Shared Stories, Part 1
STORY #44 - "The Heart is a Fragile Entity"
"Amanda" is a 35 yr. old married woman with children who attended a
computer show with a female friend in Feb. of 1997. Her friend was
meeting a cyber friend who turned out to be a no-show, but they bumped
into another friend there with whom they had both previously spoken to
online. Nothing clicked between her and this man at the show, in fact
her female friend and he did most of the talking. However, over time,
more online conversations ensued among all four of them, the man from
the computer show, the man who had been a no-show, her female friend and
herself. This led eventually to the four of them getting together for a
long weekend. All four are in their mid-thirties, married to others and
have children. All their spouses were unhappy with the time they spent
at the computer, so code words were worked out to signal when to "cool
it" online. Meetings continued between her and her cyber friend and
they found they had fallen deeply in love. They talked on the phone
constantly from their offices, sent letters and gifts to each other
through regular mail and were sure this was the real thing. So why are
they not together now over a year later? She writes that "we finally
grew up and came to our senses and knew neither of us could leave our
children behind." She continues that her husband was totally devastated
by it all but was willing to forgive her. She is no longer in contact
with her cyber love, a mutual decision, although she thinks of him often
and remembers the wonderfully romantic times they shared. Now she is
very cautious when speaking to men on the Internet. She closes by
writing, "I will not let myself be in that situation again. The heart
is a fragile entity."
Yours is an all-too-familiar story of love on the Net between men and
women who are married to others, always a difficult situation. Many married
men and women, some in very happy marriages and with no thought of cheating
when they go online, find the lure of cyber romance more compelling than
they ever thought possible. Some marriages break up, while others, like yours,
survive. I'm very glad for you and your family that you worked through
it and did what was right for you and your situation. Thank you for writing.
STORY #43 - "Believes It Can Work"
"Angela" is a 22 yr. old single female who met her cyber love on the
InterNet. They broke up once, but after three months apart, realized
they could not live without each other. Now they email and talk
together every day, miss each other terribly if they miss even one day,
and think of each other constantly. He lives in the United States and
she is in Canada, but they are planning on meeting one day soon and hope
very much it will lead to marriage. She closes by commenting, "Who says
love over the Internet can't work? They are wrong. It can work and it
can be wonderful, just like mine."
Your love and enthusiasm shows in your letter and I wish you every
happiness in this cyber romance. I believe that some cyber
relationships can indeed work out, while others will fail, just as
relationships do in the Real World. However, without meaning to put a
damper on your enthusiasm, I would caution you to reserve final
judgement on your romance until you have actually met your love in Real
Life. Sometimes our expectations are so high it is difficult to live up
to them. You need to take a deep breath and consider all the
possibilities. Meanwhile, continue to enjoy each other, learn more
about each other and talk together openly about any fears or nervousness
you may have about meeting. Hopefully your meeting will go wonderfully
and be everything you both hoped for. I'm rooting for you! Thank you for
STORY #42 - "Free at Last"
"Stefanie" is a married woman who writes to say she was in a happy
marriage for 22 years and also had a cyber affair. She says she became
so addicted to the chat zones it changed her personality from a happy,
positive person to a sad, angry woman who spent all of her free time on
the computer being controlled by the person she was in love with. She
tried to cut back, but found the only thing that helped was to just walk
away from it all. She mourned his loss alone without anyone else's
knowledge of the pain she felt. But gradually her old personality began
to emerge again. It was painful letting her cyber lover go and she still
has days when she thinks of him and would like to email him, but has
stayed strong. As more time passes it gets better. The experience
taught her some valuable lessons and she vows never again to let
something like that happen to her. She is thankful she is "free at
I'm glad you were able to take control of your life again. Those who
have been through this experience know just how difficult this can be,
and not everyone can "pull the plug" before doing serious damage to
their marriage. I commend you for your strength in walking away. You
will likely carry some heartache and feelings for your online love for a
long time. I hope things continue to get better and better for you.
STORY #41 - "Destiny & the Internet"
"Janine" is a 24 yr. old single female who says her story is about
coincidences. She knew a certain guy (we'll call him "Jack"), 31,
single and physically attractive to her. He was attracted to her as
well, but for some reason whenever he asked her out, she would reject
him. He always seemed a bit distant to her. Down deep she thinks she
feared falling for him and then having him leave her. At any rate, time
passed, and one day she was on the Internet just browsing. She saw
someone's page and liked it. She wrote to the author saying she thought
it was funny and a correspondance ensued. The more they emailed, the
more she liked him. He was smart, funny, charming, kind; exactly how
she would want HER guy to be. Finally they decided to meet in a
restaurant they both knew (they had discovered they lived in the same
city) and when she arrived, was startled to see...you guessed it...JACK!
Both were shocked to discover they had been writing to each other on the
Internet. Now they are deeply in love and things are wonderful. She
says she can only think of two words: "destiny and the Internet."
What can I say? This is the kind of story that just makes you smile.
Thanks for sharing!
STORY #40 - "Looking for Feedback"
"Scott" is a 20 yr. old male in the Army who met a woman on Microsoft
Chat about 2.5 months ago. He says she was nice but reserved and then
he found out she was 37 yr. old with two daughters. The oldest
daughter is only six years younger than he is. The age difference was
an issue for the woman at first, but slowly she got past it. He says it
never was a big issue for him for he fell in love with her regardless of
her age. He was concerned about the daughters accepting him initially,
but he has talked with them and says they are very sweet girls and they
all seem to get along quite well. Now he has plans to visit in May. He
is stationed in the midwest and she is in one of the western states. He
has three more years to complete his tour of duty with the Army but says
they have already discussed marriage and him coming to live with her
when he gets out of the service. Scott closes by saying he would like
to share his story online, would like to send updates, and would like
some feedback. He adds a p.s. regarding the exchange of phone numbers;
"Limit your calling no matter how strong your feelings! My phone bill
for the month is $380 dollars!"
I appreciate your writing and sharing your story. You sound very
sincere in your letter and I hope your visit in May turns out to be
wonderful for everyone involved. I can understand the initial reserve
your lady love had regarding the age difference between you, especially
since she has teenage daughters herself closer to your age than your age
is to hers. As a mother, she has to worry about the well-being of her
children first, and there is no doubt that even the best of teens can be
a handful at times. You may well be a very mature 20 year old young man
with the best of intentions for getting along with the girls, but
because of your age you may never be accepted as a "father figure",
although they might look up to you as more of an "older brother" in
time. You did not mention whether or not their biological father is a
part of their lives. You also need to realize there will likely be
friends and family on both sides (yours and hers) who may be shocked by
the age difference and who may discourage this relationship. Are you
prepared at this young age to be an "instant father" with all the
responsibilities that involves? Can you both face the criticism of
outsiders? Can you deal with teenage problems if and when they arise?
I am not trying to discourage you, for I know of relationships that have
worked beautifully between couples with large age differences. I am,
however, trying to point out some of the problems you may face and some
things to consider. You asked for feedback so here it is: I think it
may be premature to be talking of marriage before you have even met.
Your visit in May should be a major turning point for all of you in
terms of getting a feel for how compatibile everyone will be. I believe
taking it slow and easy is the best course, not just for you, but for
anyone in an online relationship. You didn't mention whether or not you
had exchanged photos. This often helps to reconcile the person in your
mind's eye with reality. Since you mentioned your high phone bills, I
know you have been talking which also adds another dimension to the
relationship. (And yes, those phone bills can get out of hand!) But
these steps usually help to ease into that first nervous initial
meeting. I'll be keeping my fingers crossed for you. Let me know what
STORY # 39 - "Not Going Nuts After All"
Maureen is a 34 yr old female who has been on the Net about a month.
She began talking to a 28 yr old male two weeks ago and finds she is
feeling a strong emotional attachment to him. On the days they talk,
she feels great, on the days they don't talk she feels a little down. At
first she thought she was going crazy feeling this way about somebody
she had never met, but after reading information about cyberlove, she
now realizes she is not alone and "not going nuts after all."
You have just joined the ranks of thousands of others who have
discovered the power of online cyberlove. One of the reasons we started
this online column was to provide a forum for people to read, share and
try to understand this new social interface, rather than thinking they
were crazy. As more and more people buy computers and plug into the
Internet, you will only see this phenomenon grow. How each person
handles it is an individual thing, but it often helps to know that you
are far from alone. Thank you for writing.
STORY #38 - Live in the Real World
Tiffany is a 29 yr old female who has been on the Net close to three years. She writes that she met her current fiancee on the Internet, but did not fall in love until after they had met in person. She says they met accidently her first day online. Her boss had hooked her up to the Internet and as she was learning about the Net she came across a page she liked. She wrote to the person’s email telling him she thought his page was funny. He wrote back. They became friends and continued their correspondance, eventually talked on the phone, sent pictures, and eight months later met when he flew from Hawaii to CA. She said it was “like meeting an old friend..” and after hanging out together for five days strictly as friends, they both knew they were pretty much “in like” with each other. A month later she went to visit him. That trip led to her moving to his state and THEN their relationship began to develop into something more. They have now been together 2 years and he proposed in November. A May wedding is planned.
Tiffany offers these words about people falling in love online. “They’re falling in love with people they don’t know. Quit being in love with “love” and live the real world. Enjoy writing people, establish friendships, meet in person, and see what happens...don’t be so gullible!”
I’m very happy that your relationship evolved as it did and worked out so well for you. Congratulations on your upcoming wedding!
Your comments are valid, but they don’t always fit every person’s situation or personality. Most people don’t set out to fall in love online. Many are in happy relationships at the time and don’t even realize its a possibility. It can blindside many people. In an ideal world, everyone who falls in love would do so in a nice sensible manner that would not inconvenience them or anyone else in their lives. Since we live in a less than perfect world full of diverse people and situations, its not always as neat and tidy, as black and white, as we would like to have it.
STORY #37 - A Few Shared Words
“Janette” is a 26 yr old woman, married with a young child. She wrote to share a few of her thoughts on the subject of cyber attraction; “After being with the same person for a long time, many couples find it hard to keep the ‘honeymoon’ going. What I mean, is that we get into a rut and find ourselves becoming bored with seeing the same face, day after day...it doesn’t mean they love each other any less, it just becomes...routine.”
She goes on to say she found herself in this situation; not unhappy but not totally satisfied. When she began to chat online about six months ago she met someone she could really talk to about all sorts of things and she found herself becoming dangerously attracted to him. He seemed to feel the same. After discussing it, however, they decided not to act on these feelings. She feels it was the right choice and that the experience has made her more responsive and affectionate toward her husband.
I’m glad you were able to get a handle on your situation and do what was right for you and your family. The fact that your experience served to enhance your marriage is a real bonus. Many are not so fortunate.
STORY # 36 - Second Update to Story #28 & 33
“Laura” wrote again with an update since she and her cyber love met in the Real World a week ago. She writes that “...it was more than we had ever hoped for. We knew it was real the first time we looked at each other...we wished for the rest of the world to disappear so we could stay together forever.” She goes on to say he is everything she wants in a man and that when they had to say goodbye it hurt terribly. They did not make love, just held each other, laughed, talked and cried, and promised they would be together again soon somehow, some way. They are miserable apart and starting to take risks. She closes by saying once again, “...we don’t know what to do now, but we love each other so much we will find a way somehow.”
Thank you for the continuing update. It is a bittersweet story and one likely headed for a collision course soon. If your spouses don’t suspect something is up already, they soon will as you take more risks and ride the emotional roller coaster. On the one hand, I’m happy the two of you have found you love each other to this depth, but at the same time I am sad for the havoc it will bring to your respective families.
STORY #35 - At A Loss
“Linda” is a 48 yr old married woman who has chatted with a number of
men on the Net over time. Eventually she told all of them that she was
married and only two continued to chat with her after that. She felt
particularly close to one and was able to tell him anything. He too was
married, although he told her he thought his wife was cheating on him.
In time, she met this man in Real Life, and felt they had a wonderful
time together, although she isn’t certain how he felt about it. They
continued to chat now and then after the meeting, but eventually she saw
less and less of him online, until one day he was gone. Through the
grapevine she heard he was separated from his wife and living with
another woman. Linda has been unable to put him out of her heart and
mind, but in spite of searching for him, cannot find him again.
The second man she continued to talk with was single, although she was
under the impression he was married. They met for lunch once in Real
Life, but with Linda’s husband present. She felt she would like to
get to know him better, but he met somebody else and last she heard they
had moved in together.
Linda writes she would very much like to find the first man again and at
least talk with him to clear her mind and start anew. She says she is
at a loss as to what to do.
There are many questions in my mind from reading your letter. You do
not mention anything about your husband, other than the fact you are
married and he was present at the one meeting. Do you love your husband
and plan to stay in this marriage? Does he not object to your meeting
these men in Real Life? Is he on the computer too? Are you looking
for a romantic involvement with these online men, or just friendship?
These are just a few of the questions that jump out at me. What is it
you hope to resolve if you do find the first man you met?
It would appear that both men have moved on. For whatever reasons, the
first man apparently does not wish to be found. I am assuming you have
not moved nor changed your email, therefore if he wished to get in touch
with you he could. I know its hard, but from what you have written
I’d say you are better off leaving the past in the past and looking
ahead instead. You need to ask yourself some questions about what it is
you want right now. Cyberspace can be a confusing place and its so easy
to get caught up in the romantic fantasy that we sometimes lose sight of
what it is we really want. Good luck.
STORY #34 - Worth A Chance
"Maria" is an 18 yr old single female who has been on the net "a few
years." She met a man who is "a little older" than she on the
Internet two years ago and felt there was something special about him
right away. They have corresponded with each other through email all this time,
learning more about each other, sharing more of themselves, and now she feels that she
is in love with him and can trust him completely. She says she is not
sure if he feels exactly the same about her, although she is
certain he worries about her and cares about her. It began as a simple
penpal relationship. She was cautious and did not give out her name or
address for a very long time. They became good friends first, before
her feelings deepened. They have talked about meeting, but neither can
afford to fly to see the other and so both are "quite miserable" at
times. She closes by saying, "I care for him a whole lot...I think he
is worth a chance. I need to at least find out what could be."
I have no doubt that your feelings are deep and real for this man, and
he likely is equally fond of you. However, you did not tell me in your
letter whether you have spoken on the phone, whether he too is single,
and how much older than you "a few years older" really is. It also
sounds like distance and finances are a barrier to meeting.
My main concern is your statement, "I think that I'm in love with
him...but I'm not sure how he feels..." It sounds as though you have
not discussed the depth of your feelings with each other. I think its
important for you to both understand how the other feels if you decide
to pursue a Real World meeting. Otherwise you could be setting yourself
up for hurt and disappointment if you both are not on the same wave
length emotionally. Since you met him when you were only sixteen, and
he is older than you, he may view you in a different light than you view
him. Or perhaps he is being cautious, not wanting to cross over the
line with someone so young. I'm not trying to sway you one way or
another, but only throw out some possibilities for consideration. You
need to talk about this together. So far, it sounds as though you have
taken things slow and easy which is the sensible thing to do. You have
built a strong friendship based on honesty and trust which is the best
foundation for a relationship. Now you need to talk seriously about
your feelings for each other before you decide to take that next step
together into the Real World.
STORY #33 - Doing The Right Thing?
Jay is a 17 yr old male who has been on the Net "about a month steady"
but off and on over the last few years. This past summer he began to
experiment with the Net at his cousin's house and the the two of them
stumbled across a chat room one day. In trying it out, he says he
"managed to get people angry at me" and they began giving him a hard
time. He responded in kind and things began to escalate. Then he
received a private message from a girl who told him to ignore them. He
began to chat with her, discovered they had much in common, found there
was only a two year age difference and that she lived about eight hours
away from him.
He began going over to his cousin's almost daily and always would chat
with this same girl. Soon he got one of those free email addresses and
they began corresponding through email and became very good friends over
the summer. School started, and since he did not have Internet access
at home, he figured he would not be able to maintain contact. Then he
got WebTV for Christmas and began talking with her again.
Two weeks ago she said she broke up with her Real Life boyfriend, and
they decided they would give their Internet relationship a chance. So
far he is enjoying it and they have talked about possibly trying to meet
this next summer. He says he knows there are horror stories out there,
but he is being honest with her and feels she is being honest with him.
They email each other a couple times a week and chat for hours on the
weekend. He closes by saying he is new to cyber romance and wonders if
he is doing the right thing, even though things feel very right.
There is nothing in your letter that sounds ominous to me at this point.
So far it appears that two young people who seem to share a lot in
common, are enjoying each other's company online.
I would ask that you be very careful that your online time does not get
obsessive and interfere with your sleep, school, family, or other Real
World commitments. I would also advise you to take it slow and don't
get in a rush to meet each other prematurely. Enjoy getting to know
each other this way first, and in time, sharing photographs so you can
both begin to reconcile your real appearance with the way you each
envision the other. Then, if it works out that you can meet next
Summer, you will know better what to expect.
You didn't mention whether your parents were aware of your friendship.
If and when you move forward to an actual meeting, I believe your
parents should know about it and be comfortable with it, as should hers.
You said you were two years apart, but you did not say whether she was
younger or older than you. I do think it shows maturity on your part
that you are asking questions and being cautious in pursuing this.
Thank you for writing and let me know how it goes.
STORY #32 - Update on Story 28
"Laura", a 34 yr. old married female who first wrote us four months ago,
(see Shared Story #28) has written an update on her situation. She
says she and her cyberlove are "still going strong, despite the fact
that my husband read some of our emails to each other a couple months
ago..." and even though her love's wife saw him talking with her online
and "hit the roof."
They are continuing to talk several times a day, trying to be very
careful, and are still planning to meet in Real World. She writes that
they are 800 miles apart but will not let it stop them, for their
feelings are much too strong. He has told her that sometimes he does
not know how he makes it through the night without her. She feels the
same and closes once again saying "we don't know where this will take
us, all we know is we will go together."
Thank you for taking the time to send an update on your situation. Some
of the obvious risks originally pointed out have indeed come to pass
with both spouses having discovered the relationship. They will
undoubtedly be increasingly suspicious despite your efforts to be more
careful. As I recall, there are children involved in both families and
this is likely going to be a difficult road no matter what course you
now take. Please take care and stay in touch.
STORY #31 - Afraid to Tell Parents
"Andrea" is a 16 yr. old girl who had been visiting chat rooms for about
a year now. When she went online her parents laid down certain rules
including never giving out her address or phone number. She says she
was not interested in a relationship, but simply enjoyed chatting and
there were no problems until about five weeks ago. Thats when she met a
"very sweet guy" and began talking more and more, sometimes hours on
end, and soon every day.
A trust was built between them, and they decided to exchange addresses
and then phone numbers. She waited a week, then called him, anxious to
hear his voice. It was a wonderful call that lasted for hours. They
appear to have much in common and she has never felt happier.
Now she is concerned about what to tell her parents. She is very much
afraid they will laugh at the prospect of her loving somebody she has
never met, or worse, she is sure they will take the computer away and
she will lose him altogether. She asks for advice as to whether she
should keep her secret love in her heart, or whether she should tell her
My heart goes out to you on your dilemma. You sound like a responsible
young woman who, like so many others of all ages, now find yourself in a
situation you never intended to happen or even thought possible.
I cannot in good conscience advise you to keep this from your parents.
There are valid reason they laid down the rules they did and I am sure
you realize there are dangerous people and real risks in cyberspace.
Even if your friend is totally honest and trustworthy, sometimes these
online relationships can become obsessive and affect school, work, and
real world relationships. If you find you cannot concentrate, if your
school work and family life suffers, then you need to recognize what is
happening and take steps to regain your emotional balance.
Your letter does not tell me a number of things; the age of your
friend, how far away he is geographically from you, or whether or not
you have discussed meeting. I would guess your parents would be less
upset if you were talking with someone your own age, rather than an
You must realize that nobody in this world loves you the way your
parents do. Maintaining an honest relationship with them is extremely
important, even at the risk of losing your love. Try to discuss it as
calmly and rationally as you can, but keep this in mind; there are
potentially many compatible young men in your future, but these are the
only parents you will ever have. Please let me know how things go.
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