Online "Dating"

By Kate, age 19, New Hampshire
Sweet Designs Staff Intern
Sweet Designs Featured Writer

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The 21st century has come upon us with change. Change in technology, the economy, the environment, and beliefs ... and now, a new way to form relationships. The stereotype of online dating as being a not-so-safe route has become a thing of the past. Currently, there are tons of online dating sites, providing you with what seems to be a safe and efficient way to find your "soul mate". But even in this new time, how safe, really, is online dating?

It may be the "new thing" now - the chance to meet people you might not have ever met before by means of accurate compatibility tests. But is it safe? And is it even worth it?

This past year I had a roommate in college with a social life completely restricted to the internet. She was a gamer; she spent hours with her clan and guild on each game, battling whatever it was they battled, doing whatever it was they did. Outside of their gaming world, they also talked via e-mail, Facebook, and Instant Messenger. She even video-chatted with some of them.

Very quickly, she began to meet and talk to guys living in the towns around our college campus. Not having a license herself, they would pick her up in the parking lot and I wouldn't see her again until the next morning. And then the same thing would happen the next night ... and the night after, to the point where she stayed with one guy a whole weekend. And the guys were almost always different.

I was worried about my roommate, and since our relationship as friends was still developing, I didn't think she would confide in me about what went on and how she felt about it, and, at the time, I didn't think it was my place to confront her. It was her life - I didn't think I should interfere.

Soon enough, she began to confide in me. She explained to me why she did what she did. It went back to being restricted by her parents and being almost shunned for being bi-sexual. She told me what went on each night she went out, how she met them, what she thought about them, and explained that most of them were much older than she was. I listened carefully to her stories and tried to provide my opinion without seeming judgmental in any way. I advised her to be careful and tried to show that I cared.

Then one night, she told me that one of the guys forcibly tried to have sex with her. She stopped seeing that guy, but that did not end her online relationships. She soon began to seriously date another guy, but after a few months, she found out he had cheated on her. Neither she nor the other girl knew about it until they contacted each other and put two and two together. After that, her online dating seemed to come to an end - at least temporarily.

It wasn't until the start of our second semester that I found out she was dating someone else she'd met online. She told me she was in love with him, and that he was moving from the other side of the country to our little town so they could live together. I was in complete shock that she would make a move as drastic as that.

Over time, I got to know her new boyfriend myself. He frequently tried to talk to me, and a few times I saw him while he video-chatted with my roommate. He was much younger than the other guys, and overall he seemed nice, but that still didn't change how I felt and how worried I was for my now-best friend.

Before I knew it, I was on the phone with him, trying to get him to the campus where he would stay the night until morning, when he could check into his new apartment. It was almost the end of the school year and he had driven over 24 straight hours to be here. When he got here, I felt like an attack dog on guard. When the two finally met, they hugged awkwardly, but quickly warmed up to finally being together in reality. And, instead of going back home after school, she moved in with him.

Classes are about to begin again, and my roommate and I have talked all summer, and even went on a double date. Now I can see they have a really great relationship - just not exactly one I supported right away. I guess, for some people, things like that work. You never know, your soul mate could be someone from across the country. And how would you ever meet him if you didn't have the internet? But that doesn't mean everyone you meet is The One.

Whether you're for or against online dating, just remember to be careful. Personally, I wouldn't jump into something like my roommate did. Her boyfriend moved all the way here to be with her, but what if he wasn't who we thought he was? You can never be totally sure of someone, so, if you're meeting someone in person for the first time that you met online, bring a friend, and be safe. The internet can be a great thing, but it can also be dangerous. Just be smart about it.

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February & March Magazine Issues

March 15, 2012

The February and March issues of Sweet Designs Magazine are now online, featuring a combined 53 new articles and features!!

- Cover: Stephanie Lynn reflects on 5 years
- Cover: India (of Darn-licious knitwear)
- Life in the dumps (moving in with my bf)
- The difference between men and women
- Angels among us (parts 1 and 2)
- Arts graduates & the dark night of the soul
- Triple threat (how I survived my teen yrs)
- Dating isn't easy (my true story)
- How to turn not-so-great gifts ... (fashion)
- Ten reasons to love being single
- Taking the big leap (college)
- Valentine's Day (not what you'd expect!)
- The last of the cold (hopefully) (fashion)
- A month full of love
- Ten tips for successful airline travel
- Reasons I love writing for SDM
- Who needs love?
- They're not all the same
- The life I'm glad I don't have (fiction)
- Professional dress/ finding Fendi (fashion)
- An airport anniversary: a true story
- Inappropriate Facebook photos
- The perks of a big city (college)
- A night(mare) to forget (part 2)
- The Anita Blake series (book review)
- Saving June by Hannah Harrington (book)
- Under the Mesquite by GG McCall (book)
- The Lullaby by Sarah Dessen (book)
- If I Stay by Gayle Foreman (book review)
- My sweetheart (original poetry)
- Isn't it funny (original poetry)
- The stranger (original poetry)
- A winter wonderland (original poetry)
- One night valentine
- The thick envelopes (college acceptance)
- Southern love
- Healthy hair and vitamins
- It's a date (dating idea alternatives)
- The 30 hour famine
- School's out forever!
- Marching right back into spring? (fashion)
- Dear John
- When TV shows depict your life
- 3 Fun ways to rock spring's hottest trends
- Neglected teeth
- Starting something new
- Guy movies
- To hesitate or dive in?
- Deadly, by Julie Chibbaro (book review)
- Beastly, by Alex Flinn (book review)
- I don't care (poetry)
- Together, alone (poetry)

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