Navigating the dating scene in search of the partner that sparks feelings, matches your pace in life, ignites the sparkle in your life, and sweeps you off your feet like in rom-com books and movies, can be challenging for some people while being easy for others. Some people may not need to come in contact with a lot of people to meet "the one", while others might need to kiss a few frogs before finding Mr. or Miss Right. And in the process of wanting to fall in love, we can end up obsessing over the concept of a relationship, of having someone to love and be loved rather than the actual person.
My approach to dating has always been guarded. I always have a hard time making a meaningful connection that would lead to a romantic relationship with any guy I meet. Yes, we may click, but ultimately, all I want is for it to end in friendship. As a result, I don't often enter into relationships. One time when I did, I mulled over it for weeks before accepting, and it ended quickly. But that wasn't the case with this new guy I met.
He was someone I met online through an acquaintance who worked with him in the same office. According to him, she (the acquaintance) posted my picture on my birthday, and he saw it, admired my picture, and requested my number. I accepted dating him just a few days after we started talking, something alien to my ways. He had just finished college and was working as an intern in a great company, and so I felt he must be intelligent. He has a terrific sense of humor and a particular outlook on life that, at least in theory, fit all of my requirements for a partner, so I thought we had a good connection. Therefore, I was unconcerned that we hadn't met before devoting time to the relationship.
Having met through someone I knew, I had no reason to believe I was the victim of catfishing. I fell completely in love with him and believed that he was too good for me and had been presented to me on a golden platter.
Meeting up, however, proved challenging for us since we lived far apart, and I was busy with a lot of work as a student, so I couldn't go to his place, and him coming over wasn't feasible due to his job.
I'm not sure when or how, but eventually, a seed of frustration was sowed in me. Despite the connection I felt we had, spending time together in person was needed for a relationship to move forward. There were no dates, and great chemistry couldn't really be formed online. The only things I knew about him were what he told me and what he put on his social media. I didn't know much about his friends; he only mentioned them casually, and if I inquired further, it would just seem intrusive. I would brag about having a perfect boyfriend to my friends but couldn't introduce him to them. I didn't know what he looked like in person; I only knew who he was through pictures, videos, and video chats. My friends felt I was just holding on to an illusion, which didn't sit well with me. Anytime we had arguments and problems, I would try to patch them up quickly by apologizing; I didn't want it to damage the relationship. This went on for a while before we both decided to end it. So, we dated and broke up without ever seeing each other.
Looking back, I believe I was more taken with the notion of him—someone who I felt satisfied my requirements—than with him personally. I only fell for the personality I thought he had. In the past, I hardly ever got along with most of the guys I encountered in real life. To me, they either didn't understand me, didn't hold the same values as I do, or exhibited several behaviors I could not stand. However, I jumped in on that relationship even without knowing much about him. Because I only got to interact with him in an online context, I was unaware of his potential flaws, which could turn me against him. And for those red flags that did I notice, I justified them to myself by telling myself that "we have not seen each other in person" and that they might not be there in actuality, and I may just be overthinking things. It was a great connection because I chose not to acknowledge any flaws. On the other side of things, he also didn't know my flaws and only liked what I presented to him. He couldn't notice my insecurities and my shortcomings.
Regardless, there are days when I just can't help but think about what would have happened had we met. Maybe, it would go on to be a great relationship after all, or perhaps we would have disliked each other's habits and behaviors, and, as my friends stated, were only blinded by illusion.
However, the fact that it didn't work for me doesn't mean it hasn't worked for others. In fact, I’m sure there are currently many couples in great online relationships. However, it is important that when we date online, we don't get blinded by the illusion and miss the red flags. We should try our best not to fall for the idea of being in a relationship rather than the person in particular.