CRIES AND WHISPERS

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The Independent Culture
The romantically inclined can look for love anywhere online, most directly in live "chat" areas made accessible by commercial services such as America Online and CompuServe. The sample shown here - collected over the past two and a half years - gives a flavour of the postings typically found in such areas. Screen names - omitted here - allow users to contact one another directly should they feel so inclined.

SUBJ: 7 YEARS AGO ...

Seven years ago I discovered CompuServe and quickly found myself in a deep relationship with a man I thought was my soulmate ... he was married and 3,000 miles away. He eventually divorced his wife and we were married six years ago. The first two years were bliss, but he was back online, hungry for more - more sex, more fantasies, more risky behaviour. Two weeks ago I found out that he slept with an online "friend" while on business in another city. We are now in the process of getting a divorce. We have a beautiful son ... almost three years old. He wonders why Mommy cries at night and why Daddy sleeps in the basement ... HELP."

SUBJ: HURT ...

I am in the process of a divorce and about two months ago met someone that seemed too good to be true. Unfortunately, he was ... I would have left my husband eventually anyway, but I hurried things along for him ... He seemed so kind and sweet at first, but I saw a really cruel side develop recently ... maybe my imagination got the better of me, I don't know. I do know that I am crushed ... I miss the fantasy we had ... I am afraid that's all it was ...

SUBJ: RE: HURT

Deja vu, deja vu ... going thru divorce, met wonderful man. Sold my home and business, planned to move East with him. He met another woman online, within three weeks and was in the wind. I was devasted [sic], counselled by another man online. Really feel in love ... ooooh, it was a nightmare ... he was married, had a couple of girlfriends and was a compulsive liar, preying on women ...trust men? Not me? I'm skeered of `em ...

SUBJ: RE: HURT ...

I met a guy last year online. After many months of online chat and high phone bills, I took a trip to the other side of the country to meet him. We had a great week. However, when I returned he decided he was "in love" with someone online so to get read [sic] of me he told our common friends so many lies about me. After some time of tears I did some investigating and found out he did this to over 40 women online. He is no longer online at least under the same screen name. MY Advice: Be careful, things are not as they appear.

SUBJ: SECRETS

My husband really got into the pornography on line. He was staying up till three to do this while I was asleep. Recently I found out he has a po [post office] box and is receiving letters from the women he has met. One letter ... yes, I went looking for it ... talked about all the things she would like to do to him, how much better she would be at it than me. She has also made references to our daughter such as how she would love to meet her and be friends. I haven't confronted him yet, I don't know what to really do about it. She lives across the country, so the chances of their meeting are slim (neither travels for business). I hate it ... Is this cheating? Not cheating? Somewhere in between? I am angry and humiliated. I thought things were going well with us ...

SUBJ: RE: BREAKING UP

I'm sad and depressed. It died because I was tired of guessing how he felt. I asked him outright to tell me ... He couldn't do it. He said I was pressuring him. We didn't talk face to face or screen to screen ... it was all done in e-mail. Dumped by e-mail! Probably not a first.

SUBJ: RE: WOMEN - WHY THEY DON'T LEAVE

In my online relationship, I was in love within a couple of weeks, certainly before we traded photos. We shared everything that could be shared and eventually met (I had to travel 2,000 miles) for a week of incredible sex and intimate conversations. She walked; she stopped loving me. That's her right of course, but I'm still trying to deal with it - intensity, that I love her and want her so much 10 months later. Don't think it's just women who get dumped.

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