She was an attractive woman in her late 30s. She’d commented on a few of my blogs and I had replied thanking her for her comments. I enjoyed her responses because she was one who would at times take issue with something that I had written. It was refreshing as most people will not comment if they disagree. Opposing points of view often allows one to see things in a different light and possibly reevaluate one’s opinion. As I logged onto my blogger account, an email from Heidi awaited me. She wrote to say that she was flying to meet a man that she had been communicating with online. She was boarding a plane in California and her friend was to pick her up at an airport in Texas. She said that she was excited despite reading my blogs as I am one who generally advises that one stays within an hour of one’s home when online dating. I replied to her email wishing her well and asked her to write and tell me how the meeting had gone. She replied back saying that she would when she returned home in a week.
A week passed, the week turned into a month, a month into 3 months. I’d never heard from Heidi, I assumed the meeting had not gone well in a best case scenario, otherwise she’d have written. The worst case scenario I hated to think about. I wrote to her and did not get a reply. I knew that she had left the man’s name and phone number with a friend so she had been vigilant. The blogger site was one that logged the member’s last activity which predated her trip to Texas. I felt strongly that she had had a negative experience and it had probably soured her on internet dating.
As time passed, I forgot about Heidi. I know it might sound cruel but so many people come and go online. Then one day, about 6 months after her trip, I received an email from her. Her trip had been a disaster! The guy failed to meet her at the airport, he called her cellphone and asked her to take a cab to his place. Upon her arrival, she found him sharing an apartment with his ex girlfriend because neither one could afford a place of their own. The man and the apartment were both in need of a thorough cleaning. As a cockroach sprinted across the floor, reality set in. Her perfect man was anything but perfect. She spoke of how foolish she began to feel as she waited on a cab and booked a return flight to California.
She arrived home embarrassed but soon chalked it up to learning a life lesson. After a few weeks she joined Match.com. She dated a few men until she found one that she said gave her butterflies, there was chemistry and he lived 15 minutes from her! Being close in proximity allowed them to spend real time together. She said that she was rarely online as work and her new beau occupied her time. I smiled as I read her email, I was glad that there was a happy ending.
Can long distance internet relationships work? Yes they can, and when it happens everyone hears about it. We seldom hear of the failures. I think so many, especially newbies, go to meet the object of their virtual affection with a feeling of already being ” in love.” When it comes to online dating, I generally believe the following:
1) Stay local….you really get to know a person by spending REAL time with them. How do they treat family, friends, the waitress at Applebees? Does he/she have a good work ethic?
2) Once reasonable safeguards are met, meet sooner then later…the longer one chats with a person online, the more likely one elevates his/her chat partner to Godlike status…expectations may be hard to meet thus leading to disappointment.
3) K I S S…keep it simple stupid…the date should be simple and casual, not a Vegas vacation… this way one ensures one is enjoying the company of the other, not all the whistles and bells..
4) I’m going to meet a friend….if one approaches internet dating with this attitude, IMHO, one will be more successful. The biggest mistake that I’ve observed over the years is by people who approach meeting their internet date as going to meet “the one.”
It takes guts to put oneself out there. As the saying goes, one misses all the shots one does not take. Don’t be afraid to fail. Best of luck to everyone in your pursuit of romance….