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Love Blindness in Online and Long-Distance Dating

82663366Being oblivious to issues within a relationship is not something those going through the divorce process have a problem with. I’d say anyone thinking about or in the midst of divorce has a pretty good idea of what’s wrong with the union. There’s no love blindness there, at all. However, there is love blindness onset in other avenues of romantic life, which divorcees may want to be wary of when they re-enter a dating world that is now rife with alternate routes.

Namely, online dating, which often leads to long-distance dating, is a prime initiator of the love blindness disease, and it’s becoming more and more common as online dating sites reel in customers. Describing this dating avenue, psychologist Shauna Springer says, “The shared delusion of mutual flawlessness thrives in such a context. With the distance and the lack of face time, it is relatively easy to maintain illusions of mutual perfection, thereby extending the time during which each of you project and perceive unrealistic fantasies.”

Tips to Decrease Your Chance of Love Blindness

Not to say online dating is not a great way to find a potential partner in crime (life). Many people find lasting love this way; it’s just recommended to be cautious and not get in over your head too soon. Especially when the long-distance romance is new, not spending enough real time with the person could mean not realizing who they really are before it’s too late and you’ve too invested. Carefully planned, blissful weekend visits and dreamily looking at internet photos does not paint a true picture of what married life with this person would be like. Springer offers a few tips to reduce love blindness danger:

1. Do Your Research: Find out and observe what kind of friends and relationships the new dreamboat has in his/her circle. It’s not only important to know about his/her family background but also knowing what kind of company they keep on a regular basis is telling of their character. Are their friends people you would enjoy spending time with as well? Is there a close friend that is rude or intolerant? That could be a red flag worth looking into if it’s possible the potential mate has similar traits that haven’t yet manifested in your long-distance presence. If you do get a chance to talk with any of these friends during a visit, perhaps ask for opinions of their friend you are dating. Granted, they may be biased but the responses could also offer insight into things this person might be hiding from you.

2. Ask About Past Romantic Relationships: Similarly, ask your potential online boyfriend or girlfriend directly about their past loves and breakups. One red flag to watch out for is if he/she speaks of an ex in an extremely demeaning or negative light, without taking any responsibility for the failed romance. Stringer explains how “this kind of statement might signal an inability to take ownership for their part in past relationship problems.” It could also signal a lack of responsibility when they are actually in a relationship.

The main thing to avoid when dating online or long-distance is letting your invalidated hopes cause you to invest too much, both emotionally and physically, if you decide to relocate. More dramatically, jumping the gun and marrying someone without knowing who they really are is a clear path to filing for divorce and regretting the blind choices that led you there. Taking it one step at a time, and spending enough time together is key to avoiding love blindness and its sometimes irreparable consequences.

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