by Dan Savage
Originally published August 6, 2009:
I met my girlfriend about three months ago on a social-networking website. The pictures made her look attractive and in shape. We texted each other nonstop for the first three months. This past weekend we met, and she didn't look anything like her pictures. However, we did still have sex twice. I'm about to start my freshman year in college, and I do not want to be tied down going into school. Breaking up with her will break her heart into pieces. I have no clue what I should do.
Epic State Of Confusion
My response after the jump...
You didn't meet your girlfriend three months ago, ESOC, you met this girl last weekend. And if she expects a lifetime commitment after posting misleading photos and exchanging text messages and a single weekend of sex, she isn't just asking to have her heart broken, her heart needs breaking. So you'll have to break it for her, ESOC, unless you're prepared to be with this woman for the next six or seven decades.
She'll conclude that the breakup has something to do with her looks, of course, and that fact will make your rejection hurt all the worse. Good. She set herself up for rejection when she posted misleading photographs on that social-networking website and forged an emotional connection with you under what amounts to false pretenses. Your rejection may convince her to post more-representative photos—honest photos—in the future.
Anyone looking for sex partners online is free, of course, to post misleading photos of mysterious provenance. But those who do this have no one to blame for their hurt feelings but themselves. If I may paraphrase the caption under a famous New Yorker cartoon: On the internet, no one knows—or has to know—that you're a dog. But when chatting becomes cyberdating, when romance may be in the offing, and a face-to-face meeting becomes inevitable, an exchange of better photos—or at least more-representative photos—is simple common sense and common courtesy.
And here's where you went wrong, ESOC: You fucked this girl. She naturally interpreted your willingness to fuck her as a sign that you didn't care about the discrepancy between her photos and her actual appearance. It's going to make the rejection she has coming more devastating than it needed to be.