Finding love through YouTube
Updated: Nov 23, 2020
“I met him on the internet...” is a story Nicole Garcia, 24, has told countless times. Although internet dating is common practice in 2020, Nicole’s story is a little different. She met her boyfriend, Fraser, 25, through watching his YouTube videos.
After a couple of years of being nothing more than usernames to each other, they started exchanging messages and hit it off. Soon, they wanted to meet to see if this was the real deal. The only problem was Nicole lived in the US, and Fraser was in the UK.
Today the couple live together in Scotland and are recently celebrating their engagement after six years together.
Now that they are living together, they feel they can officially start their life properly. In the beginning, they would only see each other once every six months which was difficult for them.
“The first year was the easiest because that was all we knew. The second we met in person, leaving was awful, but we would Skype at least once a week. He would stay awake until 5am talking to me. When we weren’t Skyping, it was Snapchat 24/7, my Snapscore is 447,000...”
A Snapscore is a number generated mainly by the number of photos a person has sent and received via the app. The number gets higher the more someone uses Snapchat. For comparison, many users her age have a Snapscore between 50,000 and 150,000.
Soon after they started dating, Nicole’s friends descended onto Fraser’s YouTube channel which he was embarrassed about, leading him to delete some of his videos. The final straw came when a lecturer made a joke about drinking milk. When Fraser didn’t react, his lecturer reminded him of his video where he rapidly drinks a litre of milk before projectile vomiting everywhere. Never wanting to be that embarrassed again, Fraser hasn't uploaded new content since.
The video-sharing platform isn’t the only way to meet a new partner online, as more and more people get acquainted with the internet, more and more relationships are formed this way. According to Michael Rosenfeld, a sociology professor at Stanford University, 39% of heterosexual couples in America now meet online.
However, this means that people who aren’t tech-savvy are sometimes taken advantage of. Introducing the MTV hit show, Catfish, where the hosts help people who are in questionable online relationships find out if their love interest is real or fake.
It’s a very popular show and has shown people ways to stay safe with online dating. Nicole lists off all the necessary precautions that she learned from Catfish: never sending Fraser money (not that he asked), having video chats and Google image reverse searching photos he uploaded.
Nicole admits she even had reservations until the day they met in person.
“In all honesty, I still had doubts up until we first met but he booked his flights about six months in of us talking. When I finally saw him at arrivals, I realised it was real and this was it.”
She understands how hard it is to put trust in another person, and that it only gets more difficult when they live on the other side of the world, but she just had to commit to their relationship and hope for the best.
After meeting him at arrivals, it was bittersweet, they knew each other inside out, but their physical interaction needed to play catch-up.
“We had an awkward hug and an awkward kiss. Later, I kissed him properly but it was the most awkward kiss ever. It was quite weird because we knew each other so well but didn’t know how to interact, but after that, it was quite effortless.”
Although they live together now, the worst part of their relationship was saying goodbye at the airport.
“Every time one of us would go back it would genuinely feel like we were breaking up or the other person was dying.”
Additionally, having an internet boyfriend didn’t help matters when she started college and met guys from her classes. They didn’t take her commitment seriously and adopted the ‘out of sight, out of mind’ approach when speaking to her, which she found quite rude.
Even her own family had their worries about the relationship.
“I could explain it to my grandparents, and they would be happy for me but not think it was real. My mum said to be careful in case he broke my heart and my dad said at least I couldn’t get pregnant.”
As the years went on the long periods of separation never got easier, and the need for them to be in the same country became stronger. In 2015, Nicole was accepted for university in Scotland and prepared to move over and she's stayed ever since.
Although they did not start out as a typical relationship, she thinks that as long as trust and communication are there, anything’s possible.