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Meeting a partner online: Fiona’story

Fiona, 21, tells us about the significant role technology has played in her relationship, from meeting on WhatsApp to keeping in touch over long distances.

I was in high school in Austria, working towards my final year. Having just got out of a tumultuous and abusive friends-with-benefits situation I was scared to even speak to any boys let alone think about dating. A friend of mine created a big WhatsApp group with a bunch of people she knew for a project she was thinking of doing. I was going through all the different contacts, seeing who I recognised and who I didn’t know, when he caught my eye. I was immediately drawn to him because he had a photo with a camera lens cap in his mouth (he also had very cute freckles). I didn’t know him, and he didn’t have his name saved so I messaged my friend and asked her who he was.

She was immediately super happy, she told me that we were the perfect match for each other and that she was going to get us together no matter what. I of course thought that she was joking, but was intrigued, nonetheless. What was the worst that could happen I thought to myself? She decided the best way to play matchmaker was to send him a message with a picture of me and a short description. I don’t know exactly what she wrote, apart from that I was 150cm tall (he is 190cm!) and that I like to cuddle. To my surprise, shortly after I received a message “Our friend told me to message you, so if this goes wrong, we can blame it on her.” I thought that was funny, and he was definitely very cute, so we began to talk. Slowly over the next few months our online relationship began.

Though we lived only 20 minutes apart, he had a lot going on with university and I was only 17 and unable to drive, let alone be allowed to go see a boy by myself so we communicated for 3 months on WhatsApp.

We were almost able to meet once but he got ill on the day and couldn’t make it. At this time, we were purely friends. We knew that the relationship began on the basis of us possibly becoming a couple, but we were just getting to know each other.

I almost gave up hope a few times, we would talk almost every day, but I tried dropping hints and flirting, but he didn’t seem interested. He told our friend he wasn’t interested in a relationship, so I thought it wouldn’t get anywhere. Then one day, he began to flirt back, and it all blossomed from there. From finally meeting for the first time, then our first kiss and then me finally asking him to be my boyfriend 6 months after initially making contact. 

Technology was already a huge part of our relationship, without it we would have never met, we wouldn’t have gotten to know each other, and I wouldn’t have asked him to be my boyfriend!

Then came reality. I was in this amazing relationship but had already decided I was going to move to Scotland for university. I was in my final year at school and the application deadlines were drawing closer. I texted him one night, around 2 months into our relationship, thinking he would want to break up, because long distance is a lot of work. But to my surprise he just said, “okay let’s do this”. And so, we did. 8 months after getting together, after celebrating highs and being there for each other through lows. After seeing each other every single week, it was time for me to move. It was emotional and it felt like the world was ending. But I moved and we faced the reality that was long distance.

For the second time technology became our saviour. Though it took a while to adjust, we have been living as a long-distance couple for almost 3 years now. We use Discord to chat almost daily, we play online games together which allow us to bond over things we love no matter how far apart we are. We use apps on our phones to buy plane tickets to go and see each other and order presents from Amazon. Not only that but is has given us a bonding experience not only between us but also between his brother and I, who helped me build my first PC; giving me instructions on what cable and part to put where all over the internet.

Technology has literally made our relationship possible.

We have had the chance to pretend we are a “normal” couple (though what is normal anyway) even when we are in totally different countries. Though the physical touch may not be there, there are even solutions for that. Things like the bond touch bracelet allow long distance couples to send touches to each other. While we personally don’t have these, they are a piece of technology we are thinking of investing in in the future!

I’m not sure we would still be together if it weren’t for the technology available to us, but if we were the time between seeing each other would be a lot more painful and a lot less fun.

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