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Carol....."I came so close to losing my husband that you wouldn't believe it. I got myself involved in a cyber-fling a few months back. It was wild and exciting, and I let it take over my whole life. My husband was losing his patience with me because I was online all the time and not spending time with my family. I had a rude awakening and realized that my fling was nothing but make-believe. And thankfully I was able to put the pieces back together of my family and recover."

Jennifer....."This is a painful story of how my life ended because of a so-called internet friendship.

I went to this chatroom almost every day for a few hours. I found myself getting close to some of the other ladies in the room. We would chat about our husbands and kids, and our jobs, and life in general. This one woman became particularly close to me. I was happy to call her my friend.

She lived only a few miles from me, so we arranged to meet at her house for lunch one day. I was so happy because I didn't really have any other female friends and I was hoping this would be the beginning of a wonderful new friendship.

I drove to her house and rang the doorbell. A man answered the door claiming to be her husband and he invited me in and told me to sit on the couch and that he would go get her. A few minutes later, he came back into the living room with a gun and ordered me to take off my clothes. Then he savagely raped me. This man was my "friend" pretending to be a woman the whole time. He had lured me to him through this false sense of intimacy.

I reported him to the cops, but very little has been done. He used a condom during the rape, and no DNA could be collected to prove it was him. He had an alibi for where he was that day, too. One female officer confided to me that he had been investigated a few other times for the same thing, but nothing had come of those instances, either.

I guess what I'm trying to pass on here is that you should be careful of everyone you meet online. Don't believe anything they say. If you plan on meeting somebody, do it in a public place and take some friends along. I have to live with the horrible nightmares for the rest of my life. Don't put yourselves in the same situation.

Jody....."In the five years I've been online, I've seen probably over 50 cyber-romances form in the chatrooms I like to go to. And out of those 50 odd couples, only 3 of them worked out in real life. Either the distance between them was an issue, and a long-distance relationship couldn't be tolerated or worked out. Or the couples would meet face to face and find out that the other person just wasn't what he or she thought they would be.

I went to meet a man I was so sure that I was in love with once. I was very disappointed. And not just in him, but in myself as well. When we were dealing with each other face to face, the 'magic' that had been there during private chats or on ICQ or through email or over the phone just wasn't there anymore! We didn't have as much to say to each other, nor did we talk in such depth as we did before we met. The deeply intense romantic scenes we had played out online just didn't translate very well into real life.

I'm not saying that relationships can't be carried out into real life. But when you take away all the mystery, and the intrigue, and the longing, and the forbidden nature of this kind of relationship, the magic just seems to fizzle away. And things turn very ordinary. And THAT kinda takes away from the whole reason you were initially attracted to your lover, doesn't it?"

Shelly....."I've been disappointed twice in meeting men through the web. In both cases, the guys really weren't like they said they were. I had fallen in love with the character they had created, and nothing more. I only wish I had met both of them much sooner than I had to find out right away. I had invested months into both of them. Precious months of my life that I can never get back. I feel like an idiot."

Rebecca....."I am the mother of a teenaged girl. She's been chatting online since we bought our PC one year ago.

I'm no dummy. I know what goes on in chat rooms. I have a few of them myself that I like to go to. And I do trust my daughter. But the lure of being able to explore her curiosity about sexuality, and to have a way to be promiscuous without the associated health risks of this kind of behavior in real life..... well, I can't help but think that this lure will be too powerful for her to resist. And I don't feel that shutting off the computer, or getting rid of it, would be the solution. Our kids are going to need computer skills if they are going to survive in this technical age, and depriving her of it would be a great disservice. I can only wonder how these teenagers will view intimate relationships as adults."

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