Deep online relationship - what to do?
December 11, 2012 11:31 AM Subscribe
Over the past 5 months, I've fallen into a deep relationship. I'm not sure where to go next and would like your thoughts.
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (20 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
As context, I'm a mid-30s woman in a relationship and have children. We are no longer in love, but we don't fight and manage our household and co-parenting together in the same home. Everyone (neighbors, family) assumes that we're a normal in-love couple. But we haven't been in love for a number of years. We stay together for the kids and household management and finances. We are friendly with eachother, don't argue, but don't enjoy spending time with eachother in a couple-way. (And yes we've tried counseling, it didn't work.)
I know that this isn't working for me and that at some point we're going to need to go our separate ways. I have dreamed about being in a happier situation for a long time. But I put my kids' needs (as well as my own financial and logistical benefit) first.
5 months ago a professional acquaintance and I got to know eachother better on a business trip. There was an immediate spark between us during a week long business trip. It was (and remains) mostly platonic, although with a bit of sexual tension. We did not come close to acting on anything.
He is early 30s and single.
We live on different continents.
Since that trip, the acquaintance and I have developed a deep friendship. We chat online for much of the day. We enjoy eachothers' company like neither of us have ever experienced before.
For the first time in years, I AM SO HAPPY. I am incredibly happy. I forgot that I could be this happy. Chatting with him makes me feel so good. And he feels the same. It has revolutionize my mental health to have someone care about ME and my feelings and my thoughts this much.
I totally acknowledge that this chat relationship/emotional affair is an escape from my current household situation. Because of this, I have consciously tried to not idealize my chat buddy. I know he isn't perfect.
Yet I fantasize about what my life would be like if I was partnered up with someone that makes me happy and whose company I enjoy. I also think that he'd be a fine step-parent based on his attitude and things he says. He is, for someone without kids, fairly comfortable with the fact that I have kids. He wants kids himself.
Complications abound though. We live on different continents and have family and friends that we care about a lot in our local areas. We both have careers which we are very passionate about that we have worked for years to develop, and both of them are quite location bound. (Think cancer research that only takes place in 3 labs globally - and we're both in different specific careers like this. It would be difficult for either of us to find other work.) In my fantasies, we maybe could make it work residing in the same location, but it would mean tremendous professional sacrifices for one of us. Me moving to him would be more doable professionally, but I want my kids to continue to be located near their dad and there is no way that their dad would move to the other continent.
Our attitude right now is to continue chatting, enjoying eachothers company and see what happens, take it day-by-day. We don't flirt very heavily in our chats, probably subconsciously to keep the intensity manageable.
My not-in-love spouse has no idea that I'm chatting like this. I don't think that he'd be pleased to know. Despite us not being in love, it would probably annoy him. (Even on a simple level like - why am I washing these dirty dishes while you're chatting?)
Leaving my not-in-love spouse is not feasible at this time. It is better for the kids (and for logistics and finances) to reside in one home and I'd only want to end the residing in one home when either my kids are a bit older (the original plan) or if chat guy and I got a lot more serious (I think? I'm not really sure on this.)
So what can I do? He makes me so happy. I make him so happy. Stopping our chats is not something that we're interested in doing. We're considering meeting 1/2 way in person to see if the online spark translates to real life.
Please be kind to me on this. I'm really fragile right now.