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  • Print publication year: 2004
  • Online publication date: September 2009

8 - Cyberlove


I know they say love is blind, but does it also have to be deaf, dumb, and stupid?


In this chapter I describe the nature of cyberlove in comparison to offline love. The following major issues are discussed: the relative weight of external appearance and personal characteristics in the two types of love; the way we come to know and love our partner; factors that augment online attraction; the possibility of “love at first chat”; the abundance of available partners online and the impact of that on the exclusivity of cyberlove; the role of intimacy, emotional intensity, and commitment in online relationships; the nature of online rejection; and some instances of gender differences. All these issues demonstrate that cyberlove is indeed a great challenge to ordinary love.

Attractiveness and praiseworthiness

I want a man who's kind and understanding. Is that too much to ask of a millionaire?

Zsa Zsa Gabor

The complex experience of romantic love involves two basic evaluative patterns referring to (a) attractiveness (or appealingness) – that is, an attraction to external appearance, and (b) praiseworthiness – that is, positively appraising personal characteristics. Romantic love requires the presence of both patterns. An attractive woman may want to be loved not merely for her beauty but also for her actions and personal traits. An unattractive woman may wish the contrary: that her beloved would value her external appearance as much as he did her kindness or wisdom.