Sex & Dating | May 22, 2019 9:39 am

Teens Are Having Entire Relationships Online Without Ever Meeting

There's been hardly any data on the phenomenon but experts aren't surprised

(Jhaymesisviphotography Creative Commons)
(Jhaymesisviphotography Creative Commons)

With technologies making it easier than ever for people to connect despite physical distance — be it through social media platforms like Instagram or the chat functionalities of massively popular video games like Fortnite — teens are finding other people that they connect with online and entering into relationships without ever meeting.

There’s been hardly any research into this phenomenon but it’s not shocking to experts that it is, in fact, happening, The Wall Street Journal reported.

“So you have a period of life of 15 to 20 years where people have to manage their sexual, romantic and intimate needs in ways that are more flexible than they used to be, and young people are experimenting with how to handle that,” emeritus professor at Evergreen State College and director of research and public education at the Council on Contemporary Families, Stephanie Coontz told the Journal.

But these online places where young people are meeting create such a bubble that expectations of a first, eventual physical encounter can build up to a point so high that the real thing is a disappointment. There’s also the very real possibility that someone who’s met online is not at all who they claim to be; that they’re “catfishing,” each other. For the most part, however, kids who are “dating” other kids online are likely engaging in a few of these types of relationships — and may have one in real-life, too, because the desire for realness is too great.

“Long-distance relationships don’t give you the physical touching, which is so important in terms of what it does for people’s immune systems and their health — not jus sexual touching but affectionate touching,” Coontz said.

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