Can you fall in love with someone you have never met?
Can you fall in love with someone you've never met? As much as we human beings want to answer this question, "Why, yes, it's possible. You have to love someone for who they are within, not what they are on the exterior," or, "Of course! You shouldn't judge a book by its cover," or a slew of other reasons that make us believe we're really "good" people on the inside because we don't judge people based on looks, that is nothing but a huge guise the majority of people live behind. Also, falling in love with a person whom you've never met, and falling in love with the same person and how they are live in the flesh can be two completely different experiences.
First and foremost, we have to determine what kind of "love" we're talking about here. I am a firm believer that you can "love" anyone in a variety of different forms of the word, and for a variety of different reasons. For the sake of argument, we'll stick to the classic head-over-heels kind of love.
This head-over-heels kind of love I think comes with many stipulations, which I believe are stemmed from being surrounded in a society that shoves fairy tales and happy endings into our faces, raising us to believe what "love" is supposed to be. This in itself can spark a whole section of questions to list the varieties of "love," but we'll save that for another day. Ultimately, I do believe that it is possible for people to see beyond these stereotypes and figure out how to achieve this glorious feeling referred to above. In the end, you should love someone on the inside and outside to really be "in love."
To love someone on the inside, you find similarities between yourself and this special person. Sometimes you share the same taste in extracurricular activities, sometimes you endure the same religious rituals/beliefs, and sometimes it comes down to things like having the same obscure taste in ice cream flavor or the way a tube of toothpaste is squeezed. These interior trait resemblances are things that are important in falling in love and staying in love for years to come. These are things that really make up the base of a relationship. These are the things that live past the exterior of any person. So it makes sense that the possiblity exsists of someone genuinely falling in love with some one's interior before meeting them.
So how exactly does someone fall in love without meeting? Nowadays there are a variety of different methods available, especially since the Internet has become a widespread method of communication around the world. People can interact in chat rooms, via Myspace or Facebook, a handful of dating sites, or perhaps the possible chance of stumbling across some one's special skills/services website. Regardless of the scenario, the medium is usually the same: casual chatter is typed between two people which may develop into regular emails. This can lead to an exchanging of phone numbers which can segue into text messages, and then ::gasp!:: an actual phone call. The basis of the initial getting-to-know-you stage is via written words. The problem with the written word is that it can be edited. Not only can it be edited to make yourself appear a certain way, the written word that reaches the other party involved is usually internally censored, thus making it hard to tell how the person actually is in real life.
So here you are, interacting with this "person" and what they've led you to believe is their true self. You've maybe exchanged photos and have accepted what this other person looks like because you're "fallen in love" with what you believe is who they really are. Now granted, the things they've told you and what you've learned about this other person may genuinely be true, and you maybe actually have many things in common and you may think they're your soulmate, but the one thing that can't be portrayed in real life are a person's mannerisms. I think this is an exterior factor that people overlook.
I'll use an example from my own recent encounter with this exact situation. I had posted a single's ad on Craigslist, and this guy I met was through a response to this ad. The delivery of his response was impeccable. I took notice to his imaginative way of expressing his feelings through whimsicle metaphors and fabulous grammar. His hobbies were similar to mine; we experienced many of the same things in past relationships; we had a lot of the same beliefs in a number of diferent subjects. This began the list of obscure similarities that I would not have found had we initally met face-to-face. We emailed back and forth, and developed a rapport and online relationship. We had so much in common, things I never thought I'd have found in anyone! I was smitten. We had even exchanged photos and I thought he was cute, so the physical attraction was even in exsistence.
The friendly emails turned into a swapping of phone numbers and regular text messages followed. This lasted for a couple months. It turned into text flirting and the sending of romantic thoughts and messages. It was really sweet and kind of surreal. Eventually we graduated to phone conversation--our phone conversations were even great! In fact, one lasted almost 8 hours! I started thinking that maybe it was possible to find someone online that I could genuinely care about. And I felt that since we had gotten the "get-to-know-you" crap out of the way, we could start to develop something in person and it could actually last and possibly go on to be an epic love story.
One day we finally decided to meet. We had arranged a casual meeting just to hang out and chat. To my surprise, this guy turned out to be completely different in person! He was annoying, high strung, and just a bit overwhelming...nothing like he had made himsef out to be during our prior interactions. I thought it just might have been first meeting jitters, so I gave him another chance. We chatted on the phone again later that night and he was back to the "normal" guy I had initially met, so we planned another date. Once again, as soon as we were together in person, he was back to the obnoxious guy I had first met the first time. His true life mannerisms were COMPLETELY different than the ones he had in writing and on the phone. I was appalled and disappointed. This is where the magic was lost and what could have been epic turned into horror.
I can't say I fell "in love," because I'm not one to just go throwing those words around every time I meet someone, but I was "in like." This one prime example makes me think that you can't truly know someone without spending time with them in person. The words he had put in emails and the way he carried himself in phone conversation were entirely different than the person he was in real life. The person I had gotten to know didn't actually exist, except in my virtual fantasy world.
There is no way I could have found out about our incompatibility without having met in person. I didn't actually know this guy. If you do not truly know someone, you cannot truly fall in love with them. So, as much as someone thinks they're "in love" with someone they've never met, they cannot say they love the person whole heartedly until that fateful day they finally share the same breathing space together.