Online dating is a growing trend - Fox 28: South Bend, Elkhart IN News, Weather, Sports

Online dating is a growing trend

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"He added me as a friend on Facebook and then sent me a message a couple days later and then we ended up talking on the phone," says Emily Winters.

That was the start of Emily Winters' relationship with a stranger from Arizona. She admits it's different than a typical relationship, but says there are advantages.

"It's a good way to get to know each other before all the complicated stuff gets in the way," says Emily.

Saint Mary's College communications professor, Jenny Armentrout says online dating has become more and more acceptable. "It's very convenient and it can be very quick and maybe it feels a void."

With social media outlets like Facebook and Twitter, she says it's easier than ever to form relationships with complete strangers. "There are many people who think 'ok I can begin, maintain, even end relationships all online, all through social media, never talk to this person, never see them and that's fine."

But she says there is a disconnect between social media interactions and face-to-face time. "Both things need to happen to some degree, at some point to verify and legitimize those relationships."

Without personal interaction, Armentrout says these relationships can be dangerous.

Which is why Emily says she had a few rules. She had a mutual friend validate that the guy was who he said he was. "To have the friend saying he was good, that made me a lot more like 'ok I guess I'll give it a shot."

And then she says they had to meet. "I was like, I want to meet you first before we decide on any plans or anything. Before making any real commitments I wanted to meet him first."

She says she knows of other online relationships that haven't work out as well, but for her, it did work. "You can absolutely fall for someone you've never met."

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