22 September 2002

Cyber Dating - The Future?

Équipe -Pose ta question!-

Most people shudder when they think of online dating. Most think you must be at the end of your rope to attempt such a feat. One pictures an unattractive person, 20 years older on the other line, who is not only charming, but a liar.

Refusing to accept this stigma, we decided to set out to ask some people what their experiences with online dating were like. We interviewed three students: Karim 19, Lynn 20, and Maja 24.

Karim, 18

Karim describes his past relationships to be rocky at best. “I found the girls to be high maintenance, they acted quite fake – not really authentic. In some cases these girls lowered my self esteem.”

Dissatisfied and a bit agitated, Karim set out to find an alternative to regular dating.

There was a light at the end of the tunnel when he met someone in a chatroom

There was a light at the end of the tunnel when he met someone in a chatroom. Armed with a picture and a profile of the person, he made the risky decision to pursue her. “ It was kind of experimental and I decided to give it a try. I felt a bit degraded at first, like this was my last resort.”

Although Karim was anxious and their first meeting was a bit awkward, their personalities clicked. He comments that “things are pretty cool and we've been dating now for two months.” It is also convenient because they live in the same section of the city. But like any other couple, they still have some issues to work out, trust being one of them. But he is quick to point out that “they care a lot about each other.”

When asked about the pros and cons of online dating, Karim warns that some people may post another person’s picture and be misleading about their appearance. Stretching the truth can also be a problem. Despite his good results, Karim is unsure about meeting people this way for romance. “I would never do it again, I'm afraid my experience will not be as good as the first time. You hear one in a million stories, I decided to be one”.

Lynn, 20

By far the most cynical of the trio we interviewed, Lynn met her match through a chatroom as well. “We exchanged e-mail addresses and the rest was history.” Lynn did not have much experience or luck with dating at the time, so she saw this as an excellent way to start. “I was used to dating unreliable and untrustworthy guys, so this was a good change.” Lynn says that although she and the person never officially dated, there was a definite chemistry between them.

“There was just a good sense of freedom and security.”

A problem Lynn faced was that it was hard to meet her match because he lived in North Carolina. Lynn comments, “He always said he was going to visit, but he never came, I wasn't surprised.” This, she says, is a definite disadvantage to dating online. It’s an advantage to “have someone to confide in. There was no obligation between he and I, there was just a good sense of freedom and security.”

Even though Lynn loved the gifts he used to send her, she also remembers something else. “One day he told me that he was going to pursue a rap career. I never heard from him again. Oh well (laughs), that's an online relationship for you, here today and gone tomorrow.”

Lynn's advice for those thinking about pursuing love on-line is that, “for those who are not looking for the one, online dating can be something fun to experiment with. It's definitely an acquired taste.”

Maja, 24

Maja met someone online during a rough period in her life. She is a Muslim who also happens to be a lesbian. “I dated a lot of people I really wasn't attracted to. I hid my sexual preference because my religion restricted it and my friends didn't know. Going online was the only way that I could express myself.”

“That's an online relationship for you, here today and gone tomorrow.”

She met another woman and they talked for about three months. Maja finally met her in person in what she called a “neutral zone”. She explains that Vancouver was the best place for them to meet halfway since the woman was from the U.S. I flew down there to meet her in a mall. It was extremely awkward but what isn't at first.”
On-line dating has some of the same pros and cons that come with regular dating. One initial difference Maja notes though, is that “You remain anonymous but also you can be outgoing at same time. There's comfort in that.”

She also recalls the event that ended the relationship, “when I met her for the first time, she was torn. I was comfortable with my sexuality, but she was coming to grips with being a lesbian. She told me she was married with kids that are four and six. She was thinking of leaving her family and starting a new life with me. To me, that was messed up and was way heavier than what I was looking for at the time. We later decided to be friends and go separate ways soon after.”

If you're expecting a Disney ending you've come to the wrong place. And remember, if the person is too good to be true, well…you know the rest.