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Online friendship yet I'm scared of the unknown or something?


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Sorry for the length of this post.. I'm a new member and came accross this website. It seems like a helpful and interesting place. I hope someone can advise me. And I will try my best to help others.


I'm a female. I was searching online for information relating to some painful things I endured in my life. While doing so I came accross a man who is researching the exact topic I've been through and wrote articles. I read them and thought they were quite insightful. So I sent him an email mentioning the articles are interesting etc.


This started 10 days ago.


He emailed me and said thank you and do I have experience or story I would like to share. He's doing more research in order to help teach others, for research and implement changes. Before deciding whether to do this, I looked up his credentials. Everything I found it legit. He is a professional, college degrees etc. So I did share without giving my full name, location, address etc. Over the course of 4-5 days we communicated. The communication was generic, about the topic at hand, my story.


I should say when I shared my story, a lot of emotion came out of me.. the aftermath of how it affected me personally, emotionally etc. I didn't intend it that way it just happened. He told me he appreciated my openness.


Then he started to become compassionate, kind and respectful. He is deeply moved by my trust, heartfelt thank you's for sharing my story, sorry our paths did not cross sooner. He asked if time to time he could check in with me, and I was welcome to email him any time. I said yes. If I needed someone to listen I could also phone or speak in person. I told him ,which is true, that I live in another state. At the moment email was fine with me, face to face not now, possibly in the future. He responded by saying he respects my decision, no pressure, but letting me know he's also okay with other form of communication.


So this week I sent him an email thanking him for listening to my story and if he needed help with this project I would be willing too. No response. In the late evening I was meaning to send an email to someone else. Accidently I resent the above to him. He did respond and said that he's working on projects for research, would share them with me as he sets up venues. And you can always send me an email as you wish, I'm always here to listen.


I did go through a rough patch that night. I sent him a short email saying I was upset and briefly why. He did reply in the morning saying "Stay strong. You can do it"


The next day I had extra research information, and sent it to him, mentioning he was welcome to use it. He hasn't responded. It's been 5 days now.


My thoughts..


Our communication has been normal, generic. I spilled out my story which included the aftermath, how it affected me.. lack of trust, rejection etc. Then he started to say kind, compassionate things to me after I told.


I don't like him romantically. I would say I'm more interested in the research, project at hand and friendship/acquaintance.


His kind words I think would be similar to what you would say to a friend who went through someone although I've never had someone say to me.. say sorry our paths didn't cross earlier.


He told me to address him by his nickname, that his friends do and I should too.



His job is quite busy, research, teaching, traveling for engagements etc.


Because I haven't heard from him, a bit of panic starts up in me. And I'm not sure why?


He could be busy with his job, I don't expect him to email me everyday. Our communication has been about the topic, research, my story and then him offering kindness, support. We don't discuss anything personal in our lives. Excepts he knows a bit more about me because of my story, how I was treated by others etc.


Things I think about...


I'm guessing if he felt our communication should stop he could easily fire off an email saying so. He hasn't.


I'm speculating if he didn't want me to email him, he wouldn't have said earlier this week.. send me an email when you feel like it, I'm always here to listen. Or asking me if it would be okay from time to time if he checked in with me, you can email me anytime. I did say yes to that too.


I think because I shared my story, a lot came out of me.. raw emotions, things I haven't felt for a long And maybe I feel/felt vulnerable opening up even though I trusted him


He knows I have trust issues and said he will respect my privacy and wishes.


I don't expect him to counsel me. That is not his role. I never ask what should I do with this issue etc. He's offered a listening ear, I only took advantage of it one time. I imagine a listening ear is similar to what you would do between friends if they are upset etc. I don't email him several times a day. Once per day last week.


I'm guessing he meant from checking in with me from time to time is that he is busy (true he has busy career) and saying you can email me anytime I please means he cares?


I realize he's not at his computer all the time.


So I don't know why I feel a bit panicked I haven't heard from him for 5 days. We are not in a romantic relationship, I don't want that. Maybe because I've had a lot of people treat me poorly throughout my life it scares me.


I am planning on professional counseling, booked an appointment, in about a months time.


With him, as I repeated, I would like to keep in touch over the research, project but also he seems like a nice guy to have as a friend, acquaintance.


Should I email him next week and maybe ask about the project or something? I don't know what I'm worried?. He did say email him anytime, however I wouldn't take advantage of that.


I did tell him at one point I respect his work commitments etc and I would treat him with the same respect he's treated me with.


Any advice, thoughts?

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I wouldn't keep in touch with him as it seems you've already started to blur the line between a professional contact/research and a friendship. As you said, its not his job to counsel you. Responding kindly to you is professional and the right thing to do when someone has shared something personal that you're benefiting from professionally. I think he was being kind and is probably kind ...at the same time that's not an invitation to be friends or develop any kind of relationship outside of that. Since he's put some distance between the emails and also kept things very professional, I would wait to hear from him and keep it strictly about the research.

In the meantime, I think your therapist will be able to give more insight and food for thought as to why you feel disappointed that this guy isn't more 'available' to you. Its a great thing that you're about to start down that path and I wish you lots of luck. The time, energy and money is well worth it in the end!

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Thanks sauvignon,


I know what you mean and wondered that too.


He did respond to me today. He thanked me for the information I provided for his research and said it will be very useful. He was out of town and wanted to respond to my email because he will be heading out of town again for another week. Include aspects of my information, story into his speeches, along with some other stuff he said about the info I provided. End of email..The best to you.


So yes our correspondence is on the professional side and should be kept that way. At least he responded and gave an explanation.

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