Online

September 17, 2009
By , Tulsa, OK
It seems like most of my life is online. For one thing, my friends and I communicate by Facebook, IM and e-mail all the time. The only people I let read my writing is people on Teen Ink. I Google to get answers to homework. My teachers all have pages on our school website and I e-mail them when I am confused by an assignment.

Then there are the serious relationships of my life online. One person, I am so hopeful about, the other I know has taught me something, but I almost wish I had had the sense to stay away from in the first place.

Let’s start with the one that still has hope. My dad got a woman pregnant when he was young, like in his early twenties. The woman he got pregnant didn’t tell him it was his child, until years later. She never let my dad see the baby. The baby, now a grown woman with a child of her own, is my half-sister, let’s call her Kathy. My dad searched on the internet a few years ago for Kathy’s mom. He found her. Kathy’s mom didn’t want us to talk to Kathy. Somehow Kathy got my dad’s e-mail address from her mom and we started e-mailing.

Kathy and I have never met in real life because she is too afraid to meet dad and me. We IM occasionally. She is also too afraid to talk on the phone. I have a half-sister, a half-brother-in-law, and a half-niece who I have never met. I am so scared I will never get to meet them. My sister and I have told each other some things we wouldn’t tell many other people. It is so weird to have someone to call, “my sister.” Both of us were raised only children.

The other serious relationship online is not a relative, but a boyfriend. Well, now he’s an ex-boyfriend, let’s call him Alex. I met him on a teen dating web-site that I am embarrassed to even admit I went to. We IMed and texted and e-mailed. Then I broke up with him, because it felt wrong, having a boyfriend that I had never met. Then we got back together, and I broke up with him again. Then we got back together a final time. That is the most important time.

I have to say, when we were “dating” before I didn’t think of it as real, and he admitted he didn’t either. When Alex and I got back together most recently texting and talking to him was the highlight of my summer, and the most important thing in my world. We texted all day, and talked for hours almost every night. We said it was an exclusive relationship. We wouldn’t date anyone else.

Then the school year came and I thought it was just us being busy with school, homework, and friends that made us text, talk, etc less. But then I looked his Facebook one day and saw that he set his relationship status as in a relationship with some chick that we can call Audrey. Alex said he and Audrey had been dating for about two weeks. I was crushed and heartbroken. Of course, I broke up with him but unlike when I broke up with him before, this was not in my control or truly on my terms. I *almost* wish I had never…well I can’t say met….but I almost wish I had never IMed him in the first place.

My first boyfriend was an online relationship and the only sister I will have is an online relationship. Both are very different in what they mean, but both have also changed me as a person. It is weird to realize big things in my life have involved a computer. It also stinks. Although it means I still have the e-mails and chat transcripts to always remember the moments that have effected me.

Though Alex and I were never physically together, in even the simplest, most basic form of the word “together,” like holding hands, him “cheating” on me hurt me so much. Or was it even “cheating?” Were he and I technically ever “dating?”

My sister, Kathy and I have never hugged. Never fought over some stupid sister thing. I’ll never see my niece as a cute little baby, other than in pictures. My niece is already two. That hurts in a heart ripping way. I hope I get to meet my sister and her family someday. I don’t know that right now we are sisters by much more than blood.

It seems to me that relationships of any kind need more than online contact to flourish. Hopefully someday my sister and I can gain that, and let me just say- I’m never purposely doing a long distance romantic relationship again.





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TheAnonymousAuthor said...
Oct. 5, 2009 at 7:10 pm
This is the person who wrote this article and I just wanted to correct a few things in this article. 1) I know there are quite a few places in the article that are missing commas, sorry. 2) I don't regret having ever IMed him, that was a dumb thing to write. If I'd never "dated" him I wouldn't be the person I am, and I love who I am these days....
Thanks for reading my article (clearly if you (whoever you is) are taking the time to read the comments, then you read ... (more »)
 
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