The internet has enriched and challenged our lives in countless ways. For many, it delivers information, entertainment, and convenient shopping. For me, it has always been a theater for relationships. Since the early 1980s, I have made deep connections with people who, though they may be distant physically, become as close neighbors in the same village. I share my life with them, and they share theirs with me; we are part of each others’ day-to-day lives.

Although my “real” life does not want for close friendships, I am, by choice and by nature, solitary; divorced, I live alone, and have no close family. Various obstacles prevent me from pursuing substantial relationships in real life. As a result, I suppose I invest more into online relationships than some who have other distractions. For the most part, I am content with solitude. But even I sometimes crave connection. Finding it online is both easy and perilous. My curiosity about online relationships is not academic. It is a survival skill.

When I use the term “relationships,” I am lumping together romance, intimate friendships, buddies, D/s, sexual relationships, colleagues, communities and perhaps more. For me, a relationship is any human connection that is deeply meaningful to me in some way. It is “the space between,” the interaction, the interchange of emotions, thoughts and actions between me and significant others. I don’t try too hard to categorize them. Of course, there are relationships and then there are relationships. That “space between” could consist of a few wispy strands of fluff, or glow hot with passion, or run deep and strong like a river. Relationships are diverse in character. And any of them may be topics for this blog.

Next: Connecting »