Soulmate vs. sex partner

She dates one online only. The other is definitely in-person.

Our elder wonders if it’s really dating if you’ve never even met?

Dear EWC:

Hello. I have a somewhat sticky situation that I need advice on. I have been dating someone online (I’ll call him A) for about 3 years now. We have never met in person but I know that deep down, he is the exact kind of person I want to spend the rest of my life with—whether that is my young, naive spirit, or something genuine.

The problem is that he and I have very different sexual needs. Where he is more reserved, I’m a bit… Aggressive. I tend to constantly be needy and wanting some sort of attention. And more often than not, I go to someone else I’ve known longer than A for some sort of release. We talk often, and I fear that A will figure out that I talk to him, even more so in a sexual manner. I don’t want to be this way, but I would feel bad leaving the other person alone, but that seems like the only way to get out of this situation without breaking A’s heart.

The other strongly implies that it’s not bad because we don’t have a label on our relationship, and the fact that I’ve never met A makes it not as bad. But I can’t help but feel guilty, and it keeps me up some nights. Should I come clean to A about my actions, or should I try to remove all sexual activities from my interactions with the other? I just need some sort of advice. My heart seems torn on both, and part of me just wants to keep doing what I’m doing until I am with A in real life.

Phil replies:

I’ve got some thoughts on your problem. Hopefully, what I say will benefit you. I don’t accept that you have ever been on an actual date with the guy. A “date” is when two people get together to get to know each other. You have only interacted long distance, and, therefore, have only a slim idea of what this fellow is all about. When I speak to you over the web, or however, I only tell you what I want you to know. You cannot possibly understand what my habits are, how I behave, or myriad of other things. Often people find that the person on the other end of the line is far less than what they depict themselves to be.

You believe he is the exact kind of person for you and the one you wish to spend your life with. But in the next breath you say that you are aggressive and he is reserved. You find that you differ in intimacy needs. Remember that you cannot truly make a decision about your sexual similarities without meeting. What I’m saying is that you, frankly, know little about this person yet think he is right for you. Just because of some things he has said. That’s not enough.

If I were you, I would look closer to home if you are unable to actually meet A. Meet and truly date someone you can view and see the good and bad points they possess. I suspect you can do much better than what you are doing. Please risk it and explore some options.


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