Too Much Net Time? How it impacts "RealLife"


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Since discovering the world of internet forums a year and a half ago, I am finding my private world consisting more and more of my interactions within forum "communities."
I consider my "forum friends" my real friends, feel that there are no persons in my "real life" (other than family) that are anywhere near as much my friends.

Each forum I belong to has a different atmosphere and sense of community. To me, they are very real places where I go to be with people I care about and find fascinating.

Problem is, my husband intensely disapproves of me finding friends on the net, resents the time I spend there (partly because it means he has to share his computer), and is quite jealous of my friends. He himself has net friends of long standing, mostly female, but somehow he feels that is different.

I have learned not to talk about what is going on in the lives of my forum friends......this seems to anger him. So I live in two realities, maintain two emotional "sets."
It's hard when something major happens in the lives of a friend, or when I am experiencing some kind of falling-out or misunderstanding. I have no one to talk to about my feelings at such times, and tend to withdraw from my family.

I was wondering how net use affects the lives of some of the folks around here. Is your net time something you have to fight to keep, or do you have relatively free net access? Do you have trouble putting focus on "real life" priorities when there are net-things that seem to demand attention?
I can kinda empathize. I'm a college student who has three papers to write (the one for bioethics is overdue) but I find it harder to get my thoughts in order enough to write them. Along with that, I don't have my own computer (I use the ones on campus) and I have a hard time relating to people offline (my personal history with homo sapien sapiens can attest to that fact. :p ) Heck, I spent around 45 minutes just talking about stuff I've found online to this one gentleman who's sitting in on my ethnic studies class (I might ask Yuri if he's heard about the Russian "Jesus" bloke next week if he's there.)

I'd rather be online than studying or FTF communicating with most people. But, then again, I'd rather be reading that be online. :)

Phyllis Sidhe_Uaine
Hi Eldanuumea, and welcome back!

You do raise very important points, and I can certainly relate to them to some extent. My social life since I became a dad plummeted. It doesn’t help that I no longer drink (or smoke joints), which kills off major social outlets in themselves.

I didn’t go online until about 3 years ago, but then the internet has become a replacement form of social communication and stimulation. The variety of people you can meet online is also quite astonishing – I mean, look here at this forum – people across most of the world's continents and major faith practices are present here. In physical terms that should be astonishing, and not likely to happy in real life without some amazing logistics work.

There is the danger of it being too invasive on private relationships – it is a big complaint of my girlfriend that I spend so much time online, especially on an evening after the kids have gone to bed. So I try to limit myself, but never enough – my bad.

At the end of the day, though, the internet shouldn't really take over from a personal relationship – but I guess as like any form of social outlet, there's always the danger of it clashing. For example, if I were still drinking, I might be out "with the lads" instead. Yet a point remains that perhaps the net should be an extension of our social relationships, rather than a replacement for more intimate ones.

Hm...I'm trying to pontificate, aren't I? :(

"I'm no Luddite and I do not endorse returning our technological advances to the shelves, but I do believe that if we do not pay attention to how we are being led by technology, and not leading it, we will, in the words of the anthropologist Angeles Arrien, 'normalize the abnormal and abnormalize the normal.' We have come to a historical moment in whic it is necessary to re-examine what we mean by education and quality of life. Sitting for hours in front of a computer screen alienates us from our deep biological urge to interact with the living; humans, animals, the landscape, weather, the seas. We are designed to interact with life; to cooperate, share, and reciprocate with others, to seek trust, adventure, and love is the human experience. To blithely dismiss this finely tuned legacy of wisdom, which is to dismiss life itself, by the allure of a virtual reality, does not come without its consequences. Perhaps we can simulate intelligence through computerized machines, but there is a terrible cost to our humanity if we attempt to simulate emotions and thus antiseptically cleanse ourselves of the human ualities of love, passion, and self-reflection."
Somatics In Cyberspace
By Richard Strozzi heckler
That's so weird. Andy loves to know what I talking about online. Maybe it helps stop him getting suspicious or worried or maybe he just loves me so that he wants to share!
I'd be concerned if there was a an emotional wall caused by the web as it looks like you both have it. If he's doesn't like you talking to men online is that because he feels guilty to talk to women online? If so why? Past psychology or simply a flirt?
I don't have to fight for the net use as I don't use it very often and I don't belong in many groups because I don't have the time for them.
If I were in your situation I'd think we'd both need to talk because once the emotional walls go up then the relationship has some weaknesses than can crack it under the wrong conditions.
You can talk to us here about it all as I'm happy to listen. Tell me if I've said anything wrong. I'm just speaking (writing!) as if it was me in your place.
Elizabeth, there are definite emotional walls....we have been happily wed for decades, but there are areas in which there is lack of trust.
I don't want him to see everything I do while I'm online. He and I disagree about what is appropriate. He has a very narrow view of what is acceptable and to be tolerated, while I am much morre accepting and adventurous.

I don't really wish to see what he does while he's online, either. I have never distrusted him about his friendships with women online. I feel he has a right to a private life that doesn't involve me, and so do I.

It is such a sore topic....our worst arguments have centered around my desire to use the net. It has become such a hot topic that we don't discuss it unless a problem arises, or he perceives a problem.

My world has opened so considerably in this past year-and-a-half. I have friends of all ages and nationalities, and feel so blessed.

The quote sjr posted is real food for thought. I have read and heard things which suggest that I may be using the net as a way to avoid doesn't feel that way to me, but then I am "inside" my own perceptions and may be missing some reality there.
I am reluctant to get out and "mix it up" in the world, but that's because I don't like the culture/outlook/mindset of the people around me.
I am pretty much an oddball around here.
There have been some times in the past couple of years when the chat boards have consumed such large chunks of my time that it interferes with me getting done that I really need to get done out there in what is laughably called the "real world". I have to force myself to break off, which is hard because I do have strong emotional ties to cyber-friends. I met a couple of them in person this past summer, and that was an absolutely fabulous day.
Hi there,

I used to play an Internet game called Everquest which is a multi-player (thousands of people) fantasy game. There was a command to check how much time we had spent on the game since we started a character... and my main character totalized over 100 days of playing over 2 years. That was about one sixth of my life for 2 years ... and that doesn't include the forums and the chatting. The game, for me, was also a way to meet people while having fun in a game. Looking back on that, it really was a drug for me and it had awful effects on many aspects of my life (including studies).

Now, I believe that the forums, for some people, can represent the same "threat". Internet relationships, IMHO, must remain a complement for our social life or it can create problems.

Now, it can also be a great way for making new friends, but I believe that you need to be able to hold friends in your arms in order for a true friendship to grow.

My 2 cents,

Kaldayen a.k.a. Alexis