This week, we’re bringing back an older feature: the Post-Mortem. These are essentially longer Ask Dr. NerdLove’s, in which I break down just what somebody’s done right… and where it all went wrong. If you’re interested in a Post-Mortem, let me know in the email, and be sure to include as much detail as possible. Be aware: Sometimes the value of a post-mortem assesment is the application of the Sledgehammer of Truth, and the results aren’t always pleasant. So hey, fair warning.
Now with that in mind… here we go.
I’ve been following your site for a while now, and every so often I’ll start writing to you for advice which ends up helping me figure stuff out on my own. This one’s mainly a post-mortem to get your feedback on whether/where I messed up in this situation.
A bit of background: I’m a 24 year old student who works weekends as a supervisor at a Major Retailer. Had a couple online relationships with girls who I never even met when I was younger, but my in-person dating life has been less than a dozen dates.
You’re going to have to pardon a slight digression, but this is a pet-peeve of mine that comes up a lot with nerds: online-only relationships aren’t relationships in the sense that you’re using the term.
There’s a profound difference between dating someone and having a “romantic” relationship with somebody that you’ve never actually met in person. No matter how romantic it is to think that you’re “getting to know somebody’s soul” or “getting to know the real them, without that physical aspect getting in the way”, or that this is somehow more “pure” than meeting in meatspace, the fact remains that sexual attraction is a key component of a romantic relationship and that can only be judged by being together in person. Even Skype calls and video chats don’t capture the physical aspects of the relationship; you’re missing the pheromonal connection, their presence and the hundreds of thousands of microissues – from the way they click their tongue when they think to the way they smell – that simply can’t be perceived outside of old-fashioned meatspace. I’ve lost track of how many hot-n-heavy online-only relationships collapsed as soon as they were together in person because they simply didn’t have the sexual, physical connection.
Not that I don’t believe that love can’t bloom in the online battlefield – I’ve got more friends than I can count who’ve found their significant other through forums and online games – but unless you actually make the leap to face-to-face, even if it’s long distance, it’s simply not the same.
Sorry. Please continue.