Can dating be like “The Voice”?

Part of the allure of the TV singing competition “The Voice” is that the contestants are judged initially on only the quality of their singing. I can see the wisdom of this, as one’s appearance and movements affect how we respond to them and it could sway how one votes for a performer.

I thought about how this applies to dating. We want to believe we fall for someone based on their inner being, not their outward appearance. Yet we need to feel attracted to someone and most often that involves their outer image. I’ve been in relationships with people I wasn’t drawn to physically because I liked their personality, but it’s not common to do so. And I’ve fallen for handsome men who treated me poorly.

This week, a man who lives thousands of miles away has started corresponding with me, initially by email, and now by IM. He’s smart, funny, articulate, and educated. We’ve exchanged pics, of course. I don’t like to spend time on people who aren’t local, but this guy is fun.

We haven’t even talked on the phone, but he says he’s developing feelings for me. I know not to take this seriously, as I don’t believe one can develop true feelings for someone without having met. I’ve fallen for that in the past, beginning to get emotionally connected to someone only from emails and phone calls. Then when we’ve met, there was no physical attraction, or he acted different in person, or he treated me poorly.

So can we really find a connection with someone without seeing them, a la The Voice? Some would say you are able to experience the person’s true essence without the distractions of their physical appearance. However, it’s easy to pretend to be a certain way when the only communication is virtual. When someone’s smile, eye contact, facial expressions, walk, movement and how they treat you is so crucial to creating a connection, how can you really do so without a physical meeting?

I think of olden days when people would court via mail, become engaged and only meet right before the wedding. How did those marriages work out? I’m sure some did well and others didn’t. About the same as our marriages nowadays. I know they had much different criteria for a marriage in those days.

What do you think — have you developed true feelings for someone before you’ve met in person? Then did it continue as a relationship? Or have you experienced the same as me — a lot of time invested before meeting then to have it fizzle at the first date?

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4 comments on this post.
  1. Liz:

    No, I have never true developed feelings for anyone before meeting them. The reason being is that anyone can be or say anything on paper or on the phone. It is a total waste of energy. When I am doing the online dating, I am there to meet new people — and meet them in person, the sooner the better. No endless e-mails or telephone calls for me. I actually lose interest if someone does not mention meeting face-to-face fairly quickly (2-3 e-mails and 1-2 phone calls). This has really worked for me. The men who really want to meet me will definitely initiate something fairly quickly. If they don’t, that’s fine witih me because I like people who are decisive, so that weeds them out for me. I have met some very nice men this way.

  2. Brenda:

    I must say that I did not do what Liz mentions above initially when dating online. I found that some men would drag things on forever because they were still dating someone else exclusively – one man who lived locally dragged things on for 3 months because he was too busy training to triathlons etc. When I finally called it quits with the telephone back and forth, then he wanted to meet me.

    I then put into place what Liz mentions above. If the man did not ask me out after 2 phone calls, he wasn’t that interested. I also never dated a man who did not call me at least once. I learned the hard way after getting emails from an LAPD police officer, but no phone call, when he showed up, he had a very high high voice that you would certainly not expect to be coming out of a police officer. Big turn off –

    Lesson learned – only date those who are local and those who ask out after 2 phone calls maximum. This helped me meet and marry the man of my dreams three months ago. (at the ripe old age of 55)

  3. Lisa:

    If the person seems truly well suited for you, I would not totally rule it out, but there has to be the honest desire to meet in person at some point in the near future. As everyone rightly states, nothing anyone writes or says means anything until you meet in person. But someone who seems really right for you might make the initial feeling out period worth considering despite the distance, but only if they are willing to come to meet soon.

    I don’t know about developing true love for someone sight unseen. Some arranged marriages work. Others don’t. Who can say. A number of years ago I developed a very fond phone friendship with someone I met on match who lived many states away but was from the local area. Initially I had no interest in someone so far away, but he was very smart and creative and talented and accomplished and we ended up talking for many years and had some wonderful conversations.

    I never really thought I was “dating” him at the time. He was just someone I had found myself writing to, and then we talked, and talked and talked…He had some major issues from his childhood and some serious health issues and he, following a disagreement about something, more or less cut me out of his life which saddens me still. Long story. I often wonder if we had met what might have developed. With his issues, perhaps not much. Sadly, I think he might actually have passed away by now. I do think about him from time to time because we talked so nicely together which is a rare delight. I do miss talking to him still. So I don’t know.

  4. Lisa Shield:

    This is a great question. My guess is that you can develop feelings for someone before meeting, but those feelings will probably just be based on projection. You will ultimately have to meet in person to see if there’s any real attraction.

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