Shana and Michael:
It all started last July. I was baby sitting my younger cousin Kristian while my aunt was out of town for the weekend. As it was getting late I put Kristian to bed and I began to watch TV... 
>> Continued




She's From:   ?
He's From:     ?

I'm sitting here crying, after just reading one of the stories on your page.

  I fell in love with a man I met on line more than a year ago. I was having a difficult time with my husband, I was pregnant and nearly lost the baby, so I found myself spending more and more time online in a "tech-help" channel on IRC. I felt safe there, as I wasn't interested in looking for anything other than friends to help me escape for a while from the reality of my life. I met a man who lived half way around the world, and over time we went from acquaintances to friends, to best friends and then the inevitable happened. We fell in love.






Near the end of my pregnancy plans were in place to meet and begin a life together after the baby was born. My husband and I had decided by this time that even a baby couldn't help us resolve our differences. My lover and I agreed I would move to his country since I never even considered my husband would fight me for custody or try to take the baby from me. Well, a month after my baby was born, I contacted an attorney and learned that I would be unable to leave the country without my husband's full consent. Something I learned quickly he would not provide.

I informed my lover that he would have to come to my country, that our plans would have to be altered slightly. He said he couldn't, that he had never intended moving here. I will never be able to erase the memory of the agony I felt when I heard him say, "I could never move to your country." However, I loved him so much that I would rather keep him in my life as my friend, then hate him for his inability to follow our dreams regardless of which path they led us down. When he asked me to promise I would remain his friend always, I did so without hesitation. And then he started living a real life again. He began dating someone and within two weeks he was sleeping with her. Within a month I was so depressed my milk supply dried up, I couldn't feed the baby, I lost tons of weight and all I did was cry and sleep. I had no desire to live in this world anymore.

Every few months I would break down and write him begging him to come to me or to release me from my vow to remain his friend, telling him I couldn't do this and that I had to let go. Every time I spoke with him we argued and he would tell me things about his life that hurt me terribly. I would try to be happy for him, but I felt he was hurting me under the guise of friendship because he resented the fact that his dreams too had been destroyed because of my inability to hold up my end of the bargain. I would purposefully tell him the agony I was feeling, with the intent to hurt him as badly as he was hurting me. He would remind me of my vow, and promise that the pain would end soon and we would remain true friends and it would be good. We would draw apart, but we always came back together to try one more time.

I began seeing a therapist to try to forget him and to get a handle on real life again. I made a conscious effort with my husband to try to work things out. Although he suspected someone else had come between us, he chose to stay with me because of the state I was in. We are getting along far better than we have in years now, so I guess some good came out of this whole ordeal.

I am still friends with my lover, although we have both agreed no intimate talk. In fact, although we talk maybe 5 times a week, for 2 to 3 hours at a time,--lately only through email chat for some reason-- it is only tech talk, or about things we've found on the net. He doesn't ask me about my personal life, and if I try to share things with him he tends to draw away. I ask him about his girlfriend, and he answers with brief polite responses.

I think he still cares for me as I do him, because most nights he stays up until 2 or 4 a.m. talking to me, even though he is now living with the woman he started seeing just after we split up. As I sit here writing this I can't help but cry, because I still love him so very much, even after all that has happened. I've stopped seeing the therapist, my real life is going well, but my thoughts of my lover still occupy a good portion of every waking moment.

I realize now it could have never worked out, we live two different lives, but it is torture knowing we will never have the chance to try. And then there is always that nagging afterthought, "we will never have the chance because he was too afraid to come here and make the effort." 

I'm an adult, a married woman, a mother and a career woman. I would never have dreamed I could share the moments I did with my cyberlover. Nor did I ever dream I could ever share the thoughts and feelings with anyone, especially a stranger half way around the world. This man knows a side of me, and holds a part of my heart my husband will never have the opportunity or privilege to see or experience.

I don't know why i'm telling you this. I think when I read the part of Tina's story where she wrote:

"She felt a bond that she hadn't felt before with anyone, family, friend, lover, ANYONE! She tried to shrug it off as "a side effect of the medium" - just a mindgame created by her imagination, a false "closeness" intensified by the clandestine nature of cyber chat. Come on! She had never met the guy. Just typed messages back and forth on a computer screen for a few weeks, for God's sake!"...

It made me realize that what maybe what he and I shared probably wasn't as special or unique as I thought it was. And, even if it was, that this is my reality now and I need to let go of him and let go of any hope that he might change his mind and come here to me. After all, its been ten months. Ten long months...

I used to think that if he showed up on my doorstep, I'd leave my husband in a heartbeat. But now, I think about what would have happened if I had moved to his country, and things hadn't worked out. He would have run just as easily as he did ten months ago, I believe. So now I'm putting the effort into my marriage that I was wasting on pining over my cyberlover. And this is a good thing. I'll never forget my cyberlover, the strength, nurturing, love and support he gave me when I was most alone. He'll always possess a piece of my heart. But now? Just as I am able to separate the two worlds of "reality" and "cyber" so can I keep separate the feelings I have for my husband and my cyberlover, my friend.

Here's to happy endings.