One of the most interesting attempts to interpret the nature of e-dating has been proposed by Aaron Ben-Ze’ev (2004). Based on interviews with cyberspace daters, this pioneering study explored the differences between “virtual” and “real” relationships. Some of the features that are listed by Ben-Ze’ev as distinguishing the virtual from the real spaces are:
1. The virtual space has a “seductive” nature to it that makes virtual relationships sometimes more intense and emotionally satisfying than real relationships.
2. The virtual space is more egalitarian in that it allows people to interact with each other irrespective of their demographic, physical or emotional attributes. Indeed, the virtual space is unique in that it offers its inhabitants the opportunity of “inventing” themselves.
3. Because of its limitless possibilities for selfpresentation, the virtual space enables more deceit. Indeed, a very high percentage of Internet “lovers,” according to this research, mis-represent (lie) about their attributes, feelings and behavior.
4. The virtual space is addictive and because ofthis (and other reasons) can be dangerous. Online daters may develop strong emotions toward partners in this environment that can eventually affect their real relationships.
5. Online relationships are incomplete and for this reason, to be complete, they need to migrate from the online to the face-to-face environment or from the virtual to the real space.
The Ben-Ze’ev research focuses on cyber-sex rather than on cyber-love. As such, the applicability of its findings to our e-dating theory is limited. Still, its emphasis on the differences between the two spaces and the need to migrate from one to the other in order for a relationship to become real are important assumptions on which our theory of e-dating development is based.