We've all seen it happen, we've all wondered if it works, we've all heard the horror stories. Guildmates dating, is it good, is it bad, is it normal?
I'll start off by saying, yes, I've totally dated people who I've been in a guild with. My first MMO boyfriend was the person who got me into playing WoW. He left me at home one day with a pretty, raven haired, level 1, Blood Elf Warlock and came back to an addict. We played for about 6 months together before I left to play with another (better) guild due to the fact I didn't appreciate our female GM flirting with him all the time. He never reciprocated, I just didn't appreciate it. While WoW wasn't the reason for our eventual break-up I did learn some life, love, and gaming lessons from that experience.
There is definitely a stigma on in game dating. Many feel its not real, or that the people participating in it are pathetic losers who can't find dates in the "real world". The view is that the relationships and feelings can't be real because the individuals never meet. Or that the success rate is very low so it's not an acceptable dating practice. I dunno about any of you, but I've found the success rate is very low no matter who you are, who you date, or where you find those people. I've been on as many bad dates as the next girl. I've faked an emergency to get out of particualrly terrible ones a time or two. I also have the tendency to rush into a relationship and regret not knowing the person that well until 6 months in when we're living together and I find out he's a pathological liar with mommy issues, but I digress...
Here's the thing, we live in a very different world now days. Most of our lives are carried out online and virtually, even for those of us who don't play MMOs. I met my ex Mike via mutual Facebook friends, which is how most of my non-gamer friends meet the people they date as well. We communicate in texts and messaging more than face to face contact. Sure, I could get out more, but my friends all have lives too. We do what we can to stay connected, and isn't that really the point? To find someone who gets you, and that you get. Someone who shares your interests, sees you at your best and worse, and who you work with to reach goals. Most importantly, someone you want to spend every day with? Don't things like Skype make interacting with the other very real anyway?
My dating pool is better on an MMO. The men I meet in "real life" very rarely share the same passions as me. I tend to date techies and nerds, but very few have been MMO players. I like nerds. I think they're hott. The glasses. The intelligence. The passion for something they love. I love laying in bed and watching Star Wars. Or staying up late and playing each other in Magic the Gathering. "Wanna play some Halo?" One of the sexiest things a guy can say to me. But I like other traits as well, many of them not exactly a-typical of nerds. To get a little scandalous, I want a sexually aggressive man who knows what they're doing. I want a guy who can take my type A personality and isn't going to let me make them a doormat. Trust me, I try. I'm a strong independent woman who was raised with Princess Leia as my role model, so I'm looking for my Han Solo.
Some people really enjoy playing with their significant other. I've found that couples who come into a game together are usually very happy, if they have a healthy and happy relationship outside of the game. My original WoW guild had another couple who had been together for years, and they were very close and happy. I've also known people who had met in a game and built very successful relationships, marriages even. No one should judge someone else's happiness, or how and where they found it. Only someone alone, bitter, and jealous would do so.
The other side of this though, is that some people give online dating a bad rep. These are those terrible relationships which rip guilds apart and make people bitter to the whole idea. A great example is a couple who are dating and one is upset that they don't get as much play time. Often times this results in the significant other having to bail on the guild in order to maintain their relationship. I get it, you want to make your partner happy. I don't blame someone for taking this action, but then obviously that in game relationship isn't healthy. Whether they need to be in separate guilds, or both leave to focus on their relationship with each other, the collateral damage isn't acceptable.
The relationships that you make online can be as rewarding, fulfilling, and meaningful as those you make anywhere else. It simply depends on the time, effort, and commitment you put into it. That's what matters, not the media in which it's carried out on. I know a lot of couples who met on SWTOR. I've met up and gone on vacation with two of them. My best friend is someone I met on this game, visit regularly, have a very REAL relationship with, and am sitting on his couch right now while he takes a nap. I plan on visiting more of my guild mates in the coming months, and refuse to feel embarrassed or silly about it.
So, have a crush on someone you play with? Been engaging in a little after raid flirting? Take a chance. Do something crazy. Don't let what others think hold you back from taking a chance at happiness. My advice though? Don't shit where you eat (flirt outside of guild).