Let’s explore the chat rooms and the good, bad and weird consequences. We recommend that you go the dating site rather than the chat room route (more safety parameters), but to each her own. Social media romances – twitter, facebook etc are also a more intimate and safer way to go than chat rooms — social proof! Date safe and date happy. If you do meet someone who seems amazing in a chat room, Skype before you meet. -aa
[dropcap]F[/dropcap]or those of us who have lived most of our dating lives on the internet, it’s not uncommon to have had some run in with a chat room romance. Whether it was an early AOL chat room, a special interest forum, or Twitter, most of the plugged in generation has engaged in some sort of online flirting, whether they admit it or not.
In a very informal survey, it seems like most of the good chat room love stories started the same – without looking. Chat rooms and other virtual interactions have become great ways to get to know a very diverse group of people. You don’t need to live near each other, or even live in the same country. It’s a way to meet people you’d never come across otherwise.
There are plenty of good love stories out there, with people coming across each other because of a single shared interest, only to find that they had a lot more in common. In most cases, things developed through a friendship, without intending to start a romance. One typical story involved two people with a shared interest in music who lived in different countries, and are now married and expecting their third child.
This is where it can very easily turn into an episode of “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit.” The internet can be full of dangerous and scary people. If they are dangerous and scary online, imagine how terrifying they will be once you meet them in the real world.
You probably know at least one person who has had a scary internet person experience. Some just get a bit creeped out, others actually end up with serious injuries. One chat room love story I’ve heard involved a whirlwind romance and marriage, and then a quick decline into domestic violence.
A less physically scarring but just as emotionally damaging type of chat room love gone bad is when it turns out the person you were talking to wasn’t who you thought they were. The internet can allow you to change everything – age, gender, looks, name, location.
This can be malicious, but even if it’s not meant to be, it can leave you pretty crushed. Finding out that the perfect person you’ve been speaking to is all a lie can be a big hit to your confidence.
Sometimes the bad isn’t so much dangerous as just socially awkward. Another chat room love story went great when both people were behind a keyboard. When it came to the actual meeting, they had nothing to say. It turned out they could only comfortably interact via a computer screen.
There’s also the very good chance that the photo you’ve fallen in love with is from about 5 years ago and from a remarkably flattering angle. It might not be a deal breaker, but it could start things off in a weird way.
One online romance in the survey went from bad to worse on the first date when, after insisting on calling her by her screen name, the guy filled an awkward silence by fondly reminiscing about an X-rated conversation they’d had.
Luckily, most of the weird examples seemed to show themselves as weird before the first meet up.
For all the good, bad, and weird of chat rooms and other virtual interactions, it still comes down to who you meet and how you meet them. Pay attention to the small things. Are they always online when they say they’re at work? Do they keep forgetting their time zone?
A lot of it comes down to gut instinct and keeping your wits about you. Meeting online doesn’t have the same stigma it used to have because so many more people are connected. Amidst all that online socializing it’s only natural that there’d be a few love stories.
Article by Kissy Bang Bang, a brand that promotes responsible sexual relationships.
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