A great piece ran in the N.Y. Time’s Modern Love column a couple of months ago on one woman’s experience with falling in love on Face Time and then taking the relationship into a day-to-day, real time relationship. Needless to say, it was challenging.
Maria Shehata, a stand-up comedian now living in London, was a single woman living in Los Angeles when she met and then began a long-distance, face time relationship with a man who lived in London. They had hung out about four times in person, related well, and then began an intense, Face Time relationship, where they talked so long and so easily, she gave up any thoughts of trying to meet someone else.
They carried on this virtual relationship for three months before Nick flew from London to L.A.. It wasn’t easy for him because Maria had several rommates and they shared a bathroom—none of which was something Nick wanted to do. However he liked Maria enough and over he came.
Now this was a “relationship” where they hadn’t even held hands yet—they really knew nothing about how a physical relationship might go, let alone staying together in close, shared quarters. Yet Maria felt closer to him than all the guys she had dated in her years in L.A. so she was hopeful. She did ask her therapist and friends for input—and shared some funny comments and observations. She is after all, a comedian.
Essentially her therapist was unfazed about them not really knowing one another and reminded Maria that her parents had an arranged marriage—not very different from what Nick and Maria were attempting. It had worked out for them, though they had only met briefly before Maria’s dad chose her from a small group of interested women.
Maria speculates that one problem is that there are too many choices today, and that people throw away others without even taking the time to get to know them. Hook-ups with no emotional strings are common, so no one really bonds and gets to know the other person. Over Face Time, Maria felt she did get to know Nick and he her—and that they had formed a meaningful bond.
It turned out that physically they were compatible, but in so many other ways, it was a struggle. He would get upset if she left the kitchen cabinet open, and could not understand why things that stressed him out didn’t bother her at all. They spent money differently and had clashing bio-rhythms. Finally they decided to see a couples therapist who help Nick see that Maria wasn’t going to change and asked Maria where her boundaries were. Good observation and question that were followed by the therapist telling them that if this continued, it just wouldn’t work.
Maria and Nick apparently stuck it out and decided that addressing their differences was worth the effort because what they have basically works for them.
So can a long-distance, virtual, passionate love affair become a real-time, face-to-face one? It depends on the couple, their bond, their differences and similarities and what they are willing to do to make it work.
Just one woman’s story, but a useful one.