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Feeling like a mail-order bride

Posted May 07 2010 12:25pm

You’ve struck up a nice communication with a man who seems to fit many of your criteria. He’s smart, educated, polite, funny, well traveled, successful and clearly interested in you and your life. His age, height, and economics are in the right range for you. You’ve talked on the phone several times and you’ve had email, IM or text conversations every day for a week.

You usually like to meet a man in person within a week or 10 days — before spending too much time flirting virtually. You know it pretty much all hinges on how you feel about each other face-to-face. It can enhance your growing fondness toward each other, or it can fall flat.

With a first date set for a few days hence, for whatever reason (business or family illness) your guy is suddenly called out of town. You understand — he must go. But it happens too quickly to fit in even a coffee date to meet.

While he’s gone, he calls daily, IMs and emails you sweet messages. The conversations focus around each other’s needs and desires. You feel you’re really getting to know each other — as much as one can without being in the same room. He expresses his deepening fondness towards you, how much he wishes he were with you, how he can’t wait to meet you.

As you both share more and more, his expressions of endearment increase. He asks your favorite clothing designer and says he’d like to buy you some of that line. He asks where you would optimally like to live, then says he’ll build you a house there. He asks where you’d like to travel, then says he’ll take you there. On and on he continues to unearth your desires and tells you he’ll provide them.

You know it is infatuation and idealization, based on words not actions. When he says he can’t wait to have you share the same last name, it hits you: This must be how mail order brides feel! Men who want a woman to move across the country or world are wooed by sweet talk and promises from a man they’ve never met! Luckily, the man who’s sweet talking you lives a few miles away and isn’t intending to move to some remote part of the world — as far as you know.

But unlike many mail order brides, you know to be skeptical. You know not to count on any promises made by someone you haven’t met. Heck, you know not to count on promises made by some people you *have* met! You know that he is just flirting and trying to say things he thinks will please you. Yet you are clear these suggestions of promises are a sign of his neediness. But since there doesn’t seem anything malicious, you give him grace. You are also on guard because you this is how scammers bilk lonely hearts out of their life’s savings.
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