STORY #30 - "Two Tales"

"Monica" is a 24 yr old single female who has been online about 8 months. She wrote to share two experiences she has had with cyber romance. Her first experience occurred just two weeks after she went online when she "hit it off famously" with a man she began chatting with. They went through the usual steps of calling on the phone, exchanging photographs, sending cards, and finally arranging to meet. Her friends told her it was a "terribly stupid" thing to fly 1000 miles to meet what they considered a stranger. She says he had her heart and she had grown to trust him, and as it turned out the trip was fine.

Unfortunately, the relationship fizzled on a romantic level after the meeting. She had fallen for him more than ever in Real World, to the point where she told him she would relocate to be with him. He was not ready for that kind of commitment and things pretty much ended after that. He told her he "didn't think she knew him well enough to be in love with him." The up side is that they were able to remain friends online and still talk on a regular basis.

After this experience, she had decided to be a bit more cautious when chatting online and to set limits for herself in a relationship to avoid potential problems. She would not become involved with a married man, someone who had children, or who was older than 30. She has since met someone online who meets her criteria and they have now met in Real World after talking once on the phone. He lives 116 miles away, and they have met twice....once at her place and once at his. Monica says she had "no qualms" about meeting him, for she felt she knew him well enough and had talked to several people who knew him in Real Life. She writes that "we clicked very well online, but even better offline."

She closes by writing "This is the beauty of online romance. It gets past that whole physical attraction thing. Sure, its still gotta be there, but its not the major factor in the whole thing. He likes me for my personality. And he still thinks I am beautiful. I hope this relationship works out. We both hope very much that it does.

VIXEN Comments:

I'm glad that your experiences online have been positive, even the one that did not work out having turned into a genuine friendship. I hope your current romance blooms into everything you both are seeking.

I would be remiss, however, if I did not point out that there is always a very real risk when you fly off to meet somebody for the first time. We think we know the other person because of our intense sharing of ourselves online, and I believe, in balance, that's probably more often true than not. But there is always a dark element out there....people who prey on others and who are very good at saying all the right things to win somebody's heart and then either scam them or hurt them or worse. The media always prints the sensational horror stories, but I am not convinced its any more risky to meet somebody after months of talking online, than it is to go home with somebody new from a singles bar. A certain amount of caution and common sense need to be used anytime you meet anyone new, regardless of the setting.

Thank you for sharing your stories.

STORY # 29 - "A Learning Experience"

"Rhonda" is a 38 yr old married female who wants to share some insights she has learned in her two years online. She says she finds cyber relationships fascinating, and is still amazed at how free people are when they don't have to come face to face with a person.

She has been married 20 years and has never cheated on her husband, although he is a workaholic and she does sometimes crave attention. She found that when she turned on the computer she had all kinds of friends out there and has met many men....some sweet, some humorous, and some perverted. She has shared many of her experiences with her husband who, for the most part, has not felt threatened by any of it. She does believe you can find a true soul mate through the computer, but caution is always the best way to approach it.

At one point in time, she met a man on the computer who was a business acquaintance of her husband's. He, too, was married and lived only one half hour away. She found herself very intrigued by this man. He knew all the right things to say, was intelligent, charming and witty. They finally did meet in person, through business, both with their spouses. She found everything she had imagined about him online to be true in Real World and was now thinking she was in love with him. She discovered he felt the same way, and their online relationship became hot and intense. They wanted to meet alone but knew it was dangerous.

Then, by chance, she began to talk to his wife online. They discussed many things, including their spouses, and she began to learn things about this man that did not match his screen persona at all. She began to realize he was a master of the game, and she had come close to throwing away a 20 yr marriage for a "quick roll in the hay."

Her closing comments were that she learned a valuable lesson and a lot about herself. Humans thrive on feeling good about themselves, and making others feel good about themselves. You can have a lot of fun online doing that, but you also need to realize that who somebody is online is not necessarily who they are offline. The world changes when you add a job, kids, and responsibilities to the picture. She would caution people to do a lot of soul searching before they decide somebody is truly their soul mate.

VIXEN Responds:

I believe Rhonda has made some good points and given sound cautionary advice. Our online world is often "idealized". We can temporarily escape the pressures of work, an unhappy marriage, sickness, and problems with finances and children when we turn on the computer. We can be the person we would like to be without all that Real World baggage. And the person on the other side of the screen is often doing the same thing. Ultimately, we must return to that Real World when the computer shuts down. Caution is always advised.

STORY #28 - "Can't Give Each Other Up!"

"Laura" is a 34 yr old married female who has been online for about 18 months. She has been involved in a cyber romance for the past six months with a man the same age, who is also married. Both have children. She met him one day on AOL when he sent her an "instant message" and she thought he was one of the sweetest persons she had ever met. Both he and she are in not-so-happy marriages.... staying in their marriages primarily for their children.... and they found they had much in common as they talked and laughed and learned more about each other.

Things began to heat up, email was exchanged daily and finally pictures sent. Inevitably, one day he asked for her phone number and soon they were hearing each other's voices and talking on the telephone several times a day....before work, at work, and after work. Sometimes the calls are just a short "I love you", and other times long conversations.

Laura says they do not feel guilty at all and would like very much to meet one day, to hold hands in the Real World, and just be close. Every day they tell each other they love each other and don't know what to do beyond that. She says all she knows is that it is growing stronger, their nights are sleepless, the wants are getting bigger and they will not give each other up no matter what.

VIXEN Responds:

Laura did not ask for advice, but wished to share her situation. Since she did not mention the distance between them, it's unclear how feasible an actual meeting would be. Since they have ruled out the option of giving each other up, they are left with either continuing as they are, or eventually meeting and taking it from there. Both carry risks...continued email and phone calls risk discovery by their spouses, while a meeting carries the risk of "bursting the bubble" and possible disappointment, or conversely, being all they had hoped for and then having to face the difficult task of what to do about it. Both have spouses and children to consider, always a wrenching prospect. The path they choose will not be an easy one, no matter what they do. My best wishes to them both in doing what is right for their situations.

STORY #27 - "Close Call"

"Janice" is a 44 yr old woman married 28 years with two children. She writes that about a year ago, she found a card her husband was mailing to another woman, whom he had met on the Internet. At first he said it was just a fantasy and that he loved her (his wife) very much. He vowed he would not speak to the online woman again. Three weeks later Janice found him telling this woman on a chat interface how much he loved her. Then she found out he had lied to the woman and had told her he was a divorced, single father. She sent email to the woman telling her the truth about her husband's situation. The woman, who was also married, said she would not contact him anymore. However, contact continued. Janice and her husband began to fight and she became very suspicious of him. He began to talk about leaving to get some peace and quiet. It was a very unhappy time as she felt the online woman thrilled and excited him in ways she could not, after so many years of marriage. Because she loved him, she began to try to do more things with him, to become closer, and to enhance their love-making. Even though things seemed to improve, he told her he still needed to leave to get some peace and independence. His departure lasted three days. He came to her and told her he had made a terrible mistake, that he had been calling his internet love behind her back all during the time he had told her it was over. He had even met her once and it was not that great. He asked to come back home. He realized he loved her and wanted the family to be together. She took him back and now they have a bond closer than ever. Her closing comment was "No one can break our bond, even though someone he met on the Internet almost did."


Janice has not asked for any advice and none is needed here. It is one more story about the hazards of cyberspace. The internet can and does break up marriages, even when people start out innnocently and feel it cannot happen to them. Relationships based on lies rarely work out, whether in cyberspace or Real Life. You had a close call, but fortunately you were able to come through it and build a stronger relationship. I'm glad for you and your family that it worked out and I wish you continued happiness.

Story #26 - "Love in Four Days???"

"Kerry" is a 40 yr old lesbian, recently single, who has been on the Net about two months. She writes she is surprised to see no letters from the gay/lesbian community in cyberspace because there is a large presence to be found there. She goes on to say she has made a number of new friends in chat rooms, both gay and straight, and has enjoyed the attention and the flirting, but was not looking for love. Recently she met a woman in a chat room, however, and made an instant "emotional/intellectual" connection. They wound up talking for five hours straight, with the last half hour on the telephone. Since then they meet nightly online, email each other, and have had more phone conversations. Pictures are being exchanged and plans are in the works for a meeting very soon. She goes on to say she cannot understand how she could invite "a total stranger into my home"....and that her non-cyberspace friends either think she has lost her mind or are terribly amused by it. Kerry closes by asking if she has lost it by falling in cyber love in only four days.


First, let me say that in spite of there being a large gay/lesbian community in cyberspace, this is the first letter we have received that talks about same-sex relationships. Except for those people who request a private response, we publish all the letters that deal with cyber relationships.

Now to address your concerns. In my opinion, you have not lost your mind. You have joined the thousands of others in cyberspace who are experiencing this social phenomenon. Whether g/l or straight, people are making these connections of the mind and finding whom they perceive to be their "soul mate". You and your friend are following the typical pattern of meeting, connecting, talking long hours online, emailing, moving to the telephone, exchanging pictures, and ultimately arranging to meet. In cyberspace these stages of "dating" seem to be accelerated as opposed to the steps one usually goes through in the dating game in the Real World. An urgency develops to hear the others voice, to see them, and to touch them in Real World. Time frames vary for the individuals and their circumstances. Your relationship has moved forward very quickly probably because you are single and able to pursue it, and you and your friend are relatively close geographically. It is natural to have anxieties about the meeting. Questions always arise about whether the feelings are valid and whether or not they will be the same once you take the love from fantasy to reality. There is no way to know until you actually meet. Some work out wonderfully, and others are disappointments. Here's hoping your meeting turns out to be everything the two of you are hoping for.

Story #25 - "Confused Cyberflirt"

"Allison" is a 33 yr old married female currently in a cyber relationship. She has been married in Real World since the age of 17 to a man eighteen years her senior, and has three children. For the past year she has been on the Net and finds she loves the attention, flattery and words of love she finds in the chat rooms. She loves to flirt and have men tell her she is beautiful, which generally leads to more. She has one special relationship with a 30 yr old single man in the neighboring state about a nine hour drive away. The have met in the Real World three times and they have talked about having a real life together, but she is uncertain she can be true to him online. He is aware of her flirting and cybering with others and is hurt by it but still loves her. Her Real World husband is also aware of her cyber relationship and is very hurt. Allison has two other men online who have asked her to move in with them, and at times feels she could seriously fall for them, but she says she always goes back to her special love in the next state. She wants very much to divorce her husband and start a new life, but is very concerned about her children and how it will affect them. She is also concerned about her own inability to commit to one person and be happy because she loves to play so much. She closes by saying, "I don't know what to do....I am tired of hurting people...if there is anything I can do, please let me know."


I have talked before about how our interactions on the net appear to meet certain needs in each of us. I think because Allison has been married with children since she was just a teenager, she missed that period of time as a young adult when one flirts and dates and kicks up their heels before settling down. Now she is doing it online and loving the attention she never had a chance to experience. This is understandable. Everyone like to be made to feel beautiful, sexy, witty, and desireable. The Net offers this in a seemingly "harmless" interface, but for every line of text on the screen there is a real person on the other side, often getting emotionally involved. And cyber flirtations appear to inevitably affect Real World relationships.

Even though I understand the appeal of having multiple suitors, it is unlikely you can continue to flirt and cyber with others and still keep the love of your special relationship. It has already affected your marriage. You say you have discussed divorce with your Real World husband. You do not say whether you work or have the means to take care of yourself should you follow through. Would your children live with you or your husband? Could you take care of them on your own if need be? These are all questions you must ask yourself. Would any of your online loves be willing to take in a ready-made family? How would your children react?

Frankly, it sounds as though you need to experience the freedom of being on your own and able to do as you wish for a while. If you are in a position to indulge your flirtations and need for many admirers, it might lose some of its appeal over time. If you do follow through with a divorce, I think it would be unwise to run straight to another man for the wrong reasons, i.e., out of need rather than because you can't live without him. If you truly love him and want to pursue a life with him, you will have to give up the extra online affairs or it will ultimately tear you both apart. I have no magic answers for how you go about "weaning" yourself from this very addictive pasttime. I know of some who have been "playing" online for 3 or more years and it has not lost its appeal, while others burn out in a short time. I would suggest counseling, but only if the therapist has first-hand experience in cyber space. Please let me know how things work out.

Story #24 - "Can This Gap Be Bridged?"

"Julie" is a 35 yr old single female who began an innocent penpal correspondance with an 18 yr old male over the Net which has now taken a romantic turn. This was an unexpected situation; in fact, she says she had been known in the past to make unflattering comments about chat room addicts and those caught up in cyber relationships. She says she has certainly been enlightened as to the realities of online romance now. There are 5,000 miles between them geographically and 17 years chronologically. He still lives at home with his parents. Due to circumstances, it would be three years before the two of them could actually meet. They have been open and honest with each other about themselves, and she has made it clear to him she expects him to go out with "real girls" and she too will date during this time. She worries about the social stigma of their age difference, the reaction of his parents, the fact that she has a 10 yr old closer to his age than she is, and whether or not it is realistic to think they can wait three years for each other. She is sure she can, but can he? She ends her letter by saying how very happy he makes her. When she thinks of him it makes her smile and inspires her in her work. Regardless of how it works out, she considers herself lucky for having met him. She also asks if there are any others out there in a similar situation, or any links referencing older women/younger men relationships.


I have read the original 3 page letter several times and given it a great deal of thought. In general terms, I do not have a problem with a large age difference between men and women regardless of who is the older or younger in the relationship. Maturity comes in many different ages and a chronological number is not always an indication. However, I do think there are less problems socially when a seventeen year age difference exists between two people who are 30 and 47, for example, than between 18 and 35.

Research has shown women in their teens mature sooner than men, but usually by mid-twenties things have leveled out between the sexes. I believe, in part, that is why younger women traditionally have married older men. Today people have more choices and many marry later in life while some choose not to marry at all. Social mores have changed a great deal and there is less stigma between older women/younger men relationships now than there used to be. I do know of several very successful marriages/relationships between older women and younger men, both in Real World and in CyberSpace. I do not know of any special links to that specific topic, however. If anyone out there knows of any good web sites that address this, please write me.

This takes me back to your situation. I have had others write me through the Web Page with concerns similar to yours, but none with the age difference quite as great and none with the man being a teenager still living at home. I believe these factors to be very crucial to your relationship. I don't doubt for a moment that you both care deeply for each other, but I have some concerns that an 18 yr old teen can really wait three years for someone. As you pointed out, he has not yet had the experience of being out on his own and being a part of the adult world yet. There are other unknowns such as the reaction of his parents and how much influence they still have over him. And of course, since you have both agreed to see others, one or both of you may meet somebody else. While I would like to say I think it will work out for you, my gut feeling is that it is highly unlikely. However, I would also say it sounds as though you have a very special relationship you are both enjoying right now. Your current course of taking things slowly and being honest with each other is definitely the correct path. Enjoy your time together, however long that may be, and only time will give you the answers you seek.

Story #23 - "Holding the Line"

Brett is a 33 year old male who is a 13 year veteran of surfing the Net. He offers some advice on "holding the line" between cyberspace and Real Life. His experience and observations lead him to believe that if you are in a Real World relationship, you should not "get too close" to others you meet online, for it will invariably draw your attention away from that part of your life that should have it the most, not to mention huge long distance phone bills down the road. He tells his own friends that "if you get to a point where you feel the need to hear the voice, it's time to drift on and find a new chat partner." He feels that almost anyone can make you swoon on the Net, but rarely will match up in Real Life.

He also adds that he much prefers MUD (Multi User Dungeon) games to chat rooms. These games are text based and highly interactive chat wise, but have the added feature of quests in a game setting. He volunteers to answer questions about MUDs if anyone wants to drop him a line at, or you can use a search engine using keywords: mud circlemud dikumud.


I would not disagree with Brett's advice, although I would mention that not everyone is able to just "drift on and find a new chat partner." Many have made great emotional investments in that special person and cannot walk away so easily. I have said it before, and I'll repeat it again...Real Life relationships DO break up over online relationships. It is something to consider carefully if you have a significant other in your Real World already, before you log in to the chat room.

As an avid rpg'er myself (role playing gamer) I have played some text based MUDs years ago before the graphical online games came out, and they can be quite enjoyable. I personally now prefer the graphical interface which has become very sophisticated with three dimensional characters, beautiful scenery, and wonderful music and sound effects. They also offer the interactive chat feature with gamers from around the world in real time. If anyone wants more information, write me here at Lust in Space.

Story #22 - "A Bittersweet Ending"

"Jeff" is a 36 year old married male who has been on the Net about 1.5 years. Happily married for 18 years, he writes that he was not looking for any type of cyber relationship or love when he began chatting online...nor did he ever pretend he was single or unhappy in his marriage. The problem was, that his persona became "larger than life", possessing all the qualities of wisdom, insight, caring, and fun that he wanted in his real life personality. People were drawn to him, his ego loved the attention, and eventually a female admirer, also married, confessed she had fallen in love with him.

At first he downplayed it and tried to ignore it. Later he told her it was unwise. As she continued to say things to him he had never heard from his wife, and as they became more open and free with their wants and needs, he weakened and returned her words of passion with his own. They began emailing, meeting online constantly, and finally talking on the phone several times a day. Inevitably, they felt they had to meet in the Real World. Arrangements were made to meet for a weekend. The date that worked for them both was a month away, but the waiting was excruciating. During this time his real life behavior was becoming erratic, his guilt was consuming him, and he quit eating and became very ill.

Finally, he broke down and confessed all to his wife. He told his wife he still had to meet this other woman. He and his wife drove 1000 miles to his cyberlove's town and while his wife waited in a nearby motel, he met his online love at a roadside cafe. Although they had never exchanged photos, they knew each other immediately and embraced. They drove to her place from the cafe and talked, kissed and caressed each other, tempting each other almost more than they could bear. But they did not engage in sex, as much as they both desired it. They held each other and cried because they both knew this was the end of it. They both had real life spouses and families and too many people would be hurt. In their last moments together they mourned what might have been, but agreed that love often calls for sacrifice.

They no longer talk, but he thinks of her still from time to time and is sure she does the same. He is sure he did the right thing, but can't help wondering what might have been.


Jeff wrote a very lengthy and eloquent letter about his cyberspace encounter. I really hated to edit it at all, as he expressed his feelings so well and made some interesting observations. The questions that came to my mind as I read his story were: should he have confessed to his wife, should he have met his cyber love afterwards, what were the thoughts of his wife as she waited for his return to the motel, how could he have resisted the passion once with his online love, and how could he have walked away from it? The path each of us takes will differ. Jeff did what he saw as the only honorable thing he could do. Each of us must follow our own conscience in cyberspace just as we do in Real World. It is always complicated and seldom easy.

Story #21 - "Food for Thought"

"Steven" is a 34 year old "happily married...believe it or not" male who writes that he has been having one night sessions for the past six months through an AOL chat room. He is surprised how easy it is to pick up women, and in his words "in an hour or two have the virtual equivalent of fairly raunchy sex...and orgasm". He puts his success rate at approximately 60-70% and almost always with similar aged women who are also married. He says he does not usually followup with email or chatting with a former lover because "there always seems to be another fish in the anything long term could possibly interfere with my real-life relationship." He closes by saying he just wanted to add his input for the general discussion as "food for thought."


Thank you for your input regarding your own experiences in cyberspace. And yes...I believe you are happily married in spite of the "one night cyberstands".... It's a strange new world out there and there seems to be a sense of security being both anonymous and hundreds or thousands of miles away, which causes otherwise cautious people to quickly drop barriers and their "cyberpants". You are right that if you allow yourself to become emotionally involved it could interfere with your real-life marriage. Sometimes it happens even when one is consciously trying not to let it happen. My only word of caution would be that you may meet somebody just a little different one day....somebody who stands out from all the other "fish in the sea"....and you may find yourself drawn to her despite your best intentions. So far you seem to have it under control. Good luck in the future.