Online dating is just another option for meeting people.It's never about "How or Where" you met.
It's all about who you meet. Online dating gets a bad rap but in truth the same people are everywhere!
Chance are if YOU are there then there is someone just like you who is there looking for the same things. Dating is about actively searching for your ideal mate.
Will everyone you meet online be a quality person? Probably not.
However these are the same people you would meet anywhere else.
The upside to meeting folks online is you have an opportuntity to narrow down your field of people before making a commitment to any one person. You can proceed at a pace that is comfortable for you. To start with you may only IM or send messages through the dating website. After awhile you may exchange personal email addresses. If things go well then you might exchange phone numbers and proceed to meet each other for lunch....etc
Most people who get hurt either move too fast or they make assumptions that looking for Mr./Ms. Right means their potential mate is only considering them as a prospective boyfriend/girlfriend.
Dating should be thought of in terms of interviewing for the position of future lover or spouse. Just like a company you are entitled to accept applications and conduct as many interviews as needed to find a suitable mate. Until an offer or agreement has been made and "accepted" the position remains open.
It's a mistake to believe you are the only one being considered.
When we do so we get hurt, cry betrayal, or call the other person names such as "dog" wh@re, liar...etc Often times there has never been any talk concerning exclusivity or monogamy!"Communication trumps Assumption every time!" Best of luck!
I recently wrote a hub regarding this.