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Moving on From an Internet Relationship

Group Therapy: The Ebb and Flow of Moving On

This question is from a Group Therapy post in our TrèsSugar Community. Add your advice in the comments!

Last year a relationship ended for me, and ever since I've been having a tough time accepting that the guy isn't going to be a part of my life anymore. I don't know why, it's not as if I would allow him back into my life after the perspective I've gained from the time apart, but nevertheless I can't seem to move on.

It wasn't even an actual romantic relationship, as it was entirely Internet-based, but I had allowed myself to be swept away with everything, and I feel like a total idiot looking back on it. I was way too naive, but not really delusional as he laid it on thick. He was the one insisting that he was going to come be with me, sending me roses on Valentine's Day, etc. Basically it was a year and a half of empty promises on his part and me foolishly believing them, until 8 months ago when he said he was "getting rid of me."


I found out later he had been seeing someone for a couple of months and never had the balls to be honest with me about it. I've never had any other significant relationship with a man, but I still feel very shaken by the whole experience and can't seem to move on for good. At several points I've thought that I was beyond everything, but then I go right back to dwelling on the whole situation, and constantly thinking about him.

I feel like at this point I should be well and truly past it, even though I know that it was the closest thing to "first love" that I've experienced so far, and I am admittedly a very sensitive person. Is this normal when a relationship ends? I'm frustrated as hell.

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passion8 passion8 5 years
I've never had any other significant relationship with a man-- is what you said and i think that is the core of your discomfort. there is a addiction quote that i think applies to this as well if a person is to spend as much time and energy and money recovering from the addiction as spent on perpetuating the addiction and making it worse they would be able to over come it as fast or quicker as when they started the addiction. so i say this to say that if you invest in your recovery of having more experiences of having a real relationship you will have more memories to fall back on and the experience of being a great women to help you overcome this belief system and find that great guy you are looking for.
dikke-kus dikke-kus 6 years
A lie is a lie is a lie. Whether you dated or had an internet relationship, makes no difference in the fact that you expereinced a love and then a betrayal, and then a breakup. I'm sorry for that. Its cold words you will hear, but ALL IS FAIR, IN LOVE, and war.
missnacho missnacho 6 years
I believe that it is normal. But I suggest that you push yourself to get over him. I understand what it is like to lose a first love, and I am now going through the same thing as you. It's very frustrating. Engage your mind in other things, and do not worry about meeting someone new. Focus on being you.
Helen-Danger Helen-Danger 6 years
Yes, the OP should pull her socks up and get dating in the real world. I bet she knows that already. She seems a little embarrassed to be so upset over something that wasn't even real. I certainly was when it happened to me. I knew better. And I eventually moved on to much better things.
lezlo lezlo 6 years
I hope you can learn to focus more on your dreams for the future and less on the issues of the past. Find something else to obsess about: Battle Star Galactica, job search, research, books, art galleries, painting, jewelry making, something. Find other things to eat up your time and distract you and when you have a moment turn your thoughts towards the things you look forward to most. And replace him by calling and texting and im-ing your closest friends and family. Let new things take the place of whatever hole he left to be filled.
searching-soul searching-soul 6 years
I tend to agree with Jazzy on this one. She's right. I've had virtual friendships( on Facebook) and I'm in a long term relationship. The two cannot be compared. Dealing with a real live guy on a daily basis and all of the "stuff" that comes with it. Loving him through all the moods, dirty dishes,dirty laundry,personal issues and financial issues etc. That's the reality of a face to face relationship, not just the flowery words and promises. Too many people are trying to escape life through the internet.
KadBunny KadBunny 6 years
First off: it doesn't matter if other people think it's a real relationship or not. What you felt was real, and that's all that matters. Period. I had to deal with that shit in the early stages of my long-distance relationship and in the end I just said fuck it, why bother defending the credibility of my relationship? My joy, my pain? I can feel them and I know they're real. End of story. That said, the problem with you having never met this guy is--like sourcherry said--you never got to meet him and see the whole picture. I'm sure you saw SOME of his bad sides, but certain things you don't find out till after you've met. Example: I've always known my guy had a bad temper, and it's scary enough on text, but we once had a fight while he was visiting and he got REALLY violent. He would never lay a finger on me but he bangs doors and punches walls and such, which terrified me. That gave me something to think about and he's working on his anger issues now. But you never got a chance to see the whole picture. You may just have lingering "what if"s. For such a long time you'd built up wonderful fantasies in your mind and dreams of the future and one day he just dropped you. To make it worse, there was someone else in the picture. That's not easy to get over. As far as moving on I don't really know what to tell you :(, 'cause we all cope with it differently.. but you just need to keep reminding yourself that you've wasted enough time on this guy and you absolutely deserve to be happy. Think of it this way: if he knew months in advance that he was over the relationship, but didn't tell you, he basically stole all that time from you. By continuing to obsess over it now you're just allowing him to steal more of your time--and he's already let you go. The dude's clearly moved on already. It's time you did the same. Counseling couldn't hurt; I think we could all use some therapy tbh. Good luck. :) sending good vibes your way
jazzytummy jazzytummy 6 years
To all responding about the "realness" of this relationship... I understand that you can develop a correspondence with someone and a sense of bonding..this is NOT dating someone, living with someone, being married to someone, and having it not work. This is not KNOWING the person. I am sorry, I completely disagree with anyone that would even think to compare an internet fantasy relationship to a face to face one. What about the day to day, loving someone when he is in a bad mood and acting like an asshole, and forgiving him for it? In other words, actually loving the WHOLE person, not someone who is probably lying to you online. And to lickety split, this internet "relationship" is nothing like a long distance relationship with an actual person deployed overseas. Come on ! I understand that some of you think that I minimized the OPs pain. That was not my intent. However, it is not healthy for her to be obsessing about a guy she never met 8 months after they "broke up". She essentially put her dating life on hold for a year and a half for this douche, and is STILL obsessing. I am in my forties, though, and all of my relationships have been face to face. If they turned out to be the frogs I kissed, at least I gave myself a fighting chance to find out because I actually spent time with them and saw everything about them. If I chose to ignore bad behavior, it eventually came back on me, and I learned my lesson. I would also add, the OP herself states in the post "it wasn't even an actual romantic relationship"....well, that pretty much says it all. I know most of you guys are in your twenties and the internet is the way to meet people for many of you, but don't lose sight of the personal. There is a post about young Japanese men not being interested in sex because they have virtual girlfriends that satisfy their needs so they don't date real women....sorry, but that is fucked up.
lickety-split lickety-split 6 years
how is this not a real relationship? she was interacting with another person and developed feelings, and he responded in kind. seems pretty real. does this mean that when those in the military go on deployment the part where their gone isn't real? its like a time out i their relationship? anyway...getting your heart broken sucks. first love is (imho) a little harder because you dream of things you never thought of before. its not just your relationship that's over; its the loss of those dreams. sadly, he's likely not the only guy that will break your heart. and you will likely break some hearts along the way. just the nature of love. if you happened once for you, it can happen again. it will be different next times. not better or worse, just different. and one day in the future you'll look back on your first love with a smile. and you'll see how much happier you are with your partner and what a different person you've become. go out there and find love :kiss:
Helen-Danger Helen-Danger 6 years
That's a really really good point, million suns. Way back when, I developed a crush on a guy from online. I knew just enough about him to fall really hard, but not enough to see the imperfections that anyone living with him would notice right away. When I realized he flirted (extremely well, I might add) with any lady he came across, It hurt shockingly bad to find out I wasn't special. There's much more room for imagination in an imaginary relationship (imagine that!). So the guy kind of gets put on a pedestal automatically.
a-million-suns a-million-suns 6 years
Wow, I didn't even realize I wrote a novel! Sorry!
a-million-suns a-million-suns 6 years
It's strange--I had a breakup in May with a guy I'd been dating for four and a half years, but that experience has not been as emotionally difficult for me as experiences I've had in the past with the ends of "almost-relationships." Don't get me wrong, it's been tough, especially in those first few months--I felt like I was missing a limb. But the first time I got my heart really broken, I was 16 and I had also had basically an internet relationship. It was only after we met in "real life" that we started "officially dating" but we had gotten to know each other through MSN chat and that was really our primary form of communication (it's also how he broke up with me). After that, I was horribly depressed and scarred by the whole experience, even though it was just a "silly" internet-relationship. I also got into a situation a few years later, which I won't go into much, but it suffices to say that we never actually got into an official relationship, but I got so badly burned that my mom said it seemed like I was experiencing the same level of emotion as people going through a tough divorce. Anyway, what I'm really saying is that there is something about the end of an almost-relationship, especially when you're young and fairly inexperienced in the world of dating and love, that can be very emotionally traumatizing. Maybe because you keep hoping it'll become something real--that those promises will be fulfilled--and when it doesn't, the disappointment is crushing. I know how you feel, girl. Don't let anyone, especially yourself, tell you that your emotions are unjustified. Everything you're feeling is normal, including that cycle of grief. I'm still experiencing that from my breakup in May--I'll feel fine and then suddenly, BAM, something will happen or someone will say something and I'll feel sad and/or angry and/or confused and/or lonely all over again. Try to focus on yourself as much as you can--what can you do to make yourself feel good? Cooking, running, volunteering, hanging out with friends? I know it's annoying to hear the typical "stay busy/get a hobby/do things you enjoy!" advice, but it's just about forcing yourself to get your mind on something else, and it really does help if you do, even if you don't feel like doing it. It just takes time to heal, and even though the wait really sucks, you'll soon have a stronger sense of self and of what you want. Sometimes it helps me to think that other people are going through the same thing at this exact moment--you're not alone even when it feels like you are.
searching-soul searching-soul 6 years
Typo " you are right back to where you started" :)
searching-soul searching-soul 6 years
To add- A year and a half is an extremely long time to accept a relationship based solely on the internet. Based on your post, I do think you might have underlying issues with intimacy and perhaps developing relationships with guys in your real, day to day life. I'm not saying this to make you feel bad at all but maybe a little counseling to get to the root of your fears would help. You don't want to spend your youth chasing fantasies and letting real life opportunities pass you by. Then you turn around and will find quite a few years have passed and your are right back to where you started, without the the kind of relationship you really want and feeling bad about it. There is nothing wrong with counseling and it can give you a better understanding of yourself and what makes you tick. Good luck to you
onlysourcherry onlysourcherry 6 years
I disagree jazzy, at least in the way you seem to be minimizing the emotional impact of this relationship, whether or not it is a "relationship" in the way that we think of our own romantic interests. If anything, this guy presenting himself as the perfect guy and never having to deliver on it would make it much harder for her to let go, as she probably didn't get to see all the negatives you do in a traditional relationship. Was it naive? Sure. But almost everyone is naive in their first relationship, I know I was. That said, OP, make a concerted effort to move on. Go on dates, don't have any contact with your "ex" and spend lots of time with your friends. Your first heartbreak is miserable and exhausting, and then it gets better and better every day.
jazzytummy jazzytummy 6 years
I am sorry you are sad, but you have to realize that this was not a real relationship. If you had no romantic contact with him, or any real contact for that matter, he was just a pen pal who enjoyed the distraction of the internet, then got tired of it. Who knows if he really was who he said he was....somehow I doubt it. Maybe his wife found out about his internet dalliance and quashed it. Men are going to do things like this to you throughout your life, I am sad to say, but part of growing up is learning how to deal with these heartaches because every douche you meet helps you figure out what you wan't or don't want in a long term relationship. It would be great if every guy we liked treated us the way we want to be treated, but it just doesn't happen. Having said that, that is no excuse to hide from real life experiences behind a computer screen. And lexib, you are right, people are going to tell her to find distractions and give it time, because it helps. This does not mean we have no idea what the OP is going through. Do you think you are the only one in the world who has shed a tear over a guy or had your faith completely destroyed? Gimme a break. It has happened to ALL of us. The OP is obsessing about the loss of an internet relationship 8 months later and not getting past it.... I think that counseling should be considered, because this is not healthy behavior. Good Luck.
lexib1994 lexib1994 6 years
well... i'm going through a similar situation so if you need further help after this post, you can message me.. anywho! "I've been having a tough time accepting that the guy isn't going to be a part of my life anymore" -- i've been through this and am actually still been going through it.. it's tough i'll admit. i mean, you get so used to talking to them and liking them when they're gone, it seems unreal. also, i was naive too so don't beat yourself up about it. the funny thing is the guy i liked also said he would come back to me but then went and turned around and "got rid of me." to tell you the truth, you probably won't ever let go of him because a part of you loves the past to much to realize its gone. you may have hope that he WILL come back someday because i sure do hope that ;p but apart of you wants to forget because of the bad parts as well, yet your mind won't let you. i can understand how you haven't had a relationship after him because i haven't either. it feels like every guy i meet isn't as good as him. what your feeling now will follow you until you find a distraction. people say pick up a new hobby, meet new people, give it time, or date around but they obviously have no idea what your going through. all i can tell you is listen to what your heart has to say along with your mind and just deal with it because there is not much more you can do from here. i hope the best for you! xx
searching-soul searching-soul 6 years
Many people obsess about the past. It sounds like this person had a psychological hold on you. You sound pretty young, because you stated you never had a relationship. Don't worry new memories will gradually replace the old ones and this guy will barely be a blip in your matrix. You said it yourself, there are times you are okay and don't dwell on it much. Spend less time online, it's so easy for a prospective romantic interest to misrepresent themselves. Focus on meeting and cultivating friendships with, real, live guys, not men in cyberspace. You never know, one might turn into an actual boyfriend. Yes ,you are normal and yes you will be fine. You just got a little burned, it happens to everyone.
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