“The acceptability of online dating amongst your friends and family: Do you know of anyone that’s met someone online and then gone on to date them face to face?”
I think increasingly the answer to this question is yes – or is that just me? How much stigma if any do you think is still related to online dating? Do different sites have different levels of legitimacy? For example what do you think is more acceptable Tinder or eHarmony?
‘Online Romance‘ by Don Hankins is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0) licence
Cropped from Original
I met my ex-husband online back in 2001… my first love in 1996… subsequent boyfriends before and after my marriage – all online… Is there a trend here? LOL
I recall that my family umm’ed and ahh’ed when I met my first long-term relationship in ’96… it was not well received back then. Popular comments I heard were “He could be a psychopath out to find his next victim!” and “How can you really know someone you met in a chat hall?” (Chat halls were places to chat and use IRC, sometimes sequestered into rooms for different age groups, nationalities and interests. You used pseudonyms and avatars, all very text-based and painfully slow by today’s standards as your 14.4 modem struggled to refresh your chat screen as quickly as possible. The “dating” halls ensued and grew in popularity when it became obvious that people might want to meet in person at some stage.)
These comments never really bothered me – I was young and willing to try it out, “risky” or not. I always responded to the psychopath comment with “Well, hopefully you’ll be able to find all the pieces and give me a proper burial after the date”, much to my mother’s horror. As for the second response, I still hold to firmly to this day… “How do we really know anyone until we take the time to get to know them by interacting with them regularly? Face-to-face or online?” I don’t see the two environments as that far apart.
I think the stigma lessens over the years, as people become more accustomed to performing all kinds of transactions online… not just dating. Nowadays, there are formal dating sites available. Funnily enough, I have never used a dating site in my life. I have always gathered with like-minded people online, some groups I meet face-to-face after that, some I don’t. But, for some reason, if I meet a guy online and he wants to meet for a date, I like to keep the chat going until I’m comfortable enough to do so – you can find some real freaks online (myself included, I’m sure). I like to make sure that when they get comfortable talking to me, they don’t start exposing what I consider to be “weird stuff” and put me off meeting them. This has happened on occasion.
All in all, I’ve had an 80+% success rate with these kinds of meetings. I suppose because I’ve never sought out anyone online for a potential partner, merely seeking commonality and friendship, I have no high expectations to be shattered? I just roll with the experience – if it happens to lead to dating and a relationship of some kind, hey, that’s fun too.
A FELLOW STUDENT’S POST:
I have a few concerns about internet dating:
1. I sometimes feel that dating websites like eHarmony etc are almost praying on people wanting to find love by charging heaps of money to use their services without much success. Of course I can believe that some people do genuinely find love this way but I have to wonder if the success rate compared to the failure rate would be quite big.
2. Not all people on the internet/dating websites are genuine decent people and that I would not trust someone I meet purely online. You have to be very very careful with who and how you meet someone online and treat the experience with a healthy amount of scepticism and caution. A show that explores this in detail is “Cat Fish”. Sometimes the people they are chatting to are the real person, often they are fake profiles.
MY RESPONSE TO THIS STUDENT:
You’ve listed some legitimate concerns. But, the question I find myself asking is “Can we meet someone face-to-face in the first instance and truly know them immediately? How can we be sure that because we met them in person first, we can trust them more?”
Let’s say I meet a potential boyfriend/partner face-to-face first, through a friend at a party or something like that… just because I can see them and they can’t lie about their appearance, does that make them any more trustworthy?
I will also lay claim to the fact that I’ve been online since the 90s… I have confidence that I can smell a rat a mile away online. LOL I’m not perfect at ascertaining if someone is truthful about who they say they are, but is anyone in either situation?
Maybe I prefer the distance of “online” to find out what’s going on in someone’s mind and how they express themselves. This has served me well as measuring sticks before being blown away by men of stunning appearances that do a great job of offering me some eye candy for an evening. LOL