…it is not as clear as it seems

Google let me down…

I searched the Internet for relief. Surely someone else was going through this, I thought.  But my Google searches came up mostly empty.  I could find nothing written by experts that could explain my plight.  I turned to blogs and discussion forums, but found few discussing a scenario exactly like mine, though some were similar.  

On one site, a woman blogged about a man in her office who would write titillating emails to her throughout the workday, but would not acknowledge the emails – or her – when they passed each other in the halls of the company building.  When she pressed the man for a date, he stopped emailing her. He made it clear he did not want anything beyond cyberspace. I also came across a woman begging someone to answer her question, “What if he emails but won’t call?”

 I understood her hope that someone would post a logical, livable answer. I was disappointed when no one did.  I needed to know that my electronic love was somehow ‘right’, even though every part of my being was telling me that it was not.

Have you ever mistakenly moved forward as your spirit tried its best to hold you back?


Trading abanonment for abandonment…

After my divorce was final, I longed for Andrew and I to become a couple, but he would not move beyond his keyboard. He never explained why — all he could give me were the black letters he typed on the blinding whiteness of our computer screens. 

He would promise to call but never did. His excuses were laughable, had I been in a position to see humor in any of them. 

Andrew wrote as if we would most certainly get together ‘soon’, but ignored all my invitations to visit me in Chicago. I began to make excuses for him.  Maybe he lost his job and had no money for travel.  Maybe time had treated him poorly and needed time to get back into shape before seeing me.  Maybe he had been seriously hurt by his last girlfriend and needed to heal. Maybe…

I went online for a reason…

I was on the edge of divorce. My husband seemed perpetually irritated by my existence, often indicating that each breath I took was some sort of selfish act. He would regularly spew verbally abusive comments that I awkwardly dodged as he hurled them at me with all of his intellectual strength.

In addition to the abuse, he hadn’t made love to me in nine years. Andrew’s attention gave me an incredible high – I felt pretty, sexy, smart and competent.

I returned his ever-increasing flirtatious comments with daring enthusiasm and candor, leading to my development of a vocabulary of an experienced porn writer. With each disclosure, I became bolder. I looked forward to each message that encouraged further creative adjective and verb use. I could not get him out of my mind. I struggled to focus on daily tasks and responsibilities.


So…I mentioned it all started on Facebook.

After setting up my page and inviting local friends to join my list, I began to search names of people I had known from the past, first typing the name of a man with whom I’d had a fling 20 years earlier – Andrew.  I found him right away. I couldn’t remember how we’d ended, so I was a bit nervous about contacting him.  Every vein in my body pulsed as I clicked ‘Add Friend’.

Andrew accepted my friend request, and his ensuing messages showered me with compliments and expressions of regret that he had ever let me go.  As I mentioned in an earlier post, “With a husband that ‘showed me the door’ each time I attempted to talk about our marriage problems, Andrew’s messages quickly became a safe escape from my uncomfortable life.”

We had originally met while working stressful, unsatisfying restaurant manager positions in the same restaurant. We directed servers, customer service, menu planning and cooks, as we flirted with company rules and laughed at boundaries. Something wasn’t right about it all, but we had fun. I was excited to have found him again.

We quickly exchanged pleasantries, catching up on the larger facts of our lives: He was living in Boston, me in Chicago. He became a restaurant executive; I went on to teach college. He never married; I did. I quickly felt like I was living a revised version of ‘our story’, the way it should have played out all those years ago, as I fought an ever-present pull at my conscious.

Something wasn’t right. I knew it but ignored it. Am I alone? Has this happened to anyone else?

Emotional Abuse drives us to find relief from isolation.

Has an online relationship helped you to escape?

I should have known better…

As a communication instructor and consultant, I understand how perception and inference can shape our understanding of reality. I teach this concept every day. To apply those concepts to this situation was harder. 

Looking back, I can see now that my imagination took what I knew of Andrew in the past, the few details he provided in his emails, and my inferences, when he wrote things like, “I want you, I want all of you, I do not want to share you,” and “I should have had you move in with me when worked together,” and “I will wake up next to you one day, ” and made assumptions that were consistent with what I needed our ‘thing’ to be.

Am I the only one to fall in love online?

It pummeled my heart like an intense flash of light punishes the eye. An unexpected and unwelcome epiphany. Standing in Chicago’s Midway airport, returning from a solo trip to Denver, I understood that my deeply intimate, all-consuming relationship must end. It should not have been a difficult decision.

My love – the man who made me breathless just at the thought of his touch — never actually touched me at all. He also never called me on the phone or took me to dinner. In fact, I never once spent time with him in the flesh.

My boyfriend lived in my computer, so to speak. Ours was an electronically-mediated relationship, lasting one year, one month and 20 days. One would think that a professional, suburban mom in her mid-forties would be immune from the lure of love and sex on the Internet.  I was not.

It started on Facebook.

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