When you meet someone online, it's intense. There is so little anxiety. No "Will he think I'm cute?", no "Will he think I'm too fat/tall/short/skinny(insert your source of insecurity here); just words. When only words are involved, pretense gets stripped away rather quickly and you get to know a person's heart and soul much quicker than if it was someone you were meeting on a first date. When two people who are somewhat skilled writers start something online, it is even more intense. Pointed queries littered with idyllic declarations of bliss and a handful of quick witticism sprinkled in makes for smoldering conversations that can leave you weak in the knees. As time goes on and communication continues you begin to piece together the beginnings of a future. Anything this incendiary MUST point toward a future together, right? Finding this other being who seemingly understands you like no one else ever has, makes you tingle to your very core. You think, "Finally. I finally got it right." You exhale the breath you didn't even know you were holding and let this fire consume you.
The tricky thing about fire is that it's ever-changing. It wavers and flickers and without the proper fuel, it will start to dim. Why wouldn't it? Who would dare assume that such a hot, magnificent flame could keep burning at such a majestic level?
Me. I would. I have.
I have had a few of these relationships. The kind that burn so brightly that you would be willing to sacrifice anything you had just to keep it burning at that initial intensity. Your friends, your family, your soul. Only you can decide what lengths you're willing to go to to keep the flame alive. As time spent physically together increases, it becomes clear whether or not you want to stoke the fire. Sometimes the person's personality differs greatly from their words and it's easy, if not a relief, to let the fire snuff out. Other times, it's not as clear, or you want it to work out so badly that you hang in there for awhile, hoping to get more than a glimpse of the person that ignited your soul. However, as time progresses, you may find this person's personality "quirks" are intolerable and you decide it's better to end things.
The most painful scenario occurs when you find that while you're willing to do almost anything to keep the fire going, the other person seems to be happy letting the flames for down and just let the embers smolder. There's enough heat to be noticeable, but it is only a shadow of the brilliance it was just a short time ago. If the other person is happy, they may not notice you scrambling for ways to reignite the blaze. They may perceive your desire to rekindle the flame as neediness or insecurity. They don't seem to understand that you feel left out in the cold. They don't understand that what they feel as "we're happy" makes you feel like they've ripped the brass ring back out of your hands, as if to say that while you were worth it in the beginning, now that the thrill of the chase has worn off, you should settle for what you get and deal with it. Unexpected winds of change can blow through a fire, breaking apart the foundation. Once that happens, you need to figure out whether the foundation can be re-stacked, if it needs to be rebuilt all together, or if it's time to just let the flames die, knowing full well that you can't do any of that all by yourself.