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Home » Expert Q & A » Internet Addiction » Internet Addiction: Zelik Mintz

Online life replacing real life

  • anonymous Asks ...
    anonymous

    I suck at the real world but I have a rich and varied online life with friends and foes and communities and sexual fulfillment. Online I can be whoever I want to be and people like and respect me but in the real world because of the way I look and dress people will not give me the time of day. I am 31 and I have been a nerd or loser for my whole life but online I fit in and it feels good. With technological advancements and VR I believe that within 5 years probably I won’t have to leave my virtual body for anything other than the basic physical requirements to keeping my real-self alive. Is there anything wrong with living this way? My parents are pressuring me to get therapy but I think it is ridiculous. Do you think it is necessary for me to get therapy or to presume that there is something wrong with me if the way I chose – consciously chose – to live my life harms no one else and brings me satisfaction? Why does everyone want me to be miserable in real life when I have found a life I enjoy online?

  • Zelik Mintz Says ...
    Zelik Mintz

    I find your feelings about yourself and the solution of replacing real relationships with online relationships sad and misguided.  It may be true that the decision to have a virtual life instead of a life in the real world does not harm anyone else.  However, it is very harmful to your well-being and is self-destructive.  The problem is not that you are a nerd, a loser, or look and dress a certain way.  The problem is how you feel about yourself which is apparent by the way you describe yourself.  Working with a therapist is of vital importance in order for you to develop self-worth, self-respect and to work through the issues that prevent you from being able to develop relationships in the real world.  I can appreciate the illusion of having online friends and communities that also provide sexual fulfillment but it is an illusion.  The issue is not that there is something wrong with you.  The issue is how you feel about yourself and act on that by removing yourself from life and into a private isolating fantasy existence .  I understand that you don't feel your online life is isolating or fantasy.  But it is indeed based on fantasy.  It is not authentic and limits your life and relationships in profoundly dysfunctional ways.  I hope you can come to a place where you have a fulfilling and rich life in the real world. I urge you to explore therapy and possibly once you start, you can learn how self-destructive your dependance on an online life actually is. 

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