Can you Fall in Love with Someone You’ve Never Met?
The random email came out of nowhere from a guy who claimed his name was Gary and that he had seen a picture of me – he introduced himself very formally, my reply was just as formal but somewhere in cyberspace formal turned into less formal and I was hooked!
I had never met this guy, yet I couldn’t concentrate on my work, I checked my email account every 5 minutes and spent hours composing replies, reading and re reading to make sure they sounded just right, my tummy had permanent butterflies and my heart beat so fast I could barely breathe! – Nothing wrong in any of that I hear you say, loads of couples meet day in day out on the internet but the difference is I am married, but this didn’t seem to deter me it was as if something had taken over a part of my brain and I couldn’t stop it.
Couples relationship expert Peter Barnes told us “The online environment is the perfect breeding ground for fantasies because it allows us to ascribe all the wonderful qualities we want in a partner to someone we’ve never met.”
And this is exactly what was happening with me. I wanted someone who understood me, who listened when I talked about my work, life and my children, someone who the thought of his touch burnt me up, the thought of his kiss made my knees weak…and oh my, the thought of him holding me in his arms was just too good to be true. I could tell him my weaknesses and he made me feel strong, my faults and he thinks that they are cute and I’m wonderful. How can someone I’ve never met make me feel so happy and fulfilled?
The emails continued, pictures were exchanged my fantasies now had a face. I walked around in a bubble unaware of life happening around me, he told me he worked for a very well known company that had offices all over the world! How ideal was that I started thinking, if I were to meet up with him it wouldn’t be too difficult because he wasn’t in the country that often, it was ideal. My fantasies just grew I imagined myself becoming a major part of his life, I pictured myself leaving my husband and travelling the world with Gary, in my mind it all seemed plausible! We had so much in common; it was as if he had been moulded just for me.
The email came that I couldn’t breath at, he had to go to Monte Carlo for three days on business would I join him his exact words “I do have a proposal: I will be in Monte Carlo for a conference it is set over 3 days. Would you be able to join me? You would be on my guest list. I would be the perfect gentleman and it would be an amazing time. You would loose me for approximately 4-5 hours each day but shopping in Monte Carlo is a dream and champagne is a must. Have you been? I stay at the Fairmont as one of our executives owns half the Hotel chain. I also have to touch base with reality and I know you have a husband so I would not pressure you about this in any way.”
I was falling and falling for Gary in a big way, I started to plan in my mind how I could get away for those days to see him.
According to psychologist Patricia Campbell “falling in love with someone you’ve never met is basing a relationship on superficial experiences. You really don’t know much about that person other than whatever it is he/she has told you — and you have no proof to back it up. He/she could be very different in person.”
Had I forgotten I was married? No, I felt I could justify my behavior because what was I actually doing? Emailing a guy I felt attracted to? I email guys all the time in my line of work anyway my husband has not been there for me over the years, and Gary reminded me of my husband and how we used to be together. I wanted to feel like that all the time.
My blackberry pinged with an email, he was back in England for a day and we could meet for coffee……Oh God I couldn’t breath I was finally going to meet the man who had distracted my life for two weeks (WOW was that all it was), I kept setting the scene in my head what would I wear? What would I say? What if he went to kiss me (I am married and whilst flirting over the internet is one thing having physical contact is another!)
The day finally came, we had arranged to meet in a coffee shop halfway between my town and his, the whole journey I felt physically sick – I had told my husband I was meeting a friend, when I arrived at the destination my apprehension was indescribable, he was already inside waiting for me, raising from his chair as I walked through the door with a heart melting smile on his lips. I reached the table he was just as tall as he had said, he wrapped his arms around me and hugged me for what seemed an age but was really not.
We both sat down there was no awkwardness and we chatted about everything and nothing BUT it was different he was lovely, told me all the things I wanted to hear but now it was real and not a fantasy and I had a husband at home, my stomach wasn’t doing butterflies. I felt as if I was having coffee with a friend I hadn’t seen for ages, we had a lovely time but I didn’t have the undying urge to run off with him, I can’t say what it was, maybe there was an unconscious part of my brain reminding me I had a husband and children at home and in all reality I couldn’t leave everything and follow this man around the world and maybe just maybe if I wasn’t married it may have been different
For a while I got carried away and let the world of fantasy and reality blur into one, I showed my husband ALL the email correspondence between me and Gary, I expected him to be angry but he read the emails and broke down in tears admitting he wouldn’t have blamed me if I had left him. He admitted he knew he had neglected me over the years and not been the best husband, but he promised me that this was the jolt he needed to make him realise I was the love of his life and he didn’t want to loose me, he promised me he would change and he has, he treats me like a princess, is loving and caring to me and my family, he makes time for me and doesn’t go off for days sulking because he doesn’t like something I have said or done, we talk to each other and share our innermost thoughts and secrets, in fact our marriage is stronger and I am happier than ever, and as for Gary we occasionally send catch up emails and if someone like him emailed me now my reply……….”Thank you for the compliment but I am happily married!”
I was lucky, many polls indicate that seemingly innocent online friendships often develop into intense emotional and physical affairs that can devastate marriages, so think very carefully before engaging in something that may initially seem completely harmless.