Saturday 27 March 2010

The internet and the rise of the fantasy romance

I have often got into trouble for telling people their Internet romances are not real, yes there are real emotions involved, yes people can find a certain synergy with people they get to know online, but as I have said often enough, on the Internet, no one knows you are a dog.

And there are dogs. Many of them.
On Internet dating sites we have now a phenomenon I like to call the F.I.P = Fake Internet Personality. This is when someone, through malicious intent or woefully pathetic attention seeking create another personality on the net in the attempt to gain attention.

Sometimes they steal pictures from somewhere else on the net of someone else who is often younger and/or more attractive than they are. They often say they have had a terrible childhood and/or young married life that they were lucky to escape from. If you see a picture that looks like it was taken of a model in a plain professional background, chances are it is stolen from another website.

When they gain interest from a person/s on these sites they tend to agree with everything this person or people say, becoming their ideal partner, this can fool the person courting them into thinking that this person matches them perfectly, in fact, this is a common method of attachment by F.I.P's, they want your attention and so they are going to say anything to make themselves likable, including fitting in with your lifestyle, hobbies, religion, political stance and anything else which you might form an opinion on in conversation.

Often FIPs do not like sending pictures, they either 'don't HAVE any on their PCs' Or they are 'too shy'. You'll find that a video chat will be a no no, there is usually a good excuse at hand for that, but most often it is that they don't have a camera enabled on their machines.

FIP relationships eventually die out once the person/s courting the FIP realise the planned meeting will never go ahead.

There tends to be a lot of sadness left in the wake of a FIP relationship, this is because quite often people make the mistake of getting too involved with people they HAVEN'T MET!!!

I know how easy it is, online it is safe and anonymous, you can express and be open about yourselves, you have your Internet friends who you might discuss issues with that you haven't told your RL friends, this is especially the case in ALT communities when you think that your RL friends might be judgemental about aspects of your life, whether that would be poly, kink or sexuality. People often forget that you are trusting a complete stranger to be honest with you and to be frank, people are not always honest online. They might not be FIPs but they can still be liars, it is worth being cautious until you meet a number of times before letting yourself become emotionally invested. Sadly, people not only get emotionally invested, but create a future with someone who might not be AT ALL the person that they have portrayed themselves to be, so the relationship is entirely created for the selfish pleasure of the FIP to the detriment of the person/people who are taken in by them.

How to avoid a FIP relationship

Firstly, when you set out to approach someone online, always bear in mind that this person is not necessarily kosher just because they have been banging around either a) A forum or b) a personals site, for a long time, they also might be popular and even have 'friends' on that site, on the Internet the rules for friendship differ than in RL, I have had friend requests from people who I have done little more for than welcome them when they joined the site.

Keep in mind that you are getting to know a friend, even if you would eventually like them to become more, put that out of your mind until you meet them in person.

If things are going well by email, move onto a chat facility. Before you suggest it, ask them what kind of machine they use, almost all mid range laptops have integrated web cams, so if they say they are using X machine and don't have a webcam, take that as a red light warning.

Ask to phone them fairly early on, if they don't want you to call them or insist on calling you only at specific hours (for example, only in the day time) wonder why, is it possible that they live with a partner (a surprisingly large amount of FIPs are actually married women and men pretending to be women).

If things are really going well via email and chat and you really want to take things further but you STILL have not seen them, because they 'don't have a webcam' tell them that you will buy one for them, say that you are on Amazon right now and you will order one, it is an offer liable to take a FIP by surprise and they often do not, at first have a good reason to tell you not to do that, often the first thing they might say is they don't want you to buy it because it would hurt their pride accepting money from you. In which case, tell them that it isn't a gift, it is a loan and they can pay you back when they get the money. An experienced FIP might counter with 'I am sorry but I am not ready to give my address out because it is not safe' this is a sensible attitude to take and because of that, it would be easy to give up, however, you can offer to send the money to her via paypal and tell her to buy it herself. If she accepts the money and doesn't buy it within a week or two, depending on how frequent your communications, cut off all contact and consider it a lucky escape, webcams are fairly cheap now and it is totally worth it for peace of mind, do not let yourself be pulled into the 'I just haven't got around to it conversation' trust me, if she was interested, she would want to see you also!

Chatting on webcam has been a huge comfort to myself and my partners during our periods apart these long months, I know of other relationships where it has been important in building a level of intimacy in the early part of a relationship, if they don't want to do this or only want the webcam to be one sided, question why this is so.

FIPs quite often cut off communication very suddenly, you might be having an enjoyable chat session and 'poof' he will disappear quite suddenly and either a) not come back online at all that night or b) Come back on to say that have to go, sometimes without explanation. They might have a perfectly reasonable explanation the next day which doesn't make sense like 'My sister called and was really upset' (really? Do you cut off a conversation for that reason or would you type that at the time and say a nice goodbye whilst still giving your sister her full attention on the phone?).
If on the phone and and he hangs up suddenly, it might be 'someone came to the door'

Again, ask yourself this, would YOU cut off communication suddenly from someone who you are getting to know without an explanation? If it seems to be unreasonable and a fairly lightweight excuse, there is likely to be another reason behind it which is more likely to be that they were taken unawares by their spouse and had to switch off/hang up before the spouse realises what they are up to and especially in the case of the phone, before you hear their voice.

Now it might be that a person might be quite happy to be seen on the webcam and/or talk on the phone, this does not mean that they are NOT FIPs, a person who is married and pretends to be single is still a FIP, but they might not have the insecurity aspect that some FIPs may have, so don't take the fact that you know what they look like as sound evidence that they are kosher. Some FIPs have partners in the military or work long/awkward hours, some FIPs have jobs which allow them plenty of time to go on the net/use the phone, I used to do a sleeping in job which gave me plenty of time to indulge in webchat and phone calls and I was married at the time, were I inclined to be a FIP, it was the perfect job for it!

However, the number one best way to avoid a FIP relationship is to wait until you meet someone in person before you get emotionally involved, visit them, let them visit you, make sure all the things they say add up, make sure that the personality they gave out online corresponds to the person you see before you. I know in this world of instant communication and the feeling that we are living in a small world, it is SO easy to get involved with someone who lives outside of your geographical region and people, especially people keen for a partner and want to rush things, but let caution be your guide, if someone is right for you, than they would be worth the wait until you can meet.

Being taken in by an FIP has its own particular brand of pain, not only for the loss of the relationship but also, the fact that you eventually find out that there wasn't a relationship to begin with, that it was based upon a person that doesn't exist, that it was just fantasy on your part, that can be terribly humiliating especially if you have publicised your relationship.

Until then, no matter how tempting, keep things non emotive and light, FIPs don't have patience, if they think that you are not falling for their act, they will move onto another victim and you would have saved yourself a world of hurt.

Friday 5 March 2010

Bare Necessities

To expand on my recent post on my personal blog about Single Issue dating (Read it here) , I have written some guidelines about what people should be looking out for when they are open to finding a new partner, whether they are seeking a poly or a mono relationship.

There are three essential elements when getting to know a person who you are are interested in, without these elements being in sync with yourself and your family, your chances of having a happy home life is greatly reduced.

They are:


If your politics, your ideals regarding social issues or your religious convictions are widely different, forget it! Our worldview is the backbone to our principles and who wants to compromise their principles or expect others to compromise theirs, just to get a partner? Is it worth it?
If you are a vegetarian, green, liberal would you expect to have a successful relationship with a hunter who constantly instructs you on the fact that those evil commies are trying to take away their gun rights?

If you are a Christian family do you expect to start a relationship with an atheist who might mock your beliefs normally? Would you hope to convert them? Should anyone have to live with such pressure?

At the end of the day, although someones age, looks and sexuality seems to fit what you want, it is their worldview which helps to shape the person that they are, ignoring that and relying on superficial things to guide your courtship will definitely lead to disaster.


Similar to worldview, your aims for the future are often guided by the above, how the home will run once the new person joins? Do you want someone to be at home all the time? Do you want children in the relationship? I have seen people who state on forums that they expect any woman they date to be a housewife and mother and then start flirting with Ms. Smith who says that her job is really important to her!!
Why do this?

Similarly, if you have widely divergent aims when it comes to having and disciplining the children you already have, you are looking at major marital disharmony, if they don't believe in sparing the rod and you believe that beating children is abusive, how on earth do you expect anything to work? No one ever likes their parenting techniques being criticised, if you want a harmonious homelife, make certain that this is an issue you are all agreed on, even if none of you have children yet, it can save a great deal of pain.

Also location, if you live in the middle of a rural wilderness and they live in the city and don't want to move too far from it, discuss that beforehand, it might be that they are hoping you would move and you are hoping that they will, but location means a lot more to someone than where they live, it's about being comfortable with the facilities and convenience of the location, if they are social people used to going out every weekend and might be bored senseless on your small farm a mile away from the nearest neighbours, please take that into consideration.


Your interests and passions are just as important in a relationship as any thing else, long relationships can wither and die when the people involved realise they have little of shared interest outside of the running of the home and trust me, it will be discovered eventually.
If your idea of a good time is curling up with a good book and his is dancing the night away, is this a good match? If family activities are mostly centered around the great outdoors and it might be their idea of hell, this is just a huge store of resentment waiting to explode when the new person in the relationship feels they either they have to conform to the group activity(and be miserable) or be left out when others go off and enjoy themselves (and be equally miserable and lonely to boot) it is just a bad situation. 

If one of your pet peeves happens to be reality television and the couple you are courting are addicted to them, this might be a constant source of annoyance.

Of course there is room for a bit of compromise when it comes to interests and hobbies, neither of my partners is as passionate about films as I am, nor do I get as addicted to novels as either of them, but where they like and enjoy a good film and I like and enjoy a good book, we can meet half way with our interests. Also, I have interests in common with one or both of them and they both have some interests they share that I am less interested in, so these interests overlap meaning that there is always someone to share with and you are not boring a partner senseless talking about your love for Star Wars when they hate sci-fi.

At the end of the day, successful relationships, poly and mono, rely a great deal on chemistry, but we shouldn't allow sexual attraction (or sometimes just the mere fact that someone is single regardless of what they look like) and the fact that they will accept you, be your only guideline for going ahead with a relationship, you have to like a person just as much as love them, without that, you are left with not much else when the NRE wears off.

The Difference between Poly and Swinging

I have seen a lot of posts recently on some anti poly websites which basically consider Polyamory as nothing more than swinging by another name, this was a post I wrote previously on this topic.

I see a HUGE difference between an emotionally and materialistically monogamous couple getting together with other couples for sexual purposes


a couple opening up their relationship to one or more people to share their lives sexually, emotionally and materially.

Swinging by its nature is about change and variety, it is supposed to enhance the marriage of the couple by giving them an alternative sex life but keeping their home life entirely separate.

I have only known one couple who tried swinging and they did break up, swinging wasn't the reason though, the reason was she was sick of the marriage and wanted out, desperation makes people consider things they might not normally consider just to make their marriage exciting again. So it was more the symptom than the cause.

I do know a few single people who have had connections to the swinging world and from what I recall, what you would get is a great many of the wives in the kitchen chatting together whilst their husbands were upstairs, The consensus was that they had no interest in it themselves but their husbands would just have an affair if they didn't and they would rather see what they were getting up to.

I don't know 100% because I have not been involved personally with swinging but from what I recall from the various conversations, is that swinging seems more male led and dominated and Poly seems more female led and dominated (though that might upset the Patriarchal folks, the stats don't lie). When women want something to work it works, when they don't, it won't work.

So like everything, it depends greatly on the people (especially women) involved.
If Poly (or swinging or anything that dramatically changes the nature of a particular marriage) is used as a sticky plaster/band aid for a marriage already failing I would say work on your marriage first. If either partner is falling out of love with the other one then Poly will not help. If it isn't something that both people want and/or something they have always intended for their lives (openly, I hasten to add - saying, I always wanted to be polyamorous and so five/twenty-five years into my monogamous marriage with Jackie, I admitted it to her, does not count!) than it probably would be doomed to failure.

If the Primary feels like s/he is being pushed into it, it will fail, if the secondary partner is only going into it because s/he likes the husband/wife (but not poly) or s/he thinks it is something cool and fashionable because it is on HBO, it will fail.

I have never heard about a scientific survey about poly but it would be of great interest to me to be involved in a research study (my scientific brain is going just thinking about it) but you do run the risk of it not being taken seriously by the scientific establishment, after all, what do you consider a successful and healthy poly group? Those who have been together 5, 10, 15, 20 years plus? Is there a standard time line for 'successful'? What if you interview 200 poly families, who you consider successful and ten years down the line they have all divorced? As a scientist, the better option would be to follow a number of couples over a number of years monitoring them every year to check how happy, stable and functional the family are.

You also run the risk of poly people themselves not caring for any conclusion you draw, for example, if you admit ALL poly situations you will likely have those saying 'We are not like that because we are FLDS/Christian/Patriarchal/Egalitarian/polyamorous/bisexual/open/closed/whatever.

In other words there are so many variables that you can either choose to involve everything (which would mean that some will disregard how meaningful it is) or narrow it down, in which case it won't actually show the full scope of polyamorous groupings and therefore it will be scientifically useless.

Wednesday 3 March 2010


Hello I am Natja, I have a personal blog here also (Natja's blog) about poly topics, currently in London waiting to move. I am a bit eccentric, gothic and an unabashed movie nut. I also love literature, green and social issues. I have one teenage daughter who is a bit crazy like her mother and I am prone to frequently going off topic.

Where did I leave my glasses?