Oh, so you think you've met someone special online?
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No, I don't think I've been possessed by the ghost of Anne Landers. Someone reading of how my relationship with Charles began asked for my perspective. An impersonal weblog entry seemed like a good warm-up for a more personal reply.
Finding someone online that you think you might be able to can be as confusing and frightening as it is delightful.
Within a few days you can find yourself feeling deeply for someone you've just met or only know as a web persona. That sounds foolish, doesn't it? Romantic is infamously irrational; it reaches into levels of ourselves that very few people can control.
I have no idea how most people handle it. Do they IM each other for a protracted period of time? I always met guys I might be interested in as soon as I could. While I think the in the flesh Richard is much like the man at the keyboard I know that isn't true. I tend to be online when I'm in certain moods (specific ranges of both upbeat and unhappy). Many variations of temperament and manner aren't visible over the web.
Even in meatspace getting to know someone takes time. The more time spent together the better, realistically, so you can discover what you don't like about the other person. Nothing is more important if you find yourself daydreaming about a life together. The sooner you discover the inevitable incompatibilities the sooner you'll know if you can tolerate them.
Charles and I met on AOL when he IM'd me. He gave me his phone number straightaway. Recklessly I was smitten the first time I heard his voice. We met a few days later and found spending all the time we could together. Shortly thereafter I spent a couple of weeks with him in Raleigh.
Then I asked him to move in with me. Really it was too quick. There were unusual circumstances that made haste necessary. (And I was crazily in love.)
Over the last three years I've learned much I didn't know. Had I know I might not have so rearranged my life. I took a huge risk and not everyone should do that. While I can say that I did it knowingly it'd be a lie to claim I properly foresaw all the consequences.
Which isn't to say that I don't love him or am planning on separating. Keeping wariness and enthusiasm in balance isn't easy. People seem to alternate between thinking love a stupid pursuit, that there "aren't any good men out there" and rushing headlong into romance without trying to keep a small reserved mental space for clear judgment. Sometime they wobble between both moods so frenetically that they destroy the relationship through sheer nervous stress.
No real ending here. One day maybe I'll try to develop this into something more substantial.