Love and the Internet
Many years ago if someone told me they had fallen in love with someone they met on the internet I would have laughed. The concept at that time would have seemed ludicrous and absolutely impossible to me. There was no way a person could have those kinds of feelings towards someone they had never met. And then I was introduced to the virtual world via a WebTV by a neighbor who was selling them. That’s when they were a brand new novelty.
I bought one not knowing about the world of chat rooms, how you could become addicted to them and the type of people you could meet. But I soon found out. There were chats with every class of people you could imagine from gay to religious.
I didn’t start out in chat rooms, but was captivated by the games and instant information available online. But eventually I checked one out. It seemed harmless enough. I had landed in one with a comparatively mild relaxed atmosphere. It was called forty something, where people of my age group congregated. Before long, I was addicted to it and would stay up all hours of the night chatting.
There are many reasons why people might find a life in virtual reality. However, I’m not a psychiatrist so I’m not going to delve into that subject. That is, other than to say perhaps a person isn’t happy with their present marriage or home life. That was me in a nutshell.
I had spent 21 years in a marriage with a wife who nagged and micromanaged every nook, cranny and facet of my life. It had come to the point I avoided conversation with her. In fact, I hated coming home in the evening from work since I knew there would be no rest for me there. The internet became my safe haven from the outside world.
I knew it wouldn’t be long before I would be pushed over the edge and leave. The straw that broke the camels’ back was while I was on the phone with a coworker and my wife came in and demanded to know who I was talking to. I told her, at which point she said I couldn’t talk to him…she didn’t like him. That was when I realized how far things had gone in my house. Now she was dictating who I could or couldn’t talk to. I silently hung up the phone not caring for yet another confrontation. I no longer had the strength for it.
So, I went to my room and sought solace in my chat room. I had been getting more and more involved with a lady there for several months and she knew my situation. We had exchanged photos and had even had secret phone conversations. Her predicament was similar to mine. In fact, we had become very close…so close we had even discussed getting together if we ever separated from our current spouses.
I had decided to leave the following day anyway, against the warnings others in the chat room had given me. But I didn’t listen. I then discovered she had just tossed her abusive husband out on his ear the day before. At the time I had decided to leave I had no plans on where I was going, but anyplace was better than where I was. That’s when she suggested I come and stay with her and then decide what to do.
To illustrate how badly I wanted to escape from my present situation this is what I did. I quit my job and closed out my banking account giving my wife half and paying a months’ rent in advance. I took the car, since she couldn’t drive anyway, and left everything else for her. I should mention we didn’t have any children. In addition, I was living in Tacoma, WA and she was close to Tulsa, OK. That was a 2,100 mile drive! And so I left.
I realize everybody must think I’m squirrel bait by now. But hold on there’s more. I arrived in Oklahoma and found her place. She greeted me with open arms. Everything was going to be alright.
I should’ve realized things couldn’t be that simple and they weren’t. The rent was past due. So was the electric and phone bills. Groceries were running short. Although I had just arrived and hadn’t started a job yet, I paid the bills and got groceries. She also smoked like a chimney and her cigarettes were costing me a fortune. Then, there was the matter of her grown son who got laid off and ended up with us in her one bedroom apartment.
Now here’s the icing on the cake. She asked for $20 to go play bingo because she needed a little time alone. Later that evening her son, who had grown a little fond of me, told me she was out with her husband. I left the following morning about the time she came home.
I don’t go to chat rooms anymore.