People are still reckless when it comes to love. I say that with a slight edge of surprise because of what we know in these electronically enlightened/enhanced times. I mean, we have access to so much information these days that we can know everything about someone if we want to.
Many people meet online these days. Many people become good friends or fall in love. I am actually all for that because making connections with people is very important. Hugely important.
But for goodness sake, particularly when it comes to love, make sure the person is who they say they are before you decide they are the love of your life and drop everything to fly half way around the world to be with them.
I have two stories for you.
One is over and one is beginning.
Both involve meeting people online and chatting over Skype.
One is foolhardy. I’m hoping the other isn’t.
My sister has a friend who was divorced two years ago. She hasn’t dated anyone since then but a year ago struck up a friendship with a guy she met on Skype. She lives in Australia and he lives in New Zealand. They chatted every day for hours up until a month ago.
Now for those of you who have never used Skype it is a form of video chat. You can actually see the person you are talking to. Sometimes there is a slight delay and the picture can slip in and out of focus but mostly the image is quite clear.
I would have thought it would be hard to dupe someone on Skype. Apparently, it is not.
My sister’s friend was duped by a man. She is fifty years old and the wool was completely pulled over her eyes. Or in this case the false beard.
The guy chatting to her on Skype wore a false beard.
When I saw a screenshot of him the first thing I said was : That guy looks like he’s wearing a fake beard.
My sister’s friend was too blinded by love to notice. Or care.
She fell in love with the bearded man and went all the way to New Zealand to declare that love. The bearded man turned out to be a 17 year old boy who had been chatting to my sister’s friend as a prank. He and his friends had set up an entire Facebook page ridiculing her. They referred to her as a desperate cougar.
I could not believe the maliciousness of some of the comments left on that page. It was obvious to the bearded boy and to his friends that this woman was in love with him but they did not try to spare her feelings. Their lack of compassion for someone who was not a desperate cougar but desperately lonely, floored me. If they were in the same room with me I would kick their butts. Hard.
Sometimes when we are in love we see what we want to see. We create a view of someone that may not be entirely accurate.
The second story involves a family friend who has given up his job, his apartment, his car and most of his worldly goods to fly to Spain to be with a girl he met on Skype. He is 24. She is 22.
They chat for hours every day. He has never met her in person but claims she is the love of his life. He has only been chatting to her for three months.
He is flying to Spain tomorrow. I am worried for him. I am not sure you can know someone well enough from only seeing them on a webcam to warrant giving up one life for another.
Does this make me unromantic? Or cynical? Or too old to understand the dating protocol of the modern world?
I don’t know.
What I do know is that love in the time of Skype could be reckless and wonderful and exciting. It could be all of those things. But if you’re not careful it also sounds like it could end in tears.