How 'real' are online relationships?

Christy - posted on 08/28/2013 ( 23 moms have responded )

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My daughter, Kyra, is a college student and plays an online video game where she has made friends. We are close and she shares quite a bit with me. Recently, she told me that one of the guys in this group, Chris, is moving out here to California from Wisconsin to be with her. On the plus side, he is not planning to stay with her. However, he is married. He has told her that his wife started seeing her ex about 10 months ago and the marriage was failing. His new relationship with Kyra was the catalyst that precipitated their mutual decision, last weekend, to end the marriage. Kyra, who broke up with her boyfriend of 5 years over the summer, is very happy and excited. I'm not so happy. I'm concerned that she is jumping into something too soon; I was hoping she would make friends at school. But, this is not what I am really upset about. Chris and his wife had booked a trip to Japan a month from now and Chris wants Kyra to go in her place. I told Kyra that I don't think she should go on a trip like this with someone she hasn't even met in person. She says she has known him for 8 months. This leads to my subject: How 'real' are online relationships? Now, perhaps when she meets him, 10 days from now, the situation will change. And, perhaps when I meet him in 2 weeks, I will feel differently. But, right now, I feel anxious and scared. When she told me about the trip to Japan, she thought I was going to be happy for her. She is disappointed that I have reservations and she told me that it started her thinking. But, later, she told me she talked to Chris and he reassured her. Swell. By the way, Kyra is turning 21 soon and Chris is 30.

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Amanda - posted on 08/31/2013

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My daughter is 5 weeks old. I imagine I'll ALWAYS worry for her and wish for the best, no matter how old she is. So is remove her age from the equation; you're her mom, and it's only natural for you to worry.

As for meeting online... My husband and I met online, and I could not have found anothe man who is more loving, caring, and wonderful. He's absolutely the love of my life. We had a quick relationship before getting married, and it's only been better and better since meeting. I know so many others who met online with similar stories. I wouldn't have concerns about how they met.

I would, however, have concerns about the circumstances if their relationship. Throwing away a five year marriage so easily and rushing into a new relationship and an expensive vacation says something about his character. He seems reckless, impulsive, and a bit irrational. He seems irresponsible with money; yes he'd lose money on the hotel but he'd safe money on the flight by canceling the trip. If there are children, he seems exquisitly selfish she immature. Is this the kind of husband and father of her children she's looking for? Are these qualities the ones she values in a partner? Does she always want to confront nagging suspicions for the duration of their relationship about whether or not he's replacing her?

Yes, the trip is unsettling. But more so, his character is really concerning. I'd have far bigger concerns about this man than this trip. To me, you and your daughter are focused on the small, most immediate aspect instead of the larger and more far reaching issue.

Idk how you can best address this. I think if it were me and my mom, it would be best for her to involve my dad, who would prob say, "I want to talk to you about this. I just want to speak my mind, and then I won't bring this up again." He always has calm, rational conversations with me, and I always listen. But when my mom says the exact same things, I instinctually argue with her. It's unfair but true. Is there someone you can involve? Her dad. An aunt, a grandparent?

Good luck!

TIA - posted on 08/28/2013

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I WOULD BE VERY SCARED OF MY DAUGHTER LEAVING THE COUNTRY WITH HIM. (SEX RINGS!)

I WOULD B OK WITH THEM GETTING TO KNOW EACH OTHER IN PERSON AND TAKING THINGS VERY SLOW.

ALSO A 30 YEAR OLD DIVORCED MAN USUALLY IS IN A VERY DIFFERENT PLACE IN HIS LIFE THAN A 21 YEAR OLD GIRL.
HOWEVER, TO ANSWER YOUR FIRST QUESTION, I BELIEVE TALKING TO SOMEONE LONG DISTANCE (BE IT VIA PHONE, LETTERS OR GAMING) CAN BRING PEOPLE VERY CLOSE AND CREATE A SOLID PLATONIC RELATIONSHIP. THE OTHER REALLY IMPORTANT PARTS OF A ROMANTIC RELATIONSHIP NEED THE CHANCE TO DEVELOP. TOO OFTEN PEOPLE PORTRAY THEMSELVES AS A DIFFERENT PERSON THAN THEY REALLY ARE. IF SHE IS SERIOUS IT WOULD BE A GOOD IDEA FOR HER TO MEET IN PERSON WITH HIS FAMILY AND FRIENDS.

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Nina - posted on 09/09/2016

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I loved my daughter so much I hired a professional cyber investigator. I am not proud of my actions but this was something I had to do because He was a psychopath. You can reach him on Cyberinfiltrator@gmail.com or +14084651164.

Christy - posted on 09/03/2013

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Angela, you described my fears quite well. I think you covered everything. Kyra is a very sensitive girl and treats every relationship seriously. Last year she and her high school sweetheart got an apartment together in the college town she moved to because he was there. Yes, she followed him. She set the apartment up as though she thought it would be forever. Then, when he decided to study abroad for a year, she was devastated. When he flew out in August, she cried it out and said she was fine. Now she is sharing a house with four great roommates. I thought she was set to enjoy college life. When she told me about Chris, she said that she was finally happy again, that she hadn't been happy since 'last-boyfriend' decided to study abroad. So, it is likely that she is just postponing healing from the previous relationship.

But, I do accept that she has to make her own mistakes and learn from them. I wish she could just learn from mine and avoid a lot of pain, haha. I realize, now, that it is just wishful thinking on my part. My job, as the parent of an adult, is to remain a safe place for her. A place where she can go for comfort without fear of judgement.

Angela - posted on 09/02/2013

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Jodi raises a good point there ..... However, I'm worried about the ability of a 21 year old to be able to say "Oh well, it was fun while it lasted ...." and move on happily.

Also remember, the wife can still name your daughter in divorce proceedings if she wishes to ....

So over to you, Christy. CAN your daughter just walk away from it all and be philosophical?

Whatever you do, don't suggest that it's a short-term "fun" fling to your daughter. If she IS very sensitive and regards it as true love etc ... she will be having enough of a hard time coming to terms with it all herself if it comes to an end, without thinking "my mother was RIGHT ..."

Don't treat the relationship as serious, but don't treat it as short-term and casual either. Just accept they're in a relationship and if it fails you can help her then.

Not much else you can do about this ....

Jodi - posted on 09/01/2013

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Maybe neither of them is actually after a lasting relationship? Maybe they just want a rebound relationship. We can't know for sure. But after my divorce from my first husband, I had a couple of these relationships - no strings, just relationships with a man whose company I could enjoy and who I could travel with occasionally. Neither of those relationships were long term, and neither of them were intended to be. Neither were they particularly serious. Both adults knew where they stood, and no-one was getting hurt. Just a thought.

Angela - posted on 09/01/2013

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So Chris & his wife decided to split up just a week ago? But she's been seeing her ex for about 10 months? (obviously no longer an "ex", LOL!!).

Chris decided to book a Japanese vacation for his wife & himself .... I'm assuming he did this less than 10 months ago - so it was when his wife had already started up the relationship with her ex. Chris evidently didn't know about this?

Then, one week ago they decide to break up. She has her new man and Chris's pride's been hurt. So ...... he remembers that there is a nice girl, Kyra, with whom he has been interacting online on a gaming site - not a dating site, just a gaming site.

Now he can take Kyra on the Japanese vacation. That'll show his wife! Now he's got someone to take away with him he feels a bit happier. And his pride has healed now. He can tell the world Kyra is his new girlfriend. Huh! His wife thought she was making him feel small because she was seeing a man outside of the marriage. But he's got a new woman now and the world's a happy place again.

It's great to be able to show your estranged wife that she's not the only one who can get a new partner!

Of course, he and Kyra have hardly got to know each other in person. For now it seems OK. But after spending time together in Japan ....... well that will be "make or break" time. It could be that they won't be able to stand the sight of each other before it's time for the flight home.

But what's more likely is that ONE of them will be disenchanted with the other. It would be OK if it were BOTH of them, it would be OK if they decided they really liked & loved each other and this is just the start of something great. But it's fairly likely that ONE of them won't be so keen on the other after spending a lot of time together. This might not be straight after Japan, it might be a bit further down the line .....

Now if this is Kyra, she may stay remembering that he's just treated her to a fabulous vacation so she stays with him out of duty. Or he might just decide to remind her of it if she hints in any way that theirs is NOT a relationship made in Heaven ....

And if he is the one who decides Kyra's not the girl for him after all, she might get her heart broken. Or he might decide to ignore his feelings and stay with her rather than let his friends (and especially his wife) see that once more he's on his own. And if he decides he's staying with her (even if he finds he doesn't care for her) then this is the type of relationship that leads to abuse, (not necessarily physical violence, but emotional & psychological abuse) - which usually starts with rudeness, lack of respect and exploitation - all arising from general dissatisfaction with the relationship but hanging on in there anyway.

Overall, not a recipe for lasting happiness for either of them.

Hope I'm wrong OR that they can split amicably.

Christy - posted on 08/31/2013

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Thanks for responding Angela. I don't think you put a damper on this thread. I appreciate your insights. To answer your questions, he and his wife made the decision to split one week ago. They have been married 5 years and have yet to file papers. He accepted my friend request on Facebook and the pictures of him and his wife are numerous and depict a happy relationship. I am concerned that my daughter will feel obligated. Very concerned.

On another note, Tia mentioned that I should give them space when they return (from Japan}. She is in college 3 hours away. I have no plans to visit her after their return and I wouldn't dream of just showing up uninvited.

Angela - posted on 08/31/2013

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OK, I'm British and met my husband online and I'm so glad I did! We would not have met otherwise - we lived in towns 22 miles apart.

Now, your daughter is old enough to make her own decisions, she's old enough to take a holiday with a man, etc, etc .....

I don't think AGE is a consideration. But you have NOT mentioned his circumstances. So he's 30 and recently split from his wife - not divorced yet. Does he have any children? How long was he "happily married" before he & his wife parted company? I would have misgivings WHATEVER age my daughter was! And in your daughter's shoes, I'd feel a little affronted that he wanted to treat me to a vacation that was originally paid for with his wife in mind! I think offering the place to your daughter is rather crass, to be honest. He could at least have paid the money to have the name removed and left "open" before he made the offer. And I agree that they shouldn't rush into the vacation.

When a relationship is whirlwind, I'm a bit suspicious. It doesn't matter how long they've known one another online - he's fairly recently split from his wife. I've known of men who've treated the new lady in their lives to an expensive vacation and it doesn't impress me. This kind of gesture is over the top in a new relationship. If he turns out to have any "baggage" or unacceptable habits/behaviours, she's in a weaker position to stand up for herself or ditch him or whatever. Because, uppermost in both her mind and his will be "I took an expensive vacation with him when I only knew him a short time - perhaps I owe him something?" I've already said that age isn't especially important, but a 21 year old is likely to be more vulnerable with something like this. And older people have succumbed to feeling obligated over accepting expensive gifts, grand favours and big treats. A vacation isn't like a piece of jewellery which can be returned! Once it's been enjoyed, that's it!

It's lovely to have a partner/lover/spouse who treats you. But so soon in a relationship? I'm sure there are lovely memories to be made for both of them IF they last the course and stay together.

If he's not legally divorced yet, then your daughter is essentially spending time (& possibly getting intimate) with a man who is still legally married to someone else. That means she can be "named" in divorce papers (not saying it would happen, but despite the wife's unfaithfulness with a new man, she still has the right to counter-petition her husband for forming a relationship with your daughter!).

Lots of people will happily give up on their marriages when someone new and perhaps more interesting comes along. Your daughter's man AND his estranged wife seem to have done that. That indicates no staying power. People and relationships are disposable. Now this is fine - as long as the new pair of partners are of like mind. So if he tires of your daughter (or she tires of him) after a few weeks or a few months, then this is OK if they're both happy with it?

You see, I would worry about this whether my daughter was 21 or 41. Age doesn't come into it.

Sorry if I've put a dampener on this thread.

TIA - posted on 08/30/2013

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IT SOUNDS LIKE YOU ARE HANDLING THINGS WELL. WHEN THEY GET BACK BE SURE TO GIVE THEM SPACE. IF THIS IS A LONG TERM DEAL YOU WILL HAVE PLENTY OF TIME TO GET TO KNOW HIM BETTER. AND HE WILL HAVE PLENTY OF OPPORTUNITIES TO SURPRISE YOU BY BEING WHAT YOU HOPED FOR YOUR DAUGHTER.
ON AN COMFORTING NOTE, GIRLS TEND TO MATURE FASTER THAN MEN. AFTER A CERTAIN AGE IT DOESN'T MAKE A DIFFERENCE IF THE COUPLE ARE 10 YEARS OR LESS APART. THEY WILL LIKELY FACE CHALLENGES OF DIFFERENCES AS EVERY NEW COUPLE DOES.

Christy - posted on 08/30/2013

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Just to be clear, I know that Kyra is old enough to make her own decisions. And, for the most part, I think she makes good ones. I am very proud of her and I WILL NOT do anything to alienate her. But, I am having a very hard time with this. I'm not sleeping and I feel a huge sense of dread. I hope that when I get to meet him in person and see them together, I will feel better. She and I have been to Japan 3 times so he wants my advice. This is good and I am trying to focus on that.

Still, they are both just out of serious long-term relationships. Anyone who jumps into a new relationship right away is just postponing the grieving process. They have been in a relationship with each other for about a week now. Any kind of travel puts stress on a relationship, even well established ones. They will be stuck with each other if things go south. They are, however, staying in a very nice hotel with computers available. I will ask her to send me regular emails and I expect she will be willing. I am trying very hard to accept and be ok with this.

Taylor - posted on 08/30/2013

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I think she need to meet Chris in person and make her own choice to go to Japan.
If she feels like it's right, if she feels safe then it shouldn't matter.

She should however make sure other people know where she is at all times while she is in Japan.
The age difference doesn't matter, as long as she is over 18 she can have a relationship with whoever she wants.

Christy - posted on 08/30/2013

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Thank you Tia. I know that I cannot stop her. Since I wrote the initial post, she called to tell me that the airline will not transfer the ticket to her name so he is going to cancel and re-book. I suggested that they take this opportunity to postpone the trip. She says he will loose money on the hotel. Actually, she said, "I'm not asking for your advice and I don't want it." I know she cares what I think and she knows I have reservations. Unless she asks, that will have to be enough

TIA - posted on 08/30/2013

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YOU CANT STOP HER. SHE IS OVER 18. HOWEVER YOU CAN LOOK UP PSYCHOLOGY ARTICLES FROM WEB SIGHTS THAT ARE RELIABLE SOURCES. PRESENT TO HER THE EVIDENCE AND EXPRESS YOUR FEARS AS A MOTHER. THE MORE CONTROLLING YOU TRY TO BE THE MORE SHE WILL REBEL.

THE ARTICLES CAN EXPLAIN HOW FOR A MARITAL LEVEL OF A RELATIONSHIP THEY NEED MORE THAN JUST VERBAL CONNECTION. LOOK FOR ONES THAT EXPLAIN HOW RELATIONSHIPS DEVELOP.

EVEN A PREACHER CAN EXPLAIN THE DIFFERENT PARTS OF LOVE LIKE EMOTIONAL AND PHYSICAL AND HOW EACH ARE CRUCIAL TO A HEALTHY RELATIONSHIP.

REACHING OUT TO HER FRIENDS OR PEOPLE SHE RESPECTS MAY ALSO HELP. SOMETIMES THEY NEED TO HEAR FORM SOME ONE THAT IS NOT A PARENT.

Gena - posted on 08/29/2013

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I also met my husband online..We only found out after a while that i actualy saw him on stage befor we met online but i didnt realize at the time that was my future husband:-) I also know 3other couples that met online and are now together or married.

Jodi - posted on 08/28/2013

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You said "Now, how to stop her.". That gave me a clue.

I am not saying it is a great idea, but she is meeting him before they go, right? As you said, she is an adult. You need to let her make that decision.

I am coming from the perspective of the parent of a 21 year old who just got back from 2 months in Europe with people we don't know. She stayed with a family she had never met. You need to trust that you have done your job.

Christy - posted on 08/28/2013

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Jodi, what Is it you think I've done to interfere? She is an adult. That is why I cannot tell her what to do. You really think that her going on an overseas trip with a man she still has not met in person is a good idea?

Jodi - posted on 08/28/2013

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Online relationships can be very real. And they can be equivalent to an in person relationship. I am married almost 10 years to the man I met online. I knew him for 6 months online before we met, and when we met we felt like we knew each other forever. She is an adult. I think you need to stop interfering.

Christy - posted on 08/28/2013

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Thank you Tia. You confirmed my point of view which is what I needed. She told me I was old-fashioned in thinking that an online relationship is not equivalent to an in person relationship. Now, how to stop her.

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