Virtually Romanced

By CRISTINA DE LA TORRE

Photo by CRISTINA DE LA TORREMatt Myers and Holly Wonders, an art therapy graduate student at Mount Mary College, pose together after meeting on PlentyOfFish.com. They have been dating for 10 months.

Photo by CRISTINA DE LA TORRE
Matt Myers and Holly Wonders, an art therapy graduate student at Mount Mary College, pose
together after meeting on PlentyOfFish.com. They have been dating for 10 months.

“One out of eight couples married in the U.S. met via social media,” according to Social Media in 7 Minutes, a series of online training videos about implementing social media marketing plans to small business owners. Online dating sites have become a mainstream venue for meeting a future mate. Though popular, there are still precautions to take before meeting a new love interest.

Brianna Glossett, a fifth year social work major at Mount Mary College, is a Michigan native who chose to start online dating her freshman year of college.

“After being here for a year my comfort level with guys went extremely down,” said Glossett.

The first thing Glossett had to worry about with online interested partners was honesty.

“It is possible to ‘really’ get to know each other; however, it is difficult and not probable,” said Barbara Gunn, communications professor at Mount Mary. “The first thing we deal with is honesty, or lack of honesty. For years studies have found that when we communicate online we tend not to be honest. The level of honesty is on a continuum based on the possibility of meeting.”

Glossett created a list of safety precautions to ensure the honesty of her “candidates.”

“I had a set of five questions and I would ask those questions every three to four weeks and if their answers changed then I would have known that they had lied about it and not talk to them again,” Glossett said.

Glossett also made sure to have either Skyped or talked on the phone with the person for at least six months before she met them in person. When she did go on dates she would make sure it was at a neutral place depending on her comfort level with the person.

Glossett would also let her friends and family know exactly where she was going. She would receive a phone call every 20 minutes during the date. Texts would be sent periodically after that.

Holly Wonders, an art therapy graduate student at Mount Mary, is from Illinois and met her current boyfriend online. Wonders was new to the Milwaukee area and wanted to meet new people.

Wonders met her current boyfriend of 10 months, Matthew Myers, through “PlentyOfFish,” a free online dating site.

Before meeting her dates, Wonders would leave information with her suitemate about where she was going and her date’s contact information.

Myers first sent a message to Wonders asking about art therapy. After chatting online for about a week and then talking on the phone for another week, they decided to have a lunch date.

“We agreed we had this feeling that we didn’t have when we dated anyone in the past,” Wonders said.

So why try online dating?

“It’s important to realize that our lives don’t always work like a storybook or a fairytale,” Wonders said. “Prince Charming isn’t going to knock on our door. We have to look for him just as much as he has to look for us and I think in a world where technology is so dominant we have to utilize our resources. You have to go out and look for the information like in a research project. I think you should be able to apply that to a lot of aspects of your life.”

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