FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) - Experts said Thursday that for any real relationship to work, there must be face-to-face interaction, and relationship can not work if two people only communicate online.
"People are always desiring a companion, a life mate, a partner," Rick Hawks, the senior pastor at The Chapel in Fort Wayne, said. "What we are finding out is it is harder, in our busy lives, to find people. We're turning to new tools, and that's not a bad thing. To meet someone on a social network, using good judgment and prudence and following some safety things, I think that is a great way to meet people."
Family therapist Megan Spinks, who is a licensed clinical social worker, said she understood how someone could get attached in an online relationship, where there is little to no face-to-face interaction.
"People pursue things and get some form of good feeling or feedback, and they feel good about themselves," Spinks said. "I think it's very easy to get pulled into someone being supportive and caring of you on the internet."
Spinks said she thinks people meet online because they believe they will less likely get rejected.
"People are reaching out and have a huge fear of rejection, and in social media relationships, there's less of a chance of failure," she said.
Spinks began noticing the role social media played with her clients about 10 years ago. In the last five years, more and more people have walked through her door with an issue surrounding social media, some good and some bad.
"Between 50 and 55 percent of marriages end in divorce," Spinks said. "About 33 percent of those divorces are saying there is some sort of social media that has impacted or made decisions within the divorce."
Pastor Hawks also said he thinks social media can be good or bad for a relationship.
"Social media is neutral," said Hawks, who thinks people determine if social media can damage a relationship. "We are relationally challenged because we live in such difficult times, particularly our expectations. We think we are going to meet somebody, fall in love, and get married before the next television show comes on in 60 minutes. Real relationships take time. They take an investment. They take love, joy, failures, frustrations, forgiveness, and second chances. We are too much of an instant society.
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