Mars & Deborah 3:
As Deborah went to the departure hall to fly out of Adelaide I knew that the next few months were going to drag on slowly and that I would miss her like crazy. I just didnt want her to go but that was the reality of the situation. When she got back...
>> Continued
 

 

 
     
 

 
 

She's From:   United States
He's From:     Australia

One email would change the course of two lives forever. This is the story told almost a year later.

  March 20, 1999

We first met online. Read all that happened from the first contact until the meeting...

January 21, 2000

It has been 10 months now. 10 months or so since I received that fateful email from someone named Galen. We're approaching our one year anniversary, and I just have to marvel every day that we're still in touch despite all the ups and down, and most of all, despite the thousands of miles that separate us. My name is Shanna.

 

 



   

 

 
       
 

I have hopped on the internet back in 1995 but never really used its potential until a year ago, when I put up my little personal webpage for the whole world to see and share in a personal interest. It was a wonderful thing, to be able to share the passion across borders and languages, reaching millions of people at the click of the mouse.

I am a refugee from the relationship hell, like millions of others. I have had my share of pain and soul-crushing experience. The wrong person, the wrong relationship, for too long. And scars for a lifetime. The relationship from hell ended years ago. I have had time to heal and make a happy life for myself. Oh sure, I didn't mind if I found a soulmate in my life, after all I am like everybody else and it's always a nice thing to have. Hey, anytime. But life was too good after being in hell for years, and the last thing on my mind was to become romantically involved with anyone. I cherished my years of freedom and pain-free heart. In fact, after the relationship from hell I had the good luck to have a brief relationship with a nice man for a few months. Even though things didn't work out, it showed me how nice someone can be to you, and that you should never accept anything less, never accept anything other than being treated nicely and with lots of love and respect, even in the middle of an argument. We didn't have much in common, so despite our affection, the relationship had to come to a sad stop. No heartbreak, no pain this time. I had learned the hard way to love myself, and been comforted in that belief by the wonderful love and attention of someone.
It bears repeating: you can't love someone until you love yourself. If you don't love yourself, all you'll do is suck love out of someone else until they die from lack of fluid. And the relationship with it.

All was well

and I was moving on in life, brushing aside the failed romance episode and eagerly biting into a life with plenty of years ahead of me to enjoy. In fact, I had resigned myself to a life without the "soulmate thing". I had resigned myself to a solitary life, convinced I could never find anyone who felt the world with the same skin sensitivity I did. Whose heart beat at the same rhythm. Whose thoughts crossed the same neuron pathways and fired the same electrical impulses at the same time. Imagine that. Not only that, but that person would have to also share the same passions I had, and interact socially on the same level I did, and have the same idea of the future I did, and of course physically come with a package that could fire up hormones in my own package in a mind-blowing way. Realistically, how feasible is that?? Life teaches you painfully that either you fall in love with someone's mind, or with their body, or their social behavior, but sooner or later, one or the other becomes unbearable and your beautiful honeymoon comes to a grinding halt as you realize you are not as compatible as you thought you were. It's always such a heartbreaking realization. One disappointment after the other, same old thing.

Opposites attract...not

So yes, in my third decade in life, I had just resigned myself to the fact that there most likely wasn't anyone out there who could possibly match me as if we had both come from the same mould. And I would be damned if I settled for anything less than perfect after the hell I'd been through.

I am not a big believer in the "differences is what makes it sparkle" or "opposites attract." I have been there. I have been with someone I had some things in common with, and someone I had nothing in common with but affectionate feelings. It just does not work, sorry. Sooner or later your lack of neuron connections spells doom for the relationship, because the said relationship becomes such heavy work on a daily basis just to keep it going. Don't take me wrong, I believe it takes a lot of work to make any relationship work. But you should only need to MAINTAIN the relationship. If you have to work at KEEPING the relationship from FALLING APART, that's wasted time and something is wrong to start with. So here I was all happy and oblivious to the pain of romance, happy to maintain my little personal webpage and my uneventful romantic life.

Of course I was aware of the chat room syndrome and all the personal ads and pages out there promising to find your significant other, for free or at a price. I stayed clear of those. I had no interest or belief in their ability to have me meet anyone, and I wasn't interested in becoming involved anyway. I knew "perfection" was no part of this world, so my sad fate was to live it only in my head. In fact, I had carefully pushed aside and kept OUT of my head any thoughts relating to heart matters.

When fate knocks at the...emailbox

One day I received a brief email from someone who had visited my page and shared a related interest. In essence, his message was "hi, I saw your page and I thought maybe you'd be interested in reading some things I wrote. If you are, let me know and I'll send it over. Kind regards." Hey, someone who shared my passions asking me if I wanted to read about it? Sure I wanted to see what a kindred spirit had to say. So I emailed back and said, "sure, I'd love to, send that along!" It didn't seem like much at the time. When I look back on our first emails I have to laugh. These brief emails started a regular email correspondence. With mine being three times as long as his, as I love to write and have plenty of time to do it from home. Galen tried to squeeze in some mail time from work, a situation that quickly became frustrating for both of us.
We had so much to discuss about our common passion, yet so many questions remained unanswered due to his lack of email access. Before I see that smirk on your face, the "oh yes, the usual internet-romance-love-at-first-sight coming", let me set things straight. There was not a byte of romance at play in our email. I had gained my heart's freedom the hard way, and I had no intention to lose it, and Galen was not available and not looking for adventure. We were just sharing a common interest, and neither of us was interested in romance. Not to mention that I was very distrustful of email as a medium for meeting anyone.

What a joke, the internet as a matchmaker. I am a firm believer that if you let yourself fall in love with someone without having their PHYSICAL information, you're a fool and you'll get what you deserve. And I am not talking about being beautiful or ugly here. I am talking about the earthly body we're stuck in, whether we like it or not. There are VIBES that must be there in order to be attracted to someone and see the relationship work. Not just sexually, but in the way body vibes make you feel like you want to hug someone, or make you feel like you want to run away from them. Email is great because it allows the sharing of deep thoughts that the physical interaction prevents.

But it's a double-edged sword. You can't have a successful relationship based uniquely on someone's mind, no more than you can have a successful relationship based uniquely on physical attraction. Both have to be there. Well, just my opinion anyway...
So Galen and I were not in the least looking for romance. ...Or were we. It quickly became obvious that our correspondence was unlike any other contact of any sort either of us had had before. Everything flowed so easily. So effortlessly. It was so comfortable from the start. And just kept going. As I said before, the great thing about email that real-life encounter prevents, is that you can connect at the true spirit level.
There is no physical presence to intimidate you, and you feel free to share so much you wouldn't share with a real person looking at you as you speak. But the dark side of email is its destructive power. Email can pulverize in a word months of good feelings. Because intonations can be misleading, words can be misinterpreted, and there is nothing that shows a smile behind a remark. Just lifeless words, no matter how good you can be at writing them. I have lost a few good email friends over one line taken the wrong way. It just always seems to happen. So I was very surprised when I saw our correspondence grow without similar mishaps. It was as though we read each other's thoughts or thought things at the same time, eliminating the need for clarification or potential misunderstandings.

And whenever a questionable saying crept in, we always were careful to ask for clarification, and never let temper take over. It was just such a peaceful, soul-lifting exchange. We both loved the written word and were aching to share our soul with a kindred spirit; to share the same interest and the pain that came with feeling so lonely in the way we approached the world. What blew me away from the start was how honest and open Galen was. He literally had his heart on his sleeve. I was a total stranger, yet he expressed how he felt about the world without restraint, without that mask everybody else puts on to hide their feelings.

It blew me away because that was the way I felt inside too. I believe life is too short to play games, and if someone doesn't like what you feel/think/are, then you shouldn't waste time with them and just move on to find someone who does. I believe in showing your true colors from the get-go. They will show sooner or later anyway, so why waste precious lifetime hiding who you are? If you show who you are and someone loves what they see, you won't have a hard wakeup call later. Yet everyone, EVERYONE that I have ever come across in my life seems to be hiding their self, and ultimately from their own self. Then they complain how hard it is to find someone, friend or lover, with whom things just work wonderfully. Oh please, don't be silly.

As our email correspondence went along, it became obvious Galen had a lot of pain inside from the past, and from a current life. My mother bear instinct fired up instantly. And it was obvious that despite a lack of romance seeking on his side, the fact that I was a female made confidences easy. We couldn't care less if we were physically male or female at that point, but reality is still that a man will confide more easily about heart matters to a woman than to another man. I found out his current lovelife situation was the exact mirror of my own years ago.

Same abusive partner, same misery. The same obligation to deny yourself while trying to please the other, someone you can never do enough for to make them happy because they hate themselves inside anyway. Someone who is with you not because they love you, but because they know they can use you for their own benefit. Someone who is terrified of being on their own because then they'd have to look in a mirror. Someone who can only make themselves feel worthwhile by regularly putting you down even lower then their own self-esteem. And after a few years of that, you become so brainwashed that you start believing you are no good and what you've got is as good as it's ever going to get, so there's no point getting out.

And the years go by and you stay in the misery. Your life is totally void of love, but somehow it's scary to get out and be by yourself so you stay in. My heart started bleeding for him. I heard the regular put downs he had to hear on a daily basis from his "significant other" and it made me bleed each time. I had heard those things from the same kind of heartless person, I had been in the same prison. Each time his soul hurt, mine echoed the pain. (by the way, one piece of advice: if you ever hear from the person you're with that you're "stupid", "bad", "selfish", or are otherwise made to feel like you're worthless.....RUN. For God's sakes run as if the devil was after you). It was not a matter of hearing the two sides of the story. Galen never spoke badly of her. Quite the contrary. He kept finding excuses to the behavior I knew so well had none but utter selfishness. He lived a loveless life and had given up long ago on the lifelong dream all humans have. The incredible companionship of a soulmate.

I wanted to reach out and pull him out of his misery, knowing ultimately he was a prisoner of his own mind. I knew no power or argument of mine could save him until HE decided he deserved better for himself. I decided I'd show him the light and be the friendly hand. I decided to embark on a rescue mission and save his soul. Rebuild the self esteem he had seen crushed for so many years. I could see it in him. I could see the fighter and the laughing child, the wonderful spirit full of life. It had been buried for so long he himself thought it dead. But somehow behind the pain in his emails to me I saw life. He just seemed to come alive with me. I had the life inside of me he knew he had lost long ago and was aching to feel inside of him.

I had been there and saved my own life from emotional death, I knew the way. So I patiently sat by him and our emails kept deepening the bond between us. I was astounded to find out Galen felt the world and pain the same way I did. That pain of being alive and feeling alone in the big world, of feeling different because of it. Of feeling we were crazy to like the things we liked and think the things we thought. Things that were too spiritual to even put words on them, and that couldn't possibly be explained. That skin sensitivity that had always hurt me so many times in the past, and I never thought anyone could have an even thinner skin than I did.

The next step

About three months into our correspondence, I grew so frustrated by the slowness of emails to cover all the questions I had for him that I offered for us to exchange audio tapes to be able to ramble on and free him from the need of having to find the time to type on a computer and email to stay in touch. He wholeheartedly agreed to the idea and we were on our way to exchanging thoughts on tape in no time. It was a big step forward. Suddenly we could talk for 2 hours about our views and feelings without having to wait a day or two only to get a brief reply to an email.

We had become close friends. We shared life's experiences and thoughts. Soon after, I received a short video tape whose purpose was to give me a look at his collection of our common interest. Of course Galen was on tape for a few minutes and I had my first "back to reality" wake up call. As I mentioned earlier, anyone who lets themselves carried away by the email reality is only a fool asking for trouble. It's not about being pleasantly surprised or sorely disappointed in somebody's looks. You don't get it. The physical PRESENCE of someone you've only known via writing is the most awesome shock you'll ever have, regardless of what the person looks like. It's like meeting with a complete stranger. It's like looking at yourself in the mirror one morning and seeing your brain transplanted into a new body. To anyone out there who is having an email romance and firmly believes how strongly you feel will protect you from anything once you meet, I say: "Fools."

I didn't care what Galen would look like. I wasn't interested in a romance. I couldn't have cared less. In fact, I didn't expect to see a man. Our correspondence was at such a soul level that I was seeing him as a hybrid, neither male nor female. So when I saw a man on tape, I was in complete shock. I had said all those personal things about my life to A MAN. And a complete stranger. Who was that?? That couldn't be the person I had talked to on email for so long. And the voice, gosh, the voice, that couldn't be the same person that wrote all those words.

I was in shock for days. Physical reality had set in. Hard. It was so damn strange. I hadn't tried to picture what he looked like, so I wasn't feeling any particular way about it. I wasn't "relieved" or "disappointed". It was just a shock to see a person of flesh and blood standing there, and to think that this person was my email soulmate. Soulmates Yes. We had come to consider ourselves soulmates, not in the romantic sense of the term, but rather, as persons who share a common interest with the same intensity. We liked that and both felt comfortable with that.

We started throwing the word here and there and enjoying the closeness that came with it. There was no discomfort about it because we were such good friends. And eventually the "stranger shock" passed for me. I learned to accept my soulmate was of a male gender, with all the potential complications that could rise out of that. I was no fool. I knew something changed forever when I saw him, just because suddenly we had to stop fooling ourselves thinking we could just relate on this pure "soul level" without the sexual interference of the body as it usually happens. The reason why our exchange had been so comfortable was precisely because neither of us paid attention, nor had any reason to pay attention to our gender.

But now, there was a whole new set of perceptions at play here, for me. He still had no idea what I looked like. I was just words on email and a voice on audio tape... Months later, looking back on it, I realized that deep inside at the time, I knew I was "in trouble" as soon as I saw him on that fateful video tape. It was overall difficult to see him, because he wasn't the subject of the tape and had made no effort to display himself in any way. But whatever I could see had been enough to change things forever. On a superficial level a voice inside of me said, "oh, so that's what my friend looks like...okay, whatever."

But deep, deep inside, another voice had said, "...There is something about the way he moves....and the way he walks...the way he touches things...the way he laughs..." I probably didn't want to admit it to myself at the time, but my hormones had gotten a sudden jolt out of their 4-year sleep. They had been buried and forgotten for a long, long time. And something had just dug them up.

Hormones rush

He didn't know it until months later, but right there and then it had been the end of our "non-sexual, pure soul connection". Something was awaken and was not to disappear. I started poking fun about his physical self on email. Started throwing "innocent" remarks here and there about how good he looked. It was all in good fun, you understand, I was only working on his severely mistreated self-esteem. I didn't really mean anything by that, I just wanted to raise it. I was just trying to help. After all, it really feels great when someone tells you you're attractive, doesn't it, you can never get enough of that. Still, at that stage I kept fooling myself that I had no romantic interest in him. I was just having fun with my male friend. And we did have that wonderful soul connection that was lust-free. Just because I had seen a side of him that was physical didn't mean everything changed. Our spirits were still shining bright through emails and audio tapes. To all the hopeless romantics out there who think a soulmate is someone you fall in love with at first physical sight, I will disappoint you again. I didn't find Galen extraordinarily handsome at first. No, no lightening bolt struck me from above.

On the contrary, it was quite the opposite. It was a slow process that settled in like a autumn leave falls from the tree to the ground, carried by the wind. It wasn't in the way he looked. It was in everything else. The way he moved, the way he laughed, the way he talked, the sounds he made as he breathed between words. The way he hesitated between words. Something very endearing and innocent and begging for love in him just seemed to pull at every string of my being. Finding a soulmate may not strike you like lightening, but one thing is unmistakable: the incredible level of comfort you feel. There is a sensation of comfort and ease relating to the person like you've never experienced with anyone else before. A sensation of peace that sweeps your soul. Then comes the hurt, the aching that fills you up every time you're apart. The unbearable emptiness that seizes you when you're not in contact. Yes. After a few months I knew I was in trouble. I was falling in love. And "love" seems like a very poor way to describe the feeling that invaded my soul.

We started exchanging pictures. I sent in a couple of me. His first look at my physical self. He had a bit of a shock himself, but not nearly as powerful as mine had been, since a picture doesn't move and is such a limited, flat and inaccurate representation of the self. He liked what he saw. And we both found ourselves entering unexplored territory. Struggling to hang on to things as they were, this wonderful soul connection to another human being, without the horrendous distortions and pains brought on by a sexual exchange. We were so happy to avoid all that. Sex always seems to be at the base of every relationship disaster in the end. Sex distorts things, hurts egos, manipulate minds, control impulses and eventually spells doom for two people who used to get along. We just loved the asexual exchange we had. True soul connection.
Visual connections changed all that. After all, how can you keep your hormones quiet and your mind calm when someone whom you think looks nice tells you they think you look nice too? Especially when you feel unloved or free to be loved? Come on, let's come back to reality here and stop fooling ourselves.

Our teenagehood was far behind us both and neither of us was a fool. We knew better than to fall for the internet romance crap and looked at our budding "plain-sight" love with concern. Where would this thing go? How could we seriously exchange mushy things without even having met and having the full picture? Nonsense. We were both acutely aware of the tremendous potential for email distortions and knew there was a whole new side of each of us we had no idea about. We knew about the gigantic potential for a hard wake up call. We were both terrified of seeing our fairy tale end at first sight. So we were not about to start exchanging love letters and promises of a life together happily ever after. So...what to do?

The following months saw our connection deepen exponentially, as we resigned to let the feelings out that were previously not admitted or feared. Yes. Here we were, two people that seemed to have come from the same mould, literally thinking or feeling the same things at the same time, wanting the same things out of life, out of love, feeling the same pains. It was spooky. I had a dream about him once. A very powerful dream. It was so powerful that after I woke up in the middle of the night, I rushed to the computer to tell him about it. His replied floored me.

He related an incident in his real life with a visual setup that completely mirrored the scene/event in my dream. Another time, as I was looking up at the sky one night I felt so strongly about him. Nothing sharp, nothing very precise, just a strong feeling in the air. It was like the wind was carrying his spirit to me. Yet, I couldn't "read" the message. I wrote those feelings in an email. At the same time I was sending the mail, I was receiving mail from him filled with his soul howling with pain. I counted the hours and realized his pain had happened at the same time I was feeling this strange feeling on my end. Yes. I forgot to say. We're thousands of miles apart. Hey, nobody said your soulmate lives around the corner. Forget that smoke-filled bar in the neighborhood. Be ready to take it wherever it is, and you can be sure that God or whoever is playing behind this crazy game won't make it easy on you.

Those two instances only comforted us in the certainty that something unique was going on between us. It's not everyday that you can feel someone's pain thousands of miles away.

And that your mood seems to match the other's on a given day as if connected through telepathic wires. People wonder what it's like and how you recognize if someone is your soulmate, if they are "the one". Well, I am not sure if there is only one person per lifetime to be designated as "the one", that would be a scary thing. I have never met one before and probably never will again after this, but I'd like to think we have more than one shot at it. In any case, the only thing I can answer to that is "when you find such a person, you stop wondering. It just IS." You don't wonder about it. Every fiber of your body and soul just peacefully agrees that your being apart is a monstrous error. Nothing else matters. Nothing. The need to be reunited like two broken pieces of the same vase just fills you up completely. It hurts like hell to be apart.

It's not the need to have the other here to make you feel good. It is, rather, the totally unselfish impulse to be together, just because it feels wrong to be apart. It's like a magnet. Have you ever tried to keep two magnets from sticking together? This strange, invisible force between them when they get within attracting distance from one another is irresistible and will have you use all your strength to keep them apart.
It's like putting on your left shoe on your right foot and vice versa. How long could you stand walking like this? You'd bend over in a hurry to swap and be comfortable again. No questions asked, it just FEELS right to have your left foot in your left shoe and your right foot in your right shoe. Anything else just feels damn uncomfortable and you can't wait to get it right. That's all you would think about all day long, the pain of swapping the shoes and stop the horrible discomfort.

Long distance pain

I will repeat it. All is not mushy and happy in long distance love mail. Once our feelings and egos got involved, a whole new set of emotional rules got into play. Suddenly, we were both reacting with the weight of our past, good and bad. And with EXPECTATIONS. The usual relationship killer. Fear settled in. Behind it all, the fear of seeing our unique connection broken or come to an end because of the distance, and the seemingly insurmountable obstacles. Two people, two lives, thousands of miles away. I could hop on a plane and join in any time. I was free to go, blissfully single, and emotionally ready for a new adventure, and ready to make the jump. You only have one life. He was buried deep into a life of personal commitments and had to entangle himself first. Not to mention that it's never a good idea to get involved so soon after you end a previous miserable relationship. It is a VERY BAD idea. You get into the new relationship with tons of emotional luggage and usually the new adventure doesn't last long. Yeah. They call that the "rebound relationship." Where the new person feels so wonderful, not because they are, but because you had it so bad before that in comparison anything looks wonderful. Then you wake up one day and realize the person is not that great after all.

I was the one who was "emotionally free" for years, and I was very acutely aware of the potential disaster zone for us. But then, what choice did we have? Have him isolate himself on a remote island for a year or two before we could be together? Pain started to settle in. Months went by, a complete agony on both sides. Reaching out with both hands through email, yet incapable of holding each other. More than anything else, the need to HOLD. To be one. A soul broken finally complete again. A need that filled our minds every second of every day. A need that fills your mind so much you can barely think. Waiting for the relief. God, the relief, to finally stop the pain of being apart and finally touch. We were so sick of words. That's all we had. Words. Email words. Taped words. Phone words. We went through our share of hurt and email/phone distortions. Emails were misunderstood, emotions ran high. We had arguments. It is a wonder our connection survived all this. And that it still does. So many times I've wanted to turn off the computer and never return. Stop the pain. It would be so easy. But it is not an option. I just can't imagine my life without him in it. And neither can he. For the best or for the worst, we'll see this to the end.

Physical encounter

It is almost a year since our connection started. We haven't met yet. Life's turns and events have made it impossible for us to meet, as well as the sheer distance that separates us. We have reached a point where the need to hold and the incapacity to do so is a physical pain that fills our soul every day. For those who wonder what if feels like to have a soulmate, here's another tidbit. Yes. The need to hold and the excruciating pain that comes with not being able to do so. Of course hormones run high too. Once we admitted our feelings, things escalated so quickly it would give you a head spin. We made love over email. Over tapes. And we found out that in this area also, we were from the same mold. The exact mirror image of each other. Every thing we do or want to do to one another, is something the other yearns for. It's a magical dance. Our tempers match like we've never felt with anyone before. Yes. Everything we say. A wonderful exchange where we can feel free to be ourselves and never be afraid of the other. Neither of us wants to dominate the other, and therefore we feel free to let our inner self fly, secure in the knowledge that behind it all is an endless pool of love and respect. And above all...LAUGHTER. We always make each other laugh.

Not that we're trying. It just happens, we just giggle at ourselves and about everything like two kids. Two kids feeling safe together in a world of blind adults. The inner children in us connected as deeply as the adults in us. We're bound to the chore and totally unafraid of each other. We can say anything or do anything without fearing that the other will think we're stupid or foolish. We feel totally and soulfully free to be OUR TRUE SELVES. We never feel shame or apprehension. We feel free to say and do anything because we feel unconditionally loved. Life suddenly looks like this endless magical garden, full of exciting things to explore together.

Of course we wonder. That is the main object or our connection right now. We are planning to meet soon, finally. Soon now. Finally. God. Finally. And all our thoughts are targeted at the tremendous potential for heartbreak awaiting us. What if the reality doesn't match our dreams? What if this unquenchable love/lust connection we so wonderfully share thousands of miles away turns out to vaporize at first sight when we meet? What if we don't like each other's physical self? What if we don't connect? Of course it's hard to imagine this. It's impossible to imagine our connection just falling apart and not matching the real world. But then, that's what talk shows are made of. People who come on TV to meet their internet lover for the first time...and realize what a profound idiot they were to be so convinced their "soulmate connection" could resist any physical reality. Last time I saw such show I didn't feel sorry for them. I thought, "fools. You deserve what you got into."

Galen and I are not approaching our first encounter with pink balloons and cupid angels in our hearts. We've done everything we could to prepare ourselves to the shock of a physical encounter. Because we know it will be there. We're rather terrified of it. We're terrified of seeing our wonderful soul connection come to an end just because of a physical reality none of us has chosen. What a cruel joke that would be from God. Finally letting us find each other after so many lonely years, half a world apart, only to take away from our drooling mouths at the last moment the creamy pie offered. We also wonder what awaits us ahead.

Life together, as we have pictured it millions of time. We know there will be a honeymoon period....and the real picture settling in. As we'll find out what it's like to be with each other in the real, physical world, puffy clouds are bound to blow over and test the true connectivity of our souls.

Yes. We both wonder. What will it feel like to finally come face to face. What will it feel like to see that passenger gate open at the airport and for the very first time realize that you CAN hold, and that it's only a few moments away from happening. What will we do? Come running and crashing into each other? Stand there in shock and stare? Stand there in AWE and stare? Cry? Laugh? Run away? The story as I said is an ongoing one. And I wish to share it with all that have read this far. If it seems too good to be true, be assured that Galen and I both wonder about this very thing too. Sometimes it just does seem to be too good to have a happy ending. We just can't believe we finally found each other.

The soul we've been looking for for so long. So perfectly matched to one another. Literally, if God had made him, put the mould away for a while, then picked it up again and made me, it would be exactly it. To use a typical analogy...the key and the keyhole. Perfectly matched. Not that our tastes are identical in every point. Don't misunderstand this. We have different tempers. We have different food tastes and preferences. But we approach the world with the same sensibilities. We feel the world the same way. And our thought processes follow the same paths. After all, we share the same passion. A passion that has filled our lives for almost two decades now, something we never could explain but felt so strongly about. And one day, we met through this common passion ...by the miracle of the internet.

We would never have found each other in the whole wide world without it. And we could never have explored our souls like we did, had it not been for the email format that allows the physical presence to be hidden from view. It took us a lifetime to find one another. It just doesn't seem possible that all this bliss would end in a "happily ever after" fashion. We have longed to touch for so long. It's as though something will happen that will prevent it from happening.

Sometimes I have to slap myself to stop worrying about something happening to either one of us that would end this wonderful soulmateship before it even had a chance to start. An accident happens so fast. The irony is, after you're together you still worry. Then you worry about your wonderful happiness being taken away from you. Every time your beloved one walks out the door, you start having visions of mangled cars or some similar heart-stopping thought. That's the price you pay for allowing love in your life.
I decided a long time ago it was all worth it. I decided I would see our story to the end and give it a try. Because life is short. And there is nothing worse than to die with regrets....I believe I have finally found the missing piece of my soul and I won't stop at anything to make us one again. Only time will prove me right or wrong.

Meeting for the first time

It finally happened. April 19, 2000.

The Fantasy 1 - I will be a nervous wreck and crying my eyes out at the airport while waiting for him, and fall apart with emotion when I see him walk out that passenger gate.

The Reality - My first flight to Los Angeles was late. I missed all my connections. I missed the flight to Australia. Spent all night between airports and couldn't hope to board a plane to Melbourne until 24 hours later. I finally boarded a plane and I arrived after 48 hours with no sleep and severe airportritis.

The Fantasy 2 - He will be there at the airport to meet me. My soulmate will be there with open arms to comfort me after a long flight to a foreign land. When I see him my heart will pound so hard I will faint, scream, cry, run to him or away from him, blush tomato-red. I will be so raggedy and dirty after such a long flight (24 hours or so including connection times) it will be terrible for me and I won't feel sexy. He will think I look terrible.

The Reality - All I had left in the country were 4 days. I was supposed to drive 8 hours to meet Galen in a city nearby. Because I was so late our plans had to change daily. He managed to fly himself to Melbourne to meet me there. I was the one meeting him at the airport. I was fresh out of the shower while he was raggedy after a day trip. After the flights from hell my mind was completely empty and I could barely feel my heart beat. I awaited his plane with little excitement, struggling to believe it all was real and going to happen, finally. I started thinking maybe he wasn't on the plane. So many things had gone wrong on this trip I was expecting anything that could go wrong to do just that.

The Fantasy 3 - We will stand there and stare at each other for ever, in awe of the moment, shaking, reach out slowly with our hands and feel our fingers touch, the magical touch so long awaited. Then our hands will cross fingers and we'll pull closer slowly, and finally have this long embrace that will feel so perfect and so right. I will be so excited and daring, I had wanted him for so long. He'll be his natural shy and insecure self and just blush while barely daring to look me straight in the eyes. He'll probably stare down at his feet and I'll have to lift his face up to mine if I want any kind of contact.

The Reality - I stood there, watching the passengers getting off the plane walk by me to greet their party. Finally, Galen walked out. Within a few seconds, he had spotted me. His face was lit up like a rainbow, he had a big smile on his face. His eyes were intense as a laserbeam and shining across the hall, sparkling like crystal reflections on lagoon waters. I was dumb struck and hit by a severe stroke of shyness when they got within a few feet of me. As he came within an arm's length of me I couldn't bear the intensity of his eyes shining right through me and put my hands over my face, swinging around to hide myself from the unbearable glare.

Gosh, he looked so fabulous, so ALIVE. His eyes on the video or pictures had always been dark and hard to see. And here they were, just two green laser beams shooting at me at full blast. The power and dimension of life that had been missing from email or video were coming out at me like gigantic waves crashing on a rock. I had managed to grin before pivoting around like a shy 5 year old kid, so he didn't feel rejected and kept on walking towards me for a hug. After a second or two I forced myself to come out of my hiding and bravely walked towards him to give him a hug. I didn't want to. I felt very shy and the last thing I wanted was to press my body against this attractive stranger's body. How dreadful! Yet, here was my soulmate waiting for me to give a sign of happiness, I couldn't just stand here and shake hands. If only to reassure him that I wasn't twisting away because I didn't find him attractive.

The Fantasy 4 - I'll have to grab his hand later if I want to hold his hand because he won't dare to. We will hug for an eternity, kiss and immediately hold hands. That first kiss will be the most wonderful kiss ever. I'll have to make the first move for a kiss because he won't dare to.

The Reality - His right arm wrapped around me and pulled me in as a big smile of relief spread on his face. About 5 seconds later I pulled away, too embarrassed to hug any longer. I knew he would gladly kiss me, but I knew the second I saw him there was no way this was going to happen. I was just in too much of a shock. Our hands somehow clutched, and we started walking back towards a friend of mine who had been appointed camerawoman for the event, hiding behind green plants a few feet away. It hadn't been so much a planned event as a fortunate set of circumstances, and I am now glad my friend captured this moment for us.

The Fantasy 5 - We will stare into each other's eyes for an eternity, glued like a moth to a bright light.

The Reality - We quickly moved on and somehow clutched hands, and after brief introductions with my friend, we started down the escalators to the baggage claim. My shyness attack got worse and worse, as I felt his eyes envelop me and burn through me to engrave in his mind every shape and form of me. He had one hand wrapped around one of mine, and his other arm wrapped around my arm in a lock, as if afraid I'd disappear any minute. He just wouldn't stop staring with those laser eyes and it was obvious Christmas has just arrived. I felt my heart sink. I wanted so bad to feel the same, but I felt too intimidated to return the wonderful grip he was using on me. In the taxi ride to the hotel he had a hand wrapped around my arm in that same lock, while his hand nearest me was on my leg. I was paralyzed with the effect of his presence and struggled to refrain from removing the hand that only added to my ongoing inner crisis.

The Fantasy 6 - I'll have to make the first sexual move because he won't dare to. We will make wild, passionate love all night long as soon as we're behind closed doors. It will be absolutely incredible.

The Reality - There was no "stranger shock" per se. Despite my discomfort facing the burning eyes and the tight holds, and some strange shock from a real life encounter, it was obvious we were attracted to each other. Vibes just flooded the air and it was evident that we'd have no trouble with the idea of sleeping in the one bed I had while staying at the hotel I had checked into for the next few nights. However, when we finally lay alone in bed and had some quiet talk and our first touch, all I could do was caress his arm and face. I was terrified of being more adventurous and touching in the ways we'd imagined for so long the strange person lying there.

The Fantasy 7- We will experience the most instant, fabulous, deepest soul connection there is once our physical self touch, propelling us to heights we could only dream of; realizing at last the meaning of life, and where it is going for the next 50 years without a doubt.

The Reality - Our first kiss started to happen within the next hour or so. The light was on, and the contact of his face so close to mine overwhelmed me so much I had to stop. He had had to "chase" me for a little while because I was feeling so shy I kept hiding my face down, and now I was just bailing out. Poor Galen. Suddenly, I had the idea that turning the light off could be a great enhancement to our experience. I thought that having my senses focused only on what I knew best, (his voice) would be just fabulous and make me feel close to him again by some magic.

I turned the lights off and we started getting close again. Then everything stopped. The desire evaporated and I was left lying there like a prisoner of my own lifeless body. I will curse for a long time the stupid idea I had to turn the lights off. They didn't make him closer to me, they only made him a perfectly invisible stranger.

Galen is everything in real life I perceived him to be through our email and phone/video connections. Similarly, he finds me to match what he expected. Strangely, he seems to have much less of a "stranger effect" to handle than I have. We got along on a human level interaction perfectly, there was no awkward moment, no wondering about what to talk about or what to say next, and we both find each other extremely attractive physically. We both crave the same level of touch and want to be together. Yet, the absence of instant and complete bonding was a big surprise to me. I was expecting things to either feel "fabulous" or to feel "cold". I was expecting to either have everything feel "right" or feel "wrong". And from there would naturally flow a whole sequence of events, either positive or negative. Instead, I was caught in a strange in-between land where I could meet and touch my soulmate, find him completely suited to me in every way, yet feel strangely disconnected from him. We found ourselves struggling with ghosts from the past, pains or fears. We knew they'd be there, but we didn't expect them to hit so hard.

We all carry the weight of past relationship and wounds deep inside our souls and it is wise to be aware of them.

July 19, 2000

5 days from Galen's departure from the USA, and maybe this is a time to write a few lines on how we're doing. Maybe the only time I will be able to, says a little voice inside my head, so better do it now. It hasn't been easy. I wish I could have written pages of wonderful romance for all of you who were hoping for a fabulous soulmate reunion with all the puffy clouds and trumpets singing. But the reality of it is also part of why I wanted to do this site. To show both sides, good or bad. Somehow a part of me manages to remain detached and be able to write through the pain or the regrets, the aches and the wounds. Maybe that part of me that was hurt before and that has learned to walk away to survive.

Galen will be leaving the US after staying for 3 months. Three months of uncertain times and confusing moments. I will not bore anyone with the details here, but will try instead to draw the lessons learned from the feelings and situations we experienced, hoping they will be of some use to others.

The most heart-wrenching lesson from our short time together is how obvious it made it we approached "us" from radically different psychological situations. This was no surprise, as Galen had just walked out from a soul-crushing relationship, while I have been free and healed for years. I knew it would happen. We would sooner or later one day wake up to the painful realization that one of us is not ready for another relationship, leaving the other stranded and bleeding to death for lack of love fluid.

Our minds struggled to follow and lead with cold logic when the overwhelmed heart failed. Our inner insecurities and deepest fears rose to the surface, leading to self-defeating behaviors.. Galen suffers from a massive lack of self love due to having given up his self for so long to someone for manipulation and control. His sense of worth is incredibly fragile and constantly provokes insecure thoughts about his capacity to love or be loved. This insecurity will translate into words of doubt about our relationship and how well we fit together, or how well he can measure up to making me happy. This of course in turn ignites my own insecurities and sensation of being unloved. Despite the fact that I am emotionally ready for a relationship, I am not superwoman but only human. I am also a human being that has just suffered for over a year from acute love withholding sessions, during our internet/phone connection where there was basically nothing for me to feed on any hope that there WOULD be a future for us besides my own blind faith, only a painful witnessing of his struggle to escape his then current life with the hopes that our love would be enough to carry it until the happy end, some time in the distant future.

So here I am, finally holding my love, touching him, having him live with me every day as if we really did have a life together, after over a year of painful email agony from being 10,000 miles apart and unsure of whether he would be strong enough in the end to seek for himself a new life, a happy life he deserves. All I can think about is how I will cope with the drive home from the airport in an empty car, coming back to an empty house. Anyone who has had a cherished guest for any length of time while otherwise living alone can understand the crushing feeling it is to see that person go. The unbearable emptiness that seizes you when the person goes, taking away with them the little bit of life they brought along with them to share with you and make your life a bit brighter. Not that I am a hermit gloom. I may live alone, but I have plenty of dogs and cats to take care of at home and rarely the time to feel lonely. But sharing your space with a meaningful human being is a different story.

We have reached hard times in our lives. Galen and I are both out of a job at this time, with quite unsettling visions of the near future. He will need to go back to his country and start a life from scratch, while I have to keep my wits together long enough to get my own life rolling again. Anyone who knows the terrible vacuum a jobless situation can be, making you feel worse by the week about the whole world and your sense of self, will realize the unnecessarily strain this is on our already strained situation. This was unexpected on my side, I was expecting to have more than enough money to support both of us during those three months, and it turned out to fall apart one month after Galen arrived. Nevertheless, pretty much all I have to focus on is getting life rolling again and looking around the empty house for my soulmate who is no longer here. Galen, on his end, has so much to do to get his life going once he will be back, that there is no room in his head to think about "us" and where we are going.

And this is hard, of course. I find myself being the only one working towards us, a sensation that has been with me for a long, long time. I can't blame him. I knew things would be this way. We simply are not on similar emotional grounds in our respective lives. He is not ready for a new commitment so soon after walking out on one. In spite of knowing this, somehow in my head I had thought, the moment we finally are together, the moment he finally holds me, he will be thinking, "I am so crazy about you, gosh I need to get back there, put my life together, and then we can start making plans on how to be together." This seemed like the logical thing to do. This was what I would have done.

But reality is otherwise. Galen is feeling too scared with his current life (or more precisely, "no-life") situation to be able to think he can be there for us in any way. His insecurities crept up to the forefront, and he feels so scared of failing everything, including me, that he can't even speak of plans or thoughts for us, however distant and vague. He is also struggling with being homesick and in a situation of total dependency here in the US. In short, his mind is anywhere but ready to function with the concept of "us" and how to make "us" happen.

Even though I knew this would probably be the case, it is not any easier for me to accept or deal with. I feel very alone with "us", and feel like, once again, I am the only one who is to carry us through, by being patient and staying put, waiting for time to heal and events to unwind. I am not the kind of person who likes to passively sit and watch life happen to me, feeling powerless and helpless to influence its outcome. Especially when you consider how frighteningly short life is. Every day that passes by with no resolution feels like another year wasted. And of course, the most ironic, crushing thing of all, is to see the precious few days left we have together go by while acting more or less like uncomfortable strangers, instead of grabbing our lovers' connection with full hands, always keeping in mind that time is fleeting and soon we'll be apart again. When the mind is too preoccupied to feel free to love, the heart just can't follow.

I understand where we each are coming from and have accepted the fact that there is really nothing I can do to change things, that all I can do is indeed sit and wait to see if the wounded soldier will find the strength to get up and keep going, keep on fighting for his ultimate freedom: loving himself.

I am not in any rush or mood to get involved romantically after such an experience, so it's not like I am sitting here waiting for someone to make up their mind, or am trying to make up my mind about getting involved with someone else. Rather, it is a simple return to a lonely life, life as it was before I knew there was a soulmate out there for me. A life with no particular gloom in it, but no particular excitment either. Of course things will never be the same. This experience will leave a mark. What kind of mark is hard to tell at this point. All I can hope is that it doesn't leave a SCAR. Our story is not over yet. It will naturally unfold based on Galen's inner growth, and my own inner strength and faith.

I told him a long time ago, "you can't love anybody until you love yourself." Until then, I will unjustly get less than I deserve, and the relationship is simply doomed to hurt and failure.

I do not know how long I can keep on nurturing our love on my own, feeding on blind faith, while Galen climbs up the hard path to emotional stability and self-love. Sometimes we are just so wounded we may never recover from war injuries.
So, do soulmates exist? Aren't soulmates a sweeping power that overcomes any life obstacles to reunite two beings regardless of time, geographical, emotional, or material difficulties?

I wish I had an answer to write at this time. But this isn't so. How much of it is sheer tenacity and faith, holding on to your soulmate dream despite any difficulty until your efforts are rewarded, or how much of it is a self-induced and perpetuated illusion by a mind that refuses to accept a simpler, obvious fate, is hard to say. We all want the dream to come true. We all want that special person in our life. So much that we are willing to stretch ourselves to the limits of emotional safety and logical, rational thinking. It is important to keep an ounce of "self-preservation" emergency fund in your emotional bank. A part of you that is willing to detach itself so it can assess the situation from a cold, material point of view and save you from total bankruptcy or devastating, life upheaval-consequence decisions. I am a big believer in the "listen to your gut" principle. When all seems confused and utterly foggy, when your mind can't think and your heart can't feel, just detach yourself and listen. You inner voice knows. Always. As hard as the road it whispers to you seems to be, it is the one to follow...

August 13, 2000

The hardest path has come.

Galen has returned to his country and is making a new life for himself, in search of his self and of his dreams.

It is always harder for the one left behind. There is noting to focus on than the big empty hole left by the one who left. In my head I had been ready for a relationship for years, and it is a heart-slicing feeling to have to let go of someone who is very special to you. The maddening aspect of our situation is that it can't be helped.

Galen can not have any relationship in his life until he has found the self he lost so many years ago. During his journey he will go through various phases, not the least of which is divorce grieving and healing. I know he has no idea what is ahead of him yet. After all, this is the first time for him. He does not know yet the emotional ups and downs one goes through when the monster head divorce stomps in your life.

At the moment he is in what I would call the "euphoria" phase. Where the chain just removed from your feet gives you that wonderful lightness and sensation of freedom. The possibilities are truly awing and all the things you couldn't do previously await for you to joyfully splurge in. Then will come quieter times. Times of uncertainty, times of struggle. The new life effect will clear up and leave only plain reality. Loneliness comes, as you realize indeed only you are now taking this life somewhere.

The quest for oneself is a lifelong one, and sometimes we can get so focused on it we carefully keep at bay the rest of life. That hard-won freedom is not something you want to let go of, and fears of losing it will rise easily. It most likely will take a lot of convincing to want to share it....or a lot of loneliness. I am sitting here 10,000 miles away across an ocean, after making the hard decision to stop our email contacts

For I who is living in a settled reality and a sharply defined self, it is an unbearable, soul-ripping experience to still be in touch with Galen with the degree of detachment that he needs. To see our emails go from "I love you" to "friendly weather reports" is more than I can take. For me, there is no ongoing quest for self, no fear of being controlled, no doubts in what I want from life, no need for distancing from passion's feelings because of a risk I'd lose myself before I even found it. But for Galen of course it is otherwise. Our emotional lives have taken drastically different paths, as he needs the distance I can't possibly give him.

To soothe the daily pain of separation, both physically and emotionally, I had to remove myself from us and let him be alone in his quest. I do not profess perfection of spirit and ultimate enlightenment. I have said the wrong things, done the wrong things, at the wrong times, plenty of times, during our time together. But the mistakes all had one thing in common: they came from hurt and impatience to get the love I had so long waited for from he I have known for so long. Feelings of resentment started building. I have felt unloved and used. More than anything, I have felt an aloneness never felt before. That of soul torn in two.

Galen's journey has just started. It could be years before it ends. I have told him I would be there for him when the day arrived that he had found himself and decided to share life with a soulmate. Because in my soul I know I have had a life of loneliness that is not about to change soon. I do not know what he will find on his journey. He may very well never decide to share his life, or decide, when the time comes, to share it with someone so much closer by, someone you don't need to cross an ocean to reach.

Chances are good that I will have become nothing more than a distant memory, a dream you wake up from and already can't remember. Those are soul-tearing thoughts I can not afford to linger on. There is no choice but to let time make the world turn. He knows where to find me if he wants me in his life, and I am not the one who can decide when he is ready to take that step. It is very difficult to surrender to the nonsensical situation that makes you find each other, only to have to let go because the time wasn't right. It is soul-crushing. It is devastating. It is just impossible to comprehend why such a thing would happen, why two souls could be finally reunited, for such a short time, and only to have to part before truly becoming one again . It certainly doesn't ease the sensation that you were just a tool for someone else's destiny. And it hurts beyond words, to think that God would have made you only so. But there is nothing I can do.
All I can do is become a lonely soul again

Wisdom 2

What makes it hard to deal with seeing a relationship go nowhere is not really the fact that you're facing failure. No. What makes it so hard is to see your whole concept of life blown into pieces. So you are left standing there, incapable of handling it. All your markers were blown away, all your logic systems shattered.

As weeks go by, I find myself all but capable of going on with life "as usual". That's because life has just dealt me a whole new set of cards I have never played with before. All this time I functioned on this principle: if you want something bad enough, and you work at it hard enough, it happens. It has always worked out. Life has simply always worked out faithfully following this principle before. Your thoughts make your life. Your thoughts make circumstances, and your decisions in these circumstances make your life. If you fail something, it's because either your will, your thoughts, your dedication, or the circumstances were not right.

But if all are there, obviously everything falls into place, and things work out the way you wanted them to. Suddenly, this beautiful logic vanished. For the first time I found myself having worked hard at something, having the most blinding faith in it, making all the right things happen, the circumstances fall into place...and yet the picture just miserably fell apart.I can not comprehend it. And it leaves me with this gaping hole inside. It leaves me incapable of knowing how to handle life. How can you do such a thing when everything that built your trust towards it, the one meaningful, puny sense of logic a human can attach to it has been vaporized?

This morning during the long commute to work I tried to draw common points and denominators from previous romantic involvements, in the hope of coming up with the magic bullet. The one "ah-HA" moment where I could draw a magic line between all the failures, and come up victorious with a big red flag list of elements. From there, all I'd have to do would be to carefully stay clear of such elements in the future to avoid a repetition of the pain. It is not the first time I tried this. Oh no. Anyone who has an ounce of brain left and doesn't want to be ripped open over and over by a careless lover will do this. I can not really say that the previous people in my life had a lot in common. They had very different personalities and life situation. Beyond character traits that would fill a book of psychology and be utterly beyond the scope of this page, I nonetheless managed to draw one elementary, oh so deceptively simple, in-your-face common point. Beyond the different moods, the different aptitudes, ambitions, sex appeal, romantic preferences, life goals and tastes for food, all the people in my life shared one prominent characteristic that sends shivers down my spine as I look back on it:

They didn't know what they wanted.

One simple, dreadful, but lethal fact. They didn't know what they wanted out of their life. They all were drawn to me because of this wonderful pool of love they felt they could feed on, but were incapable of returning the favor because they hadn't really decided TO BE WITH ME. They just liked the love food and stuck around for feeding times. (An ego in poor condition will require constant food.) My first involvement lasted years with someone who spent all his time complaining about all that didn't go his way. During all those years he constantly had a foot in the door, daily weighing his options to walk out. He never made up his mind about being with me, he kept looking for some greener grass while keeping a foot warm at home. I would have been ever so grateful if only he had had the guts to tell me he just didn't want me in his life, so I could have moved on instead of expanding so much energy in trying to make work a relationship with someone who didn't really want to be in it. When I finally woke up to the fact that this person had never wanted to be with me other than for loneliness relief, I moved on.

The second involvement was less nagging, although complaining too about me. When asked about what he wanted out of his life and where he saw himself down the road, what his idea of happiness was and how he was planning on getting there.... I never heard more than silence and a few mumbles. Note that I wasn't asking for a detailed engineering draft. We're talking about lover talk here, where two people try and build a future together. You need at least a rough draft so you know where you're going. The foggiest idea wrapped up in tentative visions and dreams would have been plenty.

But he simply had no vision at all, besides surviving day to day Monday through Friday, in a job that left him indifferent, giving him a life with no particular excitement but no particular frustration either. Sorry, I don't do that. I won't be a casual victim of lifeless office existence that leaves you 30 years later with no future and no clue about where the past 30 years of your life went. You just owe it to yourself to at least try and figure out where you're going, because life ain't forever and will be over before you can blink. When I finally woke up to the fact that he had no idea where his life was going and was dragging mine right down with it, damaging my sense of self in the process, I moved on.

It is interesting for me to note that for those two relationships, both complained all along about what they felt wasn't to their liking in me during the relationship (and staying anyway), while I had no complaint about them.

I just spent all my time trying hard to make everybody happy without ever succeeding. The third major involvement ... well, Galen. A year and a half ago it was obvious to me there again was some serious indecision there. But the situation being what it was, I overlooked that fact and assumed that down the road, with things clearing up and Galen becoming free of attachments would be the time to see decisions being made. Well, here we are a year and half later. Galen is free from his jail. I asked him before he left me what he wanted in his life. I asked him if he wanted me in it. He had no answer. He just couldn't answer as his mind drew this big blank and a dreadful silence filled the air.

Here it is, the missing link. The one logic of life that had evaded me. It doesn't matter what the circumstances, the events, or the people are. It doesn't matter how perfectly two people feel they fit together. If someone doesn't know what they want, your life with them and the relationship that goes with it goes nowhere. Because they haven't made the decision to be there and be in it.

I do not know why I keep attracting people who don't know what they want in life. I am the complete opposite. I know exactly what I want in my life. I know what kind of environment makes me happy, what kind of occupation makes me happy, what kind of climate I want to live in, what kind of people I want in my life, what kind of mate would suit me, what hobbies make me happy, and where I see myself 40 years from now. Everything I do in my life is geared towards pulling all those strings together so one day I can sit down in my rocking chair on my front porch in my dream house in my dream place with my dream hobby and my dream friends and my mate, and think, "wow, THIS is what I wanted." Could it be that strong people who know what they want precisely attract drifters by sheer opposite polar attraction?? Is this what those people saw in me, the great stick in the river to hold on to for dear life, yet resisting and resenting the current all the way and blaming me for the direction they were taken, while there was no one else to take it any other way?

A most ironic detail here that really hit me in the face at this point and logic in time, is that Galen is the first person to actually not complain about me, drifting along while nagging. The very fact that he detached himself from me may be hard to take, but is a guarantee against one more lasting rerun episode of "Drifting Life Seeks Anchor" in my lovelife. The absolutely maddening irony in this is that our very separation may be precisely what keeps us from being doomed in the first place. I suppose these comforting news should make it easier for me to cope with the situation, but of course it doesn't.

Another thing I always thought was simple in life: how relationships happen. Here's the way it goes: two people have a picture in their head of what they want in life. Two people meet, compare pictures. Two people go, "Wow! How about that. We have the same picture! Let's be together." Simple enough? Logical enough. Everything else is a matter of perception. Then you may find out your picture is not as similar as you thought it was, or whatever. But at least, from the start, that's where you begin. The two of you strongly believe that you're seeing with the same eyes when looking at the future.

And when I look back on my past heartbreaks, old or recent, this is the common point that has always been missing. There NEVER was anyone that both had the same picture I did AND said to me, "let's be together."

I have always been the one saying "let's be together" because I saw something in them that touched my soul, and seeing them receptive to my affection, I have always mistaken the acceptance for a return. In fact, they have just drifted along, for lack of knowing what they wanted out of their life. It is hard to look back and see... that no one has ever said to you, "let's be together"...

Internet vs Real Life

The danger of an internet-based relationship is when it overrides real life exchange. A communication that becomes exclusively internet-based because one of the people involved (or both) feel more comfortable relating to the other or each other that way should send red flags and prompt urgent action. The internet is safe, comfortable. Real life interaction is more difficult, the physical barriers come into play and struggles to communicate become inevitable. It is a natural process that should not scare off or discourage the healthy souls, but on the contrary motivate them to work hard at reaching the same level of connection they reached virtually.

The danger of the internet is not so much all the deceit and lies much talked about. No. The real danger for anyone whose heart is at stake is on the contrary to be in contact with someone who is truthful about everything, ...but doesn't know that for whatever reason they can't relate to someone in real life. There is a problem, somewhere, in their emotional makeup that prevents them from facing a real life relationship, and if you on the other hand are ready for the challenge of both, you are heading at full speed into disaster. The partner who falls apart in real life interaction most likely doesn't know he/she won't be able to face up to real life actions and feelings. They are being very truthful in the expression of their feelings and who they are. They don't try and deceive you. They just unknowingly deceive themselves. They don't know that when the time comes to face the real you, the rules of the game will change so much they won't be able to handle the play. Their soul was hurt before you came along, and the wounds didn't show until you opened them. Now they're here, in plain sight for you both to see, and leaving you stranded as to how to handle the situation.

It is crucial that when you realize such a thing has happened you take action. It is not fair nor healthy for you and the relationship to hang on desperately to your only means of communication left (internet-based) because it's the only thing that keeps you together in the face of discomfort. It is crucial that you have the courage to refuse prolonging the illusion. Because if one or both partners involved can't face real life and won't accept the challenge, that is all your relationship will ever be: an illusion. Is this what you want? Do you want love in your real world, or in a virtual world forever out of reach? The decision is tough. The move is quick and unmistakable, and it hurts. Removal of the artificial life support is the only option left. Because only then will you know and see if your relationship really transcends the illusion of internet romance. Only then will you know if your soulmate really is such. The internet does not MAKE what you have. It was only a means to bring you together from miles away. But that is all it is and should be, a utility.

If the internet becomes your only lifeline in times void of any hardship, when other means of real life contact are fully available (such as phone or handwritten letters or videos), your love is in danger. It is saying to you that your partner (or both of you) prefer to see the other as someone not quite real, because it fits their comfort zone. It says they are not willing to go beyond their comfort zone and really let you in their life, and be a part of yours. Sadly, we do have a body and have to live in the physical world. No matter how fabulous your soul connection may feel with that special person, it will always come down to having to make it in real life. Because of the special and unusual way you met (soul first, physical appearance later), the struggle will be twice as hard.

Someone who can't or is not willing to fight the battle can only mean heartbreak in your life. If you're not willing to battle yourself, you are only living an illusion and will break your own life. Of course we all expect the first real life encounter to be movie-like, to go perfectly and so easily. Our virtual soul connection conditioned us well to this crazy expectation. It's okay to be too optimistic and not realistic. Things will go wrong, things won't be as rosy as you were hoping for them to be. It will happen. And you will have to wake up and shake your head. Even I, who I thought was so level-headed for both of us, let myself fall down that trap and expected too much too soon. But I realized my mistake and was soon ready for another try. Get up, dust yourself off, and try again.

This was only the first rude encounter with physical communication. Welcome to reality. Round 2 coming up. Galen, on the other hand, was devastated when he found out he couldn't relate to me in real life as he had virtually. He was so devastated that he withdrew completely. And that's where things are very wrong. It is senseless to give up so soon and so easily. It means your inner world and perceptions are badly skewed.

The wonderful gift of the internet, the other side of the battle, is that it allowed the few fortunate of us to KNOW if we belong together from the beginning. Most of the world can only guess at a glance and wonder for the rest of their life if they guessed right. Because we got to see the inside of the person first, we don't need to guess. For us, the challenge is to overlook the physical realities and barriers, and have faith that what we feel is the only thing that matters. To know that appearances can lie. But souls never do.

Galen painfully discovered that he can't relate to me in real life. He is prisoner of an inner world of fear, and upon seeing his ability to reach me affected by reality he rejected all of me that is real. We reached a situation where he felt comfortable relating to me only via email. I am real. Not only is it not fair to me, but it can only hurt us and lead nowhere. As long as I am here safely reachable via email, he will stay there, comfortable with the situation, and our connection will forever be only virtual. I am not afraid of the battle. But I can not fight it alone. I refused to be only an illusion and severed our email connection. Only time now will tell if our soulmate connection was real or just an illusion all along. Only the power of our love can get us together again in real life. I do not know if he ever will be able to bring himself to live in the real world and reach out for me. He does not know himself. Life is so short. It is hard for me to see anyone not realizing this. Our time on this earth is so limited and finding that special someone is so rare. There simply is no time for fear.

Scar

There is a law in the world of love. The same kind of unavoidable law you encounter in the world of physics or odds, the one that says your toast will fall butter side down or if something can go wrong it will. I had never been all that aware of it, and maybe refused to see it. I had actually convinced myself it could be an exception in my so special soulmate story case.

For some strange, heart-breaking reason, when two people love, there will always be one that loves more. One that's willing to give it everything. Give the shirt off their back and the skin off their bones, for their loved one. And then there's the other. Who's kind of there, but who will think twice about giving anything too important of themselves. It is so heart-wrenching when you look at it. Especially when you're the one who would give your life and then some without blinking. Because that feeling inside of you is so strong the rest of the world doesn't matter. You don't really think about it, you don't spend your day thinking how special it is and how great your love is. It just is. And you're not even aware of it. Until something happens that forces the other to show what they're ready to do for you and for your love.

I can't think of anything more devastating for the soul than finding out the dreadful law applies to you too. And that you were all alone in your delusion of fabulous love and unique soulmateship. That you can be bleeding to death right there on the curb and that the one you thought would swin across oceans for you won't even bother to slow down and look as they're walking by.

I often think of that next to last email I sent Galen. Because it truly was a call for life. It was a chance for him to prove I mattered. That we mattered. I didn't just sent that last email that said "sorry but email just can't go on as it is and it has to stop, it is just an illusion". No.

I had written that mail a long time before I sent it. To make sure it was just plain factual and not biased by emotions. That it was straight to the point, but with no drama. And I kept it aside, knowing one day the pain would reach a peak such that it would get sent. But I also spent a long time writing another mail. A mail that was not addressed to Galen in particular, but that expressed the pain, the loneliness, the hurt, the senseless situation. It wasn't a plea for anything. It just spoke of the unbearable pain. Of the unfairness of the situation. And of course behind the lines it clearly said that it wouldn't be long before my soul turned away for survival' sake.

I thought, one phone call. It's all it would take. One brief phone call. A few words. A life contact. Words that said, "You matter to me. We matter to me. Please don't give up. I'll meet you there, some day. Just stay with us."

So I sent that mail, counting the hours before I sent the other one. So many times in the past I had been Galen's lifeline on the phone. Any time he felt like crying, I had been there, always ready to pick up that phone and soothe the pain, day or night, no matter what time. I told him, whenever you need, call, it doesn't matter when. I'll be there for you.

When Galen returned to his country he never gave me a phone number where he could be reached. When it was my turn to bleed and need a soothing voice on the phone, there was no one to call. There was just no one there. That hurt me more than anything else. This deliberate move to stay out of reach. It said loud and clear, "I don't want you in my life, I don't want any kind of real life contact with you. Don't call me. And I won't call you either. I don't want us to have any kind of real life touch."

The moment he was back in his town, the phone calls as we had known them for over a year stopped. The "I miss you" calls straight off the plane at the airport were history. I had become some ghost from a strange distant dream. Something with no real worth and substance. How can I not feel used, thought I, how can I not feel like a used kleenex when my "soulmate" makes it a point to keep me out like I am some pestering bug, after all this time of sharing thoughts and tears and feelings.

I don't know what he was so afraid of. The irony he probably never saw was that I would not even have called, had I gotten a number. Because in my logic of things, it would have been his duty to establish contact, being the one that walked away from me. The phone contact was not for me to reach him. It was for him to say we mattered.

There are no words to speak of the pain. The pain of seeing the extreme control taken to reduce us to meaningless email contact. To the exclusion of any other. The pain of not getting as much as a phone call when someone very dear to me died, ripping my soul in two and taking a part of it with them in the grave. How can he not be there for me at this time I need him most, thought I.

I thought of that time. That phone call in the middle of nowhere. He called crying, cold and hungry, lost somewhere in strange lands. I thought of that other time. He called crying from that lone road that stretches to the horizon. Every time I was there, to hold his hand. I always thought when the time came for that being in my life to die, it would be the one time in my whole life I would ever need someone to hold me like there was no tomorrow. I was afraid the world would fall apart. And it did. And I was alone with it.

There are no words to speak of the pain. The pain of being unable to communicate any other way than through artificial email, due to lack of any other means of contact. The pain of seeing my obviously next-to-last email not answered by a real life phone call but one more lifeless, harried email. "will respond later," it said, "got to make it to the shop before it closes".

I didn't see the point. I didn't see how shop closing times made it impossible for a same day answer. One last chance to say "don't go, you matter to me". Why was 6 pm a deadline? Don't phone lines work 24 hours a day? How much of a precious, tight schedule would 2 minutes have taken?

Is this all I mattered... "oh well", was the tone of his email that followed my statement that email was no longer an acceptable means of communication.

"Oh well"

So this is all I mattered... A few months back I was wondering what kind of mark this experience would leave in my life. I was wondering if it would be a scar. I was praying for it not to be so. It won't be a scar.

Life will go on. But this wound will never heal.

"Shanna"