Monday, June 25, 2012
Online Seductions: Falling in Love With Strangers on the Internet
Although this volume appears to tell torrid tales of online passion or to advise how to find the love--or at least the lust--of your life online, it does neither. Instead, psychiatrist Esther Gwinnell focuses on how and why online romances happen. Gwinnell compares the modern online relationship with historical cases of individuals who met as pen pals and fell in love. But she also notes significant differences, such as the subtle personality clues that exist in e-mail as opposed to handwritten letters.
Gwinnell uses several examples of online couples and correspondents to demonstrate how romances evolve, flourish, and sometimes wither. The examples are all composite cases to protect the identities of the many people who shared their stories and correspondence with her, but anyone who has experienced a cybercrush can testify that her examples, if simplified for illustrative purposes, are right on target. In the course of her exploration, Gwinnell discusses why cyberromance is suddenly so prevalent, how to deal with both good and bad experiences, and how to protect yourself from bad online relationships. It does an especially good job of highlighting the danger signs that your correspondent may be a pathological personality.
Gwinnell offers some wonderfully hardheaded questions to ask yourself and your potential significant cyber-other before things go too far. - -Elizabeth Lewis