a good self-image,” says Schmid. “You need to be interested in the other person and what they are saying. Of course, you need to know how to formulate your own questions, but it’s even more important to listen actively.”
“Not only should you be attentive to positive and negative statements, but you should also consider what is not being said. That’s what I call ‘listening for the silence.’” Heinz recommends spending at least 20 to 30 minutes with each person. Think about what interests you most. “Work on yourself and your interests and put yourself in the situation that you want to spend time with someone who is interesting to you. The things that you are interested in and that your partner is interested in are also things that can spark up a relationship.”
It is also important to be efficient in the amount of time you invest in a conversation. If you’re not interested in the conversation, don’t talk to the person. “Find something about them that you’re interested in and get to know them,” says Heinz. “It’s essential to stop in the right moment.”
Be genuine and yourself
This is where people end up in their dating lives. Being yourself – being you – is the most important feature of a good relationship. There’s no need to fake it. “That doesn’t mean that you have to act like a robot,” says Heinz. “But it’s important to behave naturally and naturally and not to exaggerate social skills.”
“Often, people aren’t themselves in their romantic relationships. That’s why, if you’ve already made a positive impression on a person, you can always create more space for yourself.”
When you’re open to a new relationship, you should spend time to discover the person you want to spend time with. “Become interested in the person, do things together, and discuss all the things you like. That’s how you can get to know a person,” says Heinz. “If you’re not yourself, it’s hard to connect to another person.”
A good self-image is an important aspect of improving your chances of being successful in online relationships, says Heinz. It doesn’t matter whether you’re famous, rich or poor, as long as you like yourself and accept yourself as you are. Heinz advises that people create an online profile (e.g. for an Internet dating site), but that they also create an offline profile first:
“In the offline profile, you describe yourself as you are. That means that it’s important to write about who you are and what you like. And that’s something that people sometimes forget in the online profile.”