Internet dating etiquette | Single girl problems

As you may know, I have recently delved a bit deeper into the world of internet dating. I am still relatively new to the concept and admittedly rather inexperienced. I was doing my homework when everyone else was friending random strangers on MSN and early Facebook so the idea of forming friendships with people on the internet is quite foreign. Maintaining friendships despite distance with the use of the internet is something I am much more comfortable with.

As such, I do wonder what etiquette is afforded to internet dating and if this is different from real life dating?

For example, if I was having a prolonged and in-depth conversation with someone, is it okay for me to still be shopping around? When should we determine if a relationship is exclusive? If I was texting a guy multiple times a day in real life then I would feel a loyalty to him, not because we were ‘pre dating’ but because I was investing time in the relationship. Whereas I don’t feel quite the same loyalty with internet dating. If the friendship is not ‘official’ then my job is to continue to check out profiles and send out messages to other men because the reason that I am online is to start a relationship.

So now we face the issue of transparency. I would not pursue multiple relationships at a time in real life, but I would (hopefully) be clear that I was not opposed to starting a relationship with someone other than the man I was texting. I feel that internet dating is much less transparent and, although it can be assumed that each individual is conversing with other people, it is almost impossible to determine to what extent. I don’t think that anyone wants to specifically say, “Hey, I’m also talking to, like, three other guys and I’m just waiting to see who I hit it off with first.” And that doesn’t even factor in any potential real life relationships.

I guess my question is- when should I cut off other conversations if I feel that one is heading down a more serious path? On the other hand, is this concept of talking to/courting multiple men something that I am morally okay with? I think that is something that I will have to investigate further in the future.

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