Digital Relationships: The Rise Of The Digital Girlfriend - Men's Health Magazine Australia

Digital Relationships: The Rise Of The Digital Girlfriend

It's 2022 and about time to learn how to have a healthy digital relationship.

A decade-or-so ago, the term ‘online dating’ basically meant a hookup sesh on Tinder. However now, post-covid, meeting people online – and creating a substantial and serious digital relationship has become as normal as a physical one.

“Digital relationships can be friendships, flirty connections, supportive exchanges between creators and their biggest fans — all of which form online. These relationships can be platonic, intimate or romantic,” explains Sunroom’s Michelle Battersby. “Digital relationships have existed since the very first chat rooms. But with the pandemic, and the social restrictions that came with it, these relationships have become super common and, on the way, to being normalised.”

“Any increased opportunity to connect with someone you may never have ordinarily is a good thing. Before we were bound by people, we could only meet IRL which in today’s society feels somewhat restrictive,” adds Battersby.

To find out more, Michelle and relationship expert Chantelle Otten, provide us with their best tips.

What’s the best way to find a digital girlfriend?

Michelle – First up, look for women who have made it clear they’re open to connecting online. Some women creators explicitly invite DMs, some have a Sunroom or OnlyFans dedicated to chatting and connecting. You’ll want to look for someone who shares similar values to you, someone you could learn from, someone whose outlook on life will enrich your life. Looking through a creator’s posts is the best way to gauge if you’re into them as a person. Definitely look for people who are authentic in their posts, who are vulnerable, and who invite conversation and feedback. Purchasing a subscription or sending a tip is a great way of showing you’re invested in that person. From there, start a conversation with a message. And ease into it, just like you would in any other conversation. On Sunroom we have a bunch of features that make that connection easier to form: you can submit a question that a creator can answer, you can do a custom 1:1 experience, and you can voice note. Pay attention to a creator’s boundaries. Consistency is key when forming a digital relationship. Consistently show support via comments, DMs, and tips. And always be respectful! Just because it’s a digital relationship doesn’t mean you can hide behind a keyboard. 

How should you approach a digital relationship – compared to a physical one?

Chantelle – The internet is a wonderful tool and can connect you to people for a variety of reasons including business, socialising and entertainment. When it comes to digital relationships, the internet provides you a bridge to connect with another person you may not necessarily meet IRL. 

With digital relationships you can share so many things that you necessarily wouldn’t be comfortable with sharing with someone in a physical sense. 

When approaching a digital relationship, you need to ensure it is a healthy one. Know the site or platform you’re using and understand how to keep yourself and the person you’re talking to safe. You also need to understand the difference between online and IRL. People who are more shy to do or say something IRL are more likely to be comfortable with doing or saying something online. It’s really important for this reason to set personal boundaries. If you don’t want to show something, talk about something or do something, stick to it. 

Sunroom was created so people can express themselves and form relationships with people in a safe and healthy way. The anti-screenshot technology also adds another safety aspect for users who want to ensure the content they share stays private. 

What are the risks and how can you overcome them?

Chantelle -People are typically bolder online, so risks could be people who make you feel uncomfortable or you could feel as though because you can’t see them IRL, that you can’t completely trust them. 

To overcome this, set up boundaries from the outset. Communication is key with all relationships, particularly digital ones. Sunroom’s anti-screenshot technology will protect you and your image so you don’t have to worry about your content popping up into the wrong hands. You also can message directly on social platforms, which means you don’t need to give your personal details out. 

Digital relationships are a wonderful thing and are super beneficial. But with any digital interaction, you need to put your privacy first and only share what you’re comfortable with. 

What are some tips when it comes to having a healthy digital relationship?

Chantelle – Healthy digital relationships are very similar to a healthy relationship you would have IRL. It’s important you treat both the same; with respect, communication and openness. My top tips are: 

1. Check-in with the person you’re connecting with and if they’re comfortable with the conversation or content you’re sharing. My number one tip is to work with basic foundations of consent, as you would with any relationship. 

2. Healthy relationships start with yourself and what you’re comfortable with putting online. Set boundaries yourself before entering any relationship. 

3. Communication is key. Make sure you both start the relationship off and come to the table on what you’re looking for and what you want out of the digital relationship. 

You can download Sunroom here.

By Nikolina Ilic

Nikolina is the former Digital Editor at Men's Health Australia, responsible for all things social media and .com. A lover of boxing, she has written for Women's Health, esquire, GQ and Vogue magazine.

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