He was everything I had dreamed of: tall, smart (he told me he was a lawyer with a Ph.D. in philosophy, and I believed him), witty, and wonderful in every way. We moved from Match to e-mail to instant messaging to long phone conversations that stretched into the morning hours. I should have paid attention to the fact that his caller ID was unlisted, to the fact that he kept his voice so low when we talked ... at the time I thought it was just romantic.
I liked his picture, but tried not to expect too much, because I'd heard (and lived) more than a few horror stories about fantasy vs. reality, so I was thrilled when I arrived at the designated place and found a charming, well-dressed man with curly hair and dimples. So charmed, in fact, that I let him buy me three shots of tequila. I took him home within two hours, and he stayed the night. He stayed three nights. But he went out (for an hour) to pick up pizza on the second night.
This went on for two months. When he was with me, he was wonderful. When he wasn't, I didn't know where he was. I didn't have his land line. I didn't know his address. I didn't care, because we were having the kind of sex that makes you forget your name. And your judgment, I guess.
I started getting suspicious, when he wouldn't introduce me to his friends, when the stories started not adding up. After the day I caught him telling me two different versions of his schedule for the next week, I'm embarrassed to say I followed him one morning when he left my house.
He drove for about 10 minutes (right around the corner, who knew?). And I sat outside while he let himself into a house that had a tricycle in the driveway.
I wish I could tell you I drove away, but I didn't. I waited across the street, thinking someone would come out eventually, thinking I'd go knock on the door, thinking about what to do next.
I don't know what motivates a guy to do something like that. And I never asked him directly, because the next time he called I slammed the phone down on him.
I stopped dating online anymore, and a year later met a totally different kind of guy. He's sweet and loyal and not married to anyone but me.
-- Name Withheld
Sex after FedEx
I was working for a start-up, sometimes 16 hours a day, and my friends made the comment that the only way I'd meet someone was if he was online or the FedEx guy. Having already had the FedEx guy, I tried the other route. I posted a flirty ad on a dubious site and received hundreds of replies over the next few weeks. Most of them I deleted before even reading them, but one caught my eye. Tyler and I exchanged polite, suitably embarrassed e-mails for a few weeks, and then moved to the phone. He was 28, like me, and the CEO of his own company. He said he was "stocky," which I took to mean fat, but since I'm a big girl too, I didn't let it bother me. We made plans. I canceled and he was cool about it. We made plans again. And I canceled again. And again. Finally, having convinced myself that it was a waste of time but caught by his continued understanding, I decided to go and at least reject him in person.
He was fat. He was short. And he was sweet. And funny. I liked him and he liked me. We hugged goodbye and started to date. He'd never had a deep relationship before and I reluctantly became his first real everything. Three months later he said he was in love. We laughed, we talked for hours, we told each other about all the little things we were ashamed of or afraid of being judged harshly for. I'd never felt so comfortable in my life. Two months after that he asked me to marry him. We planned a wedding, we had amazing sex, and told our folks. (About the wedding, not the sex.)
And two weeks after that, he dumped me, saying I was a bad person who couldn't be trusted. I cried, I wailed, I hurt like something inside of me was broken, and I swore I'd never put myself in that position again. I felt like a fool for getting involved so quickly, for announcing an engagement that I should have known wouldn't work out, and then found out that he'd gone through my things while I was at work, reading my diaries from when I was a kid, and judging me on bad decisions I'd made and gotten over a full 10 years before.
I yelled, I screamed, I bought a "Boys Lie" T-shirt and told everyone how small his penis was. But I got over it, mostly.
I still use him as the measuring stick of what never to do again. Of how you can have feelings for someone, but you simply don't know who they are until you've seen them angry, or hurt, or afraid. My next boyfriend -- a "heaven" story, for the most part -- took the brunt of the residual fear of closeness and now I'm back in the pool, just trying to avoid anything scummy floating on top.
I know everything happens for a reason, and that Tyler was the bringer of a lesson I needed to learn. But every once in a while ... every once in a while I think of Tyler, and I start to feel soft inside, and I think, "That fat little fuck. What a jerk."
-- Bitter but better