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"Dear Laura, thanks for the excellent, disheartening essay you wrote about sober dating," an articulate stranger named Eli (not his real name) typed in an email to me. Within a month, the tone of our exchanges changed from flirty to outright romantic.

This wasn't the first time a random lonely heart had reached out about my writing. Within days of that first message from Eli — whom I'd promptly Google-stalked and happily discovered was gorgeous — we were emailing constantly, sharing both day-to-day minutiae ("Here's a sexy picture of my omelet! He was a few years younger, but we had a ridiculous number of things in common. "Marry me," he texted back when I mentioned my decade-long obsession with Britney Spears.

My best friend said she'd never seen me as wound up, as , about a guy before. I'd break down crying at the grocery store, while walking my dog, during exercise class, wherever.

I wanted this intense stranger who found The result wasn't pretty.

") and our darkest fears ("I'm scared of dying alone"). His missives became the sunny spots in my otherwise existence.

I probably knew on a rational level that a romantic future between us wasn't likely — he lived in another country, for god's sake — but I was more than willing to delude myself.

I felt so wracked with perma-anxiety that I couldn't concentrate at work.

My doctor wrote me a prescription for the antianxiety drug Ativan.

Last modified 10-Mar-2016 16:21