Modern Love: Transgender, On-line and Inter-racial Part 2

Can people find love in the fantasy and adventure of Harry Potter? In this case, it is apparently so.

Joyce, 25
Corporate Professional
Harry Potter Fan

Chris and I met in a Harry Potter online forum in 2003. At first, our usual topics of conversation were the novel, but we discovered that we had a lot in common, and decided to “move out” of the forum and talk about life. We became very good friends afterwards, with a hovering possibility of us being in a relationship, but we did not deal with those feelings until late last year.

First thing that you have to note is that I did not go online to look for a date. I was (and still am) very much a Harry Potter fan, which is why I joined that online forum. It just so happened that there was someone in that forum who seemed to be genuinely nice and engaging.

While talking about Harry Potter, we discovered that we had similar interests like reading and taking care of cats, and shared the same sentiment for friends we lost because of suicide or freak accidents. We basically discovered that we were very compatible, and we had a connection worth pursuing and working on. So we left the forum and found “privacy” at Yahoo Messenger.

Like I said, we took our time to move from being very good friends to a relationship.

When we got together, it was to me, like any other relationship.  We talked about life, the things we were going through, our family and friends. We set up ways for us to keep in touch despite the time difference (he lives in Kansas City), like constant email and Chikka messenger. I also took advantage of PLDT’s Touch Card so that I could call him regularly. Our connection was not just based on the things we had in common; our feelings and concern for each other ran very deep. Sometimes intuition would tell me that he is not feeling well, or that there’s something troubling him, so I would give him a call and true enough, he was going through something difficult. On his side, he would send me a message of assurance when he said he felt that I needed it.

Though we never met—we just saw each other on YM instant camera, I really thought that our connection was magical–that out of all the people in the world that we could have met, we found each other, and we seemed to work really well. We thought that it was fate at work.

We treated each other as very best friends. We did this for six years, but after a failed attempt to travel to Manila, we both became very frustrated. We decided that our relationship was going nowhere. We decided to part ways, to widen our horizons and meet more people, and we actually thought that there was no way we would get back together again.

But late last year, we chanced upon each other online, and we talked for a while to catch up. At that time, we had just broken up with our respective partners, so somehow the timing was perfect.

After a couple of days of reconnecting and rekindling our feelings for each other, we considered being in a serious relationship, this time, in real life.

After six months of planning and extensively discussing his plans of coming over, we were defeated by pressures from work and family. It was too much to bear for the two of us, and we failed to maintain our relationship the way we should have. Not wanting to waste each other’s time and effort, we broke up–for the last time.

We are still friends, but we decided to stay away from each other so that we could settle down and focus on what we really wanted to do in life.

As for my perception of online dating, it has drastically changed the last eight years. When we first became friends in 2003, I was well aware of the negative impression of others about Filipino women going on line to find men for money. I figured that, most of the time, relationships of this nature were mostly for women desperate for a quick buck. That was also the reason why I only wanted to stay friends at first, I didn’t want us to be subjected to such prejudice.

I also took extra pains to be conscious about how I behaved around my then foreign boyfriend, even if it was just on-line. I believe that a woman should be empowered enough to able to stand alone. I didn’t ask him to buy me things online or send me money. The bottom line of all of those efforts is that I must not feed that prejudice that Filipino women seek relationships with foreigners for money.

I’m glad that has changed over the years. Because of the prevalence of the Internet in everyday life, there is a higher probability now that people link up online before they decide to give it a try in real life. The Internet has become another avenue for people to meet, just like how weddings used to be a playground for singles. There is much less prejudice now, in my opinion, because online relationships with foreigners also include professionals who maximize the use of the Internet.

I never imagined that I could develop real feelings with a person very far away. We had issues that “real” relationships have, we had to work on constantly communicating, we had to make an effort to nurture our feelings, and we wanted to be with each other as often as we could. We thought at that time that our mental and emotional connection was worth pursuing, and that the only thing lacking was physical intimacy. Our genuine, deep connection definitely changed my mind about online relationships. I became more considerate of other people involved in similar relationships.

For me, our relationship being online and him being a foreigner were just small details in the grand scheme of things.

Just like a relationship in real life—or any relationship worth pursuing for that matter–an online relationship needs a lot of work. Both parties should make a lot of effort to maintain the relationship by finding ways to communicate and making do with what the relationship can offer at the moment. It is also important that parties involved in serious relationships make plans for the future as an assurance of each other’s commitment–and actually deliver on those plans.

Now, I feel like I should still be dating around.  Once I find someone who has a lot of potential in terms of being a good life partner, I feel like I should seize that opportunity and make that relationship grow– regardless of whether I found that relationship online or in real life.

Photo from My Relationship News

Read more about transgender inter-racial relationships in Modern Love Part 1.

Have you ever tried on-line dating or met someone on-line? Tell us about your experience.

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