- Posted January 18, 2013 by
This iReport is part of an assignment:
The ups and downs of online dating
We Are Words
Have I had an online dating experience? What a fascinating question. After carefully weighing the thought, I'd have to say that my final answer is "Sort of". It isn't much of an answer, but it's the best that I can provide.
Yes, I'm aware of the dangers on the Internet these days, the predators lurking silently behind their computer screens. Yes, I've seen "Catfish". I've even emailed Nev Schulman to tell him my own catfish story, and to tell him how much I admire what he does. Of course I haven't received a reply, but when you are in charge of a hit MTV show, I suppose it's hard to have time for anything else. But that movie truly blew my mind. Why? Because something similar had happened to me.
Fifteen years young, my freshman year was coming to its close. In the middle of crushes, dramatic events that had stemmed from immaturity, trying to be a "scene kid", and the basic things that every young teenager deals with, along came a new friend. Let's call him Dallas. Dallas was different from the rest of my friends because I had never met him in person. He lived approximately 3000 miles away in a separate world. After we "met", we began talking on a daily basis, and I found out new things about him. Now that I think back on it, I really didn't know too much about him. I didn't know his siblings' names. I didn't even know if he had any pets. Something I did know was that he had a girlfriend.
After a bit of time had passed, I found myself excited to talk to him. I was developing a crush. He told me that it was cute that I'd never had a boyfriend before. He told me that I was pretty. He told me that if he lived in my country and was single, he would date me. Later in our friendship, the L-word sprung into conversation. Then along came the promises. Wait, did I say promises? I meant fabrications. He told me that he bought me books and was sending them to me. He told me that he was in a band that was popular in his country. He told me they were going on the Warped Tour, and that he would purchase my sister and me tickets. He told me that he was coming to the states for the Christmas holidays, and that he wanted to meet me in person. He said he would kiss me when he saw me. Despite the fact that he was in love with his girl.
I never received any books. After researching, I discovered that he was in fact not in the band he claimed to be in. After confronting him, he said that he was their "back-up drummer". Oddly enough, he quit the band a few weeks later. Warped Tour's lineup did not include that band, either. And he never came to meet me in person.
After I discovered that I had been lied to, I was humiliated. I had told so many people about him, about his band, about meeting him in person. I had counted down the days. But all of that was a figment of his imagination, a deception. I had been thoroughly japed. I felt like a fool for believing everything that he said to me.
In the midst of my sorrowful situation with Dallas, along came someone new, swiftly appearing in my life through a dial-up connection. But this one was different, different from Dallas, different from anyone I had ever met in my life. At first, I wasn't sure what to think of him. We talked endlessly. Every day, I discovered something new about him, it seemed. His name was Aaron. He smoked cigarettes. He used to be addicted to drugs. He was almost three years older than me. His family was on food stamps. He lived in Florida, 1000 miles away. He loved music. He was a writer. After months passed and the number of messages grew substantially, our relationship evolved. We changed. We influenced some of the changes. We grew from strangers to acquaintances to friends to close friends to eventually best friends. We knew everything about each other. We shared everything, no holds barred. Somehow I knew that he was real, that everything he told me was the truth. His story was too intricate, too in-depth to not be real. And when he told me that he wanted to come meet me in person, I knew that he wasn't lying. I look forward to that day.
I had fallen in love with him. Not fake, puppy love. Real love. A sixteen-year-old claiming she's in love--it sounds crazy, doesn't it? Our friendship was fascinating, and our connection was like nothing I've ever felt before. It was made of words. I wrote songs for him, and I still do. There's about ten now. Then came The Confession. On September 21, 2012, at precisely 12:14 p.m., I confessed to Aaron that I loved him. I chose that particular time because the first message I had received from him came on December 14 of 2011. His response was not what I expected.
"You're a truly amazing person, and as a friend, I have a tremendous amount of love for you."
"I've just began walking down a very long road, which has many crossroads, and I'm happy that you're there to walk alongside. In terms of further down that road, I'm happy to know that you'll be there either by my side or in my arms, I do intend for at least one of those two being the outcome, though it is currently uncertain and neither are set in stone."
Now, we are closer than ever. Truly the best of friends, completely and utterly honest with each other. And every day I wear the cross necklace he sent me for Christmas around my neck, and it reminds me to thank God for putting him in my life. The day before I wrote this, I wrote yet another song for him. Though I was a bit nervous, I sent him the lyrics anyway. The song asked things like, "Do you miss me like I miss you? Do you love me in the same way that I love you?"
When I was expecting regular feedback, instead, he decided to answer all of my questions.
He told me that he believed that he did love me, but didn't necessarily want to act on those feelings until we were both of appropriate age, or at a more appropriate time in life. He told me that he did miss me, and that he would write songs about me, but it's hard for him to put love into words. I finally knew--he loved me back. I couldn't help but think about how we were almost in a relationship anyway, there just wasn't a label on it. If I called myself his "girlfriend", our relationship wouldn't be any different, really. Call me crazy, but I believe that I have found that one perfect person, my soulmate. I found someone worth finding. And the crazy thing is, I've never met him in person.
Aaron may not be a catfish, but he was a damn good catch nonetheless.
In school today, a substitute was discussing the Manti Te'o situation.
"I think he's lying through his teeth," she stated. I asked why. "You just can't fall in love with someone you haven't met."
I smiled said firmly, "Yes, you can."
If you wish to read more on my experiences with online relationships, please visit my blog, which you'll find at the URL below.
If you wish to read the songs I wrote about both "Dallas" and Aaron, please let me know!
Note: Dallas's name has been changed out of respect and to maintain anonymity. Picture from Google Images.