Shared Stories - Part 5
STORY # 49 - "Scared and Excited"
"Mandy" is a 30 yr. old divorced woman who has been online six months.
She met a nice man three months ago and they became great friends. Then
it seemed that almost overnight she realized she had deep feelings for
him and wrote him a long heartfelt email detailing her thoughts. He
responded back favorably. They have since fallen in love and are now
planning a meeting very soon. She writes; "I'm so scared and nervous
and excited all at once, but would say to anyone, you can truly love
someone here in cyberspace, and that love will hopefully translate into
reality for me and my love."
I have my fingers crossed for you. Its natural to be nervous about this
first meeting, but I'm betting within the first half hour things will
settle down and you will feel very much at ease with each other. Talk
about your "jitters" up front with each other ahead of time, and when
you meet, just be yourselves, the same people you were in your email and
phone calls. Good luck!
UPDATE to STORY #48 - "Gail & Jake"
I recently received a note from “Gail” giving me an update on her and
Jake. They continued to talk on line and on the phone, and met several
more times in person. Jake met her children and her family and she
writes that “He and I have grown even closer than before, which we
didn’t think was possible!” Recently a decision was reached. Gail and
her children will be moving to North Carolina to be with him on Sept.
26th of this year. Everyone is excited and just a little bit nervous,
but happy and looking forward to the day they are all together. She
says she cannot imagine her life without him. They have discussed the
possibility of marriage and Gail says she will write again if they begin
hearing wedding bells.
Thank you for such an uplifting update! This is a big move for you and
your children, but it sounds as though you have taken the right steps in
continuing to talk and meet in person, introduce your children and
family, and continue to grow together. I’m sure things will be hectic
at times when you start your new life, but remember, ALL families have
ups and downs. Your children may miss the familiarity of their old home
and their friends and family while they are adjusting, so don’t get
discouraged if there is an occasional bump. Keep the lines of
communication open always and you will do just fine!
STORY # 55 - "No Regrets"
"Sandra" is a 37 yr. old divorced female who has been on the Net about 7
months. Her first month online she began chatting with a "nice guy",
moved on to phone calls, and fell in love. Unfortunately, he ultimately
broke it off and broke her heart. She feels the age difference between
them played a part in the breakup, for he was quite a bit younger.
However, after hurting for awhile, she decided she was not going to let
this experience get the best of her. She began chatting online again
and met a man her age. Their online relationship evolved into phone
calls and finally a meeting which she says "felt a little strange at
first", but then they got past that and realized they loved each other.
Today they are living together quite happily. She says she does not
regret the first relationship because it opened her up for the second
one, and she wouldn't change that for the world.
Learning from our experiences, both good and bad, is what makes us grow
as individuals. I'm glad you were able to keep your perspective and
positive attitude despite the hurt of your first online love. My best
wishes to you in your current relationship. Thank you for writing.
STORY #54 - "I Have to Know"
"Corinne" is a 30 year old single female who has been on the Net about a
year. She writes that she first met her online love in a
common-interest chat room where they initially bantered back and forth,
exchanged a few email, and eventually began to talk over ICQ a few
months later. Things began to take off from that point and they would
chat ever night for a few hours, at first with others, and then just the
two of them. She found herself drawn to his strength, his principles,
and a quality of vulnerability. They shared their real-life problems
and grew closer. Photos were exchanged and telephone calls made. She
writes that "I was already in love with him anyway and it happened
almost without my being aware of it."
He lives halfway around the world and some days she worries that she
has allowed an online friendship to get completely out of hand and is
acting like a teenager. Other days she thinks this may be just what she
has been waiting for. They plan to meet as soon as they can arrange it
because the bottom line is, "I have to know. And either way, the
meeting will solve that problem for me."
She closes by saying she has felt terribly alone at times with this
romance for it is difficult to share with others who do not understand.
She says its a relief to know that others have been through this same
I do indeed wish you luck. I hope you can arrange your meeting very
soon and resolve any concerns or misgivings you may have. Meanwhile,
your best bet is to continue to talk and learn about each other, and to
speak honestly about any fears you may have about meeting (which is
natural). Thank you so much for sharing. As you have gathered from
reading the stories of others here, you are far from alone. More and
more are joining the ranks of cyber romance every day.
STORY # 53 - "I Found The One"
"Cassie" is a 30 yr. old single female who has been on the Net for about
nine months. She writes that she was in a Real World relationship for
three years that did not work out. As a way to occupy herself while
mending her heart, she began chatting in a special topic room online,
avoiding the common cybersex scene in other chat rooms, and met someone
nice with whom she could easily talk. Within weeks they began talking
on ICQ daily and exchanging frequent email. She admits to being a
little scared by the strong feelings she was developing toward him, and
not wanting to hurt him on a rebound. He was understanding and offered
to quit sending messages if she so chose. Instead she chose to give him
a chance despite the 2,000 miles between them. Eventually they
exchanged pictures and the relationship became deeper. After three
months online, he drove from Alaska to Oregon to visit her. She writes
that "It was the most spiritual experience of my life to be with him! I
have found a mirror to my soul with him!" Now he is back in Alaska but
they are making plans for her to join him in the future. They hate
being apart, but every time they chat online or the phone, their
committment to each other is reconfirmed. She closes by saying, "I knew
what I wanted in a relationship, and that I would not settle for less,
now or ever. I never would have found him if it were not for the
You have my best wishes for your happy future together. I'm pleased
your online experience was so positive and evolved into something so
special for you. Being from Alaska myself originally, I had to smile a
bit. My only suggestion is that you might want to visit Alaska once or
twice (in Summer AND Winter) to acclimate yourself to the change in
scenery and weather. *G* Alaska is a wonderful state, but is also one
of those places you either love or hate, with little in-between. Thanks
so much for writing.
STORY #52 - "Meeting at Last"
"Kayla" is a 20 yr old single female who has been on the Net nearly a
year and a half. She writes that she never expected to become involved
with an online relationship. What began as a fascination with the fact
she could chat with anyone from anywhere in the world, evolved into a
cyber romance with a single 22 yr. old male in the U.K. Since she lives
in the Pacific, they are halfway around the world from each other. They
have been chatting, emailing, exchanging photos and phone calls for over
a year now, and making plans to meet. One planned meeting for last
Christmas fell through due to distance and finances, but they now have
plans in just days to meet in California. The past year has had its
share of ups and downs and occasional doubts, but finally the day is
about to arrive. She is filled with excitement, and anticipation. She
writes that she "hopes everything works out, but knows there is only one
way to find out for sure...the meeting."
You closed by asking if I had any words of wisdom. By the time you read
this you will already have met and will likely have many answers to some
of your questions. My only suggestion would be to try to relax and be
the same people in person that you have been to each other online. You
have taken over a year to get to know one another. You have experienced
the emotional highs and lows, the doubts, and then overcame them to
discover you really loved each other. You are right; only by meeting
face-to-face will you know whether or not you have a future together.
I'm happy for you that you were finally able to bridge the huge
geographic distance and make this meeting happen. Please let me know
how things went. Thank you for writing.
STORY #51 - "Is this crazy?"
"Faye" is a 34 yr. old woman who has been on the Net about six months.
She met a man online two months ago in a chat room and had a nice
conversation, but about a month went by before they chatted again. Some
email was exchanged and she thought he was okay, just someone nice to
talk with, but gradually they chatted more and more until it was a daily
thing. Phone numbers were exchanged and now the phone calls are almost
every day as well. She says she has feelings for him now that she can't
explain, and the days they don't talk she really misses him. Her letter
closes by asking, "..is it possible to fall in love with someone like
this...without knowing what he looks like? Sometimes I have to stop
myself and ask if this is crazy."
If you are crazy then a whole lot of other people are too. If you have
read the many shared stories here, you know this is happening all over
the world where people have online access. It affects young and old,
rich and poor, all education levels, and married people as well as
I've said it before, but it bears repeating; people tend to think they
are "safe" behind their anonymous screen with thousands of miles
separating them from others. But that very sense of safety allows us to
drop our guard and to share far more of our inner selves than we would
normally do with someone we had just met in the Real World. Everything
seems to be accelerated online, and in a very short period we find we
have developed these amazing feelings for our special online friend.
Are the feelings real? For many they are very real and often culminate
in a Real World relationship and sometimes marriage. For others it may
be more of an infatuation that runs its course. It varies, naturally,
with the individuals involved, their situations, how honest they have
been with each other, and whether they live up to each other's
expectations if they decide to meet in Real Life.
You do not mention your marital status or his, nor whether or not he has
feelings for you as well. My bet is that if you feel it, so does he. I
would guess you will be talking about these feelings together very soon,
if you haven't already. Best of luck to you both whatever direction it
UPDATE on STORY #50
Brynn has written again to say she told her friend she is married,
although unhappily so. He seems to be okay with it, in fact he is
pressing for a meeting. She feels she too would like to meet him, but
is worried about some of the horror stories she has heard about people
meeting on the Net. He sounds great on the phone and online, but she
says "...you never know...what if I get hurt or something? My family
thinks I'm nuts for going to meet someone from the net." Brynn closes
by asking me what I think about it.
I'm glad you told him you were married. Obviously you didn't lose him
over it. But, this brings up another big question. Since you ARE
married, what do you hope to accomplish by this meeting? Are you
looking at the possibility of an affair, or have you discussed leaving
your husband for him if the meeting goes well? Have the two of you
discussed what it is you want from this meeting? If not, you need to.
You are right to be cautious. I would suggest, since you apparently
have told some family members about him, that you take somebody trusted
along with you initially. If this is not feasible due to distance and
cost, then at the very least make sure somebody knows where you are
going, his name, and other personal data about him. Plan to call the
family member when you arrive to let them know you are safe, and plan to
meet your net friend in a public place such as a coffee shop or a public
park. These are all cautionary steps until you have a comfort zone
in-person with each other. I personally feel your odds of meeting
somebody compatible over the Net are as good as meeting them in more
conventional places, but it always makes sense to take precautions.
Please let me know what happens.
STORY # 50 - "Should I tell him I'm married?"
"Brynn" is a 34 yr. mother of two, married for twelve years. She has
been on the Net about four months, but only recently began chatting
seriously with someone online for the past three weeks. It began with
casual conversation but has taken a different turn including talking on
the phone. Now he would like to meet. The problem is he does not know
she is married. She writes that she did not mean to be deceitful, but
when she first talked to him about three months ago, she had said she
was single for fear nobody would talk to her if they knew she was
married. Now she is afraid to tell him. She closes by saying her
marriage "isn't the best in the world," and she asks if she should tell
him she is married. She also asks what I think of married people
meeting in the Real World with their cyberlovers.
I rarely give outright advice, but since you asked for my opinion, I
will give you my honest response. Painful as it may be, I don't think
there is any doubt you should tell him you are married. Whether you
intended to deceive or not, the bottom line is, you DID deceive him on
this extremely important point, which allowed him to freely invest his
emotions and feelings in your relationship. If you only intended to
chat casually online, there are plenty of people out there who enjoy
chatting with people regardless of marital status. It is possible he
would not have pursued chatting with you if he'd known you were married,
but how can that be any worse than your current situation? He is likely
going to be devastated and you may lose him anyway. Trust, once lost,
is very difficult to recover. I see no easy way out of this for you as
he will likely continue to press for a meeting. The truth is always the
best course to take. The more you try to cover up, the more likely it
is you will become entangled in the lies. My recommendation is to tell
him as soon as possible before you both get in any deeper. If he is
understanding about this and forgives you, then you will have some hard
decisions to make regarding your marriage and your future.
My opinion on married people meeting cyberloves in Real Life is this:
Each person's marriage is different and only they can make the decision
whether or not to stay in that marriage or leave it. I think its very
risky for a married person to meet their cyberlove if they are not
prepared to seek a divorce. Only you can take stock of your marriage,
the effect of your choices on your children, your husband and yourself,
and whether you are willing to risk it all. Once you take your
relationship out of the realm of cyberspace to Real Life, it becomes a
full-blown affair with all the dangers inherent to an extramarital
affair. Please be very careful.
STORY # 49 - "What's Up With this?"
"Marcie" is a 28 yr old female who has been online about a year. She
writes to say she met a guy a few states away from her who is sending
mixed messages. He says he does not want a real relationship, but then
he calls her at odd times just to tell her he is thinking of her or that
he misses her. He tells her he cares for her, does the sweetest things
at odd moments, but still is reluctant to pursue a relationship. She
asks, "What's up with that?"
I agree, the guy is sending you mixed signals. It sounds as though he
does care for you, but there is some underlying problem for him. There
are a couple of possibilities. One, he may be fighting his emotions,
not wanting to get involved because the whole idea frightens him, he
fears rejection or he is afraid of what his friends and family might say
about it. Two, he may be hiding something from you, such as his true
age, appearance, or the fact that he is married. If he has lied to you
about some major aspect of his life, then there is no way he can meet
you now in the Real World, even if he wants to. Or three, he may be a
"player", one of those people who enjoy having a whole stable of online
lovers for whatever reasons; ego, power, variety, etc.
You need to ask yourself what you want out of this online relationship
and whether you want to continue to invest your emotions in this man if
there is no chance of pursuing a real relationship. Good luck and stay
STORY # 48 - "Pre-Meeting Jitters"
"Gail" is a 28 yr. old single mother of two, who has been online about
one year. This past December she met a 23 yr. old Sgt. in a chat room,
who is in the Army and stationed overseas. A correspondence ensued
until eventually things began to get serious between them. They sought
each other out online despite their 14 hr. time difference, and even
though she had been cautious in the beginning about giving out her real
name and number, things reached a point where it seemed natural and
necessary to move forward. Long distance calls began, photos were
exchanged. She says receiving the photo was a "huge shock" to her. Not
because of his appearance, but because it felt strange to suddenly see a
physical form for this person she felt she knew so well. She thought he
might have the same reaction when he got her picture, but he said no, he
was not surprised at all when hers arrived and she looked much as he had
imagined. He has since sent her several videotapes of himself at work,
narrating and talking to her and turning the camera on himself from time
to time. She loves watching it and feels it has helped her become more
comfortable with who he is.
Things progressed and now they plan to meet in ten days. He is flying
back to the U.S. and they will have five days together before he goes
home to visit his family in another state. Gail is nervous and in her
words, "a bit of a spaz" about it even though she is also happy and
excited. She worries about being five years older, worries because he
has never been married and has no children, worried she may have too
high expectations. He also has an "old girlfriend" back home who has
called him hoping to get back together. Gail feels that puts extra
pressure on their meeting, for if it doesn't feel perfect, he may go
back to his old girlfriend. She fears she may be setting herself up for
failure and lose him, but she also says they have a "pact of honesty"
between them regarding the meeting, no matter what. She also says she
loves his sense of humor, his intelligence, and his thoughtfulness which
is unlike anyone else she has ever met. This whole experience so far
has been fun, different, exciting and wonderful and has taught her a lot
about herself and communication. Despite the "pre-meeting butterflies,"
she can't wait...and says to tell "Jake" that she loves him.
You wouldn't be human if you weren't having anxiety and butterflies
before a meeting such as this. Putting that physical form with the
mind, voice, and picture of your cyberlove is a big leap. Once you
meet, you have taken your relationship into the "Real World" and things
will never be as they were before. You have done all the right things
by getting to know each other slowly, by progressing to calls and
pictures before meeting. I think the videotape is a great idea for
getting used to the physical appearance of each other. I think you may
surprise yourself when you actually meet. You may feel nervous for
about the first ten minutes together, but once you are off to
yourselves, the familiarity of his voice and face may well set you at
Although I think you are right to run all the possibilities through your
mind, don't put unnecessary pressure on yourself and the meeting by
worrying about his ex-girlfriend. Try to enjoy the five days you have
together and although this may sound trite, just be yourself. Thats who
he fell in love with. Good luck to you both and keep me posted!
QUERY #47 - "Suggestion In Order?"
I recently received the following letter from a male viewer. It has
been slightly condensed but I thought I'd share his comments.
"I have just finished reading your page about Shared Stories of Internet
love...your stories were true to the heart and not at all exploiting. I
enjoyed them all very much. I only have one critique; please relate
how far from reality some of these people are. I am not trying to
diminish the anguish they went through at all, I am just referring to
the need for separation between reality and virtual-reality. I have
enjoyed gaming such as this for many years, but there is a fine line
between letting the games and relationships run your life and
vice-versa. Maybe a suggestion at the top of the page is in order?
I appreciate your input on this controversial topic and thank you for
your comments. While you make some good points, I have mixed feelings
about putting any type of disclaimer or warning at the top of the page,
because everybody's "reality" is different. Most people do not
willingly or knowingly go online to become consumed by their online
world. It happens to all types of people, all ages, all levels of
education and in a wide spectrum of occupations. Its not just happening
to "kids" or "needy people" or to "wierdos." And not every person's
experience is a negative one; there are many happy stories regarding
online relationships that worked out. I rarely give advice; I try to
point out options, things to consider, and possible consequences. I have
a lot of empathy for the people who write in. I never tell anyone what
they should actually do, because 1) most people will do what they want
anyway, 2) I would never presume to have all the answers, and 3)
everyone's situation is unique to them and neat, tidy solutions do not
exist for every situation.
Having said that, I will also say that I agree with you in principle
that people should try to keep that separation between reality and
virtual-reality as you suggest. However, when it comes to matters of
the heart, it is not always an easy thing to do.
QUERY #46 - "What About Cyber Lust?"
I received another short query from a male viewer which I think deserves
a response. He writes: "What is your opinion on cyber-lust?
I'm sure you know what I mean. You talk a lot about relationships but
skirt the hard-core, hot and heavy world of cyber."
Actually I haven't skirted anything, I have simply never had anyone
write in and ask me about it until now. Yes, I know what you mean when
you talk about "cyber" or "cybersex" or "cyberlust." Anyone who has been
in a chat room, on PowWow, ICQ, or any number of other places online
where people gather to talk in real time, quickly become initiated into
this aspect of online interaction.
My opinion? I don't have a problem with anything that occurs between
two consenting adults, whether its online or in the Real World. I do
have a problem with predators who prey on children or who try to force
themselves on people who clearly do not wish to participate. Cybersex
can be very exciting and fulfilling for many. Perhaps its the novelty
of the experience for some, or the fact that they can have multiple
sexual partners anonymously and "safely." Some people prefer a softer,
more romantic approach, while others are turned on by coarse words and
explicit descriptions. I'm sure the reasons are as many and varied as
there are people and personalities. Again, my opinion is; if its
legal, if it doesn't hurt anyone, and its consensual, then I don't see
it as a problem.
STORY #45 - "One That is Working"
Tom is a 22 yr. old single college student in Canada. He met his online
love, who lives 500 miles away in the U.S., about eight months ago and
they recently decided to meet. He writes that "We were very fond of
each other before we met so the meeting just made our feelings even more
so." They have subsequently gotten together four times and he has now
applied to go to college in her state to be near her. They are very
much in love and see each other every two weeks now. He has put up a
web site dedicated to their relationship with pictures and text. He
closes by saying "Anytime someone asks me on the web if these
relationships ever work out, I say 'Hell ya, they do.'"
I love happy endings! Thanks for writing and here's hoping your college
transfer comes through and things just get better and better for you.
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