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A year ago, I was entirely resigned to my fate as a middle aged celibate matriarch of a one parent family, consisting of four mostly grown up children and three young grand-children.I would have told you I was perfectly happy as I was, and having had one divorce followed by several years of the live-in relationship from hell I was never going near men again. No thank you, not for anything! I had had six years on my own and life was trotting along fairly comfortably. The only slight blip was that my ex- partner would not entirely let go, and had a habit of turning up en-famille and expected to carry on as though nothing had happened for the few hours he could be bothered to show up!
A year ago, almost to the day, life changed. After a disastrous Christmas day I kicked my ex into touch ( not literally, of course!) and have refused him entry to the house ever since. He has at last, got the message.
You may be wondering what all this has to do with internet relationships? Hang on in there and all will be revealed!
Had you told me a year ago that I would be in another relationship I would have roared with laughter and said you were off your head. No men for me, no Siree, far too dangerous! Had you then said it would be an internet relationship I would have called up the men in white coats.
I do not go into chatrooms and after a couple of IMís which began to get out of hand, I set my messengers to only accept IMís from people I knew. I have extreme reservations about talking to complete strangers on the net and even more about going to meet them. That being said, my two elder daughters, both of whom right here spasmodically, both met their chaps from random IMíing! They both seem happy with it, but it still isnít for me.
My other half and I had originally decided that we were not going to blast our story in a Mills and Boone Style all across the site.Donít get too excited, you are still not getting Mills and Boone, it really isnít our style ( not in public anyway!). However, I had a fascinating four way chat with some on site friends the other night which made me change my mind. I did clear this with the significant other first, though!
The girls and I were discussing the differences between ď opinionating relationshipsĒ and ones where you meet someone at random from the net. It was very interesting, and we were all agreed that there is a very big difference. In case there are others of you considering meeting another writer and are uncertain I hope this might help you think it through.
The girls and I all agreed that opinion site relationships grow much faster than ones when you meet normally. I was not the only one in the conversation to either be in or have had a relationship with someone from the site. In fact, if you look around the site it is quite amazing how many couples have got together courtesy of Dooyoo or Ciao, and most seem to be very successful. There are probably several more, about which we donít know, too!
I will tell you a bit about us before going on to talk to you a bit more about online dating in general.
Most of our online friends have known we have been an item for some time. To begin with we kept it fairly quiet until we were certain where we were with it all. As our friends now know we are happy enough to be more open with it.
Both of us have written on both sites for a long time. We regularly commented on each others opinions and it was apparent we had some very similar interests and views. For about eight months we avidly read the others opinions and with the advent of Tooyoo we chatted more through there. We grew to be very firm friends over the period of time and eventually started e-mailing each other. I donít think that at the time either of us had any idea of anything other than being friends and chewing the cud on matters of mutual interest.
In the summer we had the opportunity to meet as I was going for a mini break with my daughter and would be staying very close to his house. We decided that we would meet for an afternoon. I must admit I did have a slight apprehension, which I talked through with a mutual opinionating friend. He was wonderful ( thanks mate, I owe you a big drink next time I see you!) and put everything into perspective, as only real friends can. He had already met John so knew he wasnít an axe wielding psychopath! Having had my mind put at rest I had no further doubts as to the wisdom of what I was doing.
Did bells ring and lightening strike immediately when we met? No!! We were both on our very best behaviour, and if honest, a bit nervous! My daughter did say later, that she had spotted signs, but we didnít!!
We knew we would get on as we had so much in common, but as I said neither of us were looking for anything else. We got on like a house on fire and realised we would probably always be friends. My daughter was also very taken with him as a person. Believe me, she doesnít suffer fools gladly! We spent a lovely couple of hours together and enjoyed each othersícompany. There was so much to talk about, and as is my habit when nervous, I talked too much!
I came back to Hampshire feeling rather quiet. I am not normally known for being quiet, but something was niggling at me. I didnít know what. I didnít realise for a couple of days quite how churned up I was. I felt totally confused. About what, I did not know!
We continued to e-mail and Tooyoo each other for a couple of days, and then it hit us both at the same time roughly, that we had fallen for each other quite hugely. The speed of the thing shell-shocked us both. As each week passed the feelings just grew and grew. We decided it must be because we already knew all about each other. We knew the rotten stuff about each other from our ops, of any difficult times we had previously and had gone into the relationship with no nasty secrets lurking. If you are a regular reader of mine, you will know how incredibly important that was! I have many skeletons, but John took me on knowing about them and accepting me as I was. There is no way that could happen with someone that you fell for first and learned about afterwards!
My last relationship was like that, I fell for him big time, and then as I learned more about his skeletons and later again that he was mentally ill, it was almost too much to cope with. At least for John and I, we made the decision that we could cope with anything from each othersí past before allowing ourselves to become deeply involved. It gives a feeling of enormous security, which I believe neither of us has experienced before. You get to know a lot about a person from their writing, donít you?
We tried to slow it down, but love has its own agenda! We could not believe what was happening to us to start with! Eventually we just went with it and it found itís own level remarkably quickly and easily.
The distance of 150 miles is a complete pain in the neck. We only get to see each other about once a month , which is really tough. This is something that a lot of opinionating relationships find. I can think of at least three where one party has upped sticks to go and be with the other one. There is a limit to how long you can sustain a relationship with IM, Tooyoo and e-mails! It does help a lot in between visits though!
We made the decision a while ago that we wanted to be with each other, so I am moving to Devon in the summer. I have resigned my job from the end of the summer term and have to sell my house as well. It is a bit scary at times, not knowing if I can find as good a job in time, but whatever else, I know I am doing the right thing. I have never had any doubts, and if necessary I can do a different job for a while. The important thing for us, is to be together. I never in my wildest dreams thought I could have this much in common with someone else, or be this happy. We are remarkably well suited.
It will be difficult being away from my family, but I will just have to make a big effort to come up and see them regularly. Perhaps now it is time for me to have a life. God knows I havenít had much of one up to now!
So if you see a pair of middle-aged starry eyed twits behaving like a couple of teenagers, then itís probably us!
If you are considering meeting anyone from the Internet it is advisable to be careful, even if you think you know them really well from IMís or opinions, if they are a writer. We met at Johnís house. I had my daughter and his Mother was there, although I donít think he ever considered that I might be a homicidal maniac! ( now, where was that axeÖ.)
Donít go by yourself the first time, and donít have too high expectations! It is better to go with minimum expectations and you are less likely to be disappointed, or worse still, hurt.
Meeting someone in person is very different. We knew each other extremely well, and had seen photos, albeit not very good ones! Nonetheless, there may have been no chemistry, in which case John and I would be best friends rather than a couple. We would have been very happy with that, too. As I said, we were not looking for anything, so it took us both by surprise! We still pinch ourselves sometimes!
The difference between meeting an opinionater as opposed to someone from the net at random is that you have read the ops. The opinions are not put there to make friends or catch a partner. They are not there to impress you as perhaps things you might be told on IM or in a chatroom might be. I would probably be more wary with someone I had met at random as you really know nothing about them.You can see photos, but are you sure it is of the person? There are many scary stories of people going half way round the world to marry internet partners they have never seen other than on photos. Some have discovered there mate is of the wrong gender or possibly the wrong age by several decades! You really have to be very careful indeed! People can say what they like on the net, you do not necessarily get the person you think they are, when you get to know them.
I donít think this should necessarily stop you, as I know some very successful relationships started this way, you should just exercise extreme caution to protect both your physical and emotional well-being.
There is one advantage that strikes me about meeting someone who has IMíd you at random: you may not have the demographic problems. People tend to IM people within their own locality. This has got to be easier. We try very hard not to let the distance get to us, but if I were not moving, and we could see an end to it, I think it would have put a huge strain on our relationship.
There are statistics that show that many internet marriages are more successful than ones where the couple met in the normal way. The thinking is that it is because mostly people already know each other well before meeting, and so all the dross is got out of the way first. You do hear the odd horror story, but there are many more very successful ones with happy endings.
If you are considering meeting someone from the site, why not give it a go? If you canít cope with a long distance relationship or arenít prepared for one of you to move if it comes to it, than donít fall for someone miles away!
There are quite a lot of us here who would tell you that meeting their opinionating partner is the best thing they ever did! Just take care at first and you should be fine!