100 lb. Club - OT: Internet Relationships




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Sheila53
10-06-2005, 07:40 PM
I remember reading that some of you met your partners/spouses via the internet, and maybe some of you know people who've met via the internet. I'm just wondering how that works. If you're living in another part of the country or even another country from the other person, how did you meet? How do you determine if the other person is for real? How much face-to-face time did you spend with each other before deciding to get together?

I have a family member who has started a relationship with someone from England a couple of months ago, and I'm kind of concerned. The person from England is already talking marriage and looking into getting a work visa to come here. It seems awfully fast to me, especially since they haven't spent any time together--just e-mails and phone calls. Can you really fall in love with someone you've never met?


mousie
10-06-2005, 08:02 PM
I remember reading that some of you met your partners/spouses via the internet, and maybe some of you know people who've met via the internet. I'm just wondering how that works. If you're living in another part of the country or even another country from the other person, how did you meet? How do you determine if the other person is for real? How much face-to-face time did you spend with each other before deciding to get together?

I have a family member who has started a relationship with someone from England a couple of months ago, and I'm kind of concerned. The person from England is already talking marriage and looking into getting a work visa to come here. It seems awfully fast to me, especially since they haven't spent any time together--just e-mails and phone calls. Can you really fall in love with someone you've never met?
When I went to school for the first time, the internet as we know it now didn't exist. This was in '93, before the WWW, before chat rooms, before pictures on your screens, when 2400-baud was a fast modem. My best friend was in San Diego; I was in Indiana. My first months' phone bill was $280 and my parents flipped. We had to find another way to communicate. We were sitting in our respective computer labs one day, emailing back and forth, when someone in her lab suggested we log on to NannyMUD. This was an online text-based "fantasy game" that people from around the world could all log on to at once and play at the same time. We could log on at the same time and talk to each other--and anyone else who happened to be on. Our lives on Nanny had begun.

Soon after, we started talking to other people who were logged on. Through Nanny interactions I've met my bridesmaid, I've been maid of honor, I've been to Sweden, Scotland, and England, and I've made a dozen friends (mostly in Minnesota, honestly). I've also met my husband (who is English--I'm American), and we've been married now for 4.5 years.

A large part of the reason DH and I worked out, I think, is that we didn't go into it with "marriage" on our minds. We met originally to be friends (he came to visit me in MN, where I was living yes because of other NannyMUDders). We felt like we knew each other and trusted each other because of the time we had spent talking--4 years, by that point, though those were not "romantically interested" years. We also felt sure of the other because we had a lot of other people to vouch for each one's authenticity. Quite a few couples have met because of NannyMUD, actually--I can think of half a dozen marriages off the top of my head.

Can it work? Yes. Should you distrust it? Possibly. If he's talking about marriage already--and they haven't met in person even once yet--that's too fast. I will admit that DH and I started talking about marriage very early on after having met in person, within 4 months and 30 days 'face to face', but we had known each other for almost 5 years at that point.

Where did they meet? When? Why? All those points play a factor. Internet marriages can work, but they have to start from the right place (like all marriages).

YP1
10-07-2005, 01:01 AM
I've never had an internet relationship but met a lot of my friends online. My situation is a bit different because I go on a message board which, because of its subject (a particular sport) tends to have its members concentrated in the areas where the big teams are (i.e. round me), so once you get to know people you realise they live fairly close to you or will be at the same games as you to meet up for a pre-match drink.

In the most extreme example of that, one person I met through the internet lives 10 doors down from me on my road!


SnShn13
10-07-2005, 08:26 AM
I think that internet dating can work also but I think that if it's going THAT fast, be weary. I met the guy I've been seeing for three years on-line... kinda. He actually went though my line at the grocery store I worked at at the time and we happened to be in the same chat room later than night. We talked for a few months before I even met up with him (I recognized him from the store...lol), hung out for a few months before I even went on a date with him (or kissed him!) and dated a couple months before we were even a couple. If they're meant to be there is NO reason to rush things because things will happen as they're meant to and they'd have forever to make things happen.

Jen415
10-07-2005, 09:02 AM
I met my significant other online as well. We talked and e-mailed for six months before meeting each other face to face. I have to be honest--I knew I loved him before seeing him. But we did not rush into anything. We visited back and forth for a few months before deciding we wanted to be together permanently. I moved 1000 miles away from everyone I love to be with him, and I do not regret that decision.

BTW, he is English and I am American. He was already living in the US when I met him online.

My best advice: take things slowly. Take your time. If it is meant to be, it will be.

Heather
10-07-2005, 09:54 AM
I met my husband on-line -- online personals in fact! We emailed for a while and then talked on the phone and then met in person probably 3 weeks after the first email (we lived about 30 miles apart). After that, we dated like any "normal" couple, I'd say, who didn't know each other well before they met. We took it pretty slow and got married just over 3 years after we actually met.

One thing I did like about "meeting" online was that it gave us a chance to know each other without thinking about physical appearance. It helped that my husband is a good writer and very able to express himself with the written word. I had already started to fall for him before we ever met: we have similar interests in a number of topics, and he has a great sense of humor, etc So, I think it is possible to develop an attraction and affection without ever meeting -- maybe even fall in love.

That said, I would be leery of my feelings for someone until I could see how we interacted together in the real world, but that may just be me.

There CAN be a number of people with hidden agendas online, and I think you have to be careful. Then again, there are a number of great people too. Just like in real life!

irishgreengables
10-07-2005, 09:54 AM
I met my dh of 6 years on the internet, while trying to show a friend that maybe the internet was not the best way to meet men. ;)

We actually communicated a great deal more in those first few months than most couples who live near each other. We IM'd all day long and talked on the phone at night. The nice thing was that we met each other and grew to love each other on a deeper level than physical. We met in person a few months into our relationship and travelled back and forth (he in the Mid-west, me in the west) for a few months before he moved to my city (my job was not easily moveable; his was). Before we had ever even met, we had discussed things that many couples do not even begin to discuss until after they are married. We married 15 months after meeting and have a happy, stable marriage, even after 3 kids.

Interestingly, I kept how we'd met from some older people in my life because one of them pronounced how upset he was that his son had met a woman on the internet. He thought it was disgraceful. Of course, he himself had met his wife because they were penpals during WWII, when he was at war. :write: He propsed to her the first time they met in real life, when she met his ship upon returning home. They, at the time he complained about the internet, had been married almost 60 years. I wasn't sure why it was disgraceful to meet on the internet, but romantic and wonderful to meet as pen pals (who, BTW, communicated about once a month, not several times a day). I realized that the only difference was the medium and that, someday, our grandchildren, who will have the technology to beem themselves into each other's brains to communicate :dizzy:, will find internet relationships very old fashioned and romantic!

Now, regarding caution, I was lucky because I happened to know my dh's pastor at the time and, when I went out to meet him, he set up a lunch so his pastor could vouch for him not being scary in any way. :lol:

jillybean720
10-07-2005, 11:52 AM
I met my boyfriend online, and we have been together for over a year-and-a-half now (that's counting from when we met face-to-face, not online). He lived about 4 hours away from me at the time. Being so far (especially in this case with US and England :o ), I don't think we would have met unless it was with romantic intentions. We definitely never talked about marriage before meeting, though (and even rarely talk about it now!). However, as someone else has mentioned, how they met online is a factor. Some online dating sites have you enter your intentions as part of your profile (friends, sex, dating, marriage, etc.), so if either one of them mentioned marriage in a profile or something, it might make more sense.

barbygirl43
10-07-2005, 12:17 PM
I also met Jeff online (and we lived about 30 min. apart too). I got his e-mail saying he saw my profile and I just ignored it for a while. One day I decided what the heck and responded to him a few months later. We started e-mailing and chatting back and forth. We met a week or so after that, I moved in with him 3 months later and we got married 3 months after I moved in.

I've also met about 5 other guys online. The first one I met (back in 95 or 96) we remained friends up until his last girlfriend, sending out the occassional e-mail and phone call. One, I only met that once because we did not click and the others I dated off and on for a month or so.

I know Jeff and I talked about marriage and such early on after we met but I don't recall discussing it while still in the calling/chatting/e-mailing phase.

As for can you fall in love with someone you haven't met? Definitely. But until you can find out if you have chemistry with the other person, I'm not sure what you would call it.

DishyFishy
10-07-2005, 12:49 PM
My hubby started writing to me after reading something I'd written on a NG. We e-mailed back and forth daily for four months and found we could really talk to each other about anything and everything. He jokes that we got to know each other inside-out.

I was planning a trip to Canada anyway (I was in the UK), and decided I would make time to visit him. At this point everything was on a purely platonic level, although we both knew in our hearts that our relationship was "deep".

We first spoke by telephone when I was staying with another 'net friend in Ontario, and after a week or so, I flew to Edmonton (missing out all those other places I'd planned to visit!). We first set eyes on each other five months after we'd started communicating. Within a week we knew we wanted to be together forever, so we married the following month. I then made a short trip back home to pack my stuff up and put my house on the market, and then I emigrated from England. All in all, from first e-mail to our wedding day was exactly six months, and we celebrated our third anniversary three weeks ago. :love:

My family and friends were shocked when I called to say I was getting wed, but that soon wore off and they were extremely supportive and happy for me. They knew I was a sensible (reasonably!), grown-up woman and they trusted my judgement. We've been back to England once, and my sister was here last year, and everyone gets along famously.

His family were totally stunned, and even today they haven't quite wrapped their heads around it all. They have accepted me totally though without any hint of animosity or suspicion. I'd prefer a little more distance, TBH! :lol:

I never for one moment doubted my own mind or his motives. My friends, however, were much more concerned than I (purely because it originated on the 'net), despite the fact that they've met some absolute nutters in the local pubs and night clubs--people who've represented themselves as someone they are not.

Just because you can physically see someone doesn't make them any more trustworthy than someone you meet on-line. I say in both cases, keep an open mind and your wits about you, and that will serve you well. If it feels not-quite-right, it probably is not-quite-right.

It may be that this person is merely looking for a passport to a new life in the States. OTOH, (s)he could be totally genuine. The rub is, as with anything that involves someone else, you just can't know for certain. Maybe you could talk with your relative about the situation, and make sure (s)he isn't just getting caught up in the "romance" of it all? I don't think there's much else you can do.

Sheila53
10-07-2005, 02:08 PM
Thanks, everyone, for your insightful comments. I'm trying to be a bit more open-minded about it, although I think it's going a bit fast (the person from the U.K. has put her home on the market already in preparation to move to the U.S.!). He's being a bit more cautious, however, and is planning a trip to the U.K. in December or January. He won't allow her to send him a photo, which I thought was kind of interesting. He wants to get to know her first, and see her for the first time when they meet face-to-face.

YP1, that's funny about the person living 10 doors down. Gotta love the Internet! Several years ago, I was on a bulletin board and I knew that one woman lived in the same town. We'd never met, however. I told her that my son had gotten engaged over Christmas, and she said that her niece had gotten engaged, too. You guessed it--her niece turned out to be my son's fiance! The kids ended up not marrying, but I've stayed friends with the aunt.

glynne
10-07-2005, 04:28 PM
My son has been making friends with women on line. He is kind of shy and it seems easier for him to strike up a friendship this way. But, I have mixed feelings about it. One girl ~ they had been e-mailing, instant messaging and phoning for about 5 years. I have instant messaged with her too and she seems nice. They got to meet this summer. He is 27, she is 21, he is from Houston, and she lives in Wisconsin. That situation didn't bother me too much. Recently though he has hooked up with another woman who he met online ~ she lives in his area, and he went with a friend and they met and went to listen to a live band. She is 39. I know he is lonely and would like to find a relationship with someone, but somehow that age difference bothers me. She may be perfectly nice too, but......I don't know. I would just hate for anyone to end up being hurt or anything.

I'm sorry Sheila for intruding on your thread.

On your topic, one of the ladies I work with met her husband on-line. They each have children from previous marriages, and a child together. They seem happy. Don't know all their details, but that they met on-line, and it seems to be working out for them. Then another coworker is dating a fellow she met on-line, and he dates another woman also. She knows about the other woman, but I don't think the other woman knows about her. It is kind of an unusual situation. From reading the posts above ~ I guess it can turn out either way.

I hope everything turns out ok for your relative.

Ottoette
10-07-2005, 04:44 PM
I just had to toss my story into this thread. I had about 17 internet dates about 7-8 years ago. Most just flat out didn't click, but I didn't spend a whole lot of time getting to know most of them. This one guy I chatted with quite a bit longer and when we finally met f2f there just was no chemistry. We remained friends, and one day I came by his house for something and met his roommate. We've been married 3.5 yrs now and have a 2 yo DS. I like to say we "almost" met over the internet.
It can happen, and I know it does, but I too think this is too fast. He's right to take it slower.
glynne - I'm 9 years older than my hubby and it's worked out for us. My SIL is 12 years older than my bro, and they've been married 19 years so the older woman/younger man thing does work out sometimes.

kykaree
10-07-2005, 06:18 PM
Once upon a time, there was a young lady living on a tiny island off the southern most tip of Australia. She was very lonely, and one day, decided to buy a computer. Well, when she got this computer home she discovered all sorts of things, but namely internet email groups. She joined a group which was for people who wanted email pen pals. One of the people she met lived way on the other side of the world. In England. He was older too, she was only 29 and he was turning 50!!!

Well they sent emails, and used msn messenger and eventually started using the phone (the telephone companies in both countries were very pleased with this development). After four months it was pretty clear that this was a lurrrrvvee thing.

Now our young lady in Tasmania wasn't completely stupid. She, having dual citizenship with the UK as her father was British, had already decided she would move to England. But before she would do so decided that our man in question had to come to Australia first to meet her family.

So after two months of planning he arrived. He was even better in real life, and their love grew and grew in the two weeks they shared together.

For another six months there were telephone calls, letters, emails and then she decided the time was right and she moved to England.

The first year was tough, leaving her home, her friends, and having to start right from the beginning at work. It wasn't easy for him either, having to help her find her feet, and feeling guilty whenever things didn't go right.

But three years on this lady is happy. She has her knew country, her relationship is still going strong, and she has lost 53 lbs, discovered the joy of exercise, and has her life back, better than ever.

Have you worked out who the lady in the story is yet?????

So yes, it can work, you can fall in love with someone over the internet (it happened to me!!!) but you need to be realistic and always have a plan B if things don't work out!

Goddess Jessica
10-07-2005, 07:02 PM
One of my favorite stories was a guy who emailed me and told me how fascinating I was and how much he enjoyed my bio and gushed a bit. When I looked at his bio, I noticed he was a couple years younger than me and was living in my hometown. When I replied, I said, "I think we went to the same high school as me." And I told him my real name (our high school was less than 400 people).

He was so embarassed that he didn't recognize me. Especially since he really didn't like me in high school. LOL

SwimGirl
10-09-2005, 01:42 AM
The only thing that concerns me about internet romance, is that while you DO fall in love with a person's soul.. you don't always know their personality. Like, if they say excuse me when they burp, fart in public, put the TP over or under ;), I suppose it depends on your personality, what you can handle.

I met my bf online, however we met very shortly after we first talked online. I just didn't want to invest time into someone if our personalities didn't click, and to be honest he wasn't up to my "standards" when I first met him. Good thing I got over that! In the years we've dated I've gone from a size 8-10 to a size 16/18! And he's shrunk, and his skin cleared up, and he got a job with a future... Hmm, I'm kinda mean.

On that topic of marriage.. plenty of people are just marriage-like, they like the idea of being married and can know if they want to be with that person for the rest of their life. All we can do is hope they get a great pre-nup ;) (How did I get SO jaded??)

-Aimee

SuchAPrettyFace
10-09-2005, 02:12 AM
Sheila,

So much to say here, but for as many good stories, there are sad ones, too. But as everyone has pointed out, it's the same as real life. Ppl who look down their nose @ internet relationships are becoming less common, I think in part due to all the good stories that are out there. Everyone knows at least one person who had an internet relationship work out great. :)

I say they can talk all they want on the phone & in IM's & emails & letters.

But until they meet face to face, they should know that chemistry matters a lot. And there is really no way to compare online chemistry to IRL chemistry. You can get along w/someone great online for 10 days or 10 years, but until you meet in person, that's only a small percentage.

IRL you get to see how they treat other ppl, like waitstaff. IRL you get to see if they interrupt, or take turns talking. Little stuff like that you don't really think about until you see it happen.

The other thing to consider is a lot of people feel they can really 'be themselves' online, and then in person they clam up or are not as comfortable, simply because they don't have that computer screen as a buffer. ;)

alphabetsoup
10-10-2005, 05:22 AM
I met my husband online - we will have been married 7 years in January - so it worked for me. :D

I met him through the Yahoo personals - he had placed an ad and I was just browsing at all the pathetic people who put personal ads online b/c I was bored. :lol: His really caught my eye - he SAID he was only interested in a penpal (Yeah right! ;) ). He was stationed (Coast Guard) in the Bahamas at the time and I lived here in Seattle - but he is from Washington. We emailed for a month (everyday) before talking on the phone. The first time we talked on the phone, he talked about his car the whole time (30 minutes) and then emailed me right after and said, "I can't believe I talked about my CAR the whole time!!" :lol: He was really nervous - but I thought he was sweet (though, a little obsessed with his car! :p ). Anyhow, we met 5 months after emailing, chatting and phone calls when he was mid-transfer from the Bahamas to California.

At that point, I don't think either of us was thinking MARRIAGE but we both thought we'd probably date... We did start dating and spent as much of his 1 month leave together as we could. Then he moved to San Francisco and we dated long distance (switching off weekends traveling). He proposed to me 4 1/2 months after we met in person and we married one year to the day from that first email. :D I gave up everything to be with him. I left a great job (well, a great paying job that I hated! ;) ), all my friends, the city I love, and my family to move to San Fran.

Two kids - 7 years - 3 big moves - here we are back in Seattle and VERY happy! :love:

So, yes, it does work.

BUT - I bet for every one of my story - there are 10 or 100 stories of people who just didn't click, etc. I think you have to be careful no matter how or where you meet new people - you just never know. Just because you meet someone in person doesn't mean you have any more assurance of them being "normal" than meeting someone online. On the internet, just like in real life, there are lots of normal people and lots of "questionable" people. ;)

icewoman
10-10-2005, 10:39 PM
Okay with all the good stories here's a scary one. My ex husband met his current girlfriend online while still married to me. She moved up here to live with him because she thought he was single. One day he up and left me with 4 kids to take care of and after 4 weeks decided to show his face. But that has not really turned me off of online chatting. I do it still but am a little more careful.

Charbar
10-18-2005, 04:39 AM
My dh, Jim, and I met online in late 97/early 98. I was living in Canada (Kingston) and he was in California (Carlsbad) - We met in person the end of January 98 - by the end of May I quit my job, sold everything and moved to California. We married in March 99. We now have 2 children. Looking back now - We were nuts! But I'm so happy that we took that risk. :D

Sheila53
10-18-2005, 02:21 PM
Thanks, Dana, and it's nice to see you here. Know you're busy, so I'm glad you took the time to let me know your story. Love a happy ending. :) I'm crossing my fingers that the internet thing works out--he's already booked his trip to England.

SwimGirl
10-18-2005, 03:54 PM
I have to put a tiny bit of positive spin on things... even if it doesn't work out, he gets to see England! So many people don't.. Plus, I think there are SO many more happy endings with the internet stuff these days! Even just reading back over everyone who replied.. we've all pretty much lived happily ever after. :)

-Aimee

Yogini
10-18-2005, 04:24 PM
My son has been making friends with women on line. He is kind of shy and it seems easier for him to strike up a friendship this way. But, I have mixed feelings about it. One girl ~ they had been e-mailing, instant messaging and phoning for about 5 years. I have instant messaged with her too and she seems nice. They got to meet this summer. He is 27, she is 21, he is from Houston, and she lives in Wisconsin. That situation didn't bother me too much. Recently though he has hooked up with another woman who he met online ~ she lives in his area, and he went with a friend and they met and went to listen to a live band. She is 39. I know he is lonely and would like to find a relationship with someone, but somehow that age difference bothers me. She may be perfectly nice too, but......I don't know. I would just hate for anyone to end up being hurt or anything.


I'm curious as to why your son being interested in an underage girl (she must have been 16 and he 22 when they first connected) 6 years his junior didn't bother you too much but a woman who is 12 years his senior bothers you.

Are you a really young mom?...because I can imagine that it would be odd to have a woman close to your age dating your son.

glynne
10-18-2005, 05:28 PM
Hi Yogini

It did bother me about the younger woman ~ when they first started communicating, but because of the distance, I didn't worry too much about it. She talked about wanting to get together, and I discouraged it ~ I told her I didn't want her doing something that would upset her parents. At the ages they are now, that age difference doesn't seem so great. My son may have been older, but he was probably closer to her age maturity wise.

I'm not real old, but not real young either (50) so the older woman is fairly close to my age ~ that does sort of seem uncomfortable to me.