Through the decades of the twentieth century, and heading into the twenty-first century, the way people have approached the realms of romantic relationships have evolved. In the early twentieth century, the main focus for people was finding a marriage partner and starting a family. As the years have passed by, people have become less concerned with marriage, and other things like divorce, interracial relationships, and same-sex relationships have come into play. Along with these factors came one huge entity that seemed to draw everyone together: The Internet.

Today, we have different definitions of what a true relationship is than years before. The emergence of “online relationships” has become quite prevalent over the years. People have been so immersed in their careers or other things that they do not have time to actively go out and pursue other individuals. Also, some people find it hard to get out there. Let’s face it, nobody likes rejection. Sometimes all we have is our pride. Making a profile on some website is much easier than stressing over the technicalities of actually meeting someone for a date. Joshua Souther, a junior in bioprocessing sciences, says that “online dating is more impersonal and allows you to say more things about yourself without so much pressure.”

But is it really healthy to rely on a computer to decide who your perfect match is? It can be fun meeting people from all over the world and networking across various countries, but are these relationships? Some would argue no. Some would argue yes. I would argue �it depends.� It is a fact that you have to be a rather bold person to just throw yourself out there in the dating world. A lot of people feel as if it is too much for them, so they subject themselves to the Internet. I would say the good thing about this is that it is easier to let your hair down and say what you think in front of a computer. If you do not like the person you are chatting with, you can just stop talking to them. This would not be the case if you went on a real date, hated it, and then saw them in class the next day. The negative part of online dating is that you cannot see that person, so you virtually have no idea what they are about. All you can do is take their word and go with it. Now, you can be married to a person for twenty years and find out they are not the person you thought they were, just like you can be slighted by your e-mail lover. There is no particularly safe way to be one hundred percent sure about someone; this is where the trust factor comes in.

“In my opinion, online relationships are the phileo (the kind of love you would have for a friend) type of love where you are looking for someone just like you. Maybe that is not the best way to go about finding something serious,” says Sommer Oliver, a junior in animal science with pre-vet requirements. I agree that, after awhile, talking to someone and not meeting them would just be a waste of both of our times. Being exclusive with someone you have yet to meet is not the easiest thing and some realize that it is not for them. Now, there are many people that meet online and they are happily married or deeply committed to this day. The Internet can be a useful source for people who are actually genuine and looking for someone with whom to share their life; the problem is that there are so many people that are out there for the wrong thing and so they string people along. They do not see it as playing with someone’s emotions or deceiving them. One must remember that these are real people on the other side of the screen and they can get hurt just like us.

Overall, I say the Internet would not be a bad place to start dating. It will be an easier transition into the “real thing” and it is cheap! As long as you are looking for friends and have the intention of being yourself, there is no problem. If you are in an online relationship for years and you still have not met the person, and they keep making excuses for not meeting, then there is a problem. If you are insecure, remember that you have to love yourself before anyone else can love you. We all deserve someone special and you should not waste your time with those who are not in for the right reasons.