Fascinating stuff ChaosIntended.
Particularly so because it is a different perspective than my own.
For instance, I can actually feel lonely from spending too much time on online forums. I do not think of people as robots online, but I do not consider online relationships ‘real’ (in the sense of any intimacy) either. For me anyway.
As a younger adult, I remember trying to make more friends on Craigslist, but if emailing lasted too long, I wasn’t interested. I wasn’t looking for a pen pal.
I’m not sure if it’s fair to compare--ha, that rhymes--online relationships with human interaction because it really is like apples and oranges. You can never really know a person in either context. But online … I’d miss behavioral cues. Like averting one’s eyes, or turning just so … you miss non-verbal cues, as people behave with their bodies as they are behaving with language.
So I think there is a certain negation of humanness with online interaction. There is a reason why some people never want to meet or see you on video or camera. It destroys the fantasy in a sense. This idea of a 'perfect' human.
No disrespect intended, but you mentioned in the opening paragraph that you were married? It may be too personal, but since you introduced this information as part of the larger story, I wonder about that.
I wonder about the implication of one’s real relationships. I wonder if 'good' online relationships would translate the same in real life. For me, online relationships would never be the barometer or the compare starting point. Could you have an online husband? An online wife?