Dear Dr Victoria, I live in London and I have been having an on-line relationship with an American Doctor. He is single and I am divorced and we get along really well. Recently he asked me to consider living in the US with him.
I explained in my email the pros and cons of foreign people getting together and living in one of their countries, as he knows I was previously married to a foreigner. In my email I was upfront and honest saying that it would be an enormous thing for me to leave family and friends again and move to a foreign country where I know nobody but him. I also told him I would need to get a job to support myself, but, I would need him to support me emotionally when things got tough and I felt down missing my family and friends.
After a week of no correspondence from him I emailed him saying that maybe he hadn't really considered the whole situation as thoroughly as he seemed to imply in his previous email. I also told him that unless you have previously been in my situation marrying or residing with someone from a different country, you don't necessarily understand the difficulties that can can incur.
He responded to me saying that it wasn't a problem and he was just really busy at the moment and not to worry if he didn't respond straight away
That was over 2 weeks ago and I have had no correspondence from him since he sent that email.
The other day I sent an email saying that if he can't be bothered to contact me and respond to my emails then I have to come to the conclusion that he no longer wants me to consider moving to the US and he obviously wants no further contact with me. I asked him to email just to let me know he was OK but, so far I have had no response from him.
I am baffled at his strange and unusual behaviour as he has never behaved like this toward me before and he is the type of man that will just say it when he wants to end something, so I don't understand.
I know there is no other woman involved, so I am so baffled as to his lack of response.
I don't understand what I have done or not done and I have explained that to him in my last email.
Do I just walk away and look at things as being finished between us? If he did reply after all this time what should I do as I am insulted and hurt that he can't even email me out of courtesy to say he wants to end things.
You say it was an online relationship. By this I take it that you've never met face to face and that you've communicated mainly by email – but maybe also by web cam, Skype or instant messenger?
In any case, I'm intrigued as to how you can be so sure that there's no other woman involved. My own assumption, based on what you've said is that not everything about this man is as he led you to believe. I can't tell you exactly why, but it's clear something has changed.
One explanation could be that he's a scammer – I know this may seem very far fetched but it is possible. Once he realised you weren't going to be taken in easily by his suggestion to live together, he may have felt it was all going to be too much effort to see a return on his investment.
The other possibility is that he was indulging in this pure fantasy relationship and once it reached the stage of actually being together, he realised he couldn't keep up the sham any longer. Now, the sham part could be that he's not a doctor after all, it could be that he's not even single. Or maybe he'd given you a false name, lied about his age or how tall he is or any number of things – who knows? Maybe he had fantasies of you being together one day and he wanted to see how far he could get to that but once the reality was within reach, (and it was within reach because it sounds like all he needed to do was give you some reassurance), he went completely cold.
The other possibility is that he has met someone else recently. Maybe that's what prompted him to push you to your limit and then he ignored your emails once he had made his decision to pursue someone else.
Whatever the reason for his behaviour, you should try to see things clearly for what they are. You may have got on great and had things in common but I'm sure you know that this in itself doesn't make a relationship work. If he really wanted to be with you, he would have tried to persuade you that it could work. He wouldn't have retreated at the first sign of hesitation. If he was single and a doctor, what was stopping him coming over to visit you or inviting you over to visit him?
The other assumption I've made is that you've been corresponding for a while – maybe a few months or more. Hence the reason you feel you know him well. Are you sure he said “I'd like you to consider living with me in the states” or did he simply say, “could you ever imagine moving to the states”. If his question was more along the lines of the former – it is indeed very odd that he's gone completely cold and this would therefore make me more inclined to say he had been lying about something serious. If it was more along the lines of the latter, it's possible that you read more into his vague question than was intended. Perhaps he expected you to say “maybe, I wouldn't rule it out” rather than go for the full dialogue of the pros and cons. Even so, if he was serious about you, he wouldn't have been put off so easily.
So, where are you left? Realistically, it doesn't look like there's going to be a future in this online romance. He hasn't behaved in a very gentlemanly manner! Any man you have to chase after is best left well alone.
You're not to blame for his behaviour. But in the future, be careful with purely online relationships. In fact, as a rule of thumb, I would say, don't call it a relationship until you've met face to face, spent time together, met each other's friends. Otherwise, you always run the risk of the fantasy being shattered (and your pride and feelings being hurt) if and when you start spending time together.