Ah, the internet. Information, entertainment, and people, at a few clicks of a mouse. Such a great resource, and one some people have come to rely on, possibly to an extreme degree. Who ever would have suspected that what makes the internet so enjoyable could also cause it to be the reason some people end their internet sessions not feeling refreshed, but upset and let down.
Many people who are or have been disappointed in their online relationships believe they are alone in their frustration. After all, it’s just the internet, no one else takes it so seriously, right? Online relationship intrusion is more common than you might think.
It seems that online relationship intrusion more easily happens to those who spend much time on the internet and those who lack strong boundaries. Both groups allow their online, interactive lives to merge with their offline, real lives. Some create intimate relationships with those they know online, or interact with people from their offline lives in their online world. Others allow their negative interactions on the internet as reflecting the reality of the world outside of the WWW. However, the medium of the offline and online worlds are different, and so are the people in it. When mixed together, they can create a more complicated and complicating combination.
Online relationship intrusion is more common with some people, but anyone who interacts with others online is susceptible to it. Every time you find yourself irritated, sad, mad, or otherwise strongly moved by something or someone online you are inviting online relationship intrusion. Don’t dismiss the effects of this: intrusion can bring real-life negative effects, affecting how you feel about yourself, your mood, and your overall happiness in life.
So what can you do to stop or at least decrease online relationship intrusion? Being one who has experienced online relationship frustration and works online, I’ve developed actionable steps that work for me, and I believe could work for others as well:
- Do not merge online and offline lives. Keep them separate, whenever possible.
- Limit your time on the internet. The less time you spend online, the less chance you have to become frustrated by what happens in it.
- If you find yourself feeling frustrated, take a break. It’s okay.
- Recognize that you have the ability to quickly and painlessly end any online interactions that are no longer working for you.
- Repeat to yourself “This is not reality”. This helps to keep your situation in perspective.
- Do not frustrate yourself further by continuing online discussion that is stressing you out — press the x in the corner, never looking back.
Have you experienced online relationship intrusion? How did you deal with it? Do you have any other tips?