We came to the conclusion that we are online as we are in life - if we're reclusive and withdrawn in person, so will we be online, and if we are outgoing, and trusting and sharing in person, so will we be online.
Two years ago (or was it three??? Gaad I don't know) I joined Weight Watchers online. Losing weight was not the only gift I got from that experience. I met M there - on the community chat boards, where we as members went for support, to share our struggles as well as achievements, to motivate and be motivated, to find other like-minded souls to connect with. M and I developed a very strong connection. For the last two years we have written most every Friday night, and depending on what we are going through, we write as often as we need to. Her marriage ended, she sold her home, her kids have moved on to college, mine moved away, is having a baby, the relationships we're each in are/were hard, demanding, we needed a place to find solace and comfort. We gave that to each other, we listened to each other, no judgement, no criticism, honest support to get through tough times. I have never met M in person. I hope to some day. I wouldn't trade what we have for anything. I have grown as a person both through her kind words to me, and from being available to her through her hard times. The fact that we have never met in person hasn't delegitimized the value of the connection for me. I am authentic, honest, available, loving even .. and I like myself like that. M brings out those qualities in me, I revel in the intensity of our intimacy - what we allow ourselves to share. We trust the other person holds us sacred and respects what it is we are sharing.
I'm grateful for the relationships in my life that nourish me, no matter what form they come in. They help me grow as a person, make me feel like this world is a better place, make me believe in the goodness of the human spirit. That's a good thing.