I remember when I came out to my Mum as polyamorous over a year ago. She was initially shocked, of course, and I was telling her about my boyfriend at the time, Mr Oldman. She asked me a couple of cursory questions about him and when she asked how we met I said on an online dating site. I could tell from her reaction that she was horrified! (Perhaps even moreso than she was about polyamory itself).
But what is the "normal" way to find new sweeties? Here is my very scientific list detailing how I've met each of my sweeties:
- Mr First (51 weeks) - A long and rather cute story, but it ultimately results in me having met him through an acquaintance I met in class at uni.
- Mr Wrong (5 years, ongoing) - Met at a mutual friend's birthday party
- Mr Oldman (8 months) - Online dating site
- Mr Wonderful (8 months) - Convoluted, but here goes: I was looking for a roleplaying group and found contact details for one online, that guy referred me to Mr Wonderful, who I had coincidentally seen at Roller Derby training earlier that month
- Mr Steak (1 month, ongoing) - Online dating site
So it looks like we've got 40% online dating, 40% meeting through friends, and 20% hobbies. Anecdotal experience is, of course, a terrible source for information, so I found some stats on snopes that was taken from a Harris Interactive Survey.
Turns out, 32% of couples meet through work or school, 30% through other people (friends/family/blind dates), 25% met in a public place (e.g. bar/coffee shop/neighbourhood) , and 6% met online (dating site/chat room).
The thought of meeting someone in a bar of coffee shop is really weird to me - probably as weird as online dating is to most. I imagine going to a bar specifically to find and pick up a sweetie, which would be out of character for me since I don't drink very often at all. Worse still, if you did, you barely have anything to go on about your potential date than whether you have chemistry and how they look and carry themselves in a social situation.
When online dating, I know if someone likes dogs or cats, smoker/non-smoker, how much they drink, if they do hard drugs, if they're into crystal healing, what they do for a living, how well they can communicate in the written word, and of course whether they're open to polyamorous relationships. Someone said that this takes the mystery out of the relationship, or the fun of finding out new things, but I disagree. Despite having a vast knowledge of Mr Steak's character thanks to his online dating profile, I still get to find out all sorts of things from meeting him in person. (e.g. he is fun to watch Survivor with, and he also dislikes Lord of the Rings!). It's just a lot of the initial screening process is taken care of for you. And I like that.