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Thread: Wisdom from the Experienced

  1. #16
    Rozie Guest
    Meijan, thanks for joining in. I understand your perspective. I don't entirely agree with it but I want to clarify that I never said that an online relationship didn't have value or wasn't real. The point I made that got this good discussion hopping was: A game is not real life. The point that Ellethe made was: A toon is not a person.

    I think the clearer that people can be about these two points, the better their chances will be for taking an ingame relationship into real life. Why? Because they are going to have more realistic expectations when they have their first RL encounter.

  2. #17
    Rozie Guest
    I really have to get off the comp, but I have to disagree JBG...that's not boring stuff at all!!

  3. #18
    miejan Guest
    Thats the point i was trying to make.
    Once it comes out of the "game" I think it becomes more realistic..
    I know a girl i play with that has a guy every month IN GAME that she is either moving in with or gonna "do" or something. To me. That is not something to base a relationship on. She says she is in love with them and they are coming down to meet her. And it never pans out and she has a new guy literally every month or so. Not saying she doesnt feel anything for these guys but I dont think she is taking it out of "game"
    I agree you cant base a relationship on a game. But a relationship can be forged from a friendship in said game very easily. Just like anything else you do.
    They do have to be two separate enviroments. Dillon and i still do play wow or other games occasionally. And i will say we get a kick out of flirting with each other in there. But its what happens out side the game is what counts.
    There is a big difference there..
    I guess can you ask yourself if i walk away from the game, is there still soemthing there? can i still talk to him? if so BINGO :P
    hugs
    mie

  4. #19
    ElizabethC Guest
    This is such an interesting thread to me. I have lots of responses in my head to things many different people have said, so I'm sorry if I don't quote you all and just paraphrase.

    First -- a person is not a toon.

    Well, yes. Of course I agree with this wholeheartedly. I guess it never entered into my mind about my relationship because neither my YM and I ever got into the 'roleplaying' portion of the game at all. I've never identified with my character and I never pictured him as one of his toons. I'm reasonably sure that's not something he'd have done either. We both also saw pics of each other fairly early on because of our guild posting pics of everyone.

    (As an aside, I do think the toons people make can be an interesting reflection on themselves... two of my girlfriends in the game -- both in their early 20's -- commented that all of the toons I make look 'older', lol!)

    We also didn't call each other by our real names until just over a year ago (after knowing each other for nearly two years). It started out as a habit as, in our guild, everyone was referred to by their main character name. It became not only a habit, but also a mechanism we both used to try to keep things less 'personal', I guess. Some months after my divorce, the "chemistry" started becoming quite palpable. (I call it "chemistry" even if that's not the right word here as it's the only thing I can think of to explain it... although we hadn't discussed how we felt about each other, any time we even came close, it was just electric. I later confirmed that he'd felt the same).

    When we finally 'fessed up to each other, we immediately dropped the character name thing and it really, strangely, was different.

    But it wasn't a matter of thinking of each other as our toons... hell, I still call some of my friends by their old character names out of habit and they no longer play the game, either!

    The relationship can't just be about the game.

    I totally agree with this. Being compatible gamers does not a relationship make. However, this also applies to ANY relationship, not just online ones. Often, relationships do start because of a shared common interest, but if that interest is the sole basis of the relationship, it's bound for failure!

    In my own case, although our relationship started because we met in the game, it was never just about the game. From the get-go, we talked about so much else and even did other things. We pretty much stopped playing the game we met in a year and a half ago. We've played other games (like Left4Dead and such) since, but have also gone long stretches without playing games. We do lots of other things, too. I'm proud because I even got him to vote last year!

    Also, I think there is a differentiation to be made here between an "in-game" relationship and an "online" relationship. It seems to me that the "in-game" thing would be some fantasy role-playing and, although a real relationship could possibly come out of that, it's definitely different than relationships with people you know only online.

    As for the question of "Can your partner have online g/f's?"... If someone thinks they can be in a relationship with someone and have an 'in-game gf or bf' too... there are problems with the relationship. Fantasy role-playing like that may be okay if one isn't in a relationship (and doesn't have issues that might make them think that IS a relationship). If it's just having other online relationships, then I guess if both parties don't want to 'be exclusive', then it's up to them. It's the same sort of decision as not being exclusive while dating in RL.

    Love and moving the relationship to RL

    Love, I think, goes through stages. It's an ever-evolving process in any relationship where there is real love. I believe that if this relationship of mine does work out and we get to transition it to 'real life', that this love has the potential to grow into something much more. What we have now probably wouldn't compare. But this sort of this also happens in traditional relationship where there is real love. It's maybe different than that 'honeymoon phase', but a lasting love is nonetheless a stronger love. I believe that's why the process is called 'falling in love'.

    I really have gone back and forth on the concept of falling in love with someone you've never met. I've thought about it a lot, including how one's own determination of whether or not to allow their heart to go there plays into this. It's a risk, I know, to let me heart go... and I still hold back as much as I can, but any love involves risk.

    My YM and I don't actually say the words, 'I love you' to each other. We have once and we both know what we feel, but we are trying to tread carefully on this until we know whether or not we can even make it happen.

    As for wanting to move the relationship into a physical in-person relationship, agreed that this is the direction any of these online relationships should go if they want to succeed. Again, this is a process that will be different for everyone. Some might take it fast and some slow. There isn't anything inherently right about either way of doing it.

    Meeting people from the 'online world'

    Okay, here is where I might piss people off. I think that meeting people you've met online isn't the big, scary, dangerous thing it has often been made out to be. Honestly, I think you have as much a chance as meeting some dangerous person in real life as you do meeting someone you've met only online. Obviously, common sense and being aware of red flags must come into play, but really, it's the SAME as needing to use common sense and keeping aware of those red flags in "real life".

    Doesn't meeting some stranger in a bar and going home with them bear the same risks?

    In addition, you aren't always safe with people you've known for years, either. How about the many women who marry and then find their mate is abusive? There are also women who have been raped by a 'good friend'.

    Other thoughts

    I think that Joesbabygirl makes a good point about relationships that start on a purely physical basis. How is that better? I think that the amount that my YM and I have gotten to know each other long-distance has been amazing. As I said earlier, we know each other better than either of my husbands when I married them.

    Of course people can pretend to be something they aren't online, but people do that in 'real life', too. I don't think it's good to approach everyone you meet online with such suspicion. Common sense FTW!

  5. #20
    ElizabethC Guest
    Oh! One more thing I forgot...

    I think that a giant pitfall of online relationships is moving the relationship too fast in order to end the agony of the long-distance that is nearly always involved.

    Mine is moving at a snail's pace, which SUCKS SO MUCH, but in the long-run, I know it's how we need to do this because of our circumstances.

  6. #21
    Angel's Avatar
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    I can't say really at this point what I'd do differently with my guy. We met online and progressed from acquaintance to friendship to more and the first time we met he looked the way he had represented himself to me (and vice versa).

    The differences from webcam to RL were things that can't be discovered over the web. He was shorter than I realized (it is hard to get a representation of height when you're sitting down 99%; of the time). He had baby soft skin, especially his hands which was significant to me. I remember thinking they were the hands of someone who was barely a man and didn't have the tell-tale roughness of someone familiar with a hard day's work.

    It's amazing what can really be 'the significant thing' during the first meeting. His hands were that to me. Now 4 years later he no longer has those soft hands and it's silly to say but I'm thankful for it. I feel like I'm holding a man's hands now and I was fortunate enough to be there with him as they changed. Seems silly how they're still that significant to me now that I think of it. They represent so much unspoken between us.

    We did spend a lot of time on web cams sharing our lives and blemishes. We figured it was better to see everything then waste money flying here to find them out. Our web cams ran 24/7 whether or not we were in front of them. I could see things I sent him in his room and he could see me going about daily life (the kids, cleaning, etc) and it sort of made up for the connection we were denied by not being able to touch. We provided each other with an insight to what life looked like on the other side of the lens. We even slept with the webcams on and would reposition the cam if we wanted to share certain things with each other (like me cooking!)

    The one negative thing about online relationships that I've mentioned before is that I think they cause an over-romanticizing about things. You become a modern day Romeo and Juliet where you hearts feel torn from each other and the moments more sensitized in comparison to normal life. And after you move permanently to RL and the honeymoon period fades it can be hard to accept things in their normal state (at least it was for me). I think people who run off that adrenaline high sensation have a hard time adjusting and I've seen many couples fall apart at this point.

    On the other hand I've noticed that online relationships that successfully transfer to RL tend to fight harder to stay together. I guess when you wish for months to hold and comfort each other you're not as willing to just let go and give that dream up unless it's really the right thing to do.

    I know we want to provide some tips, but honestly me and Alex didn't take the prescribed path. In fact we took the path people say NOT to take. We could make a thousand do or don't piles and at the end of the day as long as the relationship is based on some key ingredients the path to each other matters little.

    Honesty. Communication. Trust (not just in them but your own instincts first). Faith. Positivity.

    If both partners come with that skill-set you have the best chance at success regardless of the steps you took (or skipped ) to get there. Whether you've dated a day or a year met once or a dozen times would not influence you nearly as much as whether you were carried those qualities I've listed.
    Last edited by Angel; 06-08-2011 at 07:50 PM. Reason: % sign coding got messed up. O.o
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  7. #22
    Ellethe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Angel View Post
    The one negative thing about online relationships that I've mentioned before is that I think they cause an over-romanticizing about things. You become a modern day Romeo and Juliet where you hearts feel torn from each other and the moments more sensitized in comparison to normal life. And after you move permanently to RL and the honeymoon period fades it can be hard to accept things in their normal state (at least it was for me). I think people who run off that adrenaline high sensation have a hard time adjusting and I've seen many couples fall apart at this point.

    On the other hand I've noticed that online relationships that successfully transfer to RL tend to fight harder to stay together. I guess when you wish for months to hold and comfort each other you're not as willing to just let go and give that dream up unless it's really the right thing to do.
    I really loved your entire post Angel (as I always do!), but the above is so freaking well said and also so true.
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  8. #23
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    Wowsers! Oh man I did not ever until like a few minutes ago read Texas's thread. I went and read it after reading the posts here. I had NO IDEA when I posted my thread earlier that this had happened to her.

    I feel so badly. What a heartbreak!

    Seriously bad timing on my post... it wasn't directed at her at all (especially given that I hadn't read her thread at all). I wrote it because that was an issue that Devon and I specifically faced. I had a VERY sexy toon. She was so so so sexy that she was frequently hit on in game and widely considered to be a babe. (This was a social networking game btw... like Second Life and not like WoW)

    Dev also had a really sexy toon. These were issues we faced and dealt with when we considered moving to real life. They were HARD. Rozie's post about coming to terms with his beloved voice attached to a real person that felt unfamiliar really spoke to me. I went through this. It was very difficult to do. Each step we took, took time, each transition from text to voice to webcam to being together was purposeful, intentional, and strange!

    At any rate, I'm very sorry this happened. My post wasn't intended to add hurt.
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  9. #24
    ElizabethC Guest
    I don't think anyone would have taken it that way at all, Ellethe!

    Also, they didn't meet in a game and your comments were really specific about toons.

    I do think that Angel's point about over-romanticizing in an LDR is a great one. Really great post (as usual!).
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  10. #25
    Ellethe's Avatar
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    Ah thanks for clearing that up Elizabeth!
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  11. #26
    Angel's Avatar
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    Thanks Ellethe and Elizabeth!

    That really was the hardest part for me. Real life always paled in comparison to the time I spent online with Alex. I couldn't wait to get back to him.

    I think the over-romanticizing is a very emotionally dangerous thing. I know that I had to force myself many-a-times to just walk away from the computer. My kids suffered. My friends suffered. My job suffered. And when he first moved here everything suffered even more until I snapped out of it. And by snap out of it I mean I made a huge screw up at my job and thought for a second I was going to be fired. So, see, I definitely took the path you shouldn't take, but we all weathered it and made it through the other side with my job intact. I think most people who have transferred from online to RL would say they are very very fortunate to not have had it all blow up in their face.

    I think had me and Alex fell apart it would have been more devastating to me emotionally than the dissolution of my marriage just because of the emotional investment I made due to this over-romanticizing that occurred. I really gave more than I probably should have but it felt as time went on the stakes got higher for us to succeed. I am fortunate that the person opposite me valued the same qualities I did. Hopefully that will continue over the years. Time will tell.
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  12. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by Angel View Post
    I can't say really at this point what I'd do differently with my guy. We met online and progressed from acquaintance to friendship to more and the first time we met he looked the way he had represented himself to me (and vice versa).

    The differences from webcam to RL were things that can't be discovered over the web. He was shorter than I realized (it is hard to get a representation of height when you're sitting down 99% of the time). He had baby soft skin, especially his hands which was significant to me. I remember thinking they were the hands of someone who was barely a man and didn't have the tell-tale roughness of someone familiar with a hard day's work.

    It's amazing what can really be 'the significant thing' during the first meeting. His hands were that to me. Now 4 years later he no longer has those soft hands and it's silly to say but I'm thankful for it. I feel like I'm holding a man's hands now and I was fortunate enough to be there with him as they changed. Seems silly how they're still that significant to me now that I think of it. They represent so much unspoken between us.

    We did spend a lot of time on web cams sharing our lives and blemishes. We figured it was better to see everything then waste money flying here to find them out. Our web cams ran 24/7 whether or not we were in front of them. I could see things I sent him in his room and he could see me going about daily life (the kids, cleaning, etc) and it sort of made up for the connection we were denied by not being able to touch. We provided each other with an insight to what life looked like on the other side of the lens. We even slept with the webcams on and would reposition the cam if we wanted to share certain things with each other (like me cooking!)

    The one negative thing about online relationships that I've mentioned before is that I think they cause an over-romanticizing about things. You become a modern day Romeo and Juliet where you hearts feel torn from each other and the moments more sensitized in comparison to normal life. And after you move permanently to RL and the honeymoon period fades it can be hard to accept things in their normal state (at least it was for me). I think people who run off that adrenaline high sensation have a hard time adjusting and I've seen many couples fall apart at this point.

    On the other hand I've noticed that online relationships that successfully transfer to RL tend to fight harder to stay together. I guess when you wish for months to hold and comfort each other you're not as willing to just let go and give that dream up unless it's really the right thing to do.

    I know we want to provide some tips, but honestly me and Alex didn't take the prescribed path. In fact we took the path people say NOT to take. We could make a thousand do or don't piles and at the end of the day as long as the relationship is based on some key ingredients the path to each other matters little.

    Honesty. Communication. Trust (not just in them but your own instincts first). Faith. Positivity.

    If both partners come with that skill-set you have the best chance at success regardless of the steps you took (or skipped ) to get there. Whether you've dated a day or a year met once or a dozen times would not influence you nearly as much as whether you were carried those qualities I've listed.
    Wonderfully said, Angel! This is great insight.
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  13. #28
    t-twisted is offline Neophyte
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    Rozie, thank you for this post. It's very timely for me, my guy is flying down on Saturday for our first meet. I am so nervous my palms start to sweat every time I think about it.

    Since I never did a formal introduction, you guys don't know my backstory, but it's very similar to Ellethe's: We met in WoW, he lives in Canada, I live in the States, I'm 35, he's 19. We've known each other for 2-1/2 years now, though just the last year has been I guess what you would call 'romantically'.

    Considering how ugly his toon is in WoW, there was no romanticizing him through his character's appearance. We talk on vent a lot, have exchanged one pic (I know, we should have done more), IM like crazy. We use each other's real names except when referring to each other in-game with other people, so I feel we're comfortable there. We talk about life a lot, how we'd handle situations we see or what we think about the world, and find that not only do we share a lot of viewpoints and opinions, but we can disagree respectfully and not lower our opinions of each other when we don't agree.

    We've had some major blowouts. Not even going to pretend we put our best foot forward all the time, if it were dating IRL we'd be at the 'farted under the bedsheets' phase. But we're not IRL, and I have no idea how to 'make this work' in real life as well as it does online.

    I met my ex-husband BBSing (oh yeah, I'm old!) at my college, so I'm practically a pioneer of online relationships, but back then no one had developed an online persona, everyone just acted like themselves. I don't think he's going to be this totally different person once he gets here, I'm more worried the chemistry won't be there, or who he is in his head isn't the person he acts like in person. I'm fairly confident I know him as the person he is to himself, but how many of us act exactly like who we are in our own minds? Haven't you ever been shocked at how another person views you because it doesn't match up with how you perceive yourself?

    That's not even counting all of the other worries I have. What if my lifestyle doesn't interest him? What if we don't have anything more in common than our choice of a game? I mean yeah, we watch movies together and such I panic sometimes with "What am I going to DO with him?!" thoughts.

    Oh dear, this has become a thread dumping all of my worries out at the impending transition. TexasRose's thread scared the bejesus out of me, I'm sorry.

    Back on track: Rozie, I think the difference between an online relationship and a face-to-face one is that with a face-to-face one you don't worry if it's going to last online, whereas with an online one you wonder if it would work face-to-face. Online there are a massive amount of unknowns. Yes, a person's soul is beautiful and you can fall in love with just that, but true, absolute love comes from knowing, and loving, the whole package.

    It's the difference between loving someone who says they would happily help clean the kitchen floor, and feeling your heart irretrievably lost as you watch them on their hands and knees, scrubbing their heart out.
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  14. #29
    Rozie Guest
    Thanks all for the additional posts.

    Joesbabygirl, I think you need to just keep doing what you're doing. You started online but have met in person and are, like so many others, in the horrible waiting to be together period. All I can offer are cyber hugs (()). That is a really tough place and time in these relationships.

    The one negative thing about online relationships that I've mentioned before is that I think they cause an over-romanticizing about things. You become a modern day Romeo and Juliet where you hearts feel torn from each other and the moments more sensitized in comparison to normal life. And after you move permanently to RL and the honeymoon period fades it can be hard to accept things in their normal state (at least it was for me). I think people who run off that adrenaline high sensation have a hard time adjusting and I've seen many couples fall apart at this point.
    Angel, I agree that's a lovely post and I especially agree with this idea of an over romanticizing phenomenon. I thinks that's sort of what I why I wrote this thing in the first place, but I didn't have the eloquence to sum up what was bothering me with the right words. I blabbed on about fantasy and reality and I think a better way of describing the pitfall I am talking about is over romanticizing the online relationship. I never want to go through that kind of angst again...its a rush for sure, but such a hollow one. I don't think I could appreciate this until we actually closed the distance gap. The parallels between some people's gaming habits and substance addiction seem profound to me right now, because that's where my head is. I'll spare people a tirade on the subject and simply say that sometimes its therapeutic to turn off the computer and take a break from each other. If its real and true, you will miss each other, but you'll still be there for each other when you go back online.

    I used to have this mantra "Absence doesn't make the heart grow fonder, it only makes you ache." I think now that all that aching was probably unnecessary and somewhat destructive. Its a hook or a crock or whatever you want to call it; you think that because distance separates you, you have to spend these exhorbitant amounts of time with each other. Twenty hours a day? In RL most people don't have twenty hours a day for anyone! But we somehow justify this because we can't hold each other, kiss each other or know exactly where each other is, as though one can make up for the other.

    When, as a couple, we finally woke up and realized we were both wasting vast amounts time in the belief that it contributed to our relationship, while it insidiously eroded at our daily lives, we decided to set a time each evening that would be our telephone time. That was a huge move toward the kind of relationship we both really wanted to have. I loved the security of knowing that he was going to call at a certain time and if he couldn't, he would let me know. We also promised each other that while we would try to stick to sort of a schedule, we could call each other whenever we wanted to. This was the beginning of developing true trust in each other, I think.

    I worry a lot about over romanticizing things. I think it sets us up for failure.

    Back on track: Rozie, I think the difference between an online relationship and a face-to-face one is that with a face-to-face one you don't worry if it's going to last online, whereas with an online one you wonder if it would work face-to-face. Online there are a massive amount of unknowns. Yes, a person's soul is beautiful and you can fall in love with just that, but true, absolute love comes from knowing, and loving, the whole package.

    It's the difference between loving someone who says they would happily help clean the kitchen floor, and feeling your heart irretrievably lost as you watch them on their hands and knees, scrubbing their heart out.
    t-twisted...beautifully put. Good luck with your first meeting. We were like others in that we were careful to not make this anymore than it was, i.e. neutral ground, no long drawn out plans. I was there for 5 days for a conference and we would have a meal or two together and get to know each other. He got a hair cut and washed his car in honor of my coming...nothing more. If we connected...wonderful...if not we agreed that we would still feel it to be a worthwhile adventure. And happily, the things that drew us together, love of gaming, love of art and love of family and people, kept us talking nonstop every free moment I had each day and well into the evenings.
    Last edited by Rozie; 08-10-2009 at 06:24 PM.
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  15. #30
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    I always thought online relationships were a crazy idea! Then I found myself in one. So many against-the-odds circumstances led us to this. The first phone call I made to him wasn't theoretically ever supposed to be able to happen. He gave me the wrong country code, and I had an international block on my phone (didn't know it). Despite all of that, the call went through, and we KNEW right when we spoke, that we were going to fall in love. And fall in love we did. I wasn't able to get through after that first call. I had to call my phone company and get on an international plan. To this day, that call never showed up on my bill. I told a woman this story just yesterday, and she visibly shivered as I told her.

    We started communicating by phone, e-mail, and Skype an average of 3 hours a day. We shared every detail of our lives with eachother.

    The last hurdle was the physical meeting. You never know how that will go. We were so extremely lucky that we were physically drawn to eachother and the sex was good. I still can't believe how perfectly I fit under his arm, like we really were made for eachother.

    Yes, the distance is harder now. We are going through the whole paperwork mess and stressed out about money and work. Some of our conversations are whinefests. But some of them are really, really fun, lighthearted, encouraging, loving exchanges, and all of the conversations keep us going. We just decided, we are going to do this! We know that if we didn't, we'd always wonder. We know there's a lot more to learn about eachother, but we also know, as crazy as it seems, that neither of us has ever felt more connected to another human being in our whole lives. Neither of us has ever felt this loved or accepted for who we are, with no plans to want to change the other one for any reason.

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