Here and in many parts of the internet I’ll hear stories about people that met online, often far apart (in different countries, sometimes). The stories I always hear are positive ones, people that corresponded for a long time, eventually met, moved in together, and so on.
But I’m curious in the trainwrecks. Ever met someone online from far away and have it go really really awkward? I have.
Five years ago I was depressed and insecure. I always felt like the people I was meeting online were much less into me than I was into them. I met a lot of people online, primarily through dating websites. Most of them were driving distance, and I had told myself I wasn’t willing to try to develop a relationship that was a plane ride away- too hard/expensive to see each other frequently, too many things that could go wrong.
I was on shudder Craigslist and started talking with this woman from LA. From her pictures and conversation she seemed like just the kind of person I was looking for- worked full-time as a History teacher in High School, had a Master’s degree, owned her own home. She sounded like somebody balanced and interested in a relationship. After talking for several weeks, she expressed interest in meeting in person.
Now, at this point I wasn’t interested in flying out to LA to meet someone I potentially might not care for in real life. No matter how pretty and normal she seemed like online I didn’t want to have an awkward situation potentially happen. She was willing to fly up to see me, so I decided to have her spend the weekend with me (big mistake, in hindsight). I drive to the airport to pick her up…
…And she is far less attractive looking to me than she was in the photos. Its like an episode of ‘Catfish’ except I’m in this awkward situation where I’ve suddenly realized that the last couple of weeks have probably been bad judgement. And like any person with questionable decision-making abilities in moments like this, I double-down on the bad choices. I decide that maybe looks aren’t everything, maybe she has a great personality and if I find her really fun to hang out with in spite of her appearance maybe it can work (bad idea). We go back to my apartment, watch a movie, have sex, and go to sleep. Strangely enough, in spite of not being physically attracted to her, the sex was good, which made me decide to really give her the weekend to see how I felt about her.
The next day, we go out and I show her my hometown, we go see a play and I take her out to dinner. Through the day, I’m finding that things I thought I wanted were not what I wanted. In talking to her and observing her body language, I found her to be very insecure, needy, and cynical. When we got back to my apartment, she knew something was up and I admitted that I wasn’t as into her as she was into me. She was understandably upset, but at the time I was desperately hoping she felt the same way- that we were just two lonely desperate people that hooked up and decided, “That was fun but nah, not feeling it”. It turns out she really thought this was going to be a Super Serious Full Blown relationship, in spite of living hundreds of miles apart and only knowing each other for a few weeks. She at first seemed like she wanted to go straight home, and I offered to call her a cab if she didn’t want to be around me anymore, but she changed her mind and decided to stay the night, where more awkward dysfunctional sex occurred. I drove her back to the airport the next morning and the following day she blew up my facebook and email talking about what a horrible deceptive piece of shit I was before unfriending me in huff.
Because of her age and her lifestyle I had been under the assumption that she was mature enough to take the risk. If you are willing to fly hundreds of miles to meet someone, you are willing to risk the possibility that it doesn’t work out. I repeatedly told her online I’d enjoy having her over for the weekend but that both of us needed to be realistic that there may or may not be chemistry. After the weekend, she accused me of leading her on into thinking I was interested in a relationship, when on my end I was trying to get to know her better. The whole reason I wasn’t willing to fly up there was because I knew the risk it might get awkward and didn’t want to take it. I assumed because she was so eager to fly to me she’d be able to handle the possibility that we wouldn’t click.