Pixel Bondage: Why Meeting In Real Life Is So Important

What if I told you there’s something that you’re doing wrong that could really, really, really screw up your love life?

In my appearance on Giant Fire Breathing Robot this week, Imentioned a couple terms that are near and dear to my heart when discussing online dating. The first is the Chasm of Suckitude(TM), which I had previously written about to my Geek Monthly Matchmaking Mailer (GeekMMM). The second is pixel bondage, which I’ll go into today.

Pixel bondage is a new affliction and a product of both online dating and the internet age in general.  At its core, it describes what happens when two people interact online in a flirtatious manner. You get attached to the things that they say and your brain fills in the blanks (since text can only go so far).

What’s the danger with pixel bondage, you ask? Plenty.

Let’s imagine a scenario typical of online dating. Guy meets girl online. They have seen a few pictures of each other. They are, of course, the best photos of each of them. The initial attraction is there, so they begin to chat.

The chatting goes well – there are so many things they have in common! So many things to discuss! It’s wonderful to have a chat buddy that’s both adorable and who likes the things you do. SCORE!

…and as things progress, you begin with the emoting.

*runs her fingers through your hair*

*nuzzles your neck*

*grins ever-so-evilly*

*hugz you tight*

While this is extra fun and wonderful, the danger here is that your brain fills in the holes. Wonderful piece of machinery, the brain. When a hole is present, it does its best to fill it with whatever seems right.

What seems right here is filling in all the warm fuzzies of an in-person relationship. What results is pixel bondage. Here you are, attached mentally and emotionally to someone you’ve never met.

Don’t Get Me Wrong…

There are times when pixel bonded people meet in real life and it’s just as wonderful as it is online.  You probably have a story or two that involves that happening.  The chemistry that was online is exactly the same in real life and everyone dates happily ever after.

But What If It Doesn’t?

It could just as easily swing the other way.

You get all excited to finally meet in real life. Since you’ve been chatting and flirting for weeks, the excitement has grown and your heart is all pitterpatting like mad. The day is finally here!

…and then…  SOMETHING walks in the door.

It looks vaguely like that person you’ve fallen in love with… maybe it’s older, or fatter, or balder, or hairier. Maybe it smells funny. Maybe it just doesn’t press all your buttons like that image that your brain has so nicely created for you as a result of your weeks of pixel bonding.

…now what?

Oh Hai, I’m Awkward!

Now you’re in a situation where you have to make a decision. Do you swallow your gut instinct that DOES NOT WANT this person as they appear in front of you?  After all, you’re totally in love, right?

…or do you find a way to break free ASAP? How do you break up with a person you’ve never really dated? Especially when everything was 100% full-steam ahead the last time you typed with each other…

Avoiding Pixel Bondage Is The Best Policy

When playing the online dating game, it’s best to avoid pixel bondage altogether by arranging an in-person meetup within the first week or two of chatting. Beyond two weeks, you run the risk of pixel bondage happening. You also run the risk of getting attached to someone who has no intention of meeting you (but that’s another article!).

If you’ve met someone from out of state (or out of country) it can be hard to get the in-person meetup to happen in a timely manner. This is why God invented Skype. Load it up and start chatting face to face within the first couple weeks. It’s not exactly the same as meeting in person, but it’s as close as you can get.

Once you’ve established that you have a connection face-to-face, then you can pixel bond all you freakin’ want.  Chatting online is a great way for geek couples to connect and communicate and oftentimes, having the keyboard in front of us helps us say things that we’re too shy to say out loud.

But for now…  get that initial face-to-face meeting before pixel bondage sets in. It’s for your own good and I promise you’ll thank me later.

What About You?

Have you ever had a situation where you bonded with someone online and then realized that you didn’t get along so well in person?

Have you been one of the lucky ones who pixel bonded with the right person?

Happy dating, geek friends.

About e

Since 2008, E. Foley of Geek’s Dream Girl has been helping geeks from around the world find love. She writes amazing online dating profiles for her fellow geeks and guides them through the perilous waters of the dating scene and out the other side. She's totally proud to report that she's even caused a couple geek weddings! She lives in Maryland with DaveTheGame, her adorable cats, Mr. Peanut & Don Juan, and Titania, Queen of the Cocker Spaniels. (Email e, or follow @geeksdreamgirl on Twitter.)

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