She hasn’t given me her number

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I have been exchanging emails with a woman for about nine months now. I do have some feelings for her, but I'm not head-over-heels at this point. I've learned to keep my feelings to myself. We have hit it off well, though.

I have never met or talked with her, and she won't give me her number yet. She said she had a bad breakup and is afraid of commitment. She does enjoy cyber sex; she has said it is an escape from reality. 

I'm not sure what I want to do. I think about sticking with what she wants to see what plays out. We did meet on a dating site and I'm still on there looking, but to be honest, you can't even get a response from 90 percent of the women you send a message to. I guess I'm stuck between a rock and a hard place. I really enjoy the woman I'm talking with. I'm a 68-year-old male and there's not much to pick from where I live. 

I think I know what you're going to tell me! Hope you can help. Thanks.

– Not Sure

I'm going to tell you to exit this relationship. That shouldn't be a surprise.

You want an in-person, fun, intimate connection. This email exchange gives you hints of that, but it's not enough. This woman doesn't want to meet in the real world. She won't even give you her number. Attention can be nice, even via email, but this back and forth has left you frustrated. 

You're not head-over-heels, so this shouldn't be the most difficult path to take. Thank her for her time and let go.

Then try a new app – or two. Many people have a difficult time on these platforms; sometimes they swipe on dozens of faces before matching with one. After that, the messages might trail off. It can be very annoying.

But some apps draw people with more serious intentions. Maybe there's a dating site out there that caters to people with specific interests. It might not even be an app created for dating. Maybe it’s a page for a people over 50 who love a certain kind of music. Research what's out there. It's all about connections, even the platonic kind.

Also, you said there's "not much to pick from" where you live. Does that apply to friends and family too? This is a good time to think about how to find community, and where you feel less alone in the world. I'm not telling you to move, but I do think you should consider what's possible – and where you can find the most happiness. Sometimes changing the scenery is the best idea.

– Meredith

Readers? Yes, I thought of this letter. How long do you give someone who won't meet up in person?