By Tom Blake
I can’t estimate the number of times women have emailed me saying they’ve fallen in love with a great guy they met online. Some even add that they are contemplating marriage.
There is a tone to these emails that make me suspect there has never been a face-to-face meeting. I reply by asking how their initial in-person meeting went.
More often than not, the answer is similar to this: “We haven’t met in person but plan to sometime in the future.”
When they ask for my opinion about their arrangement, I tell them they aren’t in love with a real person, but only an image. They get irked at me when I tell them that chemistry between two people is impossible to predict without meeting face-to-face, and they may be wasting their time.
A woman named Jackie who lives in Orange County met a man online four years ago on a dating website called Christian Mingle. “Through emails and phone calls, there was magic,” Jackie said. “And then we met in person. It was disastrous. I still feel queasy thinking about it.”
Jackie said there was no kind way to tell the guy that she felt no chemistry, “not even a spark,” she said. But here’s what’s puzzling. After four years and a “disastrous” face-to-face meeting, Jackie is still corresponding with the guy and experiencing phantom love.
“When we talk by phone and write, there is magic. I feel in love. We don’t live close enough to see each other often. I haven’t seen him in a year and a half. And, he’s on the edge of poverty, slipping downward as we speak.”
I asked her why she continues this charade. “Loneliness, hopelessness, desperation…and mostly overwhelming fear that this is the best I can do…that nothing better will ever happen…that having a phone friend is better than nothing,” Jackie said.
I told Jackie that the time she is investing in this phantom love affair—one she knows will never work—is stealing time away from trying to meet someone nearby who would be more suitable for her.
I suggested she attend one of our South County Singles 50+ meet and greet events at Tutor and Spunky’s, my Dana Point Deli.
Her reply, “I don’t go to bars.”
(I’ve never heard anyone refer to my deli as a bar before; it’s just a sandwich shop that happens to serve beer and wine.)
I said, “Of course you don’t go to bars. That’s passé with older singles. But attending our meet and greet singles function isn’t like plopping down on a stool and listening to Billy Joel play ‘Piano Man’ with other lonesome souls at 9 p.m. on a Saturday.
“Instead, you will meet face-to-face other friendly singles and if you have no interest in dating anyone you meet there, at least you won’t waste four more years on someone else with whom you have absolutely no chemistry.”
I think, for Jackie, getting out among new people would be a boost to her self-esteem. Perhaps, she’d even break away from her phantom romance.
The internet is just one tool older singles can use to reach out to find potential mates. However, they need to get out and make new friends locally as well.
The next meet and greet at Tutor and Spunky’s Deli is Thursday, October 11, 5 p.m. until 8:30 p.m. The September event attracted approximately 135 singles age 50 an over.
At the very least, Jackie could make some new friends.
For more information about the South OC Champs Meet and Greet Club, see www.tutorandspunkys.com.