Love letters: The development of romantic relationships throughout the ages

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This article considers the history of dating throughout the ages, and compares how previous forms of dating might compare to the way individuals initiate and develop relationships in cyberspace. Similarities between the ways individuals in the past developed relationships using the telegraph and love letters are elucidated. Some important differences between the Internet and these spaces are also presented. While early theories on computer-mediated relating presented a rather negative view of online relationships, later theorists argued that the Internet provides a unique way to get to know others as well as to self-disclose to others. While it is fairly widely accepted by researchers today that real relationships can be formed online and successfully move offline, it is argued that the ways individuals go about developing these relationships varies according to which space the relationship is initiated in in cyber space. Comparisons are made between the ways individuals develop romantic relationships via newsgroups with the ways they are developed via an online dating site. Finally, suggestions for how online dating might look in the future are considered.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationOxford Handbook of Internet Psychology
PublisherOxford University Press, USA
ISBN (Electronic)9780191743771
ISBN (Print)9780199561803
Publication statusPublished - 18 Sept 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • Cyberspace
  • Internet dating
  • Newgroups
  • Online dating
  • Online relationships
  • Romantic relationships

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