The New York Times recently published the winner of its “Modern Love” college contest, a 696-word essay by Syracuse University senior Caitlin Dewey. The headline: “Even In Real Life, There Were Screens Between Us.”
In it, Dewey details the failure of an online relationship to stand the test of IRL (in real life). She writes:
But after we kissed and ate pizza and went back to his house, we struggled for things to talk about. In real life, Will stared off at nothing while I talked. In real life, he had no questions about the drive or my work or the stuff that waited for me when I went back to school.
He took me out for dinner and read his e-mail while we waited for our food. He apologized profusely, but still checked his Web site’s traffic stats while we sat in his living room.
Have you ever experienced a bellyflop from CatholicMatch chats to face-to-face chats?
About two years ago, I struck up a correspondence with a CatholicMatch member from a very long distance. Our rapport was witty, genuine and caring. Very quickly, it got whipped into a frothy online romance – one that was very public to the CatholicMatch community.
During that time, we compared our temperaments. We compared Facebook quiz results. We spent hours talking over Skype, emailing, texting and writing letters by hand; we shared books and prayers together; we vented, traded jokes, and gave each other support during difficult experiences.
Before long, he announced in the forums that he was going to board a plane and ask for my hand. It was very easy to get caught up in the well-wishes and compliments and premature congratulatory remarks. It was even easier to forget the red and blue ink of it all. We thought, after all the heady discussions and sharing, that we had all the bases covered. There was no way the chemistry wouldn’t be there – it already was there, this was IT!
Long story short: It wasn’t there at all.
How do you account for the times online chemistry doesn’t translate to real life? Is there any way to predict (or prevent) that fizzle?