This week, Santino Hassell and I released Strong Signal, which is about a deployed soldier who begins an online relationship with a video game streamer back in the states. The entire Cyberlove series will be about relationships that start online. So about a month ago we asked readers to submit their stories about a love or friendship that started online. We received over thirty stories, and there were so much fun to read. You can check out the first part on Santino’s blog here. And today, I’m hosting the final part.
And now that the book has been out for a couple of days, I want to say thank you for the amazing response. We hadn’t realized just how many people would relate to Kai. And to Garrett, and most specifically, HOW they met online. So thank you.
And here are your stories!
Cyberlove via fandom
“I think the internet gives people the anonymity needed to truly be themselves and then decide if they want to reveal who they are. I have made some lasting connections that way and I am grateful! ”
-Rachel met some of her best friends through fandom
“I think it’s that I just felt so comfortable because at home, no one else liked anime or talked about gender issues and race issues and political correctness? I was actually made fun of at times by siblings, so talking to Rin and Yuzu is like my safe place to unload, whether it’s happy or sad. They’ve been there for me during some extremely traumatizing stuff and have even talked me down from anxiety attacks. ”
-Reira Heart met Yuzu and Rin, her good friends, on Tumblr
“We’ve helped each other out when needed and to this day I don’t know what I would do without him, just because how he makes me feel. ”
-B met their boyfriend through a Harry Potter website/chat
Cyberlove in Romancelandia
“She is 1/4 of my soul #LF1.
Elise is one of the friendliest, sweetest, funniest people I have ever met. She has become my personal therapist and daily organizer lol
We talk daily whether it be on chat, text, or actual phone conversations ((which the minimum phone convo is over an hour)). ”
-Stephanie met Elise on a book discussion group
“Nearly 3 years. We finally met each other at RainbowCon last year. I also met @dawnhoneyc”
-Lilgator met JR Gray on Twitter
“We just clicked. We can talk about anything- not just books. She probably knows more about me than people in my RL. Since then, we’ve met each other once in person. Wish we lived in the same state at least. ”
-Li Li met Laci on Goodreads
“There is an incredible intimacy that comes with chatting people up online. Even if you’re just making connections, the barriers kinda come down. I’ve met wonderful people in my own city online, and I’m developing friendships with them in person now. Slowly but surely, the Internet can help people fine a friend, or more, that just gets them. It can be scary, sure. Trusting people is a really frightening thing, but sometimes the benefits can be so amazing. I’m now in friendships that I know will last forever. ”
-Kristie met Mare in an SE Jakes FB group
“Internet connections can lead to relationships as casual or as real and deep as any other. But with fewer points of contact and without vocal or visual signals they can be more tenuous, more susceptible to misunderstanding and hurt, so they require special care.”
-Anonymous met their dearest friend after reading their book
“We connected by talking about the various stories on the site, and various issues that come up when you’re young, gay, and semicloseted. ”
-Anon met their friend of 12 years on a free gay fiction website (this friend also introduced them to their fiance!)
Cyberlove though social media
“We chatted online for 4 months before we decided to meet in person. We tried to meet up at mutal events multiple times, but either one of us didn’t go to event, or one of us was too shy to say we were there. ”
-Anon met their life partner 12 years ago on social media
“We were both hanging around a chatroom called Sharon’s. I literally had no idea it was a so-called “alternative lifestyles” room, it just seemed like a hopping, fun place to chat. He was a bit moody and we seriously had nothing in common but we somehow became inseparable.”
-Rafa met her husband in a chatroom
“I felt like we got to know one another on a really deep level without all the extra. We could just be real.”
-Mrs. Mueller got to know her husband more after chatting on FB
“This is really hard to put into words and is going to be long and ramble a hell of a lot… For a whole year or so we chatted online until the early hours of the morning, maybe 4 times a week, basically every night I wasn’t getting trashed (he didn’t drink a lot back then). It was an instant connection, we randomly liked the same things, even going to the extent of co-writing a play (no idea why a play and not a book – that would have made sense), playing weird as fuck games, him convincing me to play WoW, online versions of every board game we could find and not have to pay for. One of my biggest regrets is not keeping our chat history, both of us have lost it, would have been amazing to look back on.
After about a year or so of this we kind of realized that we hadn’t even exchanged phone numbers, and that felt a bit weird, possibly the most important friend in my life had no way of contacting me other than online. So we swapped numbers and text each other now and then but still did the whole MSN until dawn thing. But the exchange of numbers changed our relationship, it kind of started to cement our friendship in RL. ”
-Daniel met his friend/soulmate James 11 years ago on a forum
“Our sense of humor, music, hard to describe. We would talk for hours. We clicked. Neither of us had had a serious gf/bf before and we were both virgins.”
-Anon met their ex-boyfriend of 2.5 years on ICQ (when asking about Napster!)
“I think the internet is truly a powerful piece of technology. Yes, there’s a great deal of focus on cyber-bullying, cyber-stalking, and all the other negative things that the internet is used for, and that attention is necessary in order to bring about awareness. But the internet can also serve as a bridge, bringing together people of different nationalities, cultures, backgrounds, beliefs, etc. It causes divisiveness only if we allow it to. :)”
-Jen met her friend of twenty years on a Penpal website
“We chatted a lot the first night we friended one another and quickly realized we were both queer AND had both been born premature. After that, we were friendly and slowly started emailing and then texting.
Things changed when we both went through break-ups within six months of each other. We were reading a lot of the same books and both read The Hunger Games series around the same time. Between that and being there for each other, we were suddenly texting all day long and growing incredibly close.
One day, I realized that my feelings had gone beyond friendship. To my surprise, when I confessed it to her, we were both in the same place.
A few months after that, I flew to California to meet her in person. And now, I’m planning to move there this year! ”
-Molli met her girlfriend 7 years ago on LiveJournal
“Husband:well xD, he is my husband, when I met him in internet he was shy, and quiet, and all the things that I´m not!! xD. He was nice, and kind, and I felt he was somebody to trust. Fortunately, I was not wrong.”
-Anon met her husband in a chatroom
About Strong Signal:
I was counting down the months until the end of my deployment. My days were spent working on military vehicles, and I spent my nights playing video games that would distract me until I could leave Staff Sergeant Garrett Reid behind.
That was when I met him: Kai Bannon, a fellow gamer with a famous stream channel.
I never expected to become fixated on someone who’d initially been a rival. And I’d never expected someone who oozed charm to notice me—a guy known for his brutal honesty and scowl. I hadn’t planned for our online friendship to turn into something that kept me up at night—hours of chatting evolving into filthy webcam sessions.
But it did. And now I can’t stop thinking about him. In my mind, our real life meeting is perfect. We kiss, we fall into bed, and it’s love at first sight.
Except, like most things in my life, it doesn’t go as planned.