I still remember the day I received my first email. It was from a girlfriend’s boyfriend in the States. I had recently taken possession of a lumbering old beast and logging on to that phone line, hearing that crazy noise and then seeing that something was coming in was darn near magical. Like a little Christmas every day. Since B was one of the few people I knew who was hip to e-mailing, he and I struck up an almost daily correspondence. We talked about anything and everything. One time he came home from a party pretty tipsy and shot off a missive without editing, typos, mistakes, bad punctuation and all. I could almost hear him slurring as I read the words. It was hilarious.
B and I were e-buddies in a time when such a thing was new and fresh. ANY email was special. He was my friend’s beau and I was married so that is all we were but it was a fun, chummy relationship. Until his relationship with my friend ended and she made it quite clear that my allegiance should be clear.
I missed him, sure, but life went on and new e-relationships were born, some which led to mayhem and misery.
My next e-relationship fostered marital infidelity. Which fostered mayhem. And misery. Because communication is a huge aphrodisiac. The BIGGEST aphrodisiac, quite frankly. At least for me, the word girl. Communication turns me on. And, as it turns out, gets me into trouble.
Which begs the question: Can E-Relationships ON THEIR OWN, with no promise of future connection or romance, be real and meaningful? Of course I am now talking about opposite-sex relationships. Relationships that could potentially lead to desire. Relationships that could turn from chummy and innocent to flirty and dangerous. Can such a thing exist?
In my country-band days I was madly in love with my guitar player. He was married but hey, my morals were obviously a bit askew. We ended up together for almost three years and then we were not. He ultimately reunited with his wife and we got on with our separate lives.
Until one night he showed up in the restaurant where I was preforming and emailed me the following day, stating in no uncertain terms that he would like to run away with me. He and his wife were on the rocks (due to her infidelity) and I was just a shiny beacon of hope in his otherwise dismal world.
Didn’t happen. The running away thing. I was living with the love of my life and entirely uninterested. Even when the LOML dumped me and guitar-player guy and I kept emailing it did not happen. We developed a beautiful camaraderie. We were able to share deep and important thoughts almost daily. We had such a profound history it translated to a really special friendship. We became buddies!!
(He even told me about an out-of-the-blue tryst that surprised even him and I was like “Go man go!”)
Our e-relationship was decidedly friendly. Until he and his wife reunited and he told me he had to ditch me. No way was she ever going to understand that we were buddies. Only buddies.
And ditched I remain.
I’m okay with that, because I was merely a stepping stone to the next chapter of his life. Our e-correspondence was lovely and honest and, when it could no longer be that, it was over.
Wasn’t so simple for my friend P. She developed an e-relationship with an old beau who lived on the other side of the planet. They were both unhappily married. Yet no matter how hard they tried to convince themselves that their e-relationship was just platonic pals sharing woes and laughs, the underlying spark was there. Sparking away until it turned into raging flames.
Ultimately they met. And there was nothing platonic about their meeting. After which her marriage broke down, his remained intact and they both got on with their lives. But for her ir was painful as hell.
THIS was most definitely an ” opposite-sex relationship. One that led to desire. One that became decidedly flirty and dangerous.”
When you’ve lived as long as I have you come to the realization that there are no hard and fast rules and nothing is cast in stone. What was once innocent can, in a heartbeat, turn to trouble. And what was once trouble (like my guitar-dude) can just as easily turn to innocent and genuine friendship.
I have experienced both. E-relationships that were meaningful and e-relationships that were delicious … and destructive.
The thing is we never know which way it’s going to go. What we think is innocent fun can ON A DIME become dangerous. Yet that “innocent fun” is so addictive it’s damn difficult to acknowledge that it could get crazy.
I don’t have the answer. I’m hoping that maybe you do.
So I ask again … Can E-Relationships Be Real and Meaningful?
I look forward to your thoughts.