The COVID19 Pandemic has brought a whole new challenge to the online dating scene. While usually, people want to meet after a couple of chat messages, Now we have to wait, and if we do not have to wait because we are not on lockdown, we have to wear facemasks and/or keep a certain distance. Most people postpone their meeting, until after the lockdown and after the pandemic.
I searched the archives of my website because I was sure I had written an article about falling in love online before. But I have not. Not as the main topic, maybe I scratched the surface in one of the many Filipino dating-tips on the website, since many men meet their new love online, but I never dedicated a whole article to the subject.
Time to do this and to confess that although I though falling online was not possible, it now happened to me, so I have to confess that I am a converted advisor on that topic now. But!
There is always a but. Let me share my story.
Dating in Mexico
I have been using Facebook dating for a little over a year now to find my prince charming. I found many charming men, Mexicans know how to flirt and make you feel good, it was never my prince, most were princes in disguise. Very much married looking for a second wife or just interested in a one-way ticket out of Mexico I had my share of attention. And to be honest, my interest was more and more becoming a selfish interest, to practise my Spanish and not to meet up. After a few dates went sour, I did not feel safe to date anymore.
I just used the contacts to chat on WhatsApp, and I swiped more men to the left than right. For all sorts of reasons: too short, too much beer photo’s or half nudes, too fat, too big a moustache (sorry guys!) too many children….plenty of excuses to not want to talk to them. The biggest reason to swipe left is No selfie, but a random picture. That is a definite no for me. I want to see whom I am talking to.
Until……he liked me, his profile was some Tigger look-alike tiger. It looked kind of cute. But it was the text that caught my attention, he wanted friendship first. And somehow in that profile, it sounded sincere. Don’t ask me to explain that, for I cannot. So I broke my own rule. I swept right. And boy was I mistaken!
I told him straight up I wanted a photo, for I like to see whom I am talking to. And he agreed, gave me his phone number to add him to WhatsApp, so I could see a photo if I needed more photos I simply had to ask. And fluent English…..Wow……. Most men don’t speak two words English.
So I added him to WhatsApp and there he was. Nice to look at, bit grumpy expression, but hey, we can’t all run around laughing all the time. he looked self-confident not too macho and his eyes were kind.
And so we started talking
We started talking, and from the first moment, our conversations were vibrant and alive. With one year of experience in dating in Mexico where conversations usually go like:
hola como estas? Muy bien y tu, bien gracias, are you single? No boyfriend? No, and you? Good, let’s chat (avoiding to answer your question about his relationship status) And then you hear nothing for days, only to be expected to jump in the conversation whenever he pleases.
It was a pleasure to talk to him. Really. And with conversations going so smooth and so open, it is easy to forget you don’t know this person at all and you are talking to a stranger. It was friendship from day 1.
And it became attachment pretty fast.
For the right reasons? I kept questioning myself, for I had never met him and I would not for a while since we both were on lockdown. And how about the lonely feelings and disconnected feelings you experience in lockdown, do they cloud my mind and feelings? Do I like him because of a suppressed need?
I could sense he felt the same, his eagerness to meet me grew, and so did mine. I was holding back because I knew I would make him all fictional in my head and he could never pass the reality check after that. How extraordinary these circumstances are, we had to keep our heads clear. He seemed pretty sure about his path with “us” I was reluctant. I told him: I need to see you in real life. I need to hear you, see how your body moves, your gestures, I need to see your eyes and smell you before I can go any further in this opening up that my emotions urge me to do.
And he was okay with that.
I discover a better me, buried deep down inside under past experiences and she rises like a Fenix from the ashes.
I was very wounded. Once I dated a narcissist who totally destroyed that what was left of me after a very abusive relationship before that, that lasted 20 years. You see where I come from. I have a habit of choosing men that are bad for me.
But my contact with my (now ex)Mexican boyfriend transfers me into a better version of me. I discover my old self, buried deep under the ashes of the past. And I grow. Through text and video chat, he makes me want to rekindle with that undamaged version of myself., and he makes me do that by making me feel good about myself. He makes me smile, grows my self-confidence and shows me how unconditionally love can be. (or so I thought!)
The fictional figure needs to be banned as soon as possible
He works, he is one of the lucky ones that did not lose his job over this pandemic. And we both realized that that was a priority, to keep working But one day he told me that he was being transferred. And that we could meet.
It is my strong belief that when an opportunity to meet happens you should do that before that fictional person in your head becomes alive and your date has lost all his/her chances of passing the reality check.
I saw him, I saw his eyes and I knew what I felt online would pass the reality check. My god I really really liked him. And by the look of it: that feeling is mutual. His face when he saw me. Long time since a man looked at me like that.
Short after that meeting, we had a huge argument, something happened that made us fall out. It broke my heart. My luck, always….really, when I open my heart shit happens. I told him I did not want to continue. Better end it now than get burned later on. he was upset. Angry.
My scars are acting up
We tried to talk, but language barriers and emotions got in the way. I told myself it was for the best. Better now than later on.
But god it hurt! So bad as if I broke up with a guy I dated for ages. It was like I broke up a relationship that had lasted for years. It was by then I realized I was in love. Deep, intense and full.
And I could no longer ignore my heart, and I had to silence my head with all the logic that falling in love over the internet was not possible.
But it was also my past experience that drove me up this hill of prejudice and hurt. This could not be true, if something sounds and feels too good to be true, it usually is. So I acted on my response to flee away from happiness before it could really scar me.
After 48 hours of agony, talking to a friend and really pulling my hairs out, going back and forth over all the pro’s and cons and the stupidity and idiocracy of it all I contacted him. The pain was too much and I missed him like a limb was cut off. I had fallen for this man, I could no longer deny that.
I was willing to take the risk of falling in love online and maybe get hurt all over again
I realized I had nothing to lose, the worst thing that could happen was that he would say no. Then at least I tried. I send him a message and then waited in anticipation. And (*Sigh of relief*) he said yes.
Yes, we could be that what we were before the fight. whatever that was. I know he called me his girlfriend to his colleagues when he had to explain my presence that day at the bus station. I was not there yet. But slowly now, as the weeks pass, I began to think of him as my boyfriend.
We agreed on being exclusive. Not dating others anymore. I brushed off the few leftovers from the dating site. And we focus on us. The two of us.
No title yet, just dating, and I wanted him to ask me to be his girlfriend when he falls in love too. He knows that. Stupid and maybe childish, I know, but I need those boundaries, those acclamations, those milestones. To keep my head on track, to not wander off in the past and blow this up. He knows that also.
I am not sure if he is in love but he certainly acts like he is. His grumpy face has a big smile. And although he told me he is not a person to laugh easily, he laughs a lot.
Everyday contact but not only texting
In the beginning, he wanted to see me every day, before we go to sleep he would call me, every morning as soon as he opens his eyes he text me, and here I am in lockdown, staring at my screen filling up with compliments, kisses and photos, My company is a bunch of lovely fluttering butterflies while I float on a pink cloud in this timeless period of my life. For in lockdown all hours are just hours and every day is another day. I can only hope for time to pass really quickly so we can finally go on a proper date.
It is important to not only chat, but also talk on the phone and do video chat, and voice messages. because communication through the internet is limited and easily interpreted wrongly. So when you feel a misunderstanding rising you call, and of course, you call also for fun.
Having video chats is like holding hands virtually. You know it will not happen anytime soon to meet in person, but you need to connect, you need to hold on. Video chat is a perfect way to do that when you cannot meet in real life.
You have to keep it playful make jokes, have fun, explore boundaries in your comfort to tease and sexting
Yes, you definitely can fall in love online. But you have to do a reality check asap. Not just video calling, but face to face. Just so you know the person you are talking to is the same person you see on a video. I remember s story of a woman that fell in love with a man online, she loved him dearly for three years. Video chat and all. But when they met she was so disappointed and he was nothing like she imagined.
He was everything I imagined and more on that first weird facemask social distancing meeting and beyond. We do discover funny and weird things about each other, every time we talk. But we have a pleasant time working through them, explaining, sharing and understanding. Over language barriers and cultural differences.
Falling in love online during a pandemic has that extra special gift to us all, time. We can get to know each other, build confidentiality that is easier to build online than face to face. And take all that gathered knowledge with us ion a first date. And then you know if you bond or not.
And yet, I was mistaken to the bone……I trusted him, loved him, lived with him for a month only to discover he was a total fraud, an imposter. So yes, you can fall in love online, easily, but it is meeting a person in real life, getting to know them better in person that makes you realize that you see red flags through your rose coloured glasses. And then comes the reality check. In my case a very harsh one……..
So please be very careful when you fall in love online, and make sure you do a regular reality check to see what is really going on in his life. My “love” did everything right, yet there was so much wrong that our relationship had no right to exist. he broke my trust, my heart and damaged my self-confidence.
Jeanette, a Dutch female nomad, started to travel the world at the age of 17. Walker of beaches, shell searcher and iPhone photographer. Writer and owner of two websites
Currently, she lives in Mexico.
She is an emigration coach and works online.