THE BLOG
10/24/2013 05:54 pm ET Updated Jan 23, 2014

Virtual Online Dating...It's for Real (Sort of...)

Divorced, looking for love, (or just a decent person to date) in the age of Internet social media? Finding someone through Internet dating is sort of like being set up on a 'blind' date by friends; not all are good or welcome. Some are downright repulsive. Internet dating can be frightening too; you never know until you meet someone what will happen.

Fears and values of those who search online for love show some interesting facts. A female friend told me that women who date online fear meeting someone who turns out to be a serial killer. A male friend says men fear meeting someone who is fat! Interesting! I don't know if that's truth or just urban legend-style statements but dating online does can be risky.

Still, take heart all you web-searching daters; there are new venues to visit in the world of online dating. Perhaps you should try something new. Have you ever thought about a virtual relationship? If you're up to an interesting search you need to forget what you think you know about Internet dating and visit a site called Second Life. Launched on June 23, 2003 the virtual online site called Second Life was created by a company called Linden Lab for "dating". Yes, the word is in quotes for a reason. This is truly virtual, no human contact dating.

Here's how it works. In Second Life, and other sites like it, you can interact with others through the means of avatars. Your avatar can explore the world, known as the grid, meet other avatars, socialize, and participate in individual and group activities. Like Beyoncé becoming her alter-ego Sasha Fierce, you create a whole other "you" whose world you can actually control in all aspects. Who among us doesn't want to have a perfect life where you are forever young, beautiful, and life is exactly how you want it to be? You may want to try it just for the fun of it. Be careful though. It does help to remember that cyber-reality isn't reality at all. Virtual dating can seem a bit sad if taken too seriously. As in the real world, there is also the unpleasantness of breaking up in cyber-space.

Not into avatars? Alright, there is also something called Virtual Reality Dating that combines the real world with the virtual world. It is designed for those people, who have met a real person online through a social media site, to get better acquainted before committing to an actual live date. If you've met someone online, and exchanged some witty texts and so forth, do you know what he or she is really like? Would you like to know? Before you commit to meeting in the flesh, invite them to spend an hour or two in a VR Dating simulator.

There are many scenarios from which to choose. You can invite the real online connection to spend time in your virtual condo or go to a virtual hotspot. You can go to a ballgame, shopping at a virtual mall, or visit an art gallery; all this is done to see if you click as a dating couple. It sounds a little confusing but the positive aspect behind this virtual dating is that if you do decide to meet the person in the real world, you've already spent some quality time with them and gotten to know him or her. The general idea behind virtual dating is that by experiencing real-time interactions with potential matches online, users will waste less time going on traditional dates with unsuitable partners.

Technology has forever altered the way humankind interacts and virtual dating is a product of our techno-lives. Whether it will make "meeting" a potential mate easier or not is a matter of opinion and personal choice. The dating world may have been completely changed for all of us..

2013 copyright Kristen Houghton
Read the just released Welcome to Hell by Kristen Houghton. An Amazon Kindle Best.

"And Then I'll Be Happy! Stop Sabotaging Your Happiness and Put Your Own Life First" ranked in the top 100 books by Tower Books.com

Kristen Houghton is the author of the hilarious book, No Woman Diets Alone -- There's Always a Man Behind Her Eating a Doughnut in the top 10 hot new releases at Amazon available now on Kindle, Nook, and all e-book venues.

You may email her at kch@kristenhoughton.com.

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