Dear Miss U,
I have been in this relationship for 18 months and only spoke to him twice on the phone. We’ve never Skyped yet, chatted on FB where he invited me and now chatting on Whatsapp. I have been asking, “When we are going to Skype?” but he always says I must be patient, however, he is very good chatting on Whatsapp… chats morning, afternoon, and at night. He promised to send me a plane ticket to visit him as soon as he is financially sorted. Am I silly at this age to believe all that he says and are we ever going to meet each other like he promised? He is from the UK and I am from South Africa.
I don’t think age has anything to do with it. Lots of people find love again later on in life. I do however find it suspicious that he says you “need to be patient” on the issue of Skyping. What, exactly, are you supposed to be waiting for? Why the delay? He obviously has the time and an internet connection, so it seems odd to me that he’s putting it off. I feel like relationships need some degree of progress to continue to thrive and would personally be asking him to step up or step out.
I’m going to tell you the same thing I tell all the teens and twenty-somethings that write to me: Don’t get on a plane to meet anyone whose face you’ve never seen in real time. Ideally, you’d meet some of his friends or family via Skype too, before taking that kind of risk. I like to believe that most of the people on the internet are good, kind-hearted souls, but I know there are the predators too, and people who care about us will understand and support our need for caution, even when it comes to meeting them.
18 months is a great time to have a chat about what you want out of a romantic relationship and what kind of time frame you’d like to aim for. I don’t see why you wouldn’t be able to overcome the distance and meet each other but at the same time if your intuition is telling you that something doesn’t add up I really think you need to listen to that instinct.
Dear Miss U
My boyfriend and I met over the internet using a social media app. Everything happened kind of fast between us. I fell madly in love with him and he did with me. But the thing is…we don’t talk off the app we met on. I have tried… believe me, I have. One time I gave him my phone number and he just kind of shrugged it off. We don’t use any types of video chatting either. I feel like he refuses to progress the relationship further and I feel stupid about it when our relationship is brought up with other people. I bought a plane ticket to go and see him and yet he refuses to exchange numbers. Please help. I’m at my wit’s end. I love him, but I don’t know if I can continue to be confined in the app we had met in. It almost doesn’t feel real. I have brought it up a couple of times, but nothing came about it. Any words of advice? What would you do in my situation?
At the two month mark, I actually don’t think there’s anything abnormal about not video chatting or exchanging phone numbers yet. To me that’s a basic safety thing, you might feel head-over-heals for each other but you’re still essentially strangers on the internet with a long way to go before that level of trust has been earned.
Like I said to Viv, don’t meet someone from the internet whom you’ve never at least video-chatted with. Don’t make yourself physically vulnerable by jumping in head-first with your eyes shut; take it slowly, enjoy the little steps, and when you finally get to the meeting part do that with safety in mind too. Make sure your family or a close friend knows where you are, knows his name and address, and will check in with you a few times in the first couple of days. Make sure this person watching your back will not hesitate to contact the authorities if you suddenly become unreachable or you express to them that you feel unsafe. Have enough emergency funds to get the hell out of there if necessary.
In your situation, I would call my airline and either cancel or push back that first visit because he’s clearly not ready to take it that far. After getting that sorted, I’d advise easing up the pressure before he blocks you and runs screaming for the hills. Why does it matter what other people think? You’re not dating this guy to impress people. This isn’t about status and making milestones and living a whirlwind love story that all your friends will be jealous of. This is about you and him and your gentle, glorious, human experiences. It’s about building a relationship that is fulfilling and long-lasting, and that isn’t done in two months under pressure.
Right now just focus on getting to know each other and enjoying your contact. When you get to 18 months and he’s still fobbing you off, that’s when your wits should be at their end.
Thank you for today’s awesome title. It’s too good not to use it!