Computer Love Lacks Real Feeling
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Dear Christine,

My name is Jonathan, and I spend a lot of my afternoons, maybe three or four hours, on chat rooms, talking up the lucky girl I pick to get to know for the afternoon. If by chance she keeps in contact with me, an online relationship might last several weeks or, in some cases, a couple of months. I do consider these to be relationships because the girls on there have genuine feelings for me and say I’m really sweet and charming, and I mean something to them.

As nice as it is to have online girlfriends, I can’t ever seem to get up the courage to ask a girl out in real life. And the ones I do ask out always let me down somehow. I’m not bad looking and my personality is the best thing about me, along with my manners and charm. So why can’t I get a date?

  
 
I’m almost 20, and I’ve never held a girl’s hand, had a date, kissed a girl, or anything. I’m like a relationship virgin. What am I doing wrong? -- JONATHAN – MOUNT BRYDGES, ON

Dear Jonathan,

What you’re doing wrong is hiding from “real life” behind a computer screen.

Although you feel drawn to the safety of the written word instead of face-to-face communication and potential rejections, it’s time to get out of the house and meet real people.

I have trouble agreeing that these online flirtations are “real relationships.” Although there are rare exceptions, people typically often portray themselves differently online. Since you’ve never seen each other and know nothing about the person with whom you’re corresponding, people can re-create themselves and tell you only what you want to hear. How do you know the people you’re talking to are who they claim to be? The 19-year-old cheerleader on the other keyboard could be a 48-year-old unbathed, beer-bellied pervert in a filthy tank top—who gets his jollies from young men.

Online correspondence can fulfil a real emotional need and blow-up dolls can fulfil a real physical need, but are either of these “real” in the big scheme of things? I think not. You may feel like you’re getting close to your online friends, but you’re not getting any closer to having a “real” date.

Get out of the house; risk the rejections. It’s better than kissing a keyboard.



Dear Christine,

I am dating a financially secure man who makes much more money than I do. I am at a loss for how to handle the tabs when we go out. It makes me uncomfortable to let him pay for everything. However, if I were to insist on paying my half, we’d have to limit the activities we do together.

Since I’ve been single for a long time, I’m accustomed to paying my own way and am very independent. He’s the first man I’ve dated extensively and seriously for years, and I can see us lasting a long time. So how do I politely decline functions I cannot afford without appearing uninterested in being with him?

Should I discuss this with him? If so, what can I say that won’t make it appear as if I’m fishing for him to pay for everything? -- BROKE IN BRANTFORD, ON

Dear Broke,

Yes, you should talk to your gentleman about your money concerns.

All couples go through problems like this, and honesty is the best solution. Just tell him what you told me, and offer up some compromises. Perhaps he can pay for expensive functions while you treat him to home-cooked dinners, movies, etc. You can occasionally buy him little treats, like a new tie or a CD you know he’d like.

Chances are he doesn’t mind paying. And if he dines out a lot, he would probably appreciate a home-cooked meal or something from the heart like a thank-you note tucked into his jacket pocket. It doesn’t have to be an exact tit-for-tat arrangement. Simply talk about it and let him know you don’t want to take advantage of his financial success—nor do you take for granted that he should pay.


Have a question, a thought, or a story to share (anonymity guaranteed)? E-mail Christine at: single@keynotebooks.com


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