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The following exchange is excerpted from a dialogue group assembled in late August to "test" the small group dialogue software developed for this site.

1. Internet Relationships
Sat, Aug 21, 1999 - 2:15 PM/EST
MrsB

Morning all - let me introduce myself - I'm Sher, but you'll probably get to know me as MrsB .

I met my husband via on-line chat on IRC - we were married last September and I have never been happier.

I have read most of the postings so far ... well I'm Jewish and he was raised Methodist - but we were married by my Rabbi under a makeshift Chuppah .

Anyway .... I have a 25 yr old daughter whose ex-husband is black so I have a gorgeous 7 yr old grandson. I would never treat him any differently than I treat anyone else, he's my flesh and blood - but I see looks/stares from time to time from other folks. People tend to look at the outside and never give a chance to the inside. I guess that is part of what makes my marriage work so well - we got to know each other from the inside out, so to speak !!!

Hope to hear from everyone ;-)

sher

http://www.pmtinet.com/sher/wedding

2. I've gone there
Sat, Aug 21, 1999 - 7:47 PM/EST
bronzebeauty

Hey Sher. I met my fiance on-line and after we met face to face, we were inseparable IRL. Things are a little weird between us lately, but I've never known anyone who makes me feel the way he does.

We've discussed the fact that if it weren't for the internet 1. would we have ever met and 2. would either of us have approached the other in a social setting. Seems like the answer would probably be no. The 'net allowed us to get to know each other on the inside first. I know exactly what you're talking about!

~BB~

3. Love via the net
Sat, Aug 21, 1999 - 8:32 PM/EST
showard

It seems that finding love on the net is becoming more and more common these days.

I never really took looking at personal ads seriously until one sleepless evening when I decided to scan the ads in my local area. To my suprise I found someone I would consider going out with.

We instantly hit it off and after seven months of dating we got married and the love between us keeps getting stronger and stronger everyday.

4. It's not all wine & roses
Sat, Aug 21, 1999 - 8:45 PM/EST
emerald

Love affairs over the internet are exciting and mysterious. But like all good things, there is usually a down side. There are many horror stories of things happening because of the internet. High school massacres because of hate webpages with home-made bomb recipes, young children falling prey to internet predators, etc. In other words, the internet has opened up an entirely new way to bring all manner of things into our homes. Be they wonderful or be they horrible.

My mother and father were married for 37 years until she got a computer. She went online and met a man on Pirch. They developed a relationship, my parents divorced and my mother married this man. I won't go into the details but suffice it to say that our entire family is very nervous for my mother and for ourselves as well. Holiday get togethers are bizarre, it is just bizarre in every way. She swears she has never been happier and thats great for her. But had it not been for the internet, my children would still have grandparents who lived in the same home and I wouldn't have had to explain why grandma lives with a man who isn't grandpa.

5. everyone is correct - but what about this?
Sun, Aug 22, 1999 - /EST
trey

Well - you are all right... I am a web developer (26 YRS), and I am CONSTANTLY online. I have been married for a bit over two years now - and here is the interesting part. Although my life is consumed with computers - my wife (24 YRS.) cannot hardly use one at all... some people use Lycos or Yahoo - when she needs online information, she uses me.

I have had a few online trysts - although nothing ending in an encounter - over the past 5 years or so - and have made a lot of friends on the web needless to say. I have also ended up with some wierd people - one girl kept sending me letters and photos of herself - and was always contemplating suicide when I didn't respond (OK - that was a little freaky) The thing is that my wife doesn't know about anything that has happened POST marriage - and I really don't have to worry about her finding out, she can hardly move the mouse!

She is the brightest, intelligent and beautiful person that I know and I love her very much! She is getting her degree now - and has no problems learning computers, but hasn't wanted to yet. I have never "cheated" on her (the actual act of doing so) but sometimes I enjoy the attention that I receive online. I guess I KNOW that I would never find anyone that I could love more than her - so I am not really "looking."

The internet surely has made it easier for people to LIE and that is certainly the truth. I view it like adult magazines or videos... only more interactive. It can be exciting, but I am grounded in my marriage and I know what lines are.

Now I know there are a lot of religious people in this dialog (from reading posts) and I am sure that this could create a solid discussion - maybe even upset some people - I was not raised religiously, and I have done my share of bad deeds, but I also KNEW what I was doing was wrong when I did it- what do you think about this?

6. giggle
Sun, Aug 22, 1999 - 1:01 AM/EST
emerald

hey trey......some of the most erotic and wonderfully fun conversations I have ever had in my life have been online. I understand where you are coming from. If I am 'reading' you correctly I think you are implying that it can be a heck of a great game, as long as you remember it is just a game. That it can be great fun but the real world is the real world and internet trysts are really just a fantasy game. I have discovered some amazing things about what men secretly fantasize and desire while online.

I think the internet is sort of like free phone sex lines. If you are lucky enough to find a woman online who understands a man's sexual needs and can indulge you, without guilt, you are a lucky guy. Its when people forget that its fantasy and it intrudes into your real life that havoc wreaks. I think it is a sign of a healthy sex drive when a man can explore his fantasies while keeping his zipper safely zipped :-)

7. mixed thoughts
Sun, Aug 22, 1999 - 4:40 AM/EST
miles2go

Bronzebeauty, I feel EXACTLY the same as you do! My husband and I met in the same way. Due to the internet, we were really able to get to know the real person.

However, I question the idea of communicating with other women/men online in regards to sexual conversations. If you are involved, seriously, with another person, how is it ok to discuss personal and intimate sexual items with someone you don't know? I am not a heavily religious person, I just feel that it is cheating to an extent. Those types of feelings are personal and many times, you are NOT thinking of your partner while chatting/looking at another person. Am I the only one who feels this way?

8. diferent impression
Sun, Aug 22, 1999 - 12:00 PM/EST
Lynn

Somehow I got a diferent impression from Trey about his internet experiences...my thought is that he enjoys the turn of the written phrase and the wit of the encounter. I didn't get the impression that there were any "jollies" involved.

Having a clever and witty conversation with the written word has always been admired in our culture. Using free sex phone lines or showing porn flicks has always been considered vulgar.

What makes the world go round is that we don't use people as objects or victims. We keep our kindness and playful joy in sharing the the gift of love and sexual pleasure.

9. New ways of relating
Sun, Aug 22, 1999 - 12:14 PM/EST
Lynn

How facinating that there are so many in this group who have formed relationships thru the net and who have families affected by such changes in the way we meet partners.

Racial considerations seem to come in much later in "getting to know you" as do physical attributes. Instead of falling in love with our eyes we fall in love with the way someone writes....interesting. I wonder how much it is similar to old fashioned arranged marriages. Instead of our parents it is a technical matchmaker. The dependance on the computer is the common factor. Aside from the fact that it is probably an economic affluence attribute to have a computer, it is also likely to indicate a linear thinker. What does this mean for the next generation?

The thought just skipped over my brain that maybe the internet relationships satisfy our need for extended family in this time of the break up of such families and the isolation of nuclear couples. Also, it fills in with gossip, play, group engagement (chatrooms) and simple conversation. Seems to me it meets lots of personal needs!

10. Lynn
Sun, Aug 22, 1999 - 1:37 PM/EST
emerald

I wasn't insinuating any vulgrity was involved. I mean that the reason phone sex lines are a profitable business is because men have a very real need to explore their sexual fantasies. In an anonymous forum, where they aren't afraid of alienating the woman they love. For centuries prostitution has continued to flourish because of a basic primal need men have - not just the 'needs' of young horny guys, but the needs of mature established men. There is an apsect of the business of 'women of ill repute' that doesn't require any physical contact or vulgarity whatsoever. Men are very willing to pay a woman to just listen to them, who they can open up to on a sexual level, without fear of rejection.

I am of the opinion that it takes years of building up a level of trust and security in a relationship before a man will tell his woman his deepest darkest fantasies. Things that would probably shock her. Things that may very well not even be physically possible or that he would ever actually participate in. But a man will tell a woman who is a total stranger who takes time to listen. The internet is a communication tool that has opened doors that people may not have even known existed. It is a powerful window into all aspects of life, both the best of humanity and the worst of humanity can be found on the net. Just a mouse click away. Men who would have never even considered 'telling all' about their sexuality can do so for free, on the internet. Its going on all around you girls.

11. Whoops, Emerald, wrong word?
Sun, Aug 22, 1999 - 3:02 PM/EST
Lynn

Whoops, I didn't mean in any way to criticize what you said when I described phone sex as vulgar....I am thrilled that the subject of fantasy has been broached....I was writing about what is acceptable in public and couldn't think of another word. Woe is me, where is the Thesaurus when I need it???

Anyway this is as good a time as any to stress that we all have our nerve endings bare and vulnerable in this forum. I apologize if I have caused you any discomfort...its a long process developing self protective AND nurturing skills with this new way of "conversing".

Also, helpful hint...its easier to read the postings if you paragraph about every four or five lines.... :-)

This is fun, I'm soooooooo glad to meet you and share this dialogue.

14. Trey's followup
Mon, Aug 23, 1999 - 6:04 PM/EST
trey

Hello all - back again,

I wanted to take a moment to express my appreciation to EMERALD for taking the time to understand what I was talking about - it really is all just a game - and to LYNN - you are correct also - I LOVE a discussion. part of the fun of internet relationships is talking with soemone who DOES use complete sentences, and can express their thoughts in the written word.

I must be frank when I say that I was expecting to generate a negative reaction, and I was quite pleased to see what evoloved from my comment. One other thing I have noticed, there are a lot of women in this dialog group. Not that it matters - but maybe it is true that women prefer to discuss relationships and such - I have always heard this to be true... but if so - what am I doing here?(haha)

If all of you have spent some time in other dialogs - you have noticed a negative - rather arrogant stream that usually runs through the discussions. I am happy to say that I do not see that here - LYNN was correct - everyone's personal thoughts are on the line, and although this leads to FANTASTIC conversations, it does leave them vulnerable to insults and such. Thank you all for being such a fun group!

15. workplace comment
Mon, Aug 23, 1999 - 6:15 PM/EST
trey

I thought that I should enter my two cents about working on and with the internet.

As I said before - I develop on the internet - and I correspond as many as 75 times a day via email with people. I have noticed a few GOOD and BAD points.

GOOD: It is fast and free. I can save a call and formalities of talking to someone I don't really want to talk to by sending them an email - and chances are - they won't ramble on and take up the whole afternoon when I have things to do. I am one of those people that hates to cut people off - but feels a lot of stress to get things done at work.

BAD: It has gotten to the point where I can go MONTHS without actually speaking to a person (not any people at all - but some people) - I forget which conversations were real and which were virtual. I end up sending a message to a coworker who is across the room instead of getting up to go and talk to them! It is so much easier (isn't that scary?!)

I work at home sometimes, and my job has purchased me three machines as well as a laptop - in retrospect - I should have told them "no thanx" but it is an attractive lure when you are young and technoligically driven such as I am. I am expected many times to be like a doctor (I also have a pager) and on call all of the time.

I have only been in this business a few years - and I love it, but I have quite a few VIRTUAL leashes... it can be a bit scary!

17. internet romance
Mon, Aug 23, 1999 - 10:54 PM/EST
operabuff

I am in a loveless marriage, and I went to several political discussion groups looking for the intellectual give and take I cannot get with my alcoholic, non-communicative husband. I found more than I was looking for - I found my soul mate. I still cannot believe I've done this. I found one poster on one political discussion board who wrote brilliantly, and with whom I consistently agreed. We started e-mailing each other (I used the same name, and he wrote to me to find out if I am really an opera fan, because he is too. I am) and we found more and more interests we had in common. For months, our e-mails were strictly intellectual. Then, I had a family crisis, one of my children had to be treated in the emergency room, and I wrote a letter to this man telling himl about it. He responded with anincredibly wise and caring letter, he sent me his phone number and told me I could call anytime, day or night, if I needed a shoulder to cry on. No one had ever been so caring! I resisted the temptation to call for about a month, but I finally called, wanting to hear what his voice sounded like. After that, our letters started getting more personal, and we started talking on the phone as often as we could.
Anyway, we finally meteach other this month. We never exchanged photos, we never told each other what we looked like, because it did not matter. We had fallen in love with each other, regardless of our looks. (We both happen to be quite attractive, if you wanted to know.)
I've been married 22 years, and this was the first time I ever cheated on my husband. Was I scared meeting this man? Of course I was. But, we met first in a public place, close to my home, where I felt safeDo I feel guilty about cheating on my husband? No, I do not. I realize that, keeping a promise I made 22 years ago made no sense, since keeping that promise meant being untrue to myself. Sometimes, to be faithful to yourself, you have to be unfaithful to your spouse.

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