I have had relationships with people that were purely or more or less digital, as in we mostly texted each other and met once or twice. I have “Friends” on Facebook I rarely see IRL.
I dated Charlie for a year and a half until he moved to the midwest, and even then we carried on long distance until an alcoholic relapse ended it for good. We stayed on friendly terms for a while after we broke up, and he liked to give me dating advice because he felt I needed someone to “protect” me (he was all manner of mentally fucked up). When appropriate or requested, I gave him dating advice as well. His online profile was a hot mess (like him), and I helped him rewrite it. Charlie went on a few dates with a woman he was simply looking to have sex with. This only lasted long enough for them to have a great deal of unsafe sex. When Charlie and I were together, he was particularly rabid in his opinion about how foolish this was in this day and age. He would speak about “clubs you can join, but never quit”, as in diseases you could catch for which there was no cure. This relationship was short lived because he was a foolish drunk one night when the police pulled her over on the way to his house.
His next prospect was Irene, who was just like me according to Charlie. She was pretty, and really, really smart. She had recently lost her job, as had Charlie, and she was planning to move to his town in the near future. He was excited to think he had found my “replacement”. He went on about how I was 700 miles away, but Irene would only be 7 miles away as if we were interchangeable and she was the most desirable because she would live closer. I was glad to hear that he was connecting with someone who sounded like a good match for him. They met online on March 13, 2017. By the middle of that month, Charlie told me that Irene wasn’t sure about taking things to the next level with him because she had some questions about our relationship. He asked me if it would be ok with me for him to give her my contact information, and added he wasn’t sure about what exactly she wanted to talk about. I told him it would be fine. She texted me initially to see if I would be willing to speak with her.
I was naturally mystified as to why this woman Charlie had met online wanted to speak to me, but definitely curious. She called and was tentative at first, this being a peculiar introduction. She told me that it seemed to her that Charlie and I were still in love so she was wary about meeting him. I admitted that we probably were still in love and went on to explain that there was no chance for reconciliation because he was an alcoholic.
She told me that he talked about me incessantly during their many phone conversations. If she said someone was cutting the grass outside, he would respond with something like “The smell of freshly cut grass was V.’s favorite”. He managed to work me into every conversation. He freely told her how much he still loved me. This lead Irene to believe that it was possible that things weren’t over between me and Charlie, and if they were, they shouldn’t be. She believed in fairy tale endings. She decided that she and Charlie would be better off as friends and told him so. Now he felt as if he had no one, and desperately pleaded for her to reconsider meeting him.
From Irene’s point of view, as his friend, it was her job to help him find his way back to his true soul mate. She kept in touch with me regularly about life in general like girlfriends do. She was struggling because of the loss of her job and inability to find another one. I freely told her anything she wanted to know about Charlie and our history. She was incredulous that he wasn’t able to stop drinking for good in order to rekindle the love of his life. She was certain that he and I belonged together. Part of me felt the same way, but the relationship was plain impossible with us being 700 miles apart and him being drunk all the time. Deal breakers. Suck.
Irene and I continued to text frequently about all manner of things as we came to find we were a lot alike as Charlie thought.
We stayed in touch long enough to go through the end of Charlie’s life at age 55 from liver failure. Irene was right. I will always love Charlie. My “relationship” with her has lasted nesrly as long as my actual time with Charlie did. The difference is she is alive and I am still in touch with her frequently. We never speak on the phone, but have sent thousands of words back and forth via text.
I see this friendship as one of, if not the most, peculiar in my life.