Dec 10 09
Q: Can a sight-unseen relationship be viable? I have been corresponding with a man from Florida (I am a New Yorker) over the internet for the past two months. We have spoken over the phone, exchange text messages and have, in a very unusual but exciting way, become close without having actually met each other. What is the probability that a sight-unseen relationship like ours will blossom into a great relationship? I have heard horror stories of people in situations like mine being exploited by others who misrepresent themselves in this type situation. I would appreciate any advice you can give me on this.
A: Whether a sight-unseen relationship can be viable is certainly relevant to your situation but a more general and equally pertinent concern is: If a relationship is at the beginning stages and you've SEEN little of the other person, how much of an emotional investment makes sense? The prudent answer: not much. Romance with someone you have – in your case, never - barely met in the flesh will likely be shrouded in fantasy; this fantasy may or may not have much to do with who the other actually is. Using the same logic, an intoxicating first date with someone you have limited experience with - even if that limited experience was extremely positive - is not enough to justify a substantial financial and/or emotional investment! Romance is lovely but it needs to survive light of day in order to merit trust. There must be some means, built into contact early in a relationship - whether it is on the internet or in person - to give a person a sense of the other's context; who they are and where they are coming from, literally and metaphorically speaking. For starters, do you know whether they are available or spoken? How do you evaluate a person’s essential honesty? Their ability to make themselves vulnerable? This is the work of getting to know someone and it requires using head and heart in coordination – they can’t really be separated anyway! But you must be open to all of your feelings and thoughts and monitor what your gut tells you: then make an informed decision about how you wish to proceed. If you find yourself in a situation where you feel you are known to the other but they are a mystery – albeit possibly a very seductive and attractive mystery – then beware! This is the situation in which people searching for love can find themselves manipulated and treated unfairly. Getting to know someone necessitates a multi-dimensional give-and-take which is not possible to achieve through internet-phone-texting contact alone; but must be worked at, and achieved, in real time encounters.