Online Dating: Great chemistry until met in person...

Q. I met a girl online some time ago and we totally fell for each other. We talked every night, webcammed a bit, and texted. I decided to fly her out to my city so we could finally meet, and when she showed, it was not good. I was not attracted to her at all. We got a bit intimate but didn't have sex - I just wasn't into it. Now the relationship is awkward and she wants to know what's wrong. What to do?


A. Online dating certainly has its perks. It gives you access to a virtually limitless pool of eligible people whom you wouldn't have otherwise had the chance to meet in your city. It also allows love to blossom despite geographic limitations; but as you've just experienced, the biggest challenges of falling for someone over the World Wide Web is a lack of physical chemistry.

As often is the case with internet dating, your hopes of meeting someone compatible go on a bit of a roller coaster ride. You get to know someone's personality on virtual paper, communicate through a variety of means and discover values that you both have in common. It's a lot like courting the old fashioned way; you develop the friendship first and see if sparks fly afterwards.

As excited as both of you were to explore the next level, you can't be certain of the relationship's suitability until you actually meet. Though you clicked mentally and emotionally, the physical attraction simply wasn't there. Even when the two of you got intimate, your heart wasn't in it - a sure sign that you're not comfortable with the arrangement. Chemistry is fickle that way; it has to be mutual, and it cannot be forced.

You might be feeling guilty because you don't want to hurt her feelings. Perhaps you don't have the heart to break it off with someone you once connected with so easily. Though it didn't pan out the way you had hoped, neither one you should regret taking the chance to see what might have been. Love is, and always will be, unpredictable.

Despite wanting to please her, you need to make your feelings known. And don't beat yourself up about it either; your intentions were sincere, but your heart just wasn't into it. If she finds fault in that, then she might need some space to let it go. Yes, it will sting a little, but she will get over it eventually. Hopefully, she'll consider keeping you as a friend and maybe one day you can reminisce about this experience as a minor tribulation in your relationship.

Let this be a lesson learned about online love. Narrow your search so that it's closer to home. That'll make dating more convenient, less heart-wrenching, and if nothing progresses past friendship, then at least you've expanded your social circle. And keep taking chances with women, just as long as you maintain realistic expectations!