Love and Friendships in the Modern World


Victor Pross

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Love and Friendships in the Modern World: Finding a Relationship in Cyberspace

by Victor Pross

HUMAN BEINGS NEED TO CONNECT. Though all kinds of relationships—with family, friends, neighbors and colleagues—partially meet the human’s hardwired need for social contact, the need most commonly reveals itself in the search for love relationships. People in love relationships need to expend a lot of energy to maintain those relationships. Many people not currently in love relationships invest similar amounts of energy to find one. The need can be that strong, no matter how many friends or family one has—the need for the most deepest intimacy a person can experience is: romantic love.

Finding a life partner in a sophisticated technological society is harder than finding one in a primitive village, where at least everyone knew everyone else and one would pick a spouse from the relatively few people available. That didn’t yield necessarily happy results, of course, but the intimacy of that kind of community provided support for those whose pick was less than ideal. Now the horizons are much less limited, but the trade off could be a loss of community and a fraying of the web of social supports that binds groups of people. I’m of the old school: I enjoy face-to-face relationships with living and breathing human beings, terribly old-fashioned that I am. I’ll take real over virtual anytime. Nevertheless, I became curious and eventually joined the cyber world of the 21th century, but not to find romance. I found many chat groups and forums that complain about the isolation of modern life.

Marshall McLuhan first wrote about the “global village” in the 1960s. Since then the world has become even smaller and more interconnected, with the internet and globalization bringing the earth’s people closer together. McLuhan was talking only about physical space, not cyber space. With so many human interactions now mediated by some kind technological interface, be it a phone or a computer, contact between people loses the intimacy necessary to form individual relationships and in turn communities. In our accelerated technological society, we become too caught up worrying about being a tec nerd to enjoy a “spiritual connection” to our world or to other people. But I would now be the first to state that technology has unarguably improved human lives a great deal. One benefit is the expansion of our circle of potential relationships—especially a love relationship. Personally, I found just such a relationship. I wasn't seeking it--it "just happened."

If anyone is aware of the “love in bloom” thread is aware of the intensity of the connection that I share with Angie, my lady love. Our values and thoughts parallel one another’s to such a great extent, it seems as if we have already met face-to-face and have known each other for years. There are those who are cynical or skeptical to the idea that people can fall in love via the cyber world, but when I monitor my insides, my thoughts, feelings—my reactions to Angie—I know for certain that the cynics are wrong.

For us both, every word on the glowing screen has become a caress, a wink-wink or a kiss—both of us feeling the longing and love, the feeling being similar to human beings reaching out making physical contact. While it is not practical to maintain such a love relationship for a protracted period of time—neither is it desirable—but nobody can tell us that we are not in love, although some have tried. It is with such possibilities—finding friendship or love---that the modern technological world is to be commended.

There are thinkers and philosophers who have wrote and spoke of the “alienation of modern man” with the advances of technology, and I always found a certain plausibility to their claims, but I eventually concluded that alienation is an inner phenomenon-- not external. Spirituality—in the secular meaning—is essentially an internal matter, an affair of the heart. It has to do with a mode of consciousness, a certain way of perceiving oneself, others, and the world. There is nothing religious or mystical about this.

People are connecting all over the world with a personal home computer and a click of the mouse. This “spiritually” is being transmitted and communicated and felt at long distances via the miracle of technology. At some point, however, they’ll have to leave their desks to enjoy and maintain that which can never be replaced: live contact with another human being. The internet can bring people together—but it can’t keep them together.

Can people connect and fall in love before actually meeting? The answer is a resounding YES. There is no dispute. Angie and I have thought of our selves as standing on a hill and the horizons around us a circle allowing us to have a different view from the cynics. We moved from the “center” where the mob stands—with its heard view of success, trends, and values—and what’s “appropriate” and “normal” when it comes to meeting another person and falling in love. We saw a new perspective—we saw our own; we wrote our own rules.

Yes, I admit it: I was skeptic before, but now I’m a true believer.

**

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:heart:

I'm a true believer too!

I think as more and more people get to know each other online, finding your life partner in cyberspace will become more and more common. There is another hot new romance brewing on RoR between Ed and Erica and, if I have my way, love is in the future for all the single Objectivists who are looking for that special someone. My advice to the unattached: Don't bother with the general dating sites, you'll wind up like Brian. You are far more likely to connect with someone on a forum you find interesting and participate in regularly. Post your picture, post your posts, and the magic will happen for you too.

purrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr

Kat

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Honey, you are so adorable. You're too much for me. Everyone, he is definitely old fashioned but so am I so that is another area we have in common but not old fashioned in the way most think. He is a total gentleman and I am very very lucky to have found him. He is my baby!! I very much look forward to our first meeting. It will be so much fun and will be very exciting.

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Kat,

I absolutely love the new smilies. I have many favorites but right now the hyper smilie has got me laughing. But there are many appropriate ones to show how I feel for Victor!!

:wub: :hug: :wub: :drool: :wub: :kiss: :wub: :hug: :wub: :drool: :wub: :kiss: :wub: :hug: :wub: :drool: :wub: :kiss: :wub: :hug: :wub: :drool: :wub: :kiss: :wub: :hug: :wub: :hug: :wub: :drool: :wub: :kiss: :wub:

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Victor: Can people connect and fall in love before actually meeting? The answer is a resounding YES.

I disagree, Victor,

Romantic love, like everything in life, must be created, and that, requires time and testicles, that is, to be commited and being a man. People, who come from previous bad experience and marriages, should be more couscous when talking about romantic love. Especially those who believe in polyamority. Most of the time they confuse infatuation with romantic love.

Best Ciro

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Ciro,

Come now, sir—I’m a grown-up boy, and I’m able to distinguish between infatuation and love. So is Angie. Although there are many people who are merely infatuated, and this happens all the time-- but this is not characteristic of the cyber world necessarily as it is in “real life”--- especially among the very young or emotionally immature. Angie and I are neither. We have spent time getting to know each other by email, photos and telephone conversations.

By telling people that they can’t fall in love via the internet, you place yourself in the outlandish--and audacious--position of telling people that they don’t really feel as they do. How would you like to be told what emotions you are feeling and not feeling?

Do people fall in love via the internet? MSK and Kat are two people that come to mind in this regard--given that they, too, fell in love before actually meeting. So you might take your case to them, too.

I disagree that falling in love requires “testicles”—although it is vital in consummating the relationship. Falling in love calls only for that other important organ—that being the heart. Besides, Angie doesn’t have testicles and she is in love. See, I believe you are confusing the two categories--sex and love, although, thankfully, they can correlate.

Mind you, now that I am indeed in love, I agree that it is time to act: I will be flying out to meet Angie so that we can be together—especially in the manner to which you suggested. That will be an expression of love—which we have already achieved.

Cheers.

Victor

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We have spent time getting to know each other by email, photos and telephone conversations.

Yes, we have spent quite a bit of time together. When we get together to talk, easily the hours fly by. I'm so engrossed with him that I lose track of time. The time we do spend together all that matters is Victor.

Do people fall in love via the internet? MSK and Kat are two people that come to mind in this regard--given that they, too, fell in love before actually meeting. So you might take your case to them, too.

I also know many people that fell in love over the internet. Some have even married and are happily married. One such person used to come to OL and post but hasn't in quite a long time. He met his wife through an IRC.

Mind you, now that I am indeed in love, I agree that it is time to act: I will be flying out to meet Angie so that we can be together—especially in the manner to which you suggested. That will be an expression of love—which we have already achieved.

Yes, it will happen very soon that we are going to meet, especially in that manner. We both are in love, very much so. He's where ever I go. He's in my thoughts all the time and can't wait to get home to talk either phone or internet. Victor is my baby! :heart:

Angie

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By telling people that they can’t fall in love via the internet, you place yourself in the outlandish--and audacious--position of telling people that they don’t really feel as they do. How would you like to be told what emotions you are feeling and not feeling?

Victor, what I am saying is that it takes more than internet messages and phone conversation before we can

say to be in love with someone. Or else we have a different idea in regard to what being in love means.

In addition to that, I think that true romantic love is like a staight line, which starts and never ends.

If it ends, it doesn't mean that we cannot fall in love with someone again, we can, but, it will not be like someone, who falls in love with a person once and forever.

You cannot eat your cake and have it too!

CD.

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By telling people that they can’t fall in love via the internet, you place yourself in the outlandish--and audacious--position of telling people that they don’t really feel as they do. How would you like to be told what emotions you are feeling and not feeling?

Victor, what I am saying is that it takes more than internet messages and phone conversation before we can

say to be in love with someone. Or else we have a different idea in regard to what being in love means.

In addition to that, I think that true romantic love is like a staight line, which starts and never ends.

If it ends, it doesn't mean that we cannot fall in love with someone again, we can, but, it will not be like someone, who falls in love with a person once and forever.

You cannot eat your cake and have it too!

CD.

Ciro, I have some questions for you. Have you ever experienced this yourself with someone via the internet? If not, then it is difficult for you to have an opinion that will hold water, considering you have no experience with it or firsthand knowledge of it.

I also found it interesting that you say true romantic love is like a straight line, which starts and never ends. Romantic Love or any form of love is not unconditional. This is one of the areas where a lot of people make the fatal mistake in thinking that there is Unconditional Love; ie, that you will love them forever no matter what they do to you. Can you give me an example of Unconditional Love or as you say it, true romantic love is like a straight line, which starts and never ends? Are there any examples you can give me where this Unconditional Love romantically or otherwise would apply?

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"Victor, what I am saying is that it takes more than internet messages and phone conversation before we can say to be in love with someone."

Ciro,

Why not? Just because it didn't happen to you? It’s all it took for us, and, conceivably, thousands of other people. I just introspected, and yes I have validated to myself that I am in love. You have not proven otherwise. You have merely reasserted your position—that people don’t fall in love via the internet—and you have not offered anything substantially new to say that would make me think otherwise. You didn’t present any argument other than a mere assertion. There are no “rules” when it comes to matters of the heart, but that is not to say that love is causeless: love is a response to values.

Let me ask you this: have you ever experienced an intense admiration or dislike for a person without having ever met them—be it a celebrity or an other individual in the cyber world? How is that you are able to experience those emotions—but whereas love is exempted from the catalogue?

Do you deny, for example, that MSK and Kat love each other? Do you deny that MSK feels an intense admiration for, say, Barbara Branden—long before he had the pleasure to meet her? Angie has tried to make her feelings clear, and has only now offered testimony of people who are happily married having met in the cyber world.

I would ask you to revaluate you assumptions as to what is possible between two people, not to assume that a strong connection and emotion for an another is not possible via the cyber world--merely because you are yet to experience it.

Question: how do you define love?

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"Victor, what I am saying is that it takes more than internet messages and phone conversation before we can say to be in love with someone."

Ciro,

>>Why not? Just because it didn't happen to you? It’s all it took for us, and, conceivably, thousands of other people. I just introspected, and yes I have validated to myself that I am in love. You have not proven otherwise.

How can I prove that you are not in love with Angie? Who am I to tell? what I am saying is that I don't agree with your view of love. For instance, have you considered the fact that she has a child and that he needs as much love as you do and, even more, from his mom? are you able to love her kid as much as you love her? etc...etc...or he is not in the picture?

hum?

>>>You have merely reasserted your position—that people don’t fall in love via the internet—and you have not offered anything substantially new to say that would make me think otherwise.

I say that people can fall in love everywhere, even on the moon, but do they know then what it takes to be committed to a serious relationship?

>>You didn’t present any argument other than a mere assertion. There are no “rules” when it comes to matters of the heart, but that is not to say that love is causeless: love is a response to values.

This response alla Rand is plain BS.

>>Let me ask you this: have you ever experienced an intense admiration or dislike for a person without having ever met them—be it a celebrity or an other individual in the cyber world?

Admiration, yes! but not intense

How is that you are able to experience those emotions—but whereas love is exempted from the catalogue?

Because, love is an intense emotion

>>Do you deny, for example, that MSK and Kat love each other?

How can I know?

>>Do you deny that MSK feels an intense admiration for, say, Barbara Branden—long before he had the pleasure to meet her?

Linz, and many others felt the same way about Barbara and they changed, why?

Only time can tell!

>>Angie has tried to make her feelings clear, and has only now offered testimony of people who are happily married having met in the cyber world.

Who are these people, do you know them personally?

>>I would ask you to revaluate you assumptions as to what is possible between two people, not to assume that a strong connection and emotion for an another is not possible via the cyber world--merely because you are yet to experience it.

OK!

>>Question: how do you define love?

Not alla Rand, as you define it, but this way:

Oh Love !

©1995 Frank Sant'Agata

Love comes in all sizes, shapes, and senses;

It sings "Everything is well" It glorifies the world you see

We all want it and we all have wondered where to find it

We search high and low, we wait with patience

But love eludes us; or comes for awhile and leaves.

Oh love, where are you now?

I'm here. I'm always here.

Here within you.

I don't take leave and return as

a great surprise when you least expect me.

I don't hide in the deep reaches of your everyday strife

in wait for the right moment to reward you

when I think you are deserving.

You simply turn your back towards me

and keep my presence unknown to yourself.

But I'm always here.

When you stop to smell a flower, watch a child,

feel the Sun's rays on your face,

you become aware of my presence.

Whenever you greet a friend, help a stranger,

give a gift, you see me then.

I communicate through your senses.

If you sense something you like,

I am awakened to you.

You want more of this, you say.

But when there is something you do not like,

I am absent from your awareness!

There is so little that you like,

and so much you dislike in your world.

You made it that way.

There are so few persons that you love.

There are so many you would avoid.

You were taught through the ages

that some people were okay,

others not so good;

You were taught by your ancestors of long ago

to accept some things; reject others.

Now passed down through the ages,

it is your legacy.

Or is it ?

Must you accept teachings that are not

based on truth ?

How do you know if they are true

or false beliefs ?

This is easy.

You simply ask if they came to

your teacher through love or fear.

I can assure you, if they were love based,

they came from me;

But if they were made from fear,

they came from a part of you-

that is not a part of me,

and never will be!

I am like light and fear is like darkness.

If you turn me on, darkness leaves immediately;

But darkness has not the same power over me.

There can be an abundance of darkness

and a tiny light.

And where that tiny light is,

the darkness can enter not.

And so it is with fear.

If a tiny bit of love exists,

fear is locked out.

And when fear is present,

love cancels it out immediately.

What are you afraid of ?

That you will not have love ?

Then, by that very fear,

you have turned your back on love!

Look my way,

I am with you always.

I am a part of you.

You are a part of me.

It is not I who forsake you

when you think you are without love,

but you who forsake me.

When you ask where love is you have forgotten;

Love is within you.

Love is you.

Love is.

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Victor -- Thoughtful post. Much has been written about how large societies like ours produce alienation and make it difficult for individuals to connect with like-minded ones, including soulmates. But technology does offer tools that can compensate.

While I'm just an old bachelor, I have put on my philosopher hat to think a bit about the implications of romance for society as a whole. Here for anyone interested are my musings:

---------

http://www.objectivistcenter.org/showconte...mp;printer=True

The Public Side of Private Love

by Edward Hudgins

February 14, 2003 -- Romantic love is the predominant theme in modern American culture. It's the number one topic of popular music. Movies that aren’t love stories usually have an amorous subplot. Affairs saturate soap operas and Oprah-type TV focuses on relationships. Valentine's Day is devoted to love. And the activity that is most associated with and often mistaken for romantic love—sex—is an industry in itself, with magazines, videos, and Web sites devoted to every desire and proclivity.

One wonders, why with all this love in the air we have crime, hate and anger in our society? One also wonders, why something as profoundly personal and private as romantic love should be such a public matter?

Essential activities of human life do not require intimate involvement with others. While good parents are important, ultimately we each create our own moral character. While good teachers are valuable, ultimately we each must acquire for ourselves the skills needed to make a living and to do fulfilling work. Further, we can each pursue elevating or relaxing pastimes by ourselves: reading a book, watching a ballgame.

But how much richer our lives are if we can see in the character and actions of another person those values and traits that we admire most. And how much richer our lives are if another person appreciates us for our highest virtues and best qualities. And how wonderful it is if we can share mutual interests and activities with another: going to movies, plays, museums, sporting events, or restaurants; getting together with friends; and, yes, having sex, not as an ephemeral physical act but as a joyous celebration of our life with someone we love. And how happy we are if we can build a life, a marriage, a family together with another person. How blessed and joyous and full our lives will be if we love another and are loved in return!

"Love" is a verb and "making love" means creating a world and a life with our beloved that only two can share. It is a private world founded on shared experiences, values, and emotions, and on a subtle and intimate understanding of one another. Those who share such a love might want to share the fact of their happiness with friends and family. But ultimately they’ll devote their energy and efforts to enhancing their own world, their own sanctuary. They won’t worry about seeking the approval of others. They won’t want to open every aspect of that world to others because that world is too precious to be opened to the random eyes of others.

So why should such a private matter as romantic love be a matter of public concern? Much pop culture expresses and reflects a superficial version of romance that one would expect to appeal to sixteen year olds. But hey, we were all sixteen once! To the extent that individuals can retain throughout their lives the thrill and excitement that accompanies a new romance, these aspects of our culture reflect a healthy appreciation that happiness should be our goal in life.

Too often, though, popular culture delivers instant gratification at the expense of real romance, and too many adults, allowing vapid culture to lead them by the nose, stay at the adolescent level of superficial infatuation, thus forgoing the deep and rich satisfaction of a mature love. Such culture dulls the senses and the soul, making romance less likely and life more hopeless and empty.

Still, true romance in the private lives of individuals, which should be a private concern only, makes an important contribution to the public good. As Ayn Rand explained, lovers must "stand naked in spirit, as well as body" before one another. In romantic love at its best, lovers are mirrors for each other’s souls. We want our beloved to see the best within us and we want our best to be reflected in the affection and adoration shown to us by our beloved. Rand also likened love to a "command to rise," to strive to be our best. The moral character of individuals and thus moral foundations of a free society are strengthened by true love.

So those without a love on Valentines Day should at least be glad about what it stands for, and those with loves should count their blessings, renew that love and celebrate the happiness that they have earned!

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>>Ciro, I have some questions for you. Have you ever experienced this yourself with someone via the internet? If not, then it is difficult for you to have an opinion that will hold water, considering you have no experience with it or firsthand knowledge of it.

I agree, Angie!

>>I also found it interesting that you say true romantic love is like a straight line, which starts and never ends. Romantic Love or any form of love is not unconditional.

This is one of the areas where a lot of people make the fatal mistake in thinking that there is Unconditional Love; ie, that you will love them forever no matter what they do to you.

Did I say that? I never mentioned unconditional love, or love someone forever no matter

What she does to me.

>> Can you give me an example of Unconditional Love or as you say it, true romantic love is like a straight line, which starts and never ends? Are there any examples you can give me where this Unconditional Love romantically or otherwise would apply?

Yes! I can give you an example: If Leo would have returned to Ayn Rand the love she felt for him, they would have loved each other for the rest of their life, and both would have made love speaking to each other in Russian and no philosophy or Hugo verses were needed while having sex, but unfortunately he didn’t love her enough, so she left Russia and came to America where she met Frank, who wasn’t Leo.

If she had come to America with Leo , Nathaniel Branden would have never had a chance

with her. He would have never existed for her, and the love between Ayn and Leo would

Have been a straight line ended only after their deaths. Does it make sense to you?

Angie, I just wanted to express my personal opinion, my whish is to be wrong in what I have said.

I whish you and victor the best, and that both of you could live happy together.

And this comes from the bottom of my heart!

Ciro.

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Mr. Hudgins,

Thank you so much for your thoughtful post. I read your article with great interest. The subject of love and sex has always been a keen interest of mine—aside from practicing it that is.

The subject of love and sex in Western culture has been a keen interest and I have read nearly every thinker who dealt with the subject...from Plato to Bertrand Russell—and of course, Ayn Rand and Nathanial Branden. Now that I have fallen head-over-heels with Angie, the thoughts that have been percolating on this subject finally came to surface.

It is a very interesting subject, especially in the modern world. I am witness to the people around me and I do see a mad and desperate dash to find a connection, to find love. This is evidenced by the phenomenon of dating sites and speed-dating and the like. It is both inspired and kind of sad. Luckily, Angie and I came across each other by pure chance--this can be a cause of great envy in others, don't you agree?

Your article asks the question “why should such a private matter as romantic love be a matter of public concern?” I think this is a good question and Angie I have briefly talked over the issue if we should make our “love in bloom” public in the first place. We decided to go ahead for two basic reasons: we don’t really consider OL a “public site” per see, [or I don't in any case] but rather a “family” --not only of OL members but also of those who are “philosophical kin.” [in this case, I would make the exception to rule out SOLO].

The other reason we posted: it was like a “promise ring”—and, somewhat tongue in cheek, we thereby took “each other’s assess off the market.” Pardon me, sir, this has been a favorite vernacular expression of ours. It was our way of showing each other that we are very serious, as doubts of the other's true feelings and intentions can come to be a concern when you give your heart away. But that is no longer a concern: we love each other just as sure as God didn’t make little green apples.

And while this may seem silly to a few others, it made sense to us: we were like two corked bottles that wanted to shout out with joy, deliriously happy to share what we had found: each other. One does not express joy in stifled silence—one jumps up and down and shouts. We also wanted to draw out others with similar experiences, and to do so in the spirit of celebration. Of course, we have come across nay-sayers and cynics, and it is here that perhaps we should have ignored those individuals all together. They are a waste of energy and time.

Again, thank you for your post here.

Best,

Victor

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Ed,

Thank you for your wonderful post. For me and the reason for announcing this new love affair was to tell my friends here at OL about what was happening between Victor and me. I wanted to share my happiness and my excitement with those that I care about, my friends and family. Both Victor and I are so very excited about all this. I've found so much in Victor that I have never found in anyone else. He truly is a mirror image of who I am, what I represent, what I value, my interests, and so on. I've never met someone such as Victor that has had everything that I wanted in a partner. I knew well before coming to any sites or reading about the philosophy that I wanted someone that was very much like me. Someone that reflected who I was and am. And Victor is the first man that has been able to do this. We've connected on so many levels.

I know that in order to keep this going we will have to meet and that is already planned. We've talked about many issues, including my son as Ciro had asked about as well as the possibility of one of us moving as well as many, many other subjects that involve us. We're not going into this blindly. We both have much experience behind us. We know who we are as individuals. We did meet by chance and it was through the internet. I never would have met him if it wasn't for the internet and the OL site. So yes, it has offered many opportunities in connecting with others that otherwise wouldn't have happened. It expands the horizon. I very much appreciate your wonderful post and thank you.

Angie

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“How can I prove that you are not in love with Angie? Who am I to tell? what I am saying is that I don't agree with your view of love. For instance, have you considered the fact that she has a child and that he needs as much love as you do and, even more, from his mom? are you able to love her kid as much as you love her? etc...etc...or he is not in the picture?

hum?”

Ciro, I will answer you because I am giving you the benefit of the doubt that you are not one of the cynics that I speak of in my posts. Yes, I have seen Angie's little boy. Angie has forwarded pictures of her with her son.

How can you prove that I am not in love with Angie? That is precisely the point—you cannot prove that I am not in love with Angie, so there is no foundation to be either 'certain' or 'doubtful'. Secondly, I’m not sure I have “expressed any views of love” other than to announce that I AM in love-- and how one can stumble across it in the modern world. My post deals with the advances in technology and communication that allows a greater increase for people around the world to connect, to establish friendships and find love. That was the theme of my post.

Of course I am aware that Angie has a child. I fully realize that by loving Angie I must be prepared to take her as she is—with an adorable little boy. Am I able to love her child? It is because I do, as a matter of fact, love Angie—terribly--that I am fully willing to take the energy and time required to get to know her little boy. There is nothing unusual about “divorced moms” who establish a live-in arrangement or marry again, it happens all the time. So it may happen to me. So what? I want to be with Angie, period. I have said it before and I’ll say it again: she is a rare Gem—and I am not a stupid man, and so I am picking up that gem and keeping it. She is way too good—and we have so much in common and a great affinity of values. There are people who have established happy relationships working with a lot less—so we’ll be a dynamic team.

I am okay with what can be considered a “sudden family.” Hey, I love Angie with all my heart and neither distance nor a child will represent a barrier. There are no barriers—other than the ones that Angie and I decide is a barrier. We see none that can’t be overcome. We want to be together. That’s all we know.

Thanks,

Victor

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Ciro,

I have much to do right now but I will get back with you as soon as I can. I do understand where you are coming from but I do want to say a few things about unconditional love and where I got that in your post even though you didn't label it as such. There is one sentence that implied the unconditional love and that sentence is: true romantic love is like a straight line, which starts and **never ends.** The words "never ends" implies that it is unconditional. I can see where an individual will love the qualities and values of another. But nonetheless if it ends, there was a breakdown in the relationship, something went wrong. So obviously it wasn't a true romantic love as you seem to be talking about and how it is. I do have some things to say about Leo and AR as well as AR and NB. I don't know AR's past and who Leo is but do have some things I want to say in regards to that as well.

There are a few other things I wanted to say but unfortunately short on time right now but I will post again. Ciro, I know you want to express your personal opinion and I truly do welcome it and also thank you so very much for wishing us well.

Angie

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Angie and Victor, congratulations and best wishes! It's wonderful to see people as happy as you obviously are!

we were like two corked bottles that wanted to shout out with joy, deliriously happy to share what we had found: each other. One does not express joy in stifled silence—one jumps up and down and shouts.

It's coming through loud and clear! Don't let anyone rain on your parade.

Of course, we have come across nay-sayers and cynics

The naysayers and cynics are focusing mostly on the fact that you haven't met in person yet. I have to ask you both this question -- not at all in the spirit of criticism, but simply out of curiosity -- how can you stand to have waited this long to get together in person? How is it that one of you didn't jump on a plane at least the very first weekend you discovered your feelings for one another? I know I wouldn't have been able to resist doing it, no matter what schedule juggling I had to do, and even if I were still a starving graduate student and had to eat Spaghetti-Os and Ramen noodles for months to pay for it.

I've never experienced an internet romance myself. I DID develop two close friendships via the internet. It was about two years before we met in person in each case. One was with a man and one was with a woman. I found the experiences unpleasantly disorienting in both cases: here was this person who knew me intimately, to whom I'd bared my soul and vice versa, and yet I was looking at the face of a complete stranger. The "disconnect", so to speak, took a long while to go away; it took time for the "in person" relationship to catch up to the long distance relationship, even though we'd also developed a telephone relationship. So, guys, even though my experiences were both based on friendship and not on romance, I'd still say to you: hurry up and get together as soon as possible!

Judith

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Judith

You are such an impetuous romantic. We should have jumped on a plane the moment we exchanged vows of love sounds so Hollywood, which is not too bad as Angie does live in California. Believe me, there are certain circumstances that prevents us from doing so, that I can’t divulge out of a respect for privacy.

Listen, I have experienced that “disorientated feeling” that you spoke of. I once went on a blind date that ended in disappointment. I met up with a girl with whom I had a handful of pleasant conversations—only to discover that there was zero chemistry. We did become rather close on the phone. We didn’t, however, exchange photos. We had much in common, but nowhere near the same degree that I have with Angie. But I decided to meet this girl even though we had no assuredness and much apprehension. It was a let down. Both projected onto the other what we wanted to see in the other--with neither one taking caution to be fully real to the other. Angie and I have approached this in an entirely passionate—but rational—manner.

I have no reservations about Angie. She has made it a specific and “rationally calculated effort” to present the full and real Angie—at her best and worst, at her most stunning and most slovenly, her background, her struggles and triumphs. Plus she has drilled me with questions, analyzing the nature and quality of my answers to grasp who the hell I really am. Angie has done back flips to paint a realistic picture with such exactness and care—and I love her all the more for it. I have met her on an equal ground. I know what I want and it is Anige who has IT in spades.

We have made it clear time and again on these posts--we connected immediately and on so many levels and at an accelerated rate, but still we are going in with eyes wide open. There is no doubt whatsoever that Angie is my true great love.

Now you mention that the cynics and naysayers are only being critical because we have not met yet, but I’m sorry that I don’t have the generosity of spirit that you exhibit here. I see envy…I see a wish to annihilate…I see the twitching lip of bitterness and anger. I say this because I know one of the naysayers personally, and I feel myself qualified to make this judgment. This feeling is as hold as human history.

Victor

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Judith

You are such an impetuous romantic.

(*smile*) Guilty as charged. I'm unlikely to change. It's gotten me into trouble before, but it's a great way to live.

I have no reservations about Angie.

I certainly hope you didn't take what I said as meaning that I was one of the naysayers. I don't question your certainty.

Now you mention that the cynics and naysayers are only being critical because we have not met yet, but I’m sorry that I don’t have the generosity of spirit that you exhibit here. I see envy…I see a wish to annihilate…I see the twitching lip of bitterness and anger. I say this because I know one of the naysayers personally, and I feel myself qualified to make this judgment. This feeling is as hold as human history.

Victor, one of my functions in life is to take people on opposing sides and find common ground and resolution. I've seen what looks to me to be a lot of venom on both sides of this conversation about what should be a happy occasion, and I thought I could throw a bit of light on it. Apparently there are undercurrents of which I was unaware. And yes, I suppose I do tend to try to exhibit generosity toward people as much as possible because I've been misunderstood myself so many times, and been left feeling hurt and bewildered by it so many times, that I don't want to do that to other people. So I give them the benefit of the doubt whenever they say or do something that might be taken as offensive and might also be taken in some less offensive context.

Judith

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Ciro,

I just wanted to let you know that I haven't forgotten about your post, etc., and I still want to write. It's nothing bad or ripping into someone or any such thing, just a difference of opinion maybe. I've been extremely busy and will be busy. Lots going on in my life right now. And it's just finding the time to sit down and do it.

Ange

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