Dating Online: Are You Just In Love With Love?

Dating Online: Are You Just In Love With Love?

Dear Eve,

I’m only fourteen years old, but I need some help. I have been talking to a girl (also fourteen) on the Internet for two months. We have traded pictures and know for sure we love each other. The only thing stopping us from meeting is that we live so far apart. She recently moved to Hawaii; I live on the East Coast. Now, since we haven’t actually met, the distance is breaking up our relationship. She said she still loves me, but her parents won’t let her talk on the phone or date any boy until she is sixteen. What should I do? Basically, I need help knowing how to keep us together until we can meet in person. Please help!

I’m sorry you are going through such a difficult time.
I know you feel like you are in love and in actuality, you are. The mistake you are making though is thinking that you are in love with this girl. This is one of the most common mistakes made by people—of all ages—dating online. They have some great conversations with someone, and they think they are in love with that person. Some people even start planning their marriage to each other before they have even met. Unfortunately, what they (and you) don’t understand is that the love you feel is not truly for the other person. You are in love with the idea of love, the hope of love. You are in love with your values and your dreams; the things you want to share with another person. You are in love with the fantasy of her. You are not, however, in love with her. I say this because you really don’t know her. You know only what she has chosen to show you.
Don’t get me wrong; this could certainly transition into love quickly after you meet her in person as you may well have built a great foundation. However, this feeling could also completely disappear the minute you meet face to face or spend an hour together. If it was truly love, it wouldn’t risk dissipating when you meet—when you discover there is no attraction between you, or she doesn’t look the way you imagined, or doesn’t like all the things you do. Let’s face it: You haven’t imagined her with bad breath or mood swings, have you? When we love someone, that means accepting their good and bad qualities, good and bad days, good and bad health, not just the heavenly stuff you are imagining.
Instead of trying to make this last for two or more years until you can meet, just be her friend, not her boyfriend. Otherwise, you could both compare everyone you meet to your fantasy friend, and the real people in your life—who may truly want to love you in person—won’t be able to compete with your imagination. Both you and she could completely miss out on all the wonderful opportunities to enjoy your high school peers, dances, proms, etc. only to find out that you wasted years of your life wishing and waiting for something that didn’t exist. Instead, I encourage you to continue to be her friend, but focus your attention on building your day-to-day relationships. Communicate and share your time and attention with the people in your daily life in the same manner that you have online. Before you know it, you will enjoy close friendships and relationships in your face-to-face world.
Trust that if your island girl is truly supposed to be your life mate, you will find each other face to face one day. In the meantime, don’t miss out on the here and now.
With Aloha,
Intellectual Foreplay Question of the Week: If you put the same time and energy into your face to face world as you do your online (or imagined) world, what would your love life look like?
Love Tip of the Week: People, places, and things are not the source of love; they are the catalysts that allow us to recognize the love we already have inside. Love is our essence, it can’t be given or even taken away; it can only be awakened, shared and enjoyed.

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