At first glance, it may seem like a desperate measure, but trends are changing fast and internet dating is now the second most popular way of finding love. Alison Bezzina meets couples who formed online.
According to several social media experts, in less than 10 years’ time, the internet will become the most popular way to find meaningful relationships. Research also shows that globally, internet dating is already the second most common way of finding love, after meeting through common friends.
While most of us still prefer to meeting significant others in the traditional way, trends are changing, and they’re changing fast. Online dating sites are booming with members looking for the ‘right’ one, and people are slowly realising that getting to know someone online before going on a date can increase their chances of success.
In Malta, dating sites have not caught on so strongly, but with more than half the Maltese population on Facebook, this social medium is fast becoming the country’s favourite romantic meeting spot.
Steffi Thake and Mark Bonnici
Steffi, 22, and Mark, 28, met on Facebook just over two years ago. “I was upset with my ex because he was going on about his new love interest,” explains Steffi. “I wanted to make him jealous for making me jealous, so I found a random hot guy and added him as a friend on Facebook. That guy happened to be Mark.
“I wanted to start talking to him on Facebook so that my ex would notice, so I sent him a private message to kick things off. ‘Hey! I really like your taste in music’ was what I wanted to say, but I was sending it from my new iPhone and I accidentally pressed the ‘send’ button a little too soon, with the message ending up reading: ‘Hey! I really like your taste...’
“Needless to say, I was mortified and sent him another message to explain my mistake. Mark thought it was really funny and we decided to meet up in Paceville one Friday night. That night, I found out he had a girlfriend whom he soon left, and then we got together. We’re now engaged to be married.”
Rachel Agius and Anna Callus
Rachel, 24, first met Anna, 34, at a team-building weekend, but right off the bat, Rachel did not like her. Still, in the flurry of post-event Facebook friend requests, she added her as a friend on Facebeook.
“It was then that I realised I had been following her on Twitter for a long time, and I could finally put a face to the tweets I loved. One of the tweets she had posted had really caught my eye. It was a crude joke re-tweeted from Stewie, of Family Guy fame. When I read it, I laughed aloud in a lecture and almost got thrown out.
“After finding out through Facebook that that person was Anna, we exchanged a series of 140-character, or less, puns and I quickly changed my mind about her. In essence, a fictional character, word play and Twitter were the catalysts of this relationship. Eventually, after more verbose exchanges via Facebook, she asked me out, and the rest, as they say, is history. We’ve now been together for almost two years.”
Renae DeMunck Hipple and Scott Crandall
Renae, 37, and Scott, 41, have been together for the past three-and-a-half years. They were first introduced to each other by a mutual friend via Facebook. They now live together, and last Christmas, they got engaged to be married.
“I had just moved to Malta and was lonely,” explains Renae. “I’m not sure if our mutual friend just thought that Scott and I would make good friends, or if she thought we’d make a good couple.
“At first, we talked and talked online. This went on for about three months and then we graduated to phone calls, but still chatted a lot via Facebook.
“As time went by, we started to realise that we really had a lot in common and were sensing some chemistry. After about four months, we met in person and found that the chemistry was in fact very real.”
Sylia Grima and Horace Spiteri
When Horace, 27, first added Sylia, 23, as a friend on Facebook, Sylia wasn’t impressed. “I didn’t like him much,” she explains. “I thought he was a snob and full of himself, but after a couple of days of chatting I started to realise that maybe I was wrong. Although we lived in the same village I had a very wrong impression of him.
“After some time, besides chatting on Facebook, we also started texting each other at all hours of the day and evening. Then, around Christmas of 2011, Horace asked me out. But at the time, I wanted to be single and enjoy that time of year with my friends, so at first I didn’t accept.
“He asked me again right before New Year’s Eve and this time I accepted. We went for a ride in his car and, to be honest, at first he started to annoy me, but after a while, when we got talking and discussing, we discovered that we had common friends and I began to feel a little bit more comfortable.
“On the night of New Year’s Eve, we went out seperately with our friends, but we spent most of the evening texting each other and saying that we would have been better off had we been together.
“On the first day of 2012, we started meeting regularly and we have never looked back since. We now joke about how we were practically neighbours but that it had to be Facebook to make it happen.”