Twitter love: a romance blossoms on Twitter, but can it survive the shift into real life?
@Patiomensch and I, @Bohopoetgirl, have been following each other on Twitter since mid 2008. In January, 2010, a month after I moved up to the shoreline of Connecticut, I saw him tweet about going to something called Books and Bars. I love both books and bars, so I replied, "I want to go!"
"Move to Minnesota?" he replied, which will forever be hashtagged in the #irony section of my memory.
This exchange began a flurry of tweets, then Facebook messages, texting and IM'ing—lots of IM'ing. We're both in our late 20s (I'm 28, he's 27) and both work in word-based industries (I'm a writer, he's a proofreader). We like a lot of the same writers and have even memorized some of the same poems. Things were going well—at least, online they were.
Men I met in real life had no chance compared to the projected perfection of my internet lover. It was so much easier to talk to him behind the screen of the computer, which led me to believe it was so much easier to talk to him period. I had spent my life searching for my prince charming, and I was sure I had found him. On January 31, Patrick said we should meet. I agreed.
Within a week he was ready to buy a plane ticket to meet me. My mom suggested we wait a little longer, so we picked April 15 as our meet-up date. The Pros And Cons of Long-Distance Dating
On February 13, he typed, "I've been doing a lot of thinking about what's been going on between us. I've wondered if you're attracted to a mirage, or if I am. The conclusion I've come to is to go into this. I'm with you on it if you're with me.
I was. "I wish I could just crawl into the screen and land on the other side," I wrote back.
Don't Believe Everything You Tweet
Twitter provides a feeling of really knowing someone. You know what they're doing, what they're thinking and what they're eating for lunch. It provides a pseudo-intimacy that doesn't always translate to real life. Patrick called Twitter "a living representation of your personality." But it's not complete—it's only what you are willing to put on a public internet forum.
We started having cyber sex. I still can't get over how intense it was with my MacBook balanced on my stomach, typing erotica one-handed. We did it again two days later. On February 28 we spent the entire day on chat. Neither of us even showered. I got up to walk my dog and use the bathroom, and that was it. Most sex doesn't end with someone curled around a laptop. The more we talked, the lonelier we became. On March 1, he typed, "I wish you were here. #thedanceofhavingsaidsomethingathousandtimes."
Stop Calling, Stop Calling, I Don't Want To Think Anymore
Over internet chat, it's easy to blow off things you don't want to see. He kept bringing up fear, nerves, the damage done to him by his previous relationship, how he withdraws before things with girls get too serious. In real life, it wouldn't have been so easy for me to ignore these things—but this wasn't real life.
On March 6 I called, wanting to hear his voice. We'd spoken before, but most of our phone calls happened while one of us was intoxicated; and while our daily chats would go on for hours and hours, our phone conversations lasted for less than five minutes. Patrick didn't answer, and responded via chat. I was growing to resent this. He wrote that he had started to worry about whether he could do a real relationship. He said he just wanted some time to think.
We didn't speak for a few days, until he replied to a tweet I wrote about being sad. We both felt heartbroken. We had been sprinting in a marathon and had run out of energy. We got into our first and only fight. I called a few times. He didn't answer.
The innocence and the intensity had left us, along with the lonely longing for one another. Cyber sex and projected fantasies would have never fixed that. All the wishing in the world would never allow me to climb through my computer screen and fall out the other side.
A New Beginning
For a few weeks, we acted as friends, encouraging each other to date. We also encouraged each other not to tweet about it.
Then something happened. On March 25 Patrick told me he was coming to Boston, the last weekend of April, for ROFLCon, "the world's most epic two-day internet culture conference." He asked if I would want to meet him there.
So now he's coming. Re-reading our tens of thousands of lines of chat has made me remember just how much I adore him. I have cried a few times, and I have also run to my bedroom a few times when I came to particularly steamy sections. But mostly, it has made me excited that the universe has come full circle and that we are going to meet—soon.
We both wonder how things will change after we finally see each other in person. Stay tuned—I'll be back in two weeks to let you know how it goes.
Follow YourTango on Twitter: www.twitter.com/YourTango