Why Technology And Relationships Don't Mix Very Well

By

Hey y'all,

My name is Raquel (pseudonym), and I am 24 years young from the great state of Texas! I have been talking to a guy named Nick (pseudonym) for almost six months now, and things seem to be flowing nicely between us, I think.

We met on a dating website. I usually never put myself out there, and I never used a dating site up until that point, so even then, I wasn't getting much out of it and was losing hope.

However, when Nick's profile came along, I read his bio, and without question, I made the first move and messaged him first. And the rest is history!

He lives in Tennessee, and I'm in Texas, so we've been doing the long-distance thing since the very beginning *insert eye roll emoji*.

When Nick and I spoke for the first time, we automatically clicked! We'd talk for hours on end, multiple times a day, for weeks and weeks. We've talked about how perfect we were for one another, having children together, me moving to Tennessee, our goals, fears, etc. Wild, right?!

I've flown out to Tennessee to see him a few times, and when we are together, it's as if we are in a relationship.

He isn't a fan of the long-distance situation at all, and he has a young child from a previous relationship, which isn't conducive to him moving to Texas to be with me — understandable, for sure.

I love Tennessee, and Nick and I have talked about me moving out there to be closer to him. In fact, I've applied for jobs in the Tennessee area already and looked for places to live. He has assisted me greatly with this process, too.

Nick has told me that he loves me, and he's excited for me to move closer to him. We have been intimate when I have flown into town (ya girl has needs), and everything has just been moving at Usain Bolt speed... FAST AF!

So we're almost at month six (who's counting?), and I'm ready for a relationship. I've been a single woman for almost four years now, and Nick has been single for a year.

When I ask him the dreaded "what are we?" question, he said we can make it "official" when/if I move out to Tennessee. Of course, I was naively on board with it.

But...

Around month four of talking and getting to know each other, I caught him referring to me as his "good friend" to his friends and family, and he has also referred to me as his "good friend" to me as well. Like, TF??

And of course, he has been distant lately. We have gone from talking, texting and having FaceTime dates every single day to only a few days a week.

He has openly admitted that he's scared of how strong our connection is and that he does have trust issues from previous relationships. He also works a lot, which he says is why he hasn't committed to me yet as well. That was in the beginning, but at this point, I'm no longer buying it.

I wholeheartedly believe that when a man or woman wants something or someone, they'll go out and get it. So basically, I'm starting to think I've been freaking friend zoned!

He no longer tells me he loves me, and all of a sudden, he doesn't want to get married (to anyone), even though he told me he did in the beginning.

He no longer tells me he loves me, and all of a sudden, he doesn't want to get married (to anyone).

There have been no more good morning texts and fewer compliments, which is fine, I guess. I mean, I'm in no rush to get married of even say the "L" word or whatever anyway.

Yet, he still talks about me moving to Tennessee and seems pretty eager about it.

CONFUSED YET? YEAH. ME, TOO.

So now, I just don't know what to think? Is he confused? Is he having second thoughts? Are we moving too fast? Have I been friend zoned? Am I being too naive? Am I being strung along?

Ultimately, in a perfect world, I want to be in a committed relationship with Nick. I understand these things take time, but is there a future? Should I no longer waste my time? He's a good guy with a good heart — I just need answers!

Sincerely,

Raquel, AKA confused AF and losing hope

Kylah Benes-Trapp

Hi Raquel,

One thing I grasped from your testimony right off the bat is that you're the one making all the sacrifices here.

I understand that he has a kid and all, but in the six months you've been talking, he hasn't been able to find one single weekend to come see you? I'm not entirely convinced here, Raquel.

I'm sure he has family or friends who'd be willing to watch his child for a few days. Instead, you're the one who spends the money and invests the time in what you're hoping will become a relationship, but hasn't done any of that in over six months.

You say, “It's as if we are in a relationship,” which means you know you're not actually in one. So I guess I'm just not understanding why you continue to put in so much effort when he hasn't even bothered to meet you halfway.

Not to mention, he introduces you as a “good friend,” which is an unapologetic slap in the face that most definitely leaves an impression.

What I think has happened here is, in the months you've been chatting, he's gradually lost interest, which is much more common in long-distance relationships than in your more traditional connection.

He rarely gets to see you in person, so you communicate through text and maybe the occasional phone call. It's like having a pen pal, which was fun in grade school, but juvenile as an adult.

In the beginning, I do think he was excited about the idea of you two together, but he's slowly realized the reality of this situation — that asking you to pick up and move your life might not be worth all the trouble.

Like all developing relationships, this one might not work out. I'm thinking he doesn't want to be responsible for uprooting your entire life for something that may result in failure. Plus, I'm pretty confident he's talking to other people on these dating websites.

Like all developing relationships, this one might not work out.

You're just his good friend, after all.

But because it's obvious you really like this guy, I want to give you some pointers on how you can attempt to strengthen your bond despite the distance.

What you need to do first is have a lengthy conversation where you both establish what you need from each other. Then, put forth a plan where you can work toward meeting those needs.

And if any of those needs are unmet, you have to tell each other instead of letting it fester.

Because the physicality of a long-distance relationship is limited, communication is even more important. So, understanding you both have lives outside of whatever your relationship is, discuss things like how frequently you'd like to chat on the phone and visit each other.

I recommend you even try establishing weekly or bi-weekly date nights on Skype — they're more common than you'd think.

What you two choose to do from there is up to you: You can have dinner, get drunk, watch a TV show together or simply chit-chat as you would in a coffee shop.

If you want things to get sexy, you can even masturbate for each other, telling the other why you wish you were both in the same room.

Skype sex can be incredibly hot, especially with "teledildonic" technology making waves in the sex toy space. Take Kiiroo's Onyx and Pearl, for instance. These toys (a vibrator and Fleshlight, basically) interact with each other using Bluetooth technology. This means however you interact with your toy will translate to his and vice versa, no matter the distance.

But these babies can be pricey; they're kind of like the Louis Vuitton of sex products. However, Lovense has much more affordable versions that are more or less the same, each one retailing for around $100.

Another option I recommend is watching a movie together through Xbox's Netflix Party streaming option, which is really a unique, shared experience, but will obviously only work if you both have an Xbox.

But because Skype is free and mostly everyone has it, that's probably your best bet.

So here's what I think you should do, Raquel: Take what I've told you and try to incorporate it into your friendship(?) with this guy. If he's not willing to meet you halfway (again), he's obviously not the one for you. Better yet, you'll have saved a shit-ton of money and grief by uprooting your life.

Best of luck!

Bobby

Kylah Benes-Trapp

Dear Raquel,

This fizzle you and Nick have hit is a very common stage in and a dangerous, often inevitable consequence of digital dating.

I've written about it before to an extent here and here, but let's expand upon the topic a bit more.

The main pitfall (and there are many) of digital dating is how it fosters the illusion of intimacy. The secondary pitfall is also its main allure: its accessibility. Someone you love is always there, in your pocket, on your screen, any time of day, no matter where you are in the world.

Except they aren't.

Throw in the illusion of intimacy and accessibility with someone looking for commitment and you create a dangerous cocktail of expectation and emotional dependency. I've fallen for it (foolishly) a time or two. Who hasn't? It feels like love, but it is very often closer to manufactured loyalty.

As if long-distance relationships weren't tough enough to maintain, digital dating allows us to begin relationships often and quickly. It's a ruse, really, that tricks you into thinking you know someone, when all you know is the scripted, marketed version of themselves they present.

Do these stories sometimes have happy endings? I'm sure they do. But for the most part, like the cheapest highs, these connections tend to fizzle out because they're created with artificial ingredients.

These connections tend to fizzle out because they're created with artificial ingredients.

I want to tell you two stories, if you have time. Both are about times when I've experienced this fizzle, from each perspective: fizzler and fizzlee. Maybe they can help explain Nick's behavior.

First, I fizzled.

A few years ago, I tried to be long-distance with a woman I met on vacation. She just appeared in front of me one day in the jungle, and we fell for one another.

She was young and in a vulnerable moment in her life — the kind where certain people will reach out and hold on to anything. But I didn't mind because she was exquisite, delicate and had a huge heart. She just hadn't yet mastered the ability to control where she threw it.

After we'd both gone back home, we talked all the time. We were always texting or FaceTiming. We did visits.

She was taking a semester off, and my career was kind of stalled at the starting line, so we had time for one another and voids that wanted to be filled.

She was the most important thing in my life, and she still felt like a part of my actual life, as far away as she was.

Then, my career started getting more demanding. I had less time to talk, to text and to FaceTime. I started devoting most of my time to my career, mostly because it was a thing that had value and was there, right in front of me.

Meanwhile, she was something I greatly valued, but she wasn't there. I wasn't coming home to her — I was coming home to my phone. The void had been filled, and my priorities changed.

Our visits became more spread out. After a while, real life began to take precedent, and she began to feel more like a pipe dream. I grew distant.

The fizzle.

Neither of us did anything wrong.

It was just that our lives were moving in different directions and from different starting points. We'd been unsustainable from the start — a reality that technology masked. It sucked because it felt like we'd tried, but we'd both been tricked.

Next, I was fizzled on.

This past summer, I randomly met (while I was on a date with someone else) this woman who was living in New York temporarily.

We went out the next day, had an amazing connection, and then, she went home. She lives more than 1,000 miles away at my friend's alma mater.

My friend and I had talked casually about going to visit his school around football season, and now that I'd met Asha*, I became much more invested in the trip.

But this was months down the road. I figured maybe we'd link up down there through some maybe massaged, but mostly fortuitous circumstances.

Instead, Asha and I started texting a few months before the trip — she initiated. We went slowly at first, but soon, it was constant. We were texting from the moment we woke up to the minute we went to bed. And the only time we weren't texting was when we were FaceTiming.

In a short time, we'd gone from complete strangers to the most prominent people in each other's lives, and we'd only spent a few hours together in person. I thought she was the most amazing person I'd ever met and would ever meet.

While this is going on, you half love it, half realize it's probably not the smartest thing in the world and half fear slowing it down. Because if it stops now, it'll never survive in person.

I'd been hesitant to write about this relationship before because it really fucked me up for a while. But eventually, I went to be with her for a week. We had this dramatic embrace at the airport and a perfect first night.

Then, the sun came up, and reality hit.

We quickly realized we were less in love with each other than we were with the idea each other, which isn't a novel concept, but it's a much easier trap to fall into today than maybe ever before in human history.

In a way, we were both tricked. We were strangers operating under this illusion of intimacy, this false reality that digital dating calcifies. It all becomes so obvious the minute you break the seal.

Our fizzle came quickly and hard. It was less of a fizzle, actually, than it was a complete burnout.

And we took it out on each other, blaming, resenting and projecting onto the other like it was either of our faults instead of what it really was: a misstep we both took into one of the most common potholes dotting the dating landscape circa 2017.

I think about her all the time, about what I did wrong and about what I could have done to make things different. The answer is nothing.

I usually am to blame, but this time, the fatal choice was merely embarking on the mission in the first place. The thing was doomed from Jump Street.

And I'm sorry to say, but that might just be Nick's address.

Unfaithfully yours,

Treez