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