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Internet is a distraction while single - should it stay that way when you are not single?

(27 Posts)
N1 Tue 13-Jan-09 22:35:36

After hijacking another thread, I asked the question (to myself obviously) about why a single person might want to stay as active on the internet after they find a relationship (presumably off the internet). Hopefully that makes some sense.

Some years back and when I was single in a relationship (married and unhappy), I turned to the internet for company, which worked a treat. Company when I wanted it (no sex as I was loyal) but a comfort. Then the wife had an affair, so divorce started. After the separation, I felt more relieved than sad, so the separation was for the better.

I entered the world of internet dating and met a lovely lady, after a few months of talking, we met and 6 months after, I moved to her. 18 months later, she and I separated.

Now, thinking back...... When she and I found each other, the meeting was good, exiting and interesting (in a nut shell and not my nut(s)).

While she and I had a good relationship, she was often on the internet, talking to the people she had met. Me being me, didn't raise any objection - why would I, if I did, I would see me asking her to change to something I wanted, which wasn't nessesarly what she wanted, and the start of a possible conflict.

I left it. I can't honestly say that her internet usage interfered with the "us" time, apart from the point that she and I went to bed together and after I fell asleep, she would get up again to chat on the internet and when tired, get back into bed. This getting up to chat shouldn't have been a problem, but if I woke (semi) and moved over to cuddle up, the space was empty, which woke me up. Given that I was then awake, I got up to make us a cuppa and after the cuppa, I went back to bed - alone.

The bigger question now. Does a person keep a loyalty to the internet chat friends when you accept (possibly) one of the chat friends as a potential life long partner, or do you shift your loyalty to your new found material (as opposed to virtual) person and kindle the joys of a real live relationship.

If you choose a balance, how is this balance found and maintained?

Thanks to the person who put a link up for me to start a post.

ChasingSquirrels Tue 13-Jan-09 22:36:22

yay - well done wink

solidgoldsoddingjanuaryagain Tue 13-Jan-09 22:42:18

How much of a partner's time do you think you're entitled to? And how much private time do you feel you need? People do vary in how much of their need for company, interaction etc they can have met by one single individual and I really don't see why someone shouldn't be online (or reading a book, or watching the telly, or talking quietly on the phone) if they are awake and their partner is sleeping.

It's a bit difficult to know exactly what you're asking, and there certainly isn't a set-in-stone answer - do you think that once a couple-relationship has been formed, you should only interact with each other and keep everyone else at a distance? If so, you need to find a partner who is as non-gregarious as you are, because people really do vary in how much company they need.
Or are you fussing about possible breaches of monogamy? In which case, you need to discuss with a partner how you define a monogamous relationship rather than just assuming your partner sees it in the same way as you do and if he/she thinks differently then he/she is wrong.

aseriouslyblondemoment Tue 13-Jan-09 23:14:28

N1 thanks for this
it makes interesting discussion for alot of us
and makes alot of sense to me tbh
as a 38yr old i think the internet and what it can potentially offer you is quite frankly mindblowing but i'm looking thru my eyes and not thru those of my dcs who take it for granted
i am also divorced and while married often went online and often on here to seek comfort/advice from others in the same situation as me
i too have done the online dating thing and yes not proud have carried on chatting to other men despite apparently having a boyfriend.the truthful reason being that i had paid til the end of the month and thought that there was no harm as i was after all chatting and had 'met' quite a few men who i would merely chat with and then i met another guy.
i won't go into the rest as i'm sure that you can guess.but the pain it caused was awful to me.
i havent lived with any man since my divorce but would fail to understand why somebody in a relationship or should i say co habiting would choose to spend what appears to be such a vast amount of time online and in chatrooms
IMO having invested such a period of time building up an online relationship which then developed into something in RL why jeopardise it
in terms of finding a balance i don't think you can define it as such,it should happen without it having to be defined

aseriouslyblondemoment Tue 13-Jan-09 23:16:02

and yes thanks again
and i didn't have to get strict after all
sorry Pangrin

N1 Tue 13-Jan-09 23:16:53

I would hope that a partners time isn't an entitlement. I can see potential for a partner to feel bad (negative) about not giving their time up freely if they present as selfishly entertaining their virtual world while the other person spends time maintaining a material living environment.

When comparing a virtual relationship (real person on the other end) to reading a book, the emotions felt are different. A book can be read to the end and put down, an internet friendship would logically have it's ups and downs, with higher demands for attention on occasion.

Accepted, while one person sleeps, the other can play, would it be fair to assume that while one sleeps and the other plays, that the role would reverse later during the 24 hour period? The player would reasonably sleep when the sleeper is awake. This suggests an incompatibility already and in turn, possibly a third less time for person to person quality time. If both people work well together, all the house choirs should be done.

The monogamous point generated some thought. The opposite of monogamy could be celibate (hardly applicable) or polygamy. That opens a thought for the detail of what a polygamy relationship is, or can be. Does fantasizing over a real person in another location with sexual or lusterious intention form part of a wrong in a relationship. In my mind, it would have to be more of a "yes" than a "no".

So, does a person drift away from the (mostly single) people who comforted you when you were single (and feeling alone), so you can (selfishly) satisfy your own needs with your new found relationship, and presumably help the other satisfy their needs. Or... do you share your time between the internet comunity and your new found relationship.

DaddyJ Tue 13-Jan-09 23:23:46

Quite a few things could become a distraction if you let them:
booze, frequent nights out with own mates, video games, gambling, even ones own family.

The scenario you describe sounds unhealthy
as your exP had allowed her virtual life to overwhelm her RL relationships
including the one she had with you.

I am happily married but have made a lot of friends online,
even a few on MN.

The (boring mundane) key as ever is to find a healthy balance
but I do agree with you that this is often easier said than done.

N1 Tue 13-Jan-09 23:45:09

Booze - a good idea. Out of principal, I don't drink alone. Any funny moment would be remembered by me alone, hardly worth happening. I could take the pot plant and put it in front of me... that way I am not alone, but the plant doesn't talk back. I do like to drink but only if there is good company.

Nights out - I would be happy to go out once a month or two. I enjoy home company and family life. I think my going out days are over, the desire isn't there anymore.

Video games. That would be a good idea. The problem is that I am limited to up, down, forward, back and jump. Anything more and my brain is confused.

I am to tight to gamble. I tried it once and spent all my money trying to get my money back. I was NOT happy.

Regarding the exP that I had. We separated for different reasons, although I suspect that if the different reasons were addressed, the "online relationships" might have got in the way more as time went on.

An additional thought - Would it not be better to maintain the online friendships that you had before you found a real relationship, to keep the proverbial "foot in the door", just in case the real "new" relationship failed. You have all your old friends back, although most are people you have never seen or met in person.

aseriouslyblondemoment Tue 13-Jan-09 23:55:05

your additional thought is interesting
as yes my RL relationship wasn't failed I was just unsure as didn't know where it was going etc
and my 'foot in the door'was more than just a 'foot'

DaddyJ Wed 14-Jan-09 00:02:04

Oh I see, you guys are talking about online friends
who you have met in a dating context?
Ok, that's different.

N1 Wed 14-Jan-09 00:05:15

Excuse me for being cheeky, I fully accept that I shouldn't. I am guessing that the "more than a foot" extended up as high as the middle of your body.

aseriouslyblondemoment Wed 14-Jan-09 00:19:14

no that's ok N1
you asked the question
i encouraged you to start thread
and said that i would contribute
and although you know what the answer is
yes it did extend to middle of bod/y/ies

solidgoldsoddingjanuaryagain Wed 14-Jan-09 09:54:43

N1: sounds like you need to do a bit of work on yourself, mate. You don't need a partner to spend all his/her time interacting with you, and nothing is more off-putting than a clingy, needy individual who wants attention and reassurance all the time.
ANother person can't 'fix' you and make your life perfect. You need to make your own life good and then you can have a partner, if you want one, without being so demanding and whiny that you drive potential partners away.

N1 Thu 15-Jan-09 03:59:55

I might need to do work on myself, I agree, but I also like the way that I am.

I know I don't need a partner, but having one makes life so much better and happier (if the people are compatable). Needy doesn't worry me to much if the person can take criticism, but insecure bothers me.

aseriouslyblondemoment Thu 15-Jan-09 10:12:28

think it very depends on one's interpretation of needy tbh
and alot of insecurity issues stem from this
especially when you add divorce into the mix
and if we're honest i think most of us have elements of ourselves which need work on
and at some point need to be addressed to have a better relationship in the future and also to be at peace with oneself
this is just merely my POV
am hoping that solid will return to add to this

N1 Fri 16-Jan-09 01:03:52

I don't mind needy people, some people are over sensitive and seem to have more needs. Once a person understands the "needy" person and their needs, dealing with the problem is a bit easier. Insecurity is more of a hassle for me because the problem tends to get worse. Sadly for the insecure person to feel better, the other needs to make major adaptations and changes, often resulting in the changer being isolated to pacify the insecurities of the other.

solidgoldsoddingjanuaryagain Fri 16-Jan-09 01:17:49

n1: now that's an interesting statement (that having a partner makes life better and happier). Because it simply isn't an undisputed truth for everyone. I'm not only talking about people who cling to crap relationships because they're afraid of being alone, but people who honestly are better off single. The lucky ones are those who realise that they are happier single and remain so (rather than being driven nuts by the endless demands of a partner and causing distress to perfectly decent individuals who are suited to couplehood and should go and find it with someone equally suited to it).
Human beings are social animals, we evolved that way. Anyone who has no contact with other people will probably go nuts if they are not nuts already, but the modern 'ideal' of universal couplehood also drives quite a lot of people nuts.

aseriouslyblondemoment Fri 16-Jan-09 17:53:42

insecurity if there, does take alot of work to remedy in some instances
and in most cases the other person does have to modify their behaviour to a certain extent
i would consider this part of being in a loving relationship tbh
but then one shouldn't have to constantly adapt and this is where you have an obvious imbalance
and then a relationship ending

N1 Sat 17-Jan-09 01:05:02

Is adaption (when addressing an insecurity) going to include a change in the amount of time you spend on forums talking to people you met/know before the real relationship came along?

After all, the "friends" who you met on the internet got you threw the lonely nights, ight after night, day by day....etc. You are as happy as you are (potentially) thanks to the internet friends and the new relationship might want you to spend more time with the "real person".

Would be cutting internet ties be better than keeping the links maintained....for just in case? Back to the balance question.....

Having a partner who is committed and prepared to try and look for ways to help make things work is what I miss most. I found that at the first sign of trouble or difficulty, the other person was suggesting "time apart" to heal - from what I am not sure. Expectations that I adapt to them because I moved to them.....etc. While I am happy to adapt if it's reasonable to do so and if I can see the logic in adapting. In most cases, I couldn't see any advantage, just the future being more confined and restricted.

Then if I ask advice from a forum, I get "attacked" for talking about private things (about "us") in public. I get more criticism if the forum group and I share similar ideal and opinions, which differ to the partners expectation.....could that be an insecurity?

aseriouslyblondemoment Sat 17-Jan-09 01:31:26

purely from my POV which i've said before
i personally wouldn't
but my usage is obviously based largely on being a lone mum dealing with the nocturnal sleeping patterns of her children
and it would depend on the 'links'
you are obviously inferring some kind of escape clause?
and yes there is only so much adapting
it can reach the point where you can lose track of the person you really are
which IME isn't healthy

N1 Sat 17-Jan-09 02:43:06

FINALLY, another person who agrees with me....although I have to hasten to say...another internet person.

N1 Sat 17-Jan-09 02:43:56

agrees with me should actually read, sees things the way I do.

aseriouslyblondemoment Sat 17-Jan-09 03:02:14

but have had to come a long way to reach this point
and very much enjoying getting to know the old me!

N1 Sat 17-Jan-09 03:31:21

I don't have an old me anymore. The new me looks for proof, tests what people say, applies defense strategies, etc.

I used to be so accepting and trusting and perhaps naive. Now I trust easy but keep a watchful eye. I know the law to the point that I know that if I ever had another long term relationship that would not have to endure a round 2.

I have reinforced some of my ways to make me a harder person, which I think is unattractive to some people.

I do things now that I would never have dreamed of doing (because I thought it was wrong).

I guess one obvious thing I do now, which I didn't do that much in the past is use the internet to the extent that I do.

aseriouslyblondemoment Sat 17-Jan-09 04:04:57

as i'm still up...
my 'old me' as i put it
is obviously what i once was pre exh
and no longer having to change compromise
all those beliefs/dreams/hopes
but with all that goes the responsibilities of being a parent
i do think thou that divorce automatically makes you harder
and to a larger extent cynical
and it is hard to break that cycle to a certain degree but it can be done
but it takes alot to make you drop your guard

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