RELATIONSHIPS are becoming increasingly complex in the internet age.

While it’s very positive that so many people of all ages can find a partner online with shared views and interests that appeals to them, the “old” way of getting to know someone that you’ve met and then creating a relationship seems increasingly out of favour.

I suppose it’s all part of us moving away from direct communication. You know, having a conversation with someone. Yes, outlandish, I agree.

Unfortunately, while some individuals may always misrepresent themselves, in real-life or online, it is easier to get away with it when you’re gazing into each other’s eyes via a screen rather than in reality.

Another threat to relationships comes via online pornography which today is becoming increasingly hardcore.

Now, research in America shows that young boys exposed to porn are more aggressive in their attitudes towards women. The study of 330 men found that the average age of them first seeing porn was 12, although some had been exposed to it when they were as young as five.

The way that porn often shows men controlling women’s bodies, usually involving physical violence and aggression, sends out a very bad message about relationships. They work on the idea that women are subservient and some males of all ages then expect genuine relationships to be like that – and are prepared to enforce that ethos.

Sadly, that way lies domestic abuse. Some men never learn that there is a better and more satisfying way to have a relationship - and their partners sometimes don’t realise it, either.

At Fortalice, Bolton’s refuge for women and children escaping domestic abuse, there are many women who finally found the courage to escape just such a relationship and start to build a safe, independent future.

The organisation also runs Healthy Relationships’ courses in primary and secondary schools, trying to show youngsters what does – and definitely does not – constitute a positive relationship that works for all involved.

The relationship of your parents will also influence your own relationships. If it’s an abusive one, by either parent, that may repeat itself through the children’s lives. It doesn’t have to, of course, and, again, organisations like Fortalice are trying to break that unhealthy cycle and help people towards better relationships.

What all this does show us is that extremes of behaviour do have an effect on others and that realising the truth of our relationships is vitally important.