Since the initial adoption of the internet in the early 1990s, the digital era has quickly brought about the evolution of daily life technology, allowing a majority of people to stay connected on a global scale. With rapid communication now available, an increasing amount of relationships are formed via emai and/or social media, and in recent years public attitudes toward online dating have become more positive.
John and Rhonda Cochran, a married couple out of Claremore, met online in 1997 through an AOL directory. At that time there was a negative connotation associated with meeting someone on the internet, said Rhonda.
“My family was very concerned that I would meet someone that was just out there, that didn’t go to our church or we hadn’t known for years. I was still recently divorced and they were somewhat afraid that I was jumping into a situation without thinking,” she said. “My previous marriage was not good, and I began chatting online in an attempt to find myself. I met John and he was really good about building me up.”
John said he contacted Rhonda first through the AOL chat room after narrowing his search to age of person and location. He came across Rhonda’s screen name and profile and decided to message “hi,” not knowing where it would lead.
He said it took Rhonda about five minutes to reply, although it seemed closer to an hour.
The chats turned into hour-long conversations and a few days later, John picked Rhonda up for a first date.
“Looking back on it, I was not smart to have a person I’d never met, come to my house and pick me up,” said Rhonda. “I had a group of friends waiting at the Caravan, a dance hall where we were headed, and they were to come rescue me if the date did not go as planned. But it went just as expected and here we are 16 years later, happily married.”
In fact, after six months of dating, the couple eloped at a small wedding chapel in Tulsa.
John said it is possible that individuals wanting to meet someone online may be more motivated to form a long-term marital relationship.
The Claremore couple has had their share of rough patches similar to anyone, however, they both say they are happier than ever.
“We recently renewed our vows after 15 years,” Rhonda said. “John made a testimony at church and little did I know he was planning to propose to me. He dropped down on one knee, he had a ring, he had flowers, he had my best friend sing and I turned around to find my Dad at the back of the church ready to walk me down the aisle. I was totally surprised.”
With the amount of traffic in chat rooms today, John said he would not recommend meeting someone the same way he met Rhonda. For anyone wanting to begin a long-term relationship online, he said he recommends using an online dating site with advanced screening services. The effects are not always positive, however, for Rhonda and John they were lifechanging. Nevertheless, the modern shift in terms of how people are meeting each other in this day and age is encouraging.