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Online romance makeing me feel nervous, advice please?
August 15, 2009 1:10 AM   Subscribe

I'm involved in an internet romance that is takeing a major toll on my direction in life and frankly makeing me feel nervous. I need advice in regards to how to be realistic with this relationship.

I am 21 and this boy I am involved with is 22. We met on MySpace through a mutual friend nearly two years ago. Since then we have kept up alot of correspondence by talking on a skype video chat nearly daily.

He lives in California, USA. I live in Alberta, Canada. He is proposeing that I make a trip after I graduate college to see him this fall.

Since I will be fresh out of school, this will require all my remaining funds leaveing me broke. I'd probably only be able to stay maxium two weeks then I'd have to return back to Canada and look for work and save up to return again (if I choose to).

We have been talking about me trying to move there instead of just visiting, since that amount of time probably wont be long enough for us. We're talked about trying to find me a job while I'm there so that I can actually stay. I will be a certified Network Administrator, and though I have a decent resume I predict that it will be somewhat of a hell to find a job and get a work visa.

Just a couple random facts:

- I'm pretty much in love with the guy but I have never physically met him in real life.
- We have always got along and my r/l friends are mutal friends with him and know him as a decent person.
- I never wanted to live in California, I'm not much of a city type person.
- He's never offered me a place to stay/move in with him because he just crashes at friends places as hes currently "homeless".
- He's never offered to support me in any way, as he makes an income but it isn't sufficient to support two people.
- He is a musician that is signed to a major record label and making his way in the industry. There is no way he can move from California without giving up his entire career.
- My parents are retired out in Arizona so worse case I have a place to fall back to.
- He's never been able to visit me in Canada because of his kind of work.

My question to Metafilter is,

- How can we make compromises so that both of us are happy with this arrangement?
- Are we moving too fast and if so what is the right way to progress with this relation?
- Are we getting ahead of our self? am I setting myself up for failure?

I really like this guy and I want to see this relationship work out, I'm sure he does too...but we are young and don't really know what the next best thing to do is. Thanks.
posted by audio to Human Relations (48 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
 
Are we getting ahead of our self? am I setting myself up for failure?
Yes.
posted by sanko at 1:19 AM on August 15, 2009 [6 favorites]


If you feel nervous, there's probably a good reason.

I personally kind of see the following things as problems:

- I'm pretty much in love with the guy but I have never physically met him in real life.
- He's never offered me a place to stay/move in with him because he just crashes at friends places as hes currently "homeless"
- He's never offered to support me in any way, as he makes an income but it isn't sufficient to support two people.


Firstly, the two of you have not met in real life. That's actually a really big problem as you guys have no idea whether or not you actually have any real life chemistry. Sure, you're getting along great on the Internets, but moving relationships from online to the regular world (especially when you've known each other online for so long) is pretty weird stuff. You're going to be standing right in front of each other and it's going to be really surreal, and maybe hopefully you actually like each other, but maybe you won't at all. No spark? Well, that would kill this whole thing dead. I know this sounds mean and it isn't really what you want to hear, but without meeting in person, there isn't a for sure relationship here at all.

Considering that, you certainly should not be offering to make such a large move, especially if it will leave you broke. According to your question, he couch surfs, meaning he can't put you up for a little while (I mean, he could, but not without infringing on his friends). Some dudes in this situation would offer to pay for your plane and/or bus ticket. They would offer to pay half your gas if you chose to drive. They would help you find a nice hotel to stay in if they didn't have a place to host you. This dude might not even be able to offer you dinner. If I were you, I would NOT move. I would NOT even consider moving. Instead, I would simply visit, sort've as a test to see if there's any spark. I know you feel like you have a lot invested here, but what you really have is the idea of a guy and of a relationship. Explore that, sure, but don't get yourself too invested. In other words, yes, you are getting WAY ahead of yourself here.
posted by SkylitDrawl at 1:45 AM on August 15, 2009 [6 favorites]


You have not met him in real life. You know this much, so recognize that moving to his area makes no sense at all if it is just for him. You aren't interested in living in California, he has to live in California in order to sustain his career. He's unable to completely support himself, and suggests that you spend the money to visit him or even move out there.

I'm not saying that he's just out to take advantage of you. If that's all he wanted, he could get that from someone in California. However, I am going to say that it sounds like he could use some financial support that you're not particularly in a place to provide.

If you really want to take a trip to California to see him, go ahead and do so. You're wiping out your savings entirely, that's not a good idea at all.

First, consider the realities of the situation. This is a poor economy, you are finishing college, and you've got limited savings. You need work before you do any kind of major travel. Your plans involve a work visa and finding work in a state which has high unemployment and high cost of living. Your safety net is Arizona, which offers better conditions, yet still worse than average.

You are right to have your doubts. This is not a good time to visit him. Work, save, and if you two are still up for it, visit him when you can afford to. Sadly, this is one reason long distance relationships really have problems working. He'll be different from the online persona you know him as. You will be too. This doesn't mean it's for the worse, it just means you can't rely on things going exactly as they were online.

Do your own thing, let him do his own thing, and worry about meeting up when you both have a bit more stability. Maybe it will happen, maybe it won't. Just know that if you force it, you really are setting yourself up for failure.
posted by Saydur at 1:52 AM on August 15, 2009


leaveing me broke...save up to return again...pretty much in love...never physically met...never offered me a place to stay/move...currently "homeless"...never offered to support me...
Hooboy!

If he really wanted to move things to the next level, and can't come see you in Canada, he should (at a minimum) find a way to help with the expenses of your visit.

While true love knows no bounds, blowing your meager savings on a visit when you should be focused on securing a job after graduation strikes me as less than wise. And moving to another country in support of a struggling musician is almost a cliche. The only way I would even consider that is if it came with an offer of marriage (and the two of you are nowhere near ready for that) It would be different if he had the means to provide some support to you while you find a job. Assuming you could even get a work visa.

If he "really loved" you, he would be willing to find a way to come visit you in Canada, or make accomodations in his life (have a place you could stay at, contribute some $$$ to your visit, etc). It seems like you are willing to give up everything and take on a lot of risk while he is making no similiar gesture.

What if, and I'm just saying, the 3D chemistry just isn't there?

If I were you, (and I know that I am not) I would find a job in Alberta, start saving up money (go on with your life) and see how this long-distance relationship fares over time.
posted by MCTDavid at 1:58 AM on August 15, 2009 [4 favorites]


Musicians often have a very high level of charisma, which can warp your judgment of what a relationship with a particular one has to offer. Be wary of this (I speak from experience).

from MCTDavid's comment:
It seems like you are willing to give up everything and take on a lot of risk while he is making no similiar gesture.

This is at the heart of it.

Is his career doing well? If he can't even come visit you (not even for a few days), this does not bode well for his ability to ever move into a place of his own. You might end up supporting him, for however long, and that's if you can even get a work visa and find a job.

And Nthing that chemistry online is nothing like chemistry in person. There can be tremendous pressure (from either or both sides) to fake it and go along anyway even if you meet them and there is no spark, or he kind of skeeves you out. That way lies madness. If you do go, make sure you have a quick exit plan should things not pan out.

This whole thing kind of sets off a bunch of alarm bells in my opinion. Good luck.
posted by marble at 2:28 AM on August 15, 2009 [1 favorite]


We have been talking about me trying to move there instead of just visiting...I predict that it will be somewhat of a hell to find a job and get a work visa.

You two need to meet first, for sure, but also don't make plans to move to another place unless you (a) really want to move away from the U.S. and (b) actually want to go to Alberta. What do you want? It may be just the way you've worded your post, but it sounds like he's getting a lot of what he wants, and you're just complying. Love sometimes makes people do that, but it isn't healthy, and you should seriously and logically evaluate things.

He's never offered me a place to stay/move in with him because he just crashes at friends places as hes currently "homeless".

I won't go into any spiels about being a "deadbeat layabout" here, but...this could easily turn into your supporting him, and his totally being okay with that. You may think that's fine right now, in the height of your feelings, but it's not fine in any shape or form, and you would feel that way eventually.

He is a musician that is signed to a major record label and making his way in the industry. There is no way he can move from California without giving up his entire career

If it's a major record label, as he says it is, then it will most likely have connections all over the world, and certainly in the States, not just in Alberta, Canada. I sense B.S.

You may not like what I'm about to say, but to be honest, this sounds like a terrible idea. Not the moving, the relationship. There are a number of red flags: he can't monetarily support himself enough to live in his own place; he's only willing for you to move and visit him, not vice-versa; and he's clearly choosing his hardly-profitable career over your relationship. Frankly, you can do better.

Now, there's no doubt that you love him. Anyone who's been in an online relationship (I have) knows that the love you can feel for someone is completely real, even if you've not physically met them yet. This is both good and bad. It's good, in the sense that it can propel both parties to do extraordinary things in their lives and for each other. It's bad, in that one party may feel more strongly than the other, make extreme decisions and then suddenly find themselves in a less than ideal situation, physically, mentally and emotionally.

Love actually isn't just about feelings, I believe. It's about actions and logical reality, too. You can find yourself in love with someone who knocks you upside the head every day, but the reality is you shouldn't be with them, no matter how you feel. The reality, it would seem, of your situation is that you are the one putting in all the effort right now. It's not easy (in terms of time, money, and mental well-being) to pay for big trips, moves, and visa processing. That's a lot of stress to put on anyone, but especially if you aren't getting much help from your partner with it all. Believe me, I've been there. Not fun.

What I recommend you do is work for a while after school, save up, then visit. Ask him to contribute to your visiting, either by way of both of you visiting a place that's somewhere in the middle, or by his helping you pay for your trip to Alberta. If he's unwilling, don't go unless you absolutely want to go for you. For your relationship with this guy to work, he's going to have to meet you in the middle sometimes, either physically or monetarily. If he's unwilling, then it's not tangible love; it's just words.

Good luck with this. Love him with your heart if you want, but make decisions for yourself by using your noggin.
posted by metalheart at 2:42 AM on August 15, 2009 [7 favorites]


Talk about cliche....

You know what you call a musician without a girlfriend?

Homeless.

It sounds fishy that in two years he hasn't been able to come visit you. He is a musician, the ones I know are pretty good travellers. He doesn't have a house to keep. He can't have very much stuff and his employment is sporadic enough that he doesn't have much money.

I guess it depends on what sort of musician he is, but most of the ones I have known, are the best travellers I have ever met. Can you find him a gig nearby where you live? He should be able to take some vacation time in two years.
posted by psycho-alchemy at 2:44 AM on August 15, 2009 [7 favorites]


Blah! I got your places reversed. :P
posted by metalheart at 2:50 AM on August 15, 2009


- I'm pretty much in love with the guy but I have never physically met him in real life.

What? No! You're not in love with him, you're in love with a persona. I'm not saying he's being fake or anything, but a very strong online relationship (while real) does not necessarily translate into the same thing in person. Not "clicking" when you meet for real is more likely than you'd think.

We have always got along and my r/l friends are mutal friends with him and know him as a decent person.

re: getting along. The getting along thing is very easy online because you don't have to deal with the messiness and complications of an actual person. They can filter out all the bad stuff in a way that is much harder to do in person. But the fact that your friends know him and think he's a good guy is a good sign.

- I never wanted to live in California, I'm not much of a city type person.

Uh, California is a big place. There are huge swaths of empty or sparsely populated land here. Do you mean he lives in Los Angeles, maybe?

He's never offered me a place to stay/move in with him because he just crashes at friends places as hes currently "homeless".

Danger! Danger, Will Robinson!

Getting into a relationship with a homeless person is generally a really bad idea. Relationships are hard enough even without the stress of no permanent home and no money so voluntarily starting with a massive handicap is just asking for trouble. If he's truly interested (and capable of having) a real relationship with you he'll man up and get a crappy job that pays the rent. Even a roommate situation would show he's taking responsibility.

You're jumping the gun here. Would I be correct in guessing you haven't been in a lot of long term relationships? That you have great chemistry online and an emotional connection combined with the fact that friends of yours say he's a decent guy is enough to probably justify meeting him with intent to explore whether it's worth pursuing further. It's not grounds for chucking your life and moving 2500 miles without having met him, when he has no money, no home, and when you will also have no money and no home.

If he wants to be with you he's gotta come up with some way of earning some cash (or at least arrange for himself to have a more permanent home). And you should really do the same. Moving to a city you've never seen for a guy you've never met without any money or job lined up is how people here in L.A. end up on the streets. It's almost a cliche.
posted by Justinian at 2:56 AM on August 15, 2009 [8 favorites]


From what I understand, usually in these kinds of relationships when one partner is visiting the other, it's customary for both sides to split the cost 50/50. If he's not going to let you stay somewhere, then I think it's fair that he should pay half your accommodation, and half the cost of the trip.

If he's not willing to do that much to have you come and visit him, he may not be serious about this.
posted by Eastgate at 2:56 AM on August 15, 2009


Infaturation = intoxication.

Make a decision like this as if you are getting behind the wheel of your car drunk. That's what you are doing.


For those of us looking in from Sober Land, your proposed actions don't make ANY sense. This setup is imbalanced entirely against your interests.

(It's equivalent to you coming to see ME at your expense, freaking nasty till the dawn for a few weeks, camping in my front yard, and scrounging for food nearby, then going home and never seeing me again. We did 'meet on the internets' and I am a nice guy and you and I sound like we have 'chemistry', so really, please consider my offer for a week or two of NSA sex and come to Vermont! See how silly this sounds?)

Stay home. Spend your money wisely.
posted by FauxScot at 2:59 AM on August 15, 2009 [2 favorites]


- He is a musician that is signed to a major record labe

He is a liar. How come he's homeless? "Major labels" barely exist anymore, and they hardly sign aspiring musicians to contracts, and if they do, those musicians aren't homeless.

This whole thing sounds dicey. How can you be in love with someone you've never met in person?
posted by fourcheesemac at 3:23 AM on August 15, 2009 [6 favorites]


Also, for reference, when I was your age and in love with a girl who lived across the ocean, and myself a penniless aspiring musician, I scraped the money together (often working 3 or 4 jobs) to go see her whenever I could.

If he's a man, and he loves you, that's what he'll do too. If not, he's a boy at best.
posted by fourcheesemac at 3:34 AM on August 15, 2009 [6 favorites]


One thing I wish I'd understood when I was young and "in love" was that real, healthy love doesn't require you to check your brain at the door. It's not difficult to see, unless you willfully close your eyes, that there are huge downsides to blowing your meager savings on a brief visit. That a potential move to a different country, to a place you don't want to live, to be with a guy you've never met, is even on your radar screen makes it obvious that you are not using your brain to capacity.

I don't think you're considering this for the sake of love. You're doing it because you're not sure what else to do with the ocean of time you're about to be set adrift on. At the end of school you will be unmoored from most of the routines that have shaped your life up until now, and this one tiny, tenuous line tying you to this guy might feel like all you've got. Let go of it. You'll be okay.
posted by jon1270 at 4:00 AM on August 15, 2009 [8 favorites]


Under slightly different circumstances I -- who did not dissimilar things, I suppose, back in the day -- would say that plowing through your savings is totally okay, even desirable, at 21; go, or else you'll always wonder 'What if,' and if it turns out he smells, hey, you went to California, and that's cool too. Either way, you'll wring a worthwhile experience out of it.

But this guy is a bum and you're in love and it might be heartbreaking. He's not "signed to a major record label" -- he's homeless. And in two years he should've been able to, I don't know, mow enough lawns to get a bus ticket together. He's not that into you. And he should be at least that into you for the idea of your moving there to come up.

I wonder if the right way to progress, actually, is to not offer to pay his fare to come to Alberta. You'll get to find out what the chemistry is like, at least. But I have an odd feeling that dude will find excuses as to why he still cannot come to Alberta -- and that will be your cue to move on.
posted by kmennie at 4:24 AM on August 15, 2009 [10 favorites]


I think kmennie has a good idea: Pay his fare to come to Alberta.

First, I remember being young and in love. If 500 people tell you this is a bad idea, you'd still consider it because love is such a good feeling.

Second, it protects you while letting you explore. You will be in your hometown, surrounded by your friends. You can look for work, get a job, etc., while he's there.

Third, it's not a bad deal for him. He gets to visit you, and he could line up a few gigs in Alberta to make some money and/or gain exposure in Canada.

I do think it does not bode well that he's not done anything to see you IRL (like, mow lawns or deliver pizzas or anything). And, he's getting to an age where he needs to be self-supporting, and yet he's not. But, if you are going to continue with him and you are going to see him, at least protect yourself from being somewhat stranded in California or Arizona with no money, no work visa, and no prospects for a job.
posted by Houstonian at 5:15 AM on August 15, 2009 [2 favorites]


As other people are saying, there are some big warning bells sounding here. The guy's homeless and he's claiming to be signed to a "major record label". These two things are not compatible. This guy may be totally irresponsible and full of it, or just really immature.

However, you're young, you've put two years into communicating with this guy, and it does seem like a shame to not even meet him. The experience could be good for you, or at least give you a great story to tell in later years. I know people who have flown considerable distances to meet internet acquaintances. Heck, I've even done something similar myself, when I travelled 500 miles last year to see a high school-era crush I hadn't seen in nineteen years. Though it didn't work out in any of these cases, none of us regret it. We got to take a fun trip somewhere and we don't have to wonder "what would have happened if...".

So here's what I recommend. First, resolve that you are not going to turn your entire life inside out for this guy — or, for that matter, any guy — who isn't similarly making efforts to accomodate you.

Then, definitely don't move to California. Don't even think about it right now. Tell the guy you are really looking forward to meeting him, but that you think you can only do so once certain things happen. He has to have a place of his own and to arrange somewhere for you to stay — either on his couch, or with a (preferably female) friend or relative of his. You have to have a job and have money and vacation time saved specifically for this trip. Alternatively, you could invite him to come visit you, but although you can offer to let him stay with you, do not offer to pay for his flight. The idea is to make the guy meet you halfway.

Then you concentrate on getting a job, and when you get one save your money and vacation time. Oh, and go out with your friends, pursue your interests, and meet people. Wait and see what happens with him. After all, if he's signed with a major record company, it can't be too long before he has money pouring in, right? If he doesn't manage to get it together and get a place of his own and a place for you to stay, or scrape together enough money to pay for a plane ticket, and if the deal with the "major record label" never seems to materialize, you have your answer as to how reliable and worth meeting this guy is.

On the other hand, if your conditions are met, and you do meet, don't go for two weeks and don't invite the guy to stay with you for two weeks. One week is risky enough. Or, if you do plan to visit California for that long, make sure you can change your flight date. The guy may be a jerk in person, or weigh 100 pounds more than he said (this happened to a friend of mine), or you just may not hit it off in person or physically and it may be tortuously awkward.

Good luck.
posted by orange swan at 5:16 AM on August 15, 2009 [1 favorite]


Visit him. Be with him. See for yourself what he is like in person and what life with him might be like. But don't make any moving plans till you have done this.

See for yourself, then decide.
posted by st looney up the cream bun and jam at 6:19 AM on August 15, 2009


I was pretty poor at that age, but if I'd had a lovely young lady interested in seeing me across the country not much would've stopped me. Let's see I went down the pacific coast once with $20 and got home with change.

Perhaps he has an issue with crossing the boarder (leaglly?)

If you do go, line up a bunch of things in CA that interest you. Get some potential plans together, a couple weeks crashing in a burb in someones low rent pad running out to 7-11 for snacks, could get pretty old.
posted by sammyo at 7:01 AM on August 15, 2009


This guy is 100% full of shit. If you want to go be homeless in Los Angeles with him, then by all means go and do that, but don't think for even one second that you will not be totally fucked after two weeks out there with no money and no job and a homeless boyfriend. Sorry.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 7:05 AM on August 15, 2009 [8 favorites]


I'd probably only be able to stay maxium two weeks

Visit for a week maximum then. Do not stay with him, get a hotel or stay at a hostel, or couchsurf, which can make things cheaper.

The point here is to spend some face time with him, see if physical chemistry is there. I don't mean sex, but does he do that annoying thing you hate? Do you do that annoying thing he hates? etc, etc.

Look, there's no sense making yourself broke over this, that's the absolute last thing that should happen. And by not staying with him, you're not dependent on him and you always have a place you can go if you get tired of him or want to be by yourself or whatever. The whole point here is to explore an option by going to visit him and then leave yourself options so that the visit is stress free as possible and you can concentrate on fun. Keep the visit short.

- He's never offered to support me in any way, as he makes an income but it isn't sufficient to support two people.

Huge warning sign, you can not ignore this. If he's that into you, he'll find a way to contribute something, it's been two goddamn years already. Frankly he sounds like he wants to have his cake and eat it to and if you're ok with that fun, I'd strongly recommend you not over extend yourself because he certainly isn't.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:15 AM on August 15, 2009 [1 favorite]


How can we make compromises so that both of us are happy with this arrangement?

Well... I think you need to address the following:

1. He's never offered me a place to stay/move in with him because he just crashes at friends places as hes currently "homeless".

2. He's never offered to support me in any way, as he makes an income but it isn't sufficient to support two people.

3. He is a musician that is signed to a major record label and making his way in the industry. There is no way he can move from California without giving up his entire career.

4. He's never been able to visit me in Canada because of his kind of work.

This is the opposite of compromising. He doesn't seem to want to compromise because he's happy with the current arrangement.
posted by Meg_Murry at 7:24 AM on August 15, 2009 [1 favorite]


I agree with everyone above: do not blow your savings on visiting him, he should pay half your expenses at least if you do go to California, you might not like him in real life...

But how about visiting your retired parents in Arizona and then he could bus it over from California to see you? If visiting your parents is something you'd want to do, then there's no reason he can't scrape together enough for a greyhound ticket and a motel 6 for a few nights.

If he's too poor/unwilling to do even that much, please find a new internet boyfriend with deeper pockets. Or one in Alberta who you can meet and hang out with in person.
posted by vincele at 7:26 AM on August 15, 2009 [3 favorites]


Is there any way you can go visit/meet him -- maybe meeting midway somewhere? -- while minimizing the financial impact on your savings? I say this because once you actually spend some time with him, you'll know for absolute, positive, 100% sure whether you want to proceed with this relationship, or cut your losses and get out.

I had a similar experience as a 21-year-old: met a guy online and after about eight months, thought it was meant to be, and moved out to be with him several states away. Six months later I returned home, emotionally wrecked from the fiasco of a relationship and completely broke, as the $5,000 I brought with me had been exhausted, and I was not been able to secure adequate employment, and he had never even attempted to look for a job. (He was also a musician, who was signed to "a label," with pipe dreams of huge success.)

HOWEVER, before I actually made the move, a few months prior I'd wanted to merely visit him. The just-a-visit never happened, but I know if it had, I would have clued in to the fact that in the mundane, day-to-day reality of life, we actually had a very different dynamic, and were quite poorly (disastrously?) suited for each other. And that, I'm fairly certain, would have been quickly evident to me. Your nervousness about this whole situation tells me that despite being "pretty much in love" with this guy, you've still got your head on straight about everything and are listening to your gut. Please keep listening to your gut.

I'm betting that at this point, after two years of internet dating, you are invested enough in this relationship that you just need to know whether it has a future. So, you are graduating. Are you close with your parents? Maybe you could ask if after graduation you could come out to visit them for a few weeks? Maybe before or after seeing your parents you could spend a few days in California before going back home? I do think that, after two years of this relationship, it would be worth meeting the guy while keeping your eyes wide open about everything you see and feel, to get a better idea of how you want to proceed. If you can do that, I think you may find that the path you feel is best would be much clearer.
posted by hegemone at 8:20 AM on August 15, 2009 [1 favorite]


Visit him once and go home before you start worrying about finding a job or moving and all that.
posted by Nattie at 8:53 AM on August 15, 2009


I know online relationships can be very involving, but it's not a real relationship. I'm sorry, it's not.

Also, as modern and equal as we are, he should still be the one trying to figure out how to see you. Especially if things are going so well for him. Afterwards, when you are in a real relationship, you can both decide who goes where,etc.

You don't have to move to another country to be with someone who lets you do all the work. You can find someone like that in your own city! Really! Or even someone better.
posted by Locochona at 9:48 AM on August 15, 2009 [1 favorite]


I have no problem with "I am in love with him though I have not met him in real life." I do believe that is possible.

On the other hand, I also very much agree with almost everyone above that this guy is lying his ass off, and I wouldn't be too surprised if you're only one of three or four girls who are going to "visit" him this year. Just a hunch.

On the THIRD hand... I'd still go see him, anyway. California is a big place full of big adventures, and it's a great time in your life for you to take a little vacation. Blow the money, you'll have more later anyway. You're young: invest in some experience.

And it will give you and him a chance to prove all of us corn-flake-pissers wrong. Please invite us to the wedding.
posted by rokusan at 11:48 AM on August 15, 2009 [1 favorite]


Well, what exactly is it that he IS offering you that you can't continue to get through an online friendship? If he's purportedly a musician that's up and coming, he's not going to be around while you're working. You're going to be living in two separate places, because he's certainly not intimated that you are going to be living together. Hell, he doesn't even know where he'll be living a week from tomorrow.

You're moving forward in life, and he's just treading water. It sounds like he might be a nice distraction. But he's just that. A distraction.

If you're that intent on seeing him, see if you can negotiate with your parents some sort of two-fer deal where you see him for a week, then go onto Arizona to see them for a second week. You will have an excuse to bail on him if it sucks, and they will hopefully kick up the bucks for a plane ticket. If things are really all unicorns and rainbows with music boy, well, you can make more permanent plans to head back to CA with a clearer picture of what you're walking into.
posted by dancinglamb at 12:28 PM on August 15, 2009


You're definitely moving too fast and setting yourself up for failure. When I first flew from the UK to San Diego to meet my now-husband, I paid my own way, and he took care of the food/entertainment side of things. Your dude sounds like an unstable flake - visit first when you can afford it (get a hotel too, don't stay on whatever couch he's sleeping on), check out how the reality matches with what he's told you and go from there. Whatever you do, do not move there before meeting him - you could very well end up alone and broke in a foreign country, which is obviously an undesirable situation.
posted by saturnine at 1:13 PM on August 15, 2009


Thank you everyone for the reality check. I've offered to pay his expenses to come see me in Alberta but he refused the idea. I probably just need to let this one go.
posted by audio at 2:38 PM on August 15, 2009 [5 favorites]


Wow, audio, I'm sorry to hear that. Given all the rest of the advice in this thread it is not surprising, but I would have loved to see the guy come through for you!
posted by SLC Mom at 2:47 PM on August 15, 2009


audio, it might not seem like it now, but this is a very good thing. Thank goodness you found out before you went to California and spent your money and time on him.
posted by Houstonian at 2:48 PM on August 15, 2009 [2 favorites]


I think all us relatively-old people are thinking that this is bad news, but, really, it's the kind of bad news you have to get into in order a) to learn why it's bad news, and b) to have a full life. So, you know, as long as you have an exit strategy, life is short...
posted by paultopia at 2:50 PM on August 15, 2009 [3 favorites]


Paultopia expressed what I meant. Expect nothing but leap anyway.
posted by rokusan at 3:02 PM on August 15, 2009


As someone who is not much older than you and who has been in a somewhat similar situation (met my boyfriend on the internet, lived 2500 miles away): you both have to be willing to make the trip to meet and establish whether you have that real-life chemistry/attraction and can stand to be around each other physically especially if you are even remotely considering living together. It only took us 5 months to overcome various trip-making obstacles to meet in person and now we've both traveled those 2500 miles to be together permanently because our connection really was that strong.

If you should happen to meet another love interest on the 'net, make sure you keep it real in your mind too. Be realistic with yourself and your partner and don't let love cloud your judgment.
posted by asciident at 3:22 PM on August 15, 2009


Thank you everyone for the reality check. I've offered to pay his expenses to come see me in Alberta but he refused the idea. I probably just need to let this one go.

I'd let this one go. I'd also strongly suspect that it isn't this person's career which prevents them from leaving California for even a short visit to Canada, but some kind of legal restraint.

Don't feel too badly. This is the kind of stuff all of us need to learn at some point in order to be able to know the "real thing" when it comes along and who is worthy of our time and energy - this will give you a reference point for the future.

It's up to you whether you try to maintain a friendship with this person, but I'd probably just let them fade out of your life and find someone else to enable them (trust me, they will).
posted by Lolie at 3:38 PM on August 15, 2009


You know, if a person can't blow their savings and postpone their grownup employment to go and take a chance on a wandering bewitching musician boy in their first season of freedom, every movie and book and wistful summer song has lied to us all.

However, the only difference between a happy love movie and a sad ending is where you put the words "The End".

Essentially, he is conducting a risk-free audition of your suitability. You're paying to go there, you're having to find your own accommodation, you're leaving your home, you're out of your support network, you're postponing every other decision you'll ever make, just to receive his input into your routine. To hear his assessment of you. All he has to say is, "Yeah, you'll do" or "Sorry, your knees are too knobby" or worse, "I didn't realize you wouldn't be able to support me -- have you met my other girlfriend?"

So write your own program for happy summer romance. Make his input irrelevant. Make his investment and risk a little more equal to yours. Go visit your parents and invite him. See what he says. If you still love him, go with him for a week or so.

Then go home. You will know where it is.
posted by Sallyfur at 3:58 PM on August 15, 2009 [1 favorite]


I think you said everything when you wrote, "taking a major toll on my direction in life and frankly making me feel nervous..."

If a relationship is making you feel like this, it's not a good sign. I've felt like this lately from an internet relationship that easily went to being in person (lived next town over).

In my situation, he's a totally nice and generous guy, but there's differences we have in tastes and preferences, which I think causes the effects you mentioned.

You are very young and traveling may be something you want to do, although if you have a chance to be successful, I don't think I'd give that up.

I think the best advice you've been given is to meet him and see what the two of you are like together, but I'd make it a quick trip and have it be one you can afford.

I do think it's strange he's not willing to come up there. Like someone else said, musicians typically travel quite a bit.

The only new thing I can offer is that you split the difference and meet half way in the middle. That shows you're both willing to make a sacrifice and an effort and it's not as far for either of you.
posted by VC Drake at 4:17 PM on August 15, 2009


He's lying to you about at least one thing: "I can't come to Alberta because of my work."

I suspect that he's lying to you about some other things, too.

Inviting him to Alberta was exactly the right move. Since he refused, even though it was to be at your expense, I think that tells you something.
posted by Sidhedevil at 4:23 PM on August 15, 2009


Yeah. Did he even bother coming up with an excuse for not visiting you? Unless he had a very good reason it's probably time to move on. Virtually anyone interested in a relationship is not going to turn down an all-expense paid vacation to visit their S.O.. Okay, some people who earn their own keep would turn it down in order to pay for it themselves in the very near future but this guy obviously isn't one of those.

There are pretty much three reasons why he would otherwise turn you down:

1) He's using you and was hoping you'd come to him so he could get some free nookie.
2) He's lying to you about his life in CA. Maybe he's on parole and can't leave?
3) He's got a mental illness like a pathological fear of travelling.

I'm guess it's a combo of 1 and 2. In any case unless he has the excuse of a lifetime (and it would have to explain why he can never come visit not just why he can't come visit right this moment) you just dodged a bullet.
posted by Justinian at 6:07 PM on August 15, 2009 [1 favorite]


Aw, man. Sorry, audio.
posted by kmennie at 6:39 PM on August 15, 2009


For future reference, every musician knows that when another musician says s/he has a contract or development deal with "a major label" (unspecifed especially), s/he is lying.
posted by fourcheesemac at 7:26 AM on August 16, 2009 [3 favorites]


For future reference, every musician knows that when another musician says s/he has a contract or development deal with "a major label" (unspecifed especially), s/he is lying.

This! Has he ever played you a song? Or written a song for you? Forget all the other red flags around here (this guy has red flags like China), if he is a musician and hasn't written a song for you then played it over a lo-bit skype connection he isn't in love with you.
posted by fuq at 3:46 PM on August 16, 2009 [1 favorite]


- He's never offered me a place to stay/move in with him because he just crashes at friends places as hes currently "homeless".

Another possibility that ties the above to refusing an all-expense-paid trip to see you is that he is older than 22 and married (and as mentioned by others, quite likely not a professional musician).

No matter what his story is though, you've done a good job listening to your instincts. Now take half the money and have a nice trip somewhere anyway.
posted by mikepop at 6:41 AM on August 17, 2009


Thank you everyone for the reality check. I've offered to pay his expenses to come see me in Alberta but he refused the idea. I probably just need to let this one go.
posted by audio at 2:38 PM


You did the right thing and the smart thing, and I'm sorry it didn't work out the way you wanted, but I think you dodged a bullet here. :(
posted by Optimus Chyme at 8:07 AM on August 17, 2009


For future reference, every musician knows that when another musician says s/he has a contract or development deal with "a major label" (unspecifed especially), s/he is lying.

Er... I'm glad audio dodged the bullet here, but for the record (heh), the above isn't true. I know a couple of people in bands that really do have development deals with major labels. However, while the money isn't huuuuuge (after the expenses of cutting a record are deducted), it's certainly enough to keep them housed and fed.
posted by artemisia at 1:02 PM on August 17, 2009


artemisia, those people aren't bragging about it. that's how you know someone is lying.
posted by fourcheesemac at 5:45 AM on August 29, 2009


Thank you everyone for the reality check. I've offered to pay his expenses to come see me in Alberta but he refused the idea. I probably just need to let this one go.
posted by audio at 2:38 PM


audio you made the tough decision. I never had your sense when I was your age. You obviously bring a lot of smarts and guts and other great qualities to the table. As corny as it sounds, it's only a matter of time before a romantic adventure will find you. Good luck.
posted by vincele at 11:01 AM on August 29, 2009


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