Online But Wanting More

Q: I have been talking to a girl online for a few weeks now, and we both agree we want a real relationship. But we can't have one because we are states apart and neither of us is in any position to visit the other. I have college and internships, so I don't even have enough time to go home for holidays, and she lost one of her parents when she was young and is currently the center of her household. Without her, her family may crumble. How can we make things a little more official if we can't be with each other? -- Bart

Dr. Susan: What's your hurry? I've known guys who have kept up online relationships over a period of a year, at least, before meeting the girl. Marriages can even result from such long-term long-distance relationships. Of course, the odds are pretty staggering that e-mail can take the place of a real live touchy-feely huggy-kissy love connection. I wouldn't advise making anything "official" at this point, because you'd be closing off too many other serendipitous options for both of you. Keep writing, talk on the phone sometimes, and figure out when you can actually meet, even if it's a half year into the future. If there's really something there, you'll both find a way, in spite of your extreme busy-ness, and her huge family responsibilities. The truth is that it's going to be pretty hard to sustain any sort of real relationship while you're both overloaded this way.

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