I have always been more introverted and shy in real life. I usually kept to myself, or I kept with my core group of friends. I wasn’t one to step out of my comfort zone much. It always gave me anxiety. Unless you put a computer screen and a keyboard in front of me, then I would express myself freely, not worrying how others would view me. It was as though I was safe, being behind a screen, and didn’t feel the need to hide who I really ways.
It was quite empowering. It’s where I learned how to talk to boys. It had always been a hard thing for me to do, but on the internet, there seemed to be an endless supply of suitors my age who actually wanted to talk to me and get to know me. It helped build my confidence.
I have had a few “online boyfriends”, and nothing really came out of those. Except for one person. Whom I had considered one of my best friends, he was like a brother to me, so I never dreamed about having anything more between us. But we got to talking more, online and on the phone. For hours and hours every single day. The connection felt real to this person, and I had strong feelings for me. And I knew it was mutual.
He was between jobs, and short on cash. But we really wanted to meet face to face. So for a birthday present, me and my naive self, decided to buy him a plane ticket and come and visit. I bought this stranger, who I had never met before, a plane ticket. What was I thinking?
He seemed like the right fit for me. He always seemed to say the right things. And when I surprised him with the tickets, he was excited. And foolishly, we decided that he should just move in with my family and I. (I was 19, and still living at home…). I barely discussed it with my parents. And figured I would do whatever I wanted anyway. (I do NOT recommend people doing this, it was one of my biggest mistakes. But it has brought me to this point in life where I’m finally happy.)
Needless to say it was a toxic relationship from the start. I allowed myself to be manipulated and mentally abused. I thought that I could do no better and was convinced that this was it, no one else would ever want to be with me. So we did something ridiculous and got married, even though there was something deep inside of me that knew it wasn’t the right idea.
The marriage ended up going on for 7 years, we even had a child together. I can honestly say the best thing that came out of that “situation” was my son. I wouldn’t go back and change a thing about it, because that precious little boy wouldn’t be part of my life. All the abuse and alcohol infused conflicts that he brought to the party was worth it, it may sound ridiculous, but now I am 100% sure of what I don’t want in life, and that is not something to balk at.
People can put on any front they want over the computer, they can paint you a picture that is too hard to pass up, but when reality actually comes to call it can often lead down a dark path. I’ve been there, I know others have too. If it’s too good to be true, it probably is.
I was in the darkness for years, but with therapy (a lot of it) and loving people surrounding me, I have gotten to a point where those 8 years are just a small blip on my radar. It is nothing in the grand scheme of things, just a lesson that needed to be learned.