THIS lock down has made me realise just how lonely I’ve been for a long time. I’m trying to work from home as much as I can, although work is drying up and my company is nowhere near as busy as it was, so I have a lot of time on my hands. As a result, I thought I’d try online dating and met someone almost straight away.
We’ve been chatting for three weeks now and are getting on really well, and I think we’re starting to feel more for each other. We’ve now swapped pictures and phone numbers and are texting, although we’ve not actually spoken yet – I’m not sure why. It’s got to the point where we’re sending about 20 messages a day and we’ve promised each other that, as soon as the lockdown is over, we’re going to find a way to meet up.
The thing is, I’m really beginning to feel something for her but what if I’m wrong? What if she’s just leading me on because she’s bored and stuck at home? Do you think she’s just playing around, or does she really feel for me?I’m not sure what to do for the best – should I cool things between us, or should I just continue to go with the flow?
FIONA SAYS: Who knows what she’s thinking? You don’t, and as I’ve no idea who she is, I can’t possibly know either.
Internet relationships are tricky – you have clearly invested a lot of emotional energy in this without any clear idea about the person at the other end of your conversation. Whether she started out in this because she was bored and wanted something to do, or whether she started out with the intention of meeting Mr Right makes little difference. If something has developed between you, that can happen despite her – or your – original intentions. After all, she knows you no better than you know her, and she may well be feeling the same worries and concerns.
Use this opportunity as a learning curve. You’ve realised that you weren’t happy with your life as it was, and that being in a developing relationship with someone is important for you. Whether this relationship comes to anything or not isn’t as important as what you’ve found out about yourself.
I don’t deny that chatting with people on the internet is fun, but a real relationship comes from two people being together. That isn’t possible for now, of course, but you now know it’s something you want in your life.
It really is time for those phone calls – and I’d encourage you to make them video calls as soon as you can too, so you really see one another. Looking at someone’s expression can tell you more than just their voice can. You may take a look at one another and decide this person isn’t for you – or you could really fall for the person you see.
If you do decide you want to continue talking then really talk to each other – about your dreams, your ambitions, what you want out of life. It will help you to know whether you are right for each other. If you decide this isn’t the person for you, then move on, try again, build more relationships with people that can become friendships, or more, when this is over.
One note of caution – don’t, at this stage, share anything embarrassing or incriminating. It’s possible that this person is not who they seem to be and is trying to lead you into a position where they can blackmail you. Hopefully they’re not, but it pays to exercise a little caution, just in case.
HOW CAN I BUILD A NEW LIFE FOR MYSELF?
Three years ago, I had a baby. My then-boyfriend walked out on me as soon as he learned I was pregnant. He has never seen his daughter and doesn’t appear to even want to.
My problem isn’t with him, though, it’s with my family – who have been very supportive of me and my little girl, but also very controlling. They’ve said I should stay at home and look after her and not get a job, and they’ve also said I should not get into any other relationships until she’s at least six years old.
I would love to work again and build an independent life for my daughter and I, but it’s almost impossible. Also, I’d like to find another relationship and there’s a guy in our street who I know is interested in me, but I’m scared of upsetting my family.
FIONA SAYS: I’m sure your family is only trying to protect you after you’ve been hurt so badly by your former boyfriend, but they are being very prescriptive and controlling.
As you are so dependent on them, I’m not surprised you worry about upsetting them, but maybe it’s time for a real conversation. Why, for example, do they want you to wait until your daughter is six? What difference do they think this will make? I’m sure you realise you made a mistake with your ex-boyfriend, but if you can convince your family you’ve learned from this, would they not allow you to move on with your life?
I really cannot understand why they are so opposed to you working – I would have thought they would welcome additional income coming in.
In the end, only you can decide what is best for you and your daughter and if that means standing up to your family then that might be what you have to do.
HOW CAN I REBUILD A RELATIONSHIP WITH MY SON I NOW CAN’T SEE?
At the end of February, my 17-year-old son returned home from college and was very quiet. When I asked if anything was wrong, he eventually admitted that he’d had his tongue pierced.
I’m afraid I lost it completely and said some pretty hurtful things to him – calling him a complete idiot. He got very angry and upset by my reaction and stormed out. He moved in with a friend and has been there ever since.
I am still so angry with him, but I hate the fact that he’s no longer at home and can’t, now, move back in anyway. He’s normally such a level-headed person but how do we overcome this now we can’t even see one another?
FIONA SAYS: I am sure this was a shock for you but, now that he’s done it, there is little to be gained by continuing to be angry. You overcome this by accepting it and moving on – perhaps without ever mentioning it again.
You made your feelings clear at the time but, by continuing to be angry – especially when the world is such a different place – you run the risk alienating him, which you clearly don’t want to do.
If you haven’t spoken to him, pick up the phone and tell him you love him and miss him. As I said, don’t mention the tongue piercing. As to why he has done it, it was probably because young people are under so much pressure to fit in – especially from their peers.
Hopefully he won’t have any more piercings or tattoos but, if he does, try and accept the fact that it’s just a way of him expressing himself. So please, try to understand his reasons and forgive him.
WHY IS HE HOLDING BACK?
I’m 72 and have been divorced twice. I had pretty much given up hope of having any further relationships until I met an old boyfriend at a college reunion.
He lost his wife late last year but, as soon as we met, we knew we were so good for each other. We were getting together for coffee and a chat three or four times a week; we’d been going to the cinema and concerts and I grew very close to him very quickly.
However, not once did he show me that he regards this as anything more than a friendship. Now, of course, we can’t see one another, but we talk every day and I would really like us to be so much more than friends. How do I ask him, though, what his intentions are, without sounding unreasonable? And why is he holding back?
FIONA SAYS: People come to terms with bereavement in different ways. It is generally accepted, though, that most people take about two years to feel ready to start a new kind of life. This man is almost certainly still grieving for his wife and he may also have to overcome feelings of guilt and disloyalty about seeing you. It’s not surprising to me, therefore, that he seems unready to show you how he feels about you.
While he may regard you as simply a kind friend who is helping him get over his grief, he could, instead, feel very strongly about you – but feels it’s too soon to say so. Continue as you are for the moment – you can’t really do anything else. If you push him too hard too soon, you may well frighten him off – so give him time, it sounds like it’s been less than six months since his wife died. Whether this comes to anything more than a friendship, who knows? But remember, good friends are hard to come by, so don’t forget to cherish this one.