Virtually falling for a guy

I mean “virtually” two ways:

  1. As the dictionary defines it: “nearly, almost” as in not really; and
  2. Via the computer and/or phone; not face to face.

My neighbor and I were once again comparing dating notes. She’s dipped her toe in the dating water a bit the last 6 months, going out with a handful of men. Currently, she is emailing two men she met through Both are interesting, intelligent, witty, and engaging. She finds the email veil allows her to get to know their personalities without the distraction of determining if she is physically attracted to either one.

However, while it is important to enjoy getting to know how a guy thinks and communicates — at least in writing — we all know that it takes more than discourse to create a love interest.

I have fallen for guys because of their emails or then through their phone calls only to have the attraction dissipate when meeting face to face. Sometimes it is my not finding them appealing, or they have irritating habits that quickly surface. Or they are not drawn to me, or I have some twitch that sends them packing.

Scotish castleA Kansas-based friend of mine communicated with a man in Scotland via email, then in nightly hour-long VOIP conversations. They even frequently sent care packages to each other. After six months, he took 2 weeks vacation to come meet her. Because of his limited funds, he asked if he could crash on her couch in the small 2-bedroom, 1-bath house she shared with her 2 daughters.

Although they had exchanged pictures, of course the 3-dimensional person looked different than either expected. But because they had built up a bond through the ether, they were at least not repulsed. However, as each day of his visit progressed, she became less and less enamored with him. Since this 38-year-old man lived with his parents, he didn’t bother to pick up his wet towels from her bathroom floor, nor help with any dinner preparation or clean up. After dinner, his rear became wedged in her recliner while she and the girls cleaned up. Other irritating, self-absorbed habits quickly emerged so she was ready to send him packing in less than a week. The “real” Scot was quite different than the “virtual” one.

If he isn’t in person as you’d hoped, it’s easy to think that all the time you spent communicating with a guy is wasted. Perhaps you are honest and say, “I’ve really liked how we communicated these last few weeks, but I’m not feeling the spark to think we have a romantic connection. Would you be willing for us to remain in contact as friends?” Many men see this as the kiss of death and may say “yes” but not initiate nor respond to any contact in the future.

During those weeks of emailing, you have, no doubt, enjoyed yourself, so it was a form of entertainment. And you may have learned something about yourself as you responded to his questions. Maybe he asked, “Who do you think the best US president was?” and you hadn’t really thought about it. You spend a little time ruminating before you respond, then are pleased with your answer and supporting arguments. You’ve uncovered something you didn’t know about yourself!

And of course, maybe he’ll accept your invitation — or offer his own — to be your pal. I keep in touch with over a dozen guys I went out with who are now my pals and I treasure each of them. So even if you have the attitude that you don’t need any more friends, don’t totally discard an interesting guy so quickly, even if there is no romantic spark. And you never know when a romantic spark may be kindled once you get to know each other’s hearts better.

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6 responses to “Virtually falling for a guy”

  1. Gatti Avatar

    My rule: Get to face to face as soon as possible. You haven’t invested much in the communication yet and if it flops there is not much disappointment.

  2. Barbara Avatar

    I have to agree. Meet in person (in a very public place) ASAP. If there isn’t anything there, it’s easy to get out, but at least you’ve been able to get your impressions of the guy. Plus, with this little at stake, think of all the time money you save-no Clairol obsessions to get every last gray, no slathering expensive Relastin on the face to erase the wrinkles, then buffing the face with Bare Minerals to try and look younger…maybe I’m starting to personalize a bit! Obviously, I am not the young dater that some of you might be, it takes a lot of maintenance to stay in dating condition!

  3. Aggressively Single Avatar
    Aggressively Single

    I’m with you ladies. I’ve had some amaaaazing email exchanges and then no an in-person connection. Once it was grammer and general rough-around-the-edges feel, the other, zero attraction. Plus, I’m sure at least 2 other guys substantially lied about their ages, trying to pass for 51 when they must have been 10 years older. Good talks, yes. Great people, yes, but I’m a young 48 and I don’t want to date 60’s!!! And am offended they wanted to when I have tons of mid 50s friends who would be fantastic for them.

    I’ve heard of people truly falling in love without meeting, wonder how that works or how often it happens?

  4. Gatti Avatar

    AS, I think it would be possible to have a long email relationship, finally meet and then have it click. But it would have clicked one way or the other. And if it isn’t going to click, it won’t. So get to that chemistry (or non-chemistry) fast, I say!

  5. NYSharon Avatar

    Agreed. Some people “give great phone” and then when you meet, its not the same. Just get it over with and meet for that cup of joe. If they delay,,,there is a reason why.
    Also, What is it with guys that they have to date younger? Even ones my own age looking for 2, 3 years younger and more? On line and am hardly in their age range choice.
    I believe I have always done better meeting in-person and getting dates than on line since “on Paper” I am not as appealing. It is my spirit, sparkle and demeanor that can’t be represented in an email or a mediocre picture that can interest a man. Not the description that I am 49 5′ with blond hair and green eyes. I felt very objectified when I was doing on-line dating.

  6. Bookyone Avatar

    Hi DG,

    OK, I just found this article and I must say I thoroughly enjoyed reading it. I am testing the dating waters baby toe style by doing the online penpal thing for now. I’m not yet ready to date again, but neither am I willing to do without interesting male company. I have met some great guys online and, as I believe my writing style is a far greater asset than my in person style, (i.e., I write far better than I look), I am playing to my strengths and so am doing very well. Even without a photo posted I get at least a half dozen e mails a day from different guys wanting to be penpals. Since I love to write, I have been busily e mailing each and every one of them.

    OK, maybe there are those who’d say this is a poor substitute for face to face interchange, but IMHO to each his/her own. Some of us shy introverted types (male and female) prefer hiding behind the veil of the screen, it is only then that we feel truly free to express our innermost thoughts and feelings.

    Got to go, “I’ve got mail”… 🙂

    Best wishes from bookyone 🙂