Virtual Relationships- Cautionary Tales From The Front Lines

I’m afraid I’ve gotten behind in my blogging, and have missed writing about some interesting news stories and studies of interest to you daters out there. Now that singles clubs, events for singles and singles sites are gearing up for the busy fall season, it seems a good time to review some “items of interest” that could be useful as you go online- or get out and mingle, make that first contact and ponder your next move.

Let’s begin with a little dose of reality regarding the limits of online meeting and dating. We all know the many benefits- but if you aren’t a very seasoned and savvy online dater yet, here’s your chance to brush up on the potential dark side of cyber love.

First we have the incredible story of Thomas Montgomery- a stand-up, married father of two who decided one day to re-invent himself online. He “became’ an 18 year old marine named Thomas who began a cyber romance with an “18 year old girl named Jessica.” They corresponded for a long time, sending pictures of their young selves and love letters. Their “relationship” grew until they talked of marriage and he proposed. Thomas actually created a third identity- that of Tommy’s father, who emailed and corresponded with Jessica when Tommy could not (due to being in Iraq). Thomas became obsessed and talked about Jessica at work, telling people he was leaving his wife (Cindy) for her. Cindy found out and confronted him, but he continued with Jessica and Cindy finally wrote to her, giving her the whole story.

It didn’t end there however. Jessica contacted a young man named Brian-who worked with Thomas and who frequented the website they had met on. She wanted to know the truth, and Brain was able to give her the whole story. Brian then began an online relationship with Jessica, and made fun of Thomas at work- telling everyone about what had happened. Interestingly, Jessica and Thomas continued an on-again, off-again relationship for some time, as Jessica continued growing closer to Brian. At some point, Thomas became enraged, shot and killed Brian at work one evening and went to prison- losing his marriage and family. Even stranger, “Jessica” turned out to be a 43 year old woman named Mary, Who masqueraded as her daughter Jessica.

Moral of this one, folks- Don’t believe anything you are told by someone online. Assume it isn’t true until you have the chance to actually meet and experience this person- and compare what you were told to what you are seeing. This story is stranger than fiction- but it happened.

Then there’s the one about the “Second-Life” couple. If you are one of the few people who are not familiar with second life- it is a virtual world where people can buy land, own businesses, develop communities, date, get married, divorced, you name it. What is astonishing is how many people are spending their time and real money on this fantasy life- where their “avatar’ gets to be whoever they want to be.

Many relationships have formed and continue on second life, and this story deals with one of them- that of Ric Hoogestraat, a 53 year old married man from Arizona, who meets, develops a virtual relationship with, and marries- Janet Speilman, a 38 year old Canadian woman. Ric’s wife Susan is well aware of the “relationship”, and when interviewed, discussed how difficult it was for her to see her husband spending so much time online, talking to and making “virtual love” with Janet. Their relationship has even crossed over into real time, when Ric needed surgery last spring and Janet spent real money buying him a virtual island to cheer him up.

It seems that virtual relationships are becoming more and more common and that the people who engage in them are reporting how satisfying they can be. The danger I see in all of this is that technology has taken the place of face to face relating. It is easier in that we don’t have to deal with uncomfortable feelings and issues, if we don’t want to. If our real relationships are letting us down, we can go online and spend hours with a fantasy person (people), who always understand us, never let us down and expect nothing from us. Over time, one’s “second life” can become the one in which they spend their majority of time and energy. This addiction is becoming more common as virtual relating has changed the whole fabric of who, what, when, where and how we socialize and relate to others.

I don’t know about you, but an intimate walk on a solitary beach at dusk or dawn or an evening under the stars, talking intimately and physically touching another human being will always beat out sitting at my computer- sending out messages in cyberspace.

The last piece worth mentioning here is the story published in the Houston Chronicle, where they quoted the statistic that one in three women who met partners through online dating sites has sex with them on the first date. As hard to believe as this is, it gets better. It was also reported that 75 percent of these women didn’t use condoms. These statistics came from Paige Padgett, Ph.D., of The University of Texas School of Public Health, who conducted an online survey of 740 women who placed personal ads on the Internet seeking men. According to Padgett, “otherwise cautious women may engage in unprotected sex because they are lulled into a sense of ‘virtual intimacy.’ By the time the couples meet face-to-face, they have exchanged much information about their backgrounds, their likes and dislikes, as well as their sexual preferences. Padgett also stated that “The high level of disclosure and frequency of e-mail exchanges with men provides women with at least a virtual intimacy—a sense of a relationship that may or may not exist in reality but may encourage sexual intimacy at a faster rate than what would develop through conventional dating methods.”

If you recognize yourself in any of this, now is a great time to step back and do an inventory of how you are feeling about your past dating experiences, if they were positive or negative- and how you could have a healthier and more successful dating life- which of course is one that ends in a long-term and satisfying relationship.

Hopefully, these will give you something to reflect on as you begin to warm up for a busy (and productive?) dating season.

Want to read all about them? Go to:

Wired magazine



Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

order ginette 35 you gain weight cheap vytorin buy cheap clonidine alternatives buy montelukast sodium tablets order kesar mango online buy singulair korea cheap advair diskus generic buy anafranil india order ginette 35 effects buy antivert the counter femara high order multiples buy neurontin xr buy phenergan 25 mg buy dutasteride online buy tadalis sx dosage cheap viagra generic uk order ginette 35 review buy periactin your body buy phexin antibiotic buy elocon in canada order diclofenac gel jonah complex wellbutrin sr discount benefits cheap prograf overdose order brand levitra prescription liv 52 discount benefits in hindi order pyridium cheap anti viral gratis 2014 cheap cialis soft information buy mircette lawsuit order effexor xr vs zoloft cheap imitrex buy revatio tablete order endep high cheap glucotrol xl cost cheap etodolac buy prandin generic alesse discount generic vermox cheap cleocin gel discount side effects diclofenac gel discount actinic keratosis buy levitra plus in india cheap wellbutrin sr used for weight loss augmentin to buy online buy desyrel generic order urispas gravidez buy amitriptyline best place discount on valtrex buy clozaril forms rosuvastatin to buy cheap cialis soft uk buy generic lisinopril cheap shuddha guggulu capsules buy alavert europe diamox discount price buy cholesterol lowering agents other than statins buy propecia from boots order furosemide kong buy nizagara online uk cheap diclofenac gel sodium chloromycetin discount vouchers cheap actos in usa buying ventolin inhalers online voltaren copay card order clonidine mail buy periactin pills order avapro generic order lisinopril buy viagra plus edinburgh ortho tri cyclen discount nausea vomiting buy amitriptyline online buy strattera in uk order wellbutrin sr generic order amoxil tablets cheap fml forte ointment buy dilantin angeles order viagra super active forum cheap promethazine with codeine order abilify from canada buy revia much order baytril for cats buy rogaine 5 kullananlar buy glucotrol xl splitting order topamax back buy capoten kuala lumpur order pravachol reviews buy albenza dosage cheap atorlip 20 que sirve betnovate discount buy prilosec dosage cheap amoxicillin order anti fungal herbs for candida order cialis professional australia cheap mestinon retard cephalon provigil discount buy generic erythromycin cheap female cialis a prescription buy antivert reviews cheap avapro reviews order pain relief teeth buy emsam online cheap fml forte liquifilm buy himalaya confido online order hytrin uses cialis super active discount hub order buy tenormin zealand hyzaar discount card cheap effexor xr side effects order orlistat prescription buy unique hoodia buy confidor tablets buy topamax cheap buy reglan zdravilo cheap cialis jelly apcalis oral order parlodel wikipedia buy zyrtec jarabe buy citalopram 10mg online cheap advair diskus action buy viagra professional ingredients buy xalatan bulk order review process buy dramamine the uk buy propecia veterinary buy cipro xr online cheap floxin bula buy nolvadex and clomid online order remeron illegal buy viagra super active gel exelon verizon discount order flagyl er hva? buy suhagra spray buy terramycin soluble powder buy tenormin generic order premarin script order voveran sr quotes discount motilium cheap artane near buy kamagra gold uk discount viagra mastercard buy ginette 35 cipla pcos buy actos kuala lumpur indinavir discount online cheap levitra plus cheap hair loss after pregnancy cheap cholesterol lowering juice recipe buy viagra plus at walmart order aciclovir online uk cheap viagra jelly with mastercard buy trental brisbane buy premarin 0.3 mg cheap anafranil wiki order alli diet pills online buy reminyl galantamine grifulvin v discount cvs buy female viagra gel cheap flagyl er i kroppen cheap shuddha guggulu khasiat cheap vantin bruno atacand discount coupons cheap eurax buy arimidex liquidex buy order glucophage illegal buy arthritis aids cheap generic kamagra uk risperdal discount card order diclofenac gel mg cheap venlor antidepressant order abilify canada rhinocort aqua discount trial erection packs 1 discount vouchers buy dipyridamole real buy anafranil online us buy cleocin gel buy arthritis gloves canada order toradol shot cheap cialis professional rezeptfrei cheap rental moving trucks buy cialis daily cheapest ranitidine uk order levothroid adelgazar buy robaxin australia order serevent prescription buy floxin ear drops kamagra best deals can you buy zyrtec at walmart viagra professional discount information cheap generic kamagra cheap wellbutrin sr experiences pravachol discount voucher buy requip in stores buy orlistat hcl buy viagra jelly montreal buy propranolol anxiety buy levitra plus bangkok order lamisil jock cleocin gel discount for rosacea buy brand viagra uk order cialis soft bestellen order aciclovir buy cialis kl buy propranolol singapore buy azulfidine genuine order hair loss on cats buy anti fungal additive for paint order ventolin jarabe kamagra uk telephone order cheap viagra super active uk cheap actoplus met and weight loss men;s health discount yoga buy cheap zyban online order bentyl nausea periactin discount card can you buy motrin over the counter buy zyrtec xarope cheap premarin dosage order ginseng root order skelaxin uk cheap rental properties for sale buy citalopram uk buy nitroglycerin tablets buy glucophage xr 500mg sustiva discount pharmacy arthritis discount voucher buying ventolin inhalers buy toradol uk buy yasmin online buy bromocriptine australia order rogaine 5 side effects cheap tegretol cr rumalaya forte discount africa buy rogaine 5 nyc buy zovirax australia order amantadine mail strattera to buy ethionamide discount vouchers alavert discount employee buy glucotrol xl wikipedia buy desyrel buy erythromycin canada buy accutane safe buy zanaflex much order accutane uk cheap aristocort buy himalaya confido hair loss discount home remedies order viagra plus to canada buy kamagra tablets buy dapoxetine uk online buy synthroid online cheap buy deltasone tablets mango pensioners discount how to order from mango website order atrovent cheap viagra pills free shipping order v gel laryngeal airway tubes hyaluronic acid discount on skin pravachol discount programs buy zithromax in mexico pravachol discount code buy zanaflex vegas cheap viagra plus with prescription order hair loss on dogs buy eurax in canada buy viagra oral jelly cheap voveran sr quotes iodination of acetone order order pain relief removal of wisdom teeth cheap root canal dublin cheap brand viagra in australia order clomid volga bulgaria cheap rocaltrol wiki buy ephedraxin cheap tricor braun buy cystone forum order lynoral order erectile dysfunction treatment natural cheap hytrin ovulos buy female cialis uk next day delivery order antivert reviews buy didronel line order effexor xr kidney stones order levitra from canada cheap zyprexa qt buy floxin gtts cheap advair diskus generic available order brand levitra canada order tretinoin 0 05 refissa urispas discount voucher buy celebrex generic cheap wellbutrin sr dosage for weight loss buy cardizem where can lipitor discount program cheap evista kompendium cheap lanoxin order starlix bula buy colchicine jicht cheap advair diskus msds order effexor xr buy albenza online buy revatio sale bactrim discount vouchers buy ortho tri cyclen janssen buy propecia uk forum mango discount voucher 2015 kamagra prix discount buy desyrel uyku order diamox best place cheap ralista paskaleva buy alli diet pills female viagra discount uk next day delivery cheap isoptin sr cheap albenza order relafen australia cheap januvia a prescription order adalat wiki order clonidine side order requip uk order probalan shuddha guggulu discount dosage cheap emsam price cheap ortho tri cyclen generic buy januvia kong buy lioresal mg cheap toprol xl withdrawal symptoms cheap cialis super active cialis cheap rental car deals buy unisom line cholesterol lowering discount cookbooks order zyloprim tabletas cheap zyloprim buy buy emsam montreal buy desyrel you levitra professional discount generico cheap viagra jelly in uk discount brand viagra buy accutane 40 mg online order pain relief real time order erectile dysfunction pills online benfotiamine discount code buy generic abilify online buy isoniazid katg cheap effexor xr and pregnancy hair loss discount pregnancy www cheap levitra com buy erythromycin over the counter buy viagra soft montreal skelaxin discount voucher cheap viagra professional vs professional cheap fml forte ophthalmic order erectile dysfunction vitamin d order isoptin back buy dipyridamole in stores buy retino-a cream 0,025 order cialis from india buy viagra sublingual brasil order pilex ziede hyaluronic acid discount zona pellucida order anti fungal and shoulders order clonidine in canada buy arava 20 mg order skelaxin reviews order aciphex back buy aswagandhadi lehyam cheap urispas uses order ralista paskaleva buy anavar uk online buy real kamagra cheap baclofen cheap viagra plus grapefruit juice order v gel cat buy ethionamide the counter cheap rumalaya gel benefits buy ciprofloxacin 500mg online order actoplus met oral buy glucotrol xl maximum dose order zenegra price cheap erexin v dawkowanie cheap brand levitra dosage cheap lithium aa batteries buy generic lamictal online celadrin discount online order ginette 35 missed pill order metformin tablets cheap viagra sublingual immunotherapy requip discount generic buy reminyl farmaco buy shallaki reviews can you buy amantadine over the counter kamagra deals uk buy dipyridamole in thailand cialis soft discount cheap wellbutrin sr lowest dose buy erythromycin eye ointment order pravachol online buy tadalis sx tablets buy hydrochlorothiazide zealand order ginette 35 for pcos buy voveran sr tablet use order toprol xl juice cheap wellbutrin sr benefits viagra professional discount pills order lipitor australia buy pyridium bula buy aciclovir australia order hydrochlorothiazide a prescription buy augmentin hcl buy casodex in singapore cheap benicar online hyaluronic acid discount reviews order baytril for rats online buy ventolin vegas where to buy synthroid in the uk cheap aspirin wholesale buy tadalis sx erfahrungen order arrival rate buy wellbutrin sr online levothroid backorder order diclofenac online uk buy zyprexa bulk order rogaine 5 vs liquid cheap zyprexa side order mango online india buy emsam the counter order remeron from canada cheap viagra plus mastercard buy casodex 150 mg cheap viagra plus pills buy viagra professional ge'ne'rique 100 mg cheap evista buy cheap effexor xr and alcohol asacol tablets buy order didronel cheap levitra professional effects buy crestor coupon buy purinethol new zealand buy desyrel gel cheap colchicine vidal ortho tri cyclen discount korea order rogaine 5 generic cheap brand levitra generic names order paxil illegal buy floxin online order ginseng zwaneven buy diclofenac real buy levitra plus liang cheap mentat ds syrup young female viagra discount in uk cheap celexa yawning cheap norvasc generic cheap ginette 35 diane 35 order ashwagandha online cheap viagra super active ingredients buy ginette 35 price in india cheap requip side order glucotrol xl kapli tb cheap viagra jelly quick flovent hfa discount card buy cholesterol lowering oils buy confidor lopid discount programs cheap femara letrozole order cefixime vidal cheap azulfidine online cheap albendazole uk cialis soft discount gel order mircette kariva buy casodex online order ventolin hfa online didronel discount cards buy minocycline for acne buy aciclovir tablets over the counter cheap apcalis sx mg cena acivir pills discount voucher buy hydrochlorothiazide korea order diclofenac gel zastosowanie order hytrin cheap cholesterol lowering with diet buy celebrex online uk order atorlip 20 mg price cheap cipro mexico cheap voveran sr mg dosage order brand advair diskus video methotrexate discount order avapro a prescription buy alli hk buy penegra in uk levitra professional discount erfahrungsberichte buy finpecia paypal order paroxetine withdrawal cheap serophene fiyat? tretinoin 0 05 discount usp buy emsam fatigue buy levitra generic online buy cholesterol lowering agents pain relief discount xiphoid process buy atorlip 20 price cheap avalide online buying zovirax ointment buy female cialis japan order mango extract