ONLINE DATING MYSTERIES – BY ELLIN CURLEY

I have a friend, in her mid-fifties and just divorced, who has started the online dating game. She has found herself in an unusual situation. She “met” a guy on a dating site and they hit it off – on paper, or in cyber. They are texting and talking on the phone daily. They’ve sent each other tons of photos. He sent her flowers on her birthday and they “watched” a soccer match together (he’s Italian).

But in the six weeks they’ve “known each other”, they have been unable to meet in person. One of them has been out-of-town at all times. And he is about to go to Africa for two months for his job.

I told this story to two other friends, in their mid-sixties, who have a lot of experience with online dating. They had diametrically opposite reactions. One, The Cynic, said that no amount of phone or text conversations mean anything until you meet in person. She says, from experience, that you can’t tell how you’re going to react to or interact with someone until you are face to face. She’s had many similar situations when there’s been a lot of “talking” before meeting and everything seems great. Then they meet and nothing. Not even a second date.

Photo: CRCGXB

From my own experience with online dating (that’s how I met my husband 18 years ago), I don’t think you have any idea how you’ll relate to the person until you talk to them on the phone. Writing back and forth can only tell you so much. But once you’ve talked on the phone, to me, you get a better sense of the personality and the gestalt of the person.

My other dating savvy friend, The Optimist, agrees with me. While meeting in person gives you a full picture of the person you’re dealing with, talking to the person is the next best thing. The Optimist thinks that, at this point, the odds are good that my novice dater and her online beau will “click” in person, as a couple.

Many people these days have online relationships that stay exclusively online. I’m told that’s true in the gaming community. That’s a different story. I’m talking about relationships that are meant to transition form the purely technological to the intensely up close and personal. From the conversational to the romantic/sexual. It’s that transition that I find fascinating.

Photo: Freethoughtblogs.com

I don’t know what will happen when my friend meets her Italian, but I’m hopeful. They’re having a great time together now and I think the odds are good this will translate into a good, personal connection. Then again, many couples meet in person, start a relationship with high hopes and it ends a short time later.

So who knows?

28 thoughts on “ONLINE DATING MYSTERIES – BY ELLIN CURLEY

  1. The longest ‘more than just friends’ relationship i’ve had with any woman, including my ex, was 12 years – and that was an on-line one! It included over-the-internet voice communication and one way video – i had a camera, she refused to get one, which probably should have told me something?

    I was as open and honest and involved as i could be and thought, while in some ways reticent, she was being the same to me (we met soon after her unexpectedly becoming a widow). I wanted to meet – she seemed terrified at the thought, but we continued our relationship albeit on a more platonic level after a year or so.

    The relationship ended soon after some strange things occurred in some of our texts/chats. Curiosity got the better of me and i did a little snooping and found that in all that time she had lied to me about her name, she’d been using a pseudonym to hide her true identity. I suspect she had also lied about the timing of her husband’s death as her daughter posted a photo of the two of them at a ball game (she was American) around 6 years after we first ‘met’.

    It’s a lot harder to hide lies in face to face contact than it is on-line. There are many fantasised relationships in cyberspace where people play a different role to the one they do in ‘real’ life. We probably all do it to some degree even in regular relationships, particularly on a first date but the level of privacy the internet provides seems to magnify it somehow?

    Truth is important for a lasting relationship.

    Or, so i have found anyway.

    TMI? 😉

    love.

    Liked by 3 people

    • There is a spark that happens when you connect with someone online. I don’t know how, or why, but it’s there. I used to play a lot of Yahoo games, and was on several message boards, and met some truly fascinating people (and some terrifying ones as well), and now and then we would connect in some way. Several of them are still close in email and real time, even twenty or thirty years later. That’s pretty cool.

      But what is fascinating, the person you meet (where there’s a true connection) online is often the very same person you meet in real life. It becomes the most natural meeting in the world, no awkwardness, no shifting of gears.

      And there are those people who like to roleplay and become someone other. Sometimes it gets out of hand, and you find they never existed at all, except in their own mind and for their own reasons. I’m sorry that happened to you, and frankly it’s not that uncommon. I have a few friends who have been caught in that dragnet too, quite alarmingly. You do have to wonder at the depths people will sink to, for this kind of thing. One woman even feigned her own over-the-phone deathbed scene to a former online lover, and yet weeks later I found her using her regular name, on another board.

      Online can bring out the best in us, or the worst.

      Liked by 4 people

      • Very True Judy.

        It has never happened to me but i believe there have been the odd one or two ‘nightmare stories’ in real life relationships also! 😉

        love

        Like

      • Wow! You have some interesting online experiences, both good and bad. I hope that my friend has the wonderful experience you have had when meeting online ‘friends’ like real life, long lost friends. It’s amazing that some online relationships have lasted for twenty or thirty years. That is awesome! As for the psychos in the online world, they may be no different than the real world psychos. But online, you can fool people in bigger ways, for longer periods. Like the over the phone deathbed scene to a former online ‘lover’. That is over the top. But only possible in the online world. At least I think! Then there are real world people who maintain two separate families that don’t have a clue about each other. So, who knows?

        Like

    • Without the truth, there is no lasting relationship. That’s what I’ve learned the hard way through my relationship with the Evil X and the post-mortem discoveries I made about my mom. Some of us are gullible (or guileless or naive), easy prey for those who live by deception.

      Liked by 2 people

      • You’re right about some people being more susceptible to deception than others. I am naive and trusting. I believe people until I have a reason not to. That probably makes me an easy mark. I had a friend who told me that she never revealed her ‘true self’ in dating until they had been together for a long time. Turned out whe was hiding part of herself from me too – the nasty, critical, intolerant side. And this was all in person.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Yep. It’s amazing when the real “someone” comes out. I just keep my personal relationships fairly superficial now. That could be sad, but my life is a lot easier and less dramatic. My mom used to warn me, “Keep your own counsel” (she could have been warning me about herself! 🙂 ) and now I do.

          Like

    • You make a good point. It’s harder to lie face to face. That’s true about superficial things, like looks and accomplishments. But people do quite well lying to eachother on all sorts of levels in person. People are probably more motivated to lie online because they feel shielded by the internet anonymity. But think about all the extra-marital affairs going on, and all the smoking or gambling that hasn’t really been stopped, etc. That goes on everyday in real relationships. So I think people who want to lie, will lie whenever they can in whatever way they can.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Fully agree Ellin. I believe there is also a human ability to lie at a subconscious level – without conscious intent – most often when we fool or lie to ourselves and then have to behave according to that with which we may not truly agree with at all levels of our being.

        But that’s a whole other story 😉

        love.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Subconscious lying is a whole other problem. I think that mentally ill people genuinely believe that what’s in their head is all ‘real’. When my bi-polar ex-husband was paranoid, he really believed that his young children were purposely trying to upset him and that I was ‘against’ him in some way. He never saw his own actions as problematic – they were always appropriate responses to his perceived ‘reality’.

          Liked by 1 person

  2. I met the Evil X online. Now I know what he is/was, but there was no way to know either online or meeting face-to-face that he was/is a person with a serious and real personality disorder and a mental illness. Truly. Objectively. Diagnosed — manic depression and he was truly a sociopath. He was a con artist of the first degree, verbally abusive, manipulative, sadistic, dishonest etc. etc. ad nauseum. At this point, not even his children have anything to do with him.

    We lived together for the 3 worst years of my life (and that is saying a LOT). He was the anabuse of love for me. Still, I could have met him IRL just as easily. There’s no guarantee with love; no one can know what the future holds.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I met my bi-polar husband in person, before the internet. I knew something was wrong but thought I could handle it and ‘help’ him. I didn’t find out it was a serious mental illness until 13 years into the marriage and two kids! So sorry you had to deal with such an awful person in your life!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Ellin, I didn’t realize you and Tommy originally met “on line”. You must share more with me when we visit next. That’s stuff for personal, face to face conversation.

    I’m not sure how I would do with on line dating. To tell on myself, I spin a good story. Print the legend.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It’s a really funny story from my end. And all of it absolutely true. You couldn’t make it up. In fact we turned it into a VoiceSccapes piece. “Dating 2.0”

      Liked by 2 people

    • Actually, Tom and I hardly communicated online at all before we met. It was basically me saying I was interested in his profile, him giving me his phone number, me calling him and we immediately set up a date to meet. Neither of us was into long online getting to know you exercises. We figured it’s either going to click or not so let’s just find out!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Whereas Garry and I had years of personal relationship with 9 years of real mail (no email, didn’t exist) relationship … then FINALLY we got it together. Let’s hear it for the world’s longest pre-relationship-relationship. Twenty-four years.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. I’m probably a mix of both friends.

    I’ve learned the hard way you should always try to meet someone within a week or two of meeting online. It’s critical for a few reasons. One, you don’t know if they are who they say they are. Two, the more you text with some without meeting them face to face, the more you can get your hopes up about what they are like, just to be wrong. Three, it’s quite true that physical chemistry cannot be gauged until you are actually face-to-face (although I agree that extended discussions in advance help you assess intellectual chemistry). Finally, it’s an unfortunate fact that there are people online who will never, ever, actually meet in person. They could be married, or just looking for the thrill of the chase. Or they may not be who they say they are.

    So I really do hope that your friend’s guy turns out to be awesome, but given all of my experience (which I’ve written about, if she cares to read it) I am highly doubtful it’s going to be what she hopes.

    Ann
    xo

    Like

  6. Hi. I have just started a blog on this. I’ve been online dating for 7 long years and in my experience meeting sooner is KEY! So many people have fake profiles and also do they want a pen pal or actually to meet. I think it’s really hard these days to know how to deal with online dating but I wish your friend luck xx

    Liked by 1 person

Talk to me!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s