You've Got Mail!
Part of the hype that has accompanied the "Internet experience" was the movie "You've Got Mail!" starring Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan. These two allegedly meet in a chat room on the Internet but live only blocks apart in the same city. They fall in love and live happily ever after. Okay, so it made a better story the way they told it, but let's get real here. Have you ever met anyone on the Net that lived in the same city as you do, let alone close by?
The story wasn't off base at all. Two people can meet and have an online relationship that lasts for years and means more to them than they care to admit to themselves. With only words to judge someone by, you get to know the inner person rather than the superficial one they show to the outside world. Their typos become as second nature to the online love as a facial expression in reality. But the superficial "reality" person is there lurking in the background.
I was one of those people. (I feel like I'm admitting to alcoholism here ... "Hi, my name is Lauranna, and I've had a Net affair.") When I met T (20 years younger and 1,600 miles away) it was during a dark time in an otherwise fine marriage. It was a lot like playing a game or like going to a movie at first. It seemed a harmless enough way to spend the evening while hubby was at work and I was home alone. It was interesting talking to someone who lived far away and who treated me very well and was fascinated by every word I typed. Okay, so some of those words can't be repeated here 'cause I promised myself I would keep this "G" rated.
People say that the Net is a big "equalizer", that age and nationality and all other factors get switched off here. They do. Unfortunately, in reality those things do play a role in relationships. We met face to face after talking for nearly a year. Still, foolishly I lied to myself that his being 20 years younger and several inches shorter didn't matter. I was fully prepared to chuck my life here and pack my bags and move to sunny California to be with the "soul mate" I found on the Net.
Why didn't I? Because someone else I had met on the Net talked some sense into me. A friend made me take a hard look at the reality of my life, my age, my job, my home, my family, my friends, and most of all my marriage. Was I giving it a fair chance or was I so absorbed in being online with this guy that I pushed reality aside.
I owe my friend for that. For pouring the coffee and making me take a good strong sniff of it. I'm cured now. I'm over the hurt that I caused myself. Recently my former online love emailed asking if I still had the pictures on disk that he sent me. I didn't. I had deleted them. I said I didn't, and he was disappointed because he wanted to send them to his new online love. If you look up "jerk" in the dictionary, don't forget to look up "fool" and you'll see pictures of us both.
If you are even remotely considering an online affair, or meeting someone in reality that you met on the Net, or if you are considering dropping your life in the garbage for someone you barely know, talk to me first. I'll pour you a cup of reality.
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