Press play and let love loose in the air; it isn’t really new to bond and date through video games. Like many online alternatives for in-person ones, “e-dating” has become a popular way for people to feel closer with their partners.
Though the term itself is more used within certain gaming communities, only ever spreading to those outside them little by little, there are loads of meanings and connotations to unpack behind the word. With such a clouded definition, The Benildean asked people who identify with it and some who don’t but found themselves a partner through a game or continue to date in these online spaces.
Heart emotes in the chat
ID 121 Multimedia Arts student Gabriel Joseph Ochoa defines e-dating as “When you’re in a relationship with someone online. Most interactions are made through calls and online activities.” Meanwhile, ID 119 Multimedia Arts student under the alias of Annabeth explains how she and her partner consider the term e-dating a bit too shallow to define their relationship.
“We do believe that there are shared aspects between how we go about in our relationship and e-dating,” she claims, sharing how they don’t exactly fit the mold of what e-dating is as implied through a question on their thoughts about the term.
Coincidentally, the President of Gamers Union for Innovation and Leadership Development (GUILD) Renzo Daniel Veridiano defines e-dating as “An unorthodox way of meeting new individuals since it stems from meeting the person online without physical contact,” while bringing up how some have misconceptions about it.
“I feel like people are trying to make e-dating and dating a different thing,” Ochoa starts to quote his girlfriend’s words, “if your feelings really are genuine, then it should be called dating.” From that point on, it does beg the question of whether there’s anything unique about the e-dating experience or if the term only exists as a form of an insult or a playful term in gaming spaces.
Normal gameplay, normal form of love
Angela Marie Tabaldo, an Accountancy student from the University of Santo Tomas (UST), shares how e-dating has allowed an easier and more accessible way to meet people online. “I see it as a new way of dating, especially as there are a lot of people who are doing it. A way to meet and bond,” she says, explaining how there’s an easy connection through something like in common through gaming.
For a De La Salle University (DLSU) ID 121 student who goes by the alias Eli, she never saw e-dating as anything else but normal. “Regardless of the pandemic, people would look for someone they can be with elsewhere if there’s no one of interest available to them within their area. Though, I do agree that it became more popular when people were restricted from leaving their homes.” This reaffirms how e-dating has been common among online communities and games, but it received more notice during the pandemic.
Tabaldo also said that she sees e-dating as a new way of dating today. With the rise of technology, she sees many people who have attempted to date online via online communities and games. “There’s a certain bond you get with someone. You can relate to what’s happening in [a] game when playing,” she mentions.
Wins and losses to e-dating
Eli mentioned that online dating is more considerate and easier for awkward and introverted people. She shares her experience that she had difficulty communicating and opening up to new people in an in-person setting. While establishing relationships online, it’s much easier for her regardless of the kind of relationship it is.
While convenient, Annabeth compares having arguments with her partner in-person and online. “It’s much more difficult to settle disagreements online because there are times when you need to gauge your partner’s feelings, their responsiveness and the like compared to settling disagreements or arguments in person,” she says.
For games specifically, however, Tabaldo speaks about communication problems that could arise. She emphasizes, "You won’t get to hear the tone someone has. Sometimes you misinterpret which leads to misunderstandings. The culture for both partners are different, especially if they don’t live in a place as the same as you.” With that, familiarity with a person’s communication style and understanding their background becomes more crucial in these online relationships.
Veridiano sheds light on the different misconceptions and connotations, claiming that these could be rooted in the lack of acceptance for more unorthodox forms of dating. “Personally, if I myself would be a target of ridicule just because I am currently dating someone I met from a game or online—I would not be bothered,” he claims. “It might be the hopeless romantic side of me talking but, hey, if you love the person, why worry about what other people say or talk about?”
Press start for the new game of love
All things considered, “e-dating” as a new way to connect with other people romantically is something that society doesn’t fully accept and understand yet. Unfortunately, the toxicity of online communities and “e-dating" being unconventional makes people hesitate to admit to being an e-dater. It can become normalized if people learn how to avoid stigmatizing it and instead see it as a new form of establishing connections.
Just because you’ve learned to connect with others via games or online communities doesn’t mean that your relationships are invalid. We find ourselves even more connected through technology as we hope that society starts to open up to new ways to establish relationships and not feel the need to hide them—who knows what kind of people we might meet?