A Chance Encounter, Internet Style

Long-distance love. Nomadic relationships. Online dating. Marriage in the time of Facebook. Today, love can be complex in new ways. What is love in this digital age? Weekly Writing Challenge

I’ve had one digital tryst, so of course that makes me an expert. Because three failed (serious) relationships (too a-plenty of failed not-serious relationships as well, but whose counting) and one divorce don’t.

You see, I met a man almost seven months ago, and, quietly, we explored our mutual attraction. While I sat here and insisted that I had no interest in dating, I thought I could be wrong in continuing that insistence. I was.

It began benign, with just a comment here and there.

Him: You’re funny.
Me: You’re funny.
Him: You’re funny.
Me: Hahahaha! We’re so funny.

Then we started to talk some more, and really had fun in our little chats. He said something, and I said something, and he said something back and I didn’t die.

Him: Something witty.
Me: Something witty.
Him: You’re so funny.
Me: It feels good to laugh.

We chatted and then chatted some more. We spent entire weekends from wake to sleep chatting. I revealing myself and him revealing himself (not like that; cameras come later). Feelings formed.

Him: You’re great.
Me: No, you’re great.
Him: Will you just take the compliment.
Me: Yes.

Inflection entered the conversation and IMs turned into phone calls. We talked and then talked some more. I could hear him laugh at my jokes and he could hear me laugh at his. Feelings grew.

Him: It’s nice to hear your voice.
Me: Yes. You have a nice voice.
Him: So, what should we talk about?
Me: Uhm.

Faces joined the voices: phone calls turned into Skypes (told you cameras came later). We talked and smiled. I could see him laugh at my jokes and he could see me laugh at his. Feelings happened.

Me: It’s nice to see you talk.
Him: Yes. You have a beautiful smile.
Me: So, what should we talk about?
Him: Uhm.

I had started to want to meet him, to be in the same room with him. I had started to want the words, the voice, and the face all together. Greedy little me. So, so I said something, and he wanted it too.

Me: But what if we could?
Him: What if we could.
Me: What if?
Him: We could.

But then I almost cancelled my trip. I tried and tried to find a valid, actual reason to not have to meet him in person. For 400 miles I tried. We met. I could feel his reaction, and he could feel mine.

Him: Hi.
Me: Hi.
Him: Want a beer?
Me: Yes.

We played Wii bowling. I totally kicked his ass. No, I didn’t. He won. Wiped the floor with me. I lost at Wii golf too. Didn’t do baseball. That one I would have won. We laughed, and then I left.

Him: Drive safe.
Me: I will.
Him: Let me know when you’re home.
Me: I will.

We went right back to talking. We talked and remembered, and laughed. We talked and talked some more. And then we Talked.

Him: I think we could.
Me: Maybe.
Him: I really think we could.
Me: I don’t.

Separated by miles and life. I rejected his suggestion for a long-distance digital relationship because that’s all it would ever be. In our lives, there is no closing the gap.

Him: Hey.
Me: Hey.
Him: Are you sure?
Me: Yes.

You see, I met a man almost seven months ago, and then began the life and death of a chance encounter, internet style.

Me: The end?
Him: The end.

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82 comments

    1. Hugs accepted, and returned. Life is, you know. Not all princes are Charming.

      1. No, not as much as the Disney Princesses would like us to think so.

        1. Disney got it all wrong.

          1. Fairy tales and seven dwarfs my ass.

  1. Same here on the hugs. Those digital relationships are amazingly common.

    1. I’ve met a few now who owe their weded bliss to meeting online, in various ways.

  2. More hugs from here too.

    1. Appreciated. It was fun while it lasted.

    1. More for him than me; unfortunately, fortunately, I don’t know. It opened me to the idea of post-divorce dating, and that’s not all bad.

  3. Awesome……..Just Awesome Share.I love it.Looking forward for more.Alex,Thanks.

  4. I know we haven’t met, (not officially, anyway – thanks for liking a recent post of mine!) but I’m sending hugs anyway. Long distance is HARD. Tempting and romantic, in a lot of ways, but hard. Good for you for knowing what you want!!

    1. Thank you for coming over to read. I appreciate the hugs. Long-distance isn’t something I can do. I’ve tried and I chose not to try again.

  5. Powerfully written. It goes straight to the soul…

    1. Thank you, AR. This one had multiple drafts before the story settled and I stopped over-thinking its telling.

  6. I’m glad you did get to meet him, even if you decided not to take anything further. It’s reassuring to know that you can connect to other people, in whatever way you find works for you. And I imagine it’s hugely reassuring that not all men out there are donkeys.

    1. I too am glad I got to meet him. Many things changed for the better for me as a result. It wasn’t a happy ending, but most endings aren’t. The Afterword is good, though. I’m a better person and in a better place in my life as a whole for letting down the walls and letting someone in.

  7. You were very brave, but you knew what you wanted. It is great to let down the walls and let someone in. I’ve known a couple of people in the same situation and found a relationship through the internet. She had a similar life to me and prepared to take a chance, but I don’t think I could. Congrats for being brave

    1. It didn’t start out as a romantic endevour. It was simply two people talking. That that came into it was hard, but it was also fun. It was nice to flirt and be flirted with again. It helped me move past the fear so even though it ended, I have a positive memory of it.

    1. Thank you, Zoe. Hugs to you too.

  8. I really enjoy your story telling. Thanks for that.

    1. Thank you. I appreciate you reading. 🙂

  9. Hey , I am glad you had some fun and you are one TRAVELING lady.

    1. I am a travelling lady. It my favorite weekend activity.

      1. So I noticed wow, you sure do get around LOL

        1. Lol! I know. I can’t wait to add Portland to the list this fall.

          1. I am keeping my fingers crossed that you do.

            1. As long as it’s good for you, it works for me. We should plan it. The end of summer will be here before we know it.

              1. Well then we need to plan it and get a ticket you need to let me know what your schedule is.

                1. When I call you, let’s nail down a weekend.

  10. Sounds like a great guy 😉 Sounds like you could have really been something. Distance is hard. Life is hard. It’s hardest when real feelings are involved. I hope you will both move forward feeling enriched, feeling more lovable and maybe even a little more positive that good things can happen and that you may just meet someone special someday soon. Take with you the strength and the confidence that comes from having found a special connection. Sometimes life is just life and that’s a there is to it.

    1. He is a great guy, and it is hard when real feelings are involved. I have come out of this a better person, and I hope he will too. I had fun. It was fun. I smiled a lot.

  11. That’s so beautiful!

    1. Thank you!!

  12. Good people, good times, good memories! The best part of life. So glad you shared with us. ❤

    1. It was all of that. Good and fun. I’m a better person as a result. Stronger and happier. Sometimes people are placed in our lives for just a short time, but their purpose for our lives is ever lasting.

  13. My relationship is very similar. I met him for the first time about five months ago… and he’s visited a few more times since then. I’m actually glad I gave it a shot, because he’s the best thing I’ve had. He’s also visiting me again, and August I’ll be seeing him.

    It’s hard, but not impossible… just takes two willing parties. ♥

    1. I am happy for you that everything is working out. Enjoy your visits. They are few and far between.
      I know long-distance relationships are not what they used to be and not as impossible as they used to be, but this one was.

  14. Daw, sorry it didn’t work out, Melanie, but at least you tried. 🙂

    1. What happened wasn’t supposed to. It wasn’t planned. But it did, and it gave me another piece of me back that I had been missing since the abuse and divorce.

      1. Here’s to missing pieces returned. Cheers!

        1. Yay! Something good happened, even with its bad ending.

  15. I love your story telling. Its brief, to the point and very effective. Also, kudos to you for knowing what you wanted. i had a similar experience. Here is the link to my blog, similar story, I still haven’t figured out where I am going.http://radhika2013.wordpress.com/2013/05/23/meeting-with-a-stranger/

    1. Thank you.
      Knowing what I wanted was a good thing, for me, not so much for him.
      Thanks for the link to your story.

  16. JackieP · · Reply

    Been there done that too. Sometimes it’s better to just chat online. sometimes

    1. Sometimes. Yes. If I could have seen into the future, that’s all there would have been. Going to visit him set the end in motion.

  17. aaah, those bloody digital relationships! they seem so good, so wonderful and then logic dawns…it will always be digital, virtual and nothing more!!! been there, done that, cried my hearts and broken my soul…and i pray for having improved..
    good luck there!

    1. It started simply as a friendship, someone to talk and listen with. But as chance encounters sometimes do, it turned into more – but then ended in a fireball of hurt feelings and the friendship went with it. I am happy it happened. People are put in our lives for a reason, and this person was put in my life to change my mind about dating. I’m a better person for it.

      1. i agree….everything teaches and am so happy that I share this feeling too… happy weekend!

  18. This is very entertaining. I can see why it was featured.

    1. Thank you, Daryl.

  19. How smart of you to know it wouldn’t work out! Long distance , in my opinion, would be extreme torture..which is why its a no-go for me also. I’ve thought about it, seriously, but the final resolution would be one of us would have to move..I know people who do & it works for them. But I can see for you this was a major triumph..Ice breaker back into letting someone in romantically. Thats a big step post-breakup. 2 thumbs up on the write!

    1. Thank you! It wasn’t easy to stand up and say I knew I couldn’t do long-distance. This one had no direction, really. We live hundreds of miles apart, and we both have children and ex-spouses. There is no chance for either of us to move. In the aftermath, though, it’s been pretty clearly shown that I made the right decision.

      1. Don’t you just love it when confirmation comes about a tough decision? Good for you!

        1. I am more sure of my decision today than I was when I made it. Knowing that listening to and following my gut was the right thing to do is another lesson well-learned in this affair.

          1. Agreed! Recently had to make such a decision myself..Mind you before the romance even really could begin..I just knew/felt it we weren’t compatible. He, however, is very salty about it..Honesty it seems isn’t always appreciated. Even when done in a tasteful manner. I look at it as saving both of us wasted time…And my time is far too precious for that

            1. Same thing here. I just knew what I knew, and I knew I couldn’t agree so this didn’t get off the ground either. The honesty didn’t go over as well as I had hoped.

  20. Your dialogue made me laugh a lot! Thanks for sharing and here’s to being in a happier place. Like most things, cyber space is not bad in small doses. In fact, it saved my relationship when my boyfriend moved to the opposite side of the world 12 months ago. But ultimately it’s unnatural to communicate over a screen with constant voice dubbing, so I did something scary and quit my job in May, jumped on a plane and here I am. Although I realised he only cleaned the space that his webcam could see…

    1. I’m glad to hear it made you laugh. Thanks for telling me.
      Doing something scary is never easy. How did it work out?

      1. It worked! It was a giant big risk but one worth taking. Looking forward to your next blog 🙂

        1. Oh yay! I’m so glad it worked out for you two.

  21. It’s kind of sad. Perhaps there could have been more but what sort of relationships are we all expecting? For a long-distance one, maybe just a friendship. You won’t really get to know someone unless you’ve interacted with each other in real life. And even in real life, people present what they want you to see or you only see what you want to see.

    1. There really is no substitute for personal, in-person, time together. I had hoped to keep the friendship. That was the greater part of this. The relationship stuff only came up in the last month, and it was the end of the relationship that showed me everything I needed to see.
      I’m all too familiar with people presenting what they want you to see. My ex husband did that to get me in a relationship.

  22. Long distance relationship is really hard and being in a digital one is far more worse. I am not really into this kind of relationship but I am open to it, because who knows, maybe the person we’re looking for is at the other side of the world.

    1. I’m still on the fence about long-distance, digital relationship. This didn’t start to be that, and it ended because I couldn’t do it.

  23. I found this funny, actually. Maybe just the conversation parts. My current relationship started digitally (through Facebook mutual friends) and is ongoing, but we live only 15 minutes away from each other. I think if it were any different it wouldn’t have worked out.

    1. It was meant to be funny. Even though it didn’t work out, it isn’t a tragedy (for me at least, not so much for him). This all happened at the right time, with the right man. The end was a roller coaster and the idea of a relationship triggered the resulting death of the friendship, but it wasn’t all bad. Only the end was bad.

  24. Loved the witty way you told this! Post-divorce dating is awkward. The trick is to date somebody awkward…it sort of cross cancels it all out. haha.

    1. We were both plenty awkward, lol. We’re both post-divorce–there were some pretty funny moments that came out of that.

      1. lol! Also, I just stumbled across your blog and i am so floored by it! I too was a victim of abuse (verbal) by my ex husband and i find myself thinking “omgosh i know how that its!” when i read your blogs!

        1. I’m glad he’s your exhusband. It’s miserable what they do to us.

  25. I feel bad for having enjoyed this post so much. For him and for you.

    Thanks for sharing this experience and I wish you luck in the future!

    1. Thank you. Don’t feel bad. I meant for it to be enjoyable. Our time together was. It’s over, and that’s sad, but the memories are good.

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  27. […] and one at The Outlier Collective. One earned a mention from Le Clown. One earned a mention from Freshly Pressed. I like this. I have two more coming out in a most magnificent™ place.  Most of these pieces […]

  28. […] now. I’ve tried for over a year to figure this out, again and again and again and again and again. And here I am, once again, trying to figure out where it is I am with me. The truth is, I know […]

  29. You both had fun for a while, better than not having fun at all!

    1. Very true. I don’t look back on that time with disdain or regret.

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