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girlofscience's avatar

Do you think meeting people off the internet (for romantic purposes) is weird?

Asked by girlofscience (7532points) July 25th, 2008

As nikipedia mentioned in another thread, this is something that’d be interesting to discuss.

In our progressive, technologically forward society, meeting a dating partner or even future spouse online is becoming increasingly more common. What is your opinion on this? If you met your boyfriend/girlfriend/spouse online, would you be embarrassed to admit this to anyone? I’ll post my thoughts on the matter below.

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20 Answers

girlofscience's avatar

In my perspective, it’s now 100% socially acceptable to meet someone online for purposes other than dating (buying furniture, adopting an animal, renting an apartment, etc.). When you say that you found your new couch/cat/apartment on Craigslist, no one (at least that I know) would ever raise an eyebrow. But what about when it comes to dating? Fifteen years ago, people probably would have thought it was very odd to meet someone online to buy a couch (maybe? I was only 7 years old 15 years ago, so I can’t be certain), but now online buying is the norm. Meeting a dating partner online is becoming more of the norm, but it’s still not socially acceptable to nearly as many people as is buying a couch.

When online dating was a relatively new concept, the couples who met this way were few and far between. The generation above them was slow to understand this phenomenon, and considering the fact that many older folks associated the internet with “creeps” and “pervs,” some may have even been startled to learn of a loved one meeting a partner online. Friends of this person would be quick to look at the online dater as “desperate” and would be likely to utter questions such as, “Can’t they find anyone in real life?”

However, with the dawn of social-networking sites, which “everyone” began to join, meeting a partner online began to become a more reasonable venture. One no longer needed to go out of his/her way to seek out or pay for a dating site which would match them with a potential partner. Online dating became something possible to happen by chance, without specifically joining a site for that sole purpose.

I believe this was essential in beginning to transform the view of online dating from “desperate” to “maybe okay.” One of my biggest hang-ups with online dating (before facebook/myspace, when it was largely only on dating sites) was that I looked down on those who tried to find a boyfriend/girlfriend. I was never one to be “single and looking;” I only became involved in relationships when they just happened. I was a firm believer that the best (and only legitimate) relationships came out of the fact that two people just fell for each other without trying – that neither one of them joined the relationship simply because they wanted one. In using an online dating site, I felt, any relationship that would come out of it would be at least somewhat fake because it was born out of two people who merely wanted a relationship – maybe any relationship.

But now that relationships can begin by chance on any website whose purpose is not dating, the concept seems more acceptable to me. However, I haven’t been able to let go of the entire stigma. Though I wouldn’t judge a friend who met a partner online, I’d never do it myself—largely because I’d never want to have to admit how/where I met this person. Even though I can accept relationships of others that begin online (although I’d still laugh at the ones that began on dating sites!), I would be embarrassed to acknowledge it’s how I met my boyfriend. (So I refuse to do it.)

ninjaxmarc's avatar

No, this is a new age and a new way of dating.

Usually its a friend of a friend that I met through one of the social networking websites like Myspace, Facebook, etc.
We used this means as a way to get to know each other than met offline.

tinyfaery's avatar

No different than the dating services of the 80s; they were all the rage. Initially, people thought that was odd too.

flyawayxxballoon's avatar

I think this is acceptable, and I would be happy to tell people that I met my partner online [if I did.] Plenty of people do this now, and they turn out just fine. =)

jasonjackson's avatar

I think you’ve done a nice job of explaining your feelings, but I really tend to disagree.

I don’t understand why you would look down on someone who feels a lack in their life (of romance, casual dating, “true love”, or even just some occasional companionship), and who is willing to take active steps to meet their own needs. Frankly, I’d be much more inclined to look down on the opposite: someone who, lacking something in their life, refused or failed to do anything about it, instead sitting around more-or-less helplessly, just waiting for an “accidental” solution to come along. That approach (lack of approach?) just seems silly to me.

Of course, social pressures may be somewhat different for me because I’m a guy. There’s generally little to no stigma for a guy to be looking or “on the prowl”, since we’ve traditionally been expected to be the initiator/aggressor in a potential romantic situation. Hence words like “easy” or “desparate” don’t carry the same kind of weight for us fellas as they might for a demure sort of lass. That might explain some of our difference of opinion.

But I look at it this way: I’d look on Craig’s List for a couch because it’s the easiest & fastest way to maximize my chances of finding a couch I like for a good price. I log into Fluther often because it’s a great way to find & participate in a good conversation – much more effective than wandering around the “real world” hoping to stumble into one. So dating should be pretty much the same, right?

btko's avatar

I think it’s perfectly fine, I tried it though and it was strange… too strange. You kind of know the person, but you don’t.

flyawayxxballoon's avatar

@btko ; I have to agree with you there. I think it’s perfectly acceptable for people that it works for, but it’s not my thing…you could think you know everything about this person, but when you meet them, you find out that they’re a weird 30-year-old man who doesn’t have a black-belt, can barely hold down a sufficient job, and hates walks on the beaches. All you know about them is what they feed you; it’s their choice whether or not it’s the truth.

marinelife's avatar

And therein lies the problem. If you are just meeting someone online with a n eye to getting together in person and see if dating works, fine. If you create this whole online “relationship” there is a real cognitive dissonance when you meet in person.

Some couples can get past it and some can’t.

@girlofscience I had a good friend who married a woman 15 years ago. They met online, but would never admit to that at the time.

nikipedia's avatar

What about meeting people for non-romantic purposes? More weird, less weird?

flyawayxxballoon's avatar

Less weird. If you’re looking for people to be friends with, they shouldn’t really lie to you about who they are, unless they want to be more than that [which, since you’re only looking to be friends, shouldn’t be a problem.] If you want to have someone as a friend, chances are, if they want to be friends with you, too, they probably want to be friends because they share similar interests and such. There aren’t as many deceptions in most friendships, so, in my opinion, meeting people online for non-romantic purposes wouldn’t be so weird.

MissAnthrope's avatar

I never got what the big deal was, why everyone looked down on it so much for a while there. My mom really looked down on it and told me I had to stop meeting people through the internet. The thing is, it’s hard for me to meet people I really connect with in normal places. I’m picky and I know what I want, or at least what I need, quality-wise, in a partner. If the internet didn’t exist, I’d be really bored, but also very lonely, because people I really click with are few and far between. Only once in my life did I meet one of these by pure chance. The rest were found (or found me) by using the internet.

I know there’s a ton of freaks on the internet, but I think if you use some common sense, listen to your intuition, and otherwise exert caution.. what’s the big deal? I strongly dislike bars and I find it frustrating/boring that it’s usually too loud to hold a conversation. I’d rather connect with someone intellectually; lucky for me that in addition to the freaks, there are also lots of brainiacs trolling the internets. I’ve met some really awesome people this way, both romantically and platonically..

tinyfaery's avatar

The freaks on the internet are freaks wherever they are, not just on the internet.

MissAnthrope's avatar

Yeah, but you gotta admit there’s a fairly high concentration of freaks on the internet. It’s a haven.. you have anonymity, distance, no face-to-face contact.. you can let your freak flag fly!

tinyfaery's avatar

I always let my freak flag fly! :) Oh, and nice avatar

wildflower's avatar

I’ve known it to work for people, but couldn’t see myself doing it (if I were single).

poofandmook's avatar

I met my boyfriend through http://Match.com and we’ve been together nearly two years. He was on it for fun and when he met me, had “dates” with 4 other girls (I put “dates” in quotations because he had arranged to hang out with them and “dates” sounds a little more serious than just “hanging out once”). I had gone out with a few other guys before him; the highest number of dates with one guy was 9.

To get to the point (I’m bad at it) – I think of the internet as nothing more than a big giant BYOB bar, only it’s quiet enough to talk. You can pick up a psycho in a bar just as easily as on the internet. Frankly, I’d be more hesitant to buy a couch over craigslist than I would be to sign up for a dating site (though I did find my current digs on craigslist and they couldn’t be nicer).

Anyway, when my boyfriend and I tell people we met on http://Match.com, people are usually surprised because we’re such a great couple. So apparently, more people than I thought have this stigma. The fact that we met online has no bearing on our relationship anywhere. I’m a fully integrated member of the family at his house (his sister hates me, but she hates everyone including my boyfriend), and he’s a member of my family, most notably my grandmother, who at Christmas and birthdays spends the same amount of money and takes the same amount of consideration in buying my boyfriend’s gift.

So, yeah, yay for online dating.

scamp's avatar

Before the internet, people used personal ads in the newspapers and relied on friends to hook them up with blind dates. So the concept has not changed, only the venue.
I met my SO online 6 years ago, but not on a dating site. Neither of us were looking for a partner at the time. We became friends in a forum first, and things progressed from there.

Finding a mate online doesn’t mean a person is desperate, and I’m sure that those who have would be offended by the hint that they ‘couldn’t find someone in real life”.

Nada's avatar

What do you find exciting or embarrassing about such a way
of meeting partners? Would you consider trying it ?

JellyB's avatar

No, there’s nothing weird about it at all. I don’t know why anyone would even think so either. :)

Cruiser's avatar

Not weird at all! I think it is a great way to meet someone as you can have a unique opportunity to find how they think.

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