Why Your Internet Crush Can Be Stronger Than Your In-Person Feelings

“I grew up in a small, conservative area, so the internet has been a safe place to me where I can see other gay girls, girls of color, girls who are socialists, girls who are organizers, and girls who write,” said Kayla, a 21-year-old from South Florida. “One particular crush was on a girl named Amarís. We are both queer, Latinx, communist writers. We had casually tweeted each other discussing intersectional feminism and the Cheetah Girls, then she hit up my DMs.”

Kayla went on to say that after flirting on Twitter for a while, she and Amaris decided to meet in person. “Amarís visited me the summer after we started talking,” she recalled. “At first, it was obviously a tiny bit awkward, and we had only FaceTimed once prior, but it became one of the greatest summers for me. We clicked well. It was really easy for me to be myself around her.”

While some find that people they clicked with online are also compatible in person, not everyone is as lucky. “I remember there was this one really beautiful photographer that I followed for, like, two years, and when we matched on Tinder, I was freaking out about it,” Amey recalled. “We messaged for about a week back and forth before we decided to meet up. We planned two dates, and she was a no-show for both, but I remember noticing she had watched my Instagram stories from both nights, even though she doesn’t follow me. I unmatched her after that.”

In a lot of ways, internet crushes can feel even more intense than attraction for someone you’ve met in person. Perhaps it’s because, like Kayla, the internet opens up a larger pool of people and allows you to meet more people with your shared interests. Or perhaps it’s because the internet allows us to know intimate information about our crush’s profession or whereabouts even if you’ve never met, like in the case of Amey. According to Teemsma, however, there are even chemical reasons that we may be so attracted to someone we only know onscreen.

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