A broader definition of online dating

These totally all count as viable avenues for online dating; they just don't necessarily seem like it.Most of the consulting I do relates to online dating sites, such as Match.com or eHarmony. However, lots of people meet through media that are a little less obviously online-datey. In fact, a pal of mine just got married to someone that she had met via an AOL chatroom from her teenage years! I’ve also seen marriages from World of Warcraft guilds, from connections made via social networks like Twitter, from Internet forums, and even from Etsy crafters who love each others’ wares. Internet Love can be pretty darn broad!

If you think of all of these sites as being in the same parent category of “helping connect people,” it makes a ton of sense. This recent Maura Magazine piece explores one woman’s journey with three relationships that all started online, but not via traditionally dating-based avenues.

The thing you have to remember is, you still have to be safe! Just because you met someone by raiding in a MMO or by chatting in a chatroom doesn’t mean you can skip all the usual safety rules. Be prudent with what privacy settings you share, and make sure someone from your real life as well as your Internet circle knows if you decide to meet up with someone in person. That way, if anything untoward DID happen, the community would be better at policing that behavior and possibly holding an offender accountable. (Sucks to think about the worsts case scenario, but that’s what all safety guidelines are designed to tackle.)

Food for thought! Happy Internet connecting, wherever you do it these days. ♥

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