Chance Meeting? Or Dotcom Romances?

How do people meet each other nowadays? Am I the only one thinking that the internet will become a major dating arena?

I know no fewer than six couples who met online and are blissfully happy. From match.com to jdate to eHarmony – take the stress of personal interaction out of the equation, and people seem to be more honest, clearing away the pretenses prior to having a face-to-face meeting. Even the amazing woman who boards my dog, who is as down to earth and genuine as they come (the woman, not my dog), met her new husband on eHarmony. And she is the first person who would tell you that meeting someone online sounded like a complete pipedream (no pun intended).

If you live in Romance Novel Land, your hero could come galloping up to your castle astride a mammoth horse named “Thor” or “Pixie-squeak,” or perhaps he raids your father’s company, buying it out in a hostile takeover. Or maybe you get sucked back in time and he almost runs you through with his manly lance. Or you run a bed and breakfast and he stays as a guest, writing his book. Or you both work as magicians and he saws you in half with his manly saw.

In real life: perhaps you work together? You shop at the same store and check each other out? Or you both work as role players in fake towns built for military training?

Me, I met Hubby in high school. Then we worked at a summer camp and ended up permanently together. Not really the stuff of romance — although, I will say, as far as a plotting method to keep the hero and heroine together all the time, working at a summer sleepaway camp guarantees the protagonists will be seeing each other ALL the TIME. And there will be plenty of opportunity to sneak off and do some scrumpin’—if you know what I mean.

Would I look for a spouse or partner online if I didn’t already have one? Absolutely. Many of my closest friends (*koff koff* Candy *koff koff*) are people I’ve met via writing online.

But does that make for good romance? Is one of the fantasies of romance novels becoming the face-to-face chance meeting that didn’t originate on a website profile?

And, how did you meet your spouse/partner?

Comments are Closed

  1. 1
    Rosina Lippi says:

    I met my husband at Princeton, where we were both working on our doctorates.

    He hung out with the wild and crazy crowd of mathematicians (and I do not joke) and I got caught up in the nuttiness.

  2. 2
    SB Sarah says:

    Hey now, wild and crazy mathematicians? That’s hot!

    Because we all use math every day!

  3. 3
    emdee says:

    Online is just about the only place I can meet anyone.  Being 56 and single truly scales down the dating pool.  Meeting online can be very problematic though.  Often people are not who they claim to be.  Statistics show that 20% are married… 

    I just had to say thanks, but no thanks, to a guy who seemed like a good choice, but he confessed that he was declared mentally incompetent by the state. They pay his bills and have him on an allowance…Men often complain about how the women depict themselves in ads, saying that we use Glamour Shots and that is false advertising.  I think you meet more people misrepresenting themselves online, but what can you do?  At my age many men have been married 2 or 3 times, are paying alimony, say they never have any money and are embittered.  I tell ya, it’s rough out there.

  4. 4
    KariBelle says:

    I met my ex-husband in college as well.  It was one of those stories that is probably only romantic to us, and now in retrospect not so much even to us now. 

    I have considered joining match.com or eharmony but quite frankly I just don’t have time to date right now.  I am a full time stay-at-home single mom (yep, if your ex-husband makes enough money, and he screws up badly enough, a judge will let you do that), and part-time graduate student.

    In the Fall my daughter will start kindergarten and I am putting my son in pre-school so I can be a full-time grad student. Maybe then I will have enough time to date.  Who the hell am I kidding, I will never have time.  I will just have to make time when I feel ready.

    I will not hesitate to look online.  It is the easiest way I can think of to find people of similar interests and goals.  But I do remember when the internet was new and it seemed like the flakiest thing in the world when my friend, Missy announced that she was moving from North Carolina to Michigan to marry, “the love of her life.” whom she had never actually laid eyes on.  We were not especially close, and did not keep in touch, but I did run into her in the mall a couple of years later and she was happily married to some guy she had met here in NC while working at Wal-Mart or something.

  5. 5
    Sara says:

    Our eyes met over the conductor’s head across the high school band room. He played the trumpet; I played the clarinet. We both had big crushes but never acted on them.

    A decade later, we bumped into each other in the computer lab at our grad school. Less than a year later, we were married. And we’ve been making beautiful music ever since. Ba dum dum.

    That said, we have friends who internet date. One treats the women he meets abonimably, using and discarding them. The other is blissfully, insanely happy with the woman he met several months ago. We’re waiting for their engagement announcement to come any day now.

  6. 6

    I met my husband the old fashioned way.  I went to the Hillel Jewish Student Center at college to meet people who shared my interests and values, and there he was.  I’m a big believer in common ground in real life over “opposites attract”, even though the latter makes for a more interesting romance novel.

    Of course, it was more than shared values and interests—my DH of 30 years can teach ballroom dance, has eyes like chocolate kisses, and can tie a cherry stem in a knot with his tongue.  And he sings, beautifully.

    I do have friends who use JDate and other services, and some have had excellent results.  Interestingly, JDate now offers same-sex matching as well, and I have friends who’ve taken advantage of that.  Goes back to the shared values and interests thing.

  7. 7
    Nicole says:

    Through a series of interesting events involving my dad, a buddy of his, the buddy’s daughter, a guy I met who knew the buddy’s daughter and then my husband through the buddy’s daughter’s guy friend (who introduced us mainly because said guy friend stood me up for a date because he went down to meet a girl he met ONLINE.  Oh, and they’re married now).  And DH and I first started chatting through ICQ even though we were all on the same college campus. So technically I met him online…

    But I never would have met him if it hadn’t been for that weird series of events.  He was a couple years ahead of me and english majors do not cross paths with engineers much, if at all.

  8. 8
    SamG says:

    I met my hubby at a laundromat, playing pinball.  I was there with his younger sister (a classmate).

    I don’t know if I could do on-line dating.  I am too much of a chicken.  Too afraid of meeting the boogie man in disguise.  If something happened to the hubby, I don’t even know if I’d want to face dating.  It was difficult when I was young, let alone 40+, overweight and basically spoiled.

    Sam…who wouldn’t want to change that spoiled status

  9. 9
    flea says:

    I met my husband in the library, when we were both graduate students (he in engineering, I in classical archaeology).  Ten years ago.  He was attracted to my Mac laptop – at first sight. 

    I know a number of people who have met spouses or partners online – both through dating sites, and through other sorts of online forums.  If you’re someone for whom the written word – and, heaven help us, spelling and punctuation – matters deeply, what better place to get to know someone? 

    Of course, my husband can’t spell, but I love him anyway.

  10. 10
    Megan says:

    We were acquaintances in high school and he was a year ahead of me.  Completely randomly we ended up going to the same college.  He offered to show me around since I knew him, then he invited me to his birthday bash that weekend and we’ve been together ever since.  That was 5 years ago, and we’ve been married for almost one.

  11. 11
    Katie Ann says:

    Wow, so many other couples who met in college!

    On the first day both of us were at the University of Texas at Dallas (that we both went to only because they sent us letters out of the blue telling us that if we applied, they’d pay for us.  Otherwise both of us would have wound up at UT Arlington.) there was some freshman mixer.  I was sitting at a table with the 3 other people there that I went to high school with playing board games.  In a very, very rare moment of extrovertedness my now DH walked right up and asked if he could play Scrabble with us.  (He is neeever that sociable.)  We already had 4 players so he held his tiles in his hand and kicked all of our asses.  We hung out every night following that and were engaged within 6 months, married 5 months later, and are still happy as ever. 

    He’s an engineering nerd and I’m a psychology major and our paths never would have crossed after that night I think, so damn am I lucky.

  12. 12
    Katie Ann says:

    Oh yeah, and as for online dating…I’d like to think that now I could do it, but before getting married, I don’t know that I would have had the confidence to.

    And while I don’t know anyone who was successful at it, an odd sidestory is that my mom was carrying on some illicit affair with a younger guy (she claimed to be about half of her age and a gorgeous blonde) online.  (Of course she didn’t know that we knew, but damn woman, learn to clear the clipboard before you get off the family computer.)  To my knowledge they never met in person or even talked on the phone, but misrepresentation is definitely out there.

  13. 13
    Valeen says:

    My hubby and I met in high school through mutual friends. It wasn’t love at first sight as he had a girlfriend with him the day we first hung in a group. But as high school romances go, within a week he was single and moving in on me. LOL

    I’m not sure if I could go with online dating. I’m too quick to think that someone may be lying for some reason. And I’m a bit scared, what if he turned out to be a stalker?

    We have just one set of friends who met online and they have been happily together for a year or so. Its fairly hard to meet people online that are within driving distance here.

  14. 14
    Caryle says:

    Single girl here.  I always thought I’d be like my parents and meet someone in college.  Much to my disappointment, it didn’t happen.

    I’ve done the E-Harmony thing.  The bad part was that I live in the Midwest, and there just weren’t that many matches that lived less than three hours away.  I did actually meet someone, but it didn’t work out.  (Many factors, him living on the East Coast didn’t help)  But for a while, it really seemed like it had worked.  I was deliriously happy because he really GOT me. 

    After it was over I just wasn’t ready to throw my hat into the ring again.  I decided to work on loving me a little before I decide to love someone else.  Would I try again?  Sure.  I think it’s definitely a viable option for me.  I just hope that next time there are more men a little closer to home.  :)

  15. 15

    About 5 years ago, our dept. administrator completely gobsmacked me by announcing she was going on holiday to Tunisia with a guy she’d met online a fortnight before. This seemed really radical, even for someone with her adventurous personality. Interestingly, she was at pains to reassure everyone that although they’d never met, it actually turned out that their mothers knew one another, which made it okay. Shortly thereafter she left work to travel the world with him, and they were last spotted on a reality travel gameshow on the telly about a year later.

    To contrast, last year my flatmate finished her degree (part-time) and decided to start dating. She does this entirely through online sites, and it has always seemed completely normal, even though being very cynical we both assumed initially that EVERYONE LIED and were therefore surprised by how many didn’t. She still hasn’t found anyone yet, but has very high standards and is rather enjoying the dating.

    So although I haven’t ventured online in the quest for luuurrvve, this will definitely be an option the next time I’m done with essay deadlines for a while. For one thing, it might be easier to screen out the ones that say things like, “Reading? Why are you reading a book again? You just finished one last week. Mind if I turn on the snooker? It won’t bother you at all.”

  16. 16
    rachel says:

    I met my husband at college, but, much to our mutual embarrassment, neither of us can remember exactly how we met. We just kind of always knew each other.

    We’ve been best friends for 5 years, dated for 3, and married for a month (yay for newly weds!) He was actually my roommate before we hooked up, so at least I didn’t have far to go. I’m not a very romantic person myself (I save that for my reading!), but it surprises me sometimes how much I love him. It just crept up when I wasn’t looking, and I’ve never looked back.

  17. 17
    Castiron says:

    I met my ex online—I enjoyed his posts on a newsgroup, emailed him to comment on a post, and things progressed from there.  (Alas, I didn’t realize that some traits that were no problem online would be major problems in a long-term in-person relationship.  But then, that happens to people who meet offline too.)

    Online is a fine place to meet folks, but I’d be more comfortable meeting someone online in a community discussing some topic we were mutually interested in, rather than meeting someone through an online matchmaking service.  In the former, folks seem less likely to intentionally misrepresent themselves.

  18. 18

    I met my husband through online personal ads sponsored by our local newspaper, and it’s all good.

    We’ll be married four years in May!

  19. 19
    Spider says:

    Caryle—:)  It was good to hear your comments, because I think about the online thing off & on, but haven’t gone there yet (with the exception of playing with Yahoo personals).  Even if it didn’t ultimately work out, I’d like to think I’d meet someone who got me—I feel like I have yet to meet a “potential” partner who does.

    I met an ex online as well (on a RPG Mu*), and we were together for about 2.5 years.  Ultimately, he had commitment issues, but saying “hey” to some one in an online community is not such a bad thing.  I’ve made a lot of friends that way, and haven’t regretted it.  I do advise all the usual cautions.  (I teach, so I am always thinking about being careful!)

  20. 20
    Candy says:

    I met the Very Tall Husband on the now-defunct SparkMatch.com (these same guys now run okcupid.com, which is loads of silly fun because of all the tests). The VTH and I started out as on-line friends, writing copious amounts of very silly e-mails to each other, then we met and I developed a huge crush on him—he’s so seriously hot, y’all—a crush he seemed completely oblivious to. I basically assaulted him one day as he was kneeling down tying his shoelaces because I suddenly realized that OHMIGOD HE’S EYE LEVEL WITH ME, QUICK QUICK KISS HIM. As it turned out, he wasn’t averse to being attacked by short, foul-mouthed Asian chicks. We agreed to a dirty little summer fling, because he didn’t intend to stay in Portland very long, but we fell in love somewhere along the way.

    Heh, I seem to have a habit of doing that; the two people I’ve been in love with started out as on-line friendships that progressed to sexy friendships, then BOOM, tearful declarations of luuurrrrrrve ensue. Well, that’s not the whole picture, because the majority of the people whom I’ve slept with were people I met on-line first, and quite a few of the guys I met on-line but didn’t have any physical chemistry with have ended up being my buddies.

    Anyway, my verdict on on-line dating: Awesome, would recommend, just use common sense when meeting guys for the first time, like making sure the first date is in a well-lit public place.

  21. 21
    Jennifer says:

    I think I’m the only one around who isn’t all “Yay online dating!” I don’t like the idea of signing up on a dating service, getting to know someone’s personality online, and then finding out in person that I don’t find them remotely attractive, or they have an irritating voice, or something. Then I’m rejecting on pure looks despite knowing their personality. Ouch. Plus I don’t really think you can get to know somebody without knowing them in person, even for a brief period of time. I have a friend who married a guy 12 hours after meeting him in person, and OY, that freaks me out.

    (Course, from what I’ve seen on the dating service for my town and from when my friend let me log in on her match.com account, there is nobody in my town or entire end of the state that I would remotely want to date, too.)

    I do think that if you made friends with someone online (NOT in a dating context, through some mutual interest or something), that might not be as bad, though. (And that did happen with one ex.) But to be honest, I am not going to try it again unless the dude lives in my town. I’m not exactly in a life situation where I can travel across the country to meet a guy.

  22. 22
    Sammie says:

    I met hubby on my first day of high school. I had a huge crush on him (the man is hawt!), but then decided I hated him because he was an arrogant jerk. And we traveled in similar social circles, so I made sure he knew what I thought of him. I called him “Stickboy” to his face (he’s tall and thin).

    Fast forward to the summer after our Sophomore year of college. Our summer fling turned into true luuuurve, and we’ve now been married over two and a half years. And I just found out this morning that I’m pregnant with our first child (but shhh – don’t tell anyone)!!!!  :wow:

  23. 23

    I could see a little sub-genre of meeting-on-line romances popping up.  Might be difficult though, since all the sex scenes will have to be masturbation scenes until the end, when they meet.

    Yeah, I’m all about meeting people on the internet. I see it as almost old-fashioned (communicating via letters).

  24. 24

    By the way, Sammie – congradulations.  That’s very exciting.  Have a great day!

  25. 25
    fiveandfour says:

    Wow, I thought I was a living, breathing cliche because I met my husband in a bar (it wasn’t quite the drunken slobber-fest one usually imagines with that scenario, but still – it was a bar).  I’m quite surprised at the number of you who knew one another in school or met thanks to online contact.  I recall as a kid that my parents belonged to this club and one night all of the adults started discussing how they met and about 75% of them had met in a bar (this was in the 1970s).  I always assumed from that discussion that meeting in a bar was “the big cliche”*.

    So is online dating the equivalent of the meeting in a bar scenario for the modern age?  Or was it just coincidence that this one group of people had such a large percentage of couples who had met that way?

    *It always kind of bugged me, too, that out of all of the romances I’d read I could recall only one where the H and H had met that way.

  26. 26
    Christine says:

    Ok, this is going to sound like a plot line.

    I was living across the street from my future Signifigant Other in an abandoned house. One of my housemates was in the same band as him, and was also friends with a girl who lived in the house, so he arranged it with the girl for me to use the shower there a couple times a week. My future SO got wind of this, but misunderstood: he thought my entire household was using the showers. So he put up a nasty, facetious sign on the front door that made it pretty clear that no one was welcome to the shower. the girl still let me use the shower, so I kept comign over, but behind his back. He realized this and was mortified to discover that not only had it just been me all along, but i now thought he was a jackass. This conflicted with a crush he had been harboring for me for some months. Several months later, he finally got up the nerve to formally introduce himself in explain that he wasn’t really a total jackass.
    We’ve been together ever since.

  27. 27
    Nicole says:

    lol   My husband was called “Stickboy” in college.  :-)  not by me, though, was given to him by his buddies.

  28. 28
    Sarah F. says:

    I started going out with my husband when I was sixteen about a month after he dumped his boring girlfriend.  I was apparently his senior year fling he was going to dump before he went to college.  Sixteen years later (almost ten of marriage), he still hasn’t got up the courage to dump me, because I’d tear his balls off.  We’re more in love every day.  It just keeps getting better.

    And congrats, Sammie—I envy you.  I’ve been trying for close to ten months to get pregnant, but no dice yet.

  29. 29
    Candy says:

    Sammie: OHMIGOD congratulations!

    Jennifer: “I think I’m the only one around who isn’t all “Yay online dating!” I don’t like the idea of signing up on a dating service, getting to know someone’s personality online, and then finding out in person that I don’t find them remotely attractive, or they have an irritating voice, or something. Then I’m rejecting on pure looks despite knowing their personality. Ouch. Plus I don’t really think you can get to know somebody without knowing them in person, even for a brief period of time. I have a friend who married a guy 12 hours after meeting him in person, and OY, that freaks me out.”

    I don’t think there’s necessarily anything wrong with deciding not to date somebody because of the lack of physical and sexual chemistry. (I’ve learned that physical attractiveness doesn’t necessarily translate directly into sexual attractiveness, because some of the most attractive boys I’ve known just didn’t do it for me in bed—not that they were bad or anything, just…not inspiring.) Attraction is an important element of romantic love, and we need to find the one we’re with beautiful, even if nobody else does. Besides that, even if there’s no zing, it’s possible to make new friends this way. I know I have.

    But the marrying someone you met just 12 hours ago? Yeah, that’d freak my shit out, too. I agree that on-line relationships are not a substitute for face-to-face interaction.

  30. 30
    Deena says:

    You’re all going to think I’m crazy.  I met my husband (6 years!) in an online writing list. We talked about our writing, e-mailed one another back and forth, got flirty, started talking on the telephone, and then he came to visit me. We had 4 lovely days together and then he went home. We were just supposed to be friends, but then he sent me roses for my birthday and called and told me he loved me and asked me to move in with him. I told him I couldn’t do it without marriage, and he said “okay!” and there we were… and I wasn’t quite sure how it happened. He came back 6 months later and we got married the day after he got off the plane, rented a truck and moved me from Orlando, Florida to Cleveland, Ohio. Horrid honeymoon. I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone.  We now have two beautiful small people (ages 4 and 3)and we’re closing on our first house next week.

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