Miracles Do Happen


When my friend, Carol, and I decided to take a chance with online dating, I don’t think we expected the outcome we ended up with. Oh, we hoped to find Mr. Right, but really, what were the chances we would both find our husbands through that vehicle?

At the same time?

Brian and Carol's rehearsal dinner
Brian and Carol’s rehearsal dinner

The actual odds were pretty slim considering that only 1 in 5 singles form a committed relationship with someone from a dating site (match.com). So for both of us to meet our husbands online at christiancafe.com within a couple of months of each other seemed pretty miraculous.

How many people do you know who have met through an internet dating site and are now happily married? (I’d really love to know in the comments below.)

We are both coming up on our fifth year anniversaries which seems amazing to me. What’s even more amazing is the story of how it all happened. Well, Carol’s story is hers to share, but you can find more of my story from earlier posts in Confessions of an Online Dater.

Or, you can read the book.DSC_0002

It’s in the proofing stage currently and is now set to release on February 7, 2014. It will be available through CreateSpace.com, Amazon.com and other retailers.

NOW AVAILABLE ON AMAZON IN PRINT AND KINDLE EDITION

 

 

Is Online Dating Gaining Popularity?


It happened again.

This time I was getting a pedicure and chatting with the lovely woman who attempted to produce something beautiful from my calloused, beach-combing feet. The conversation naturally turned to how we each met our husbands.

Her question prompted my response, “On an internet dating site,” and I grinned, waiting for the usual astonishment.

No way! You’re the third person that I’ve heard of.

I find I’m hearing that more often now. My husband and I know two other married couples who met on Christian Café. Online dating is quickly losing its stigma. Many folks are tired of the bar hopping want-to-go-to-my-place scene. They want more than one night; they long for something real, deeper and permanent.

According to 2012 statistics, internet dating is gaining popularity and producing lasting results.

Did you know that:

  • In 2007, 20 million people tried online dating; in 2012 40 million have jumped onboard
  • 10% of 54 million singles use an online dating service
  • Of online daters, 52.4% are male; 47.6% are female
  • 20% of current committed relationships started online
  • The average length of courtship leading to marriage for online daters is 18.5 months
  • 17% of couples who married met on a dating site
  • According to eHarmony, their site is responsible for 5% of all US marriages

Is it the best option?

While opportunities for meeting the person of your dreams through work, school, and social activities may present themselves to the majority of society, many people find the internet dating situation a beneficial one. Learning a little about someone from a profile or being matched to a compatible suitor offers a dating advantage that supersedes a bar scene or the constant conscious effort to pay attention to every potential single who may be in the next aisle at the grocery store.

Yes, liars and potential dangers do exist online.

But I’ve seen or met some fairly sketchy characters on a college campus, in a restaurant and even at church. There are no guarantees that you won’t meet unscrupulous people on an internet dating site—just as you might anywhere. It’s certainly not the only option; it’s only one of many. But I’m awfully glad I tried it.

Do you know someone who has met online? What’s their story?
 

Statistics provided by www.statisticbrain.com and www.eharmony.com

“Dear Jane”


This week I’ve asked my friend and fellow blogger, Carol Lloyd, to share her online dating experience. Carol and I shared the pleasure of side by side internet dating and meeting our husbands within three months of each other. You can get a taste of Carol’s fun and interesting life at Time for Coffee. Her husband, Brian, also offers his perspective on life at brianzgate.

Let’s face it, online dating has a stigma.

I was rather leery of the whole concept myself. Laura, got me into it. Now, she’s asked me to guest blog for her. I wonder what’s next? 🙂

My story is different, just as Laura and I are different; but experiencing it together we had a blast! Here’s a bit about how my tale went. Before you read, you need to know I’m a practical person. If a romantic bone exists in my body, it’s a small one.

Nothing to write home about.

I’d been perusing online profiles for a total of ten months, and was well into a second dating site. Almost a year was enough; I was done. It had been fun while it lasted, as they say. And it really had been fun in aspects I hadn’t imagined. Many evenings we sat in hysterics at what some of the guys would write! I think Laura already mentioned an email I received—portraying me as a goldfish and him as the piranha! I ask you, would you be attracted to this guy and want further communication? Or, there was Laura’s international missile salesman, about whom I asked if he did that door to door?!

Really? Is this the extent of the fish in the sea I get to choose from?

My inbox received many a “net email” as I referred to them. These emails held no specific reference to my profile (if it had even been read!) Rather they referred to me as an angel sent from heaven or some such drivel. The absurdity made it quite apparent that these emails had been sent to any number of women to see who might respond. You know, trying to maximize one’s return on investment, like casting a net. I never responded.

Finally, I dated someone, but within a few weeks, I got an email addressed to me referring to a phone conversation the night before. He commented on how wonderful it was. Problem was, we hadn’t talked the night before! When I pointed that out and asked if there was anything he wanted to tell me, I never heard from him again. I was fine with that, but what a coward!

Doesn’t this experience sound great, exciting and rewarding?

Don’t you want to abandon this blog post and sign up at some dating site, any dating site—immediately? You can see why, after ten months, I was done.

But another friend convinced me to sign up for three more months. It was during the second month I found a real gem! This did not usher in a steady stream of starry, magical nights and blissful encounters. In fact, after six weeks of sporadic electronic communication, I was sent a “Dear Jane” letter. Some gem! Oh, it was a cordial one—nothing to do with me, but he felt God was leading him to move to another area in Washington. At the time, I lived in California. The communication was nice while it lasted. Did I want to start over? Hmmm…not really…

Continued in Part 2 next week.
 
Care to share your online dating experience? What stigma do you think online dating has? Do you know anyone who has dated online?

Someone’s Out There


I stumbled upon a blog this past week that intrigued me.

The author, a gentleman whose name I can’t remember and blog I can’t find now, spoke of how fed up he was with online dating. He had much to say about the industry and what an unbelievable scam it was becoming. He had given it a try for a couple of years without meeting the woman of his dreams and decided there must be a better way. I certainly experienced some of the same feelings at times during my stint with internet dating!

This man went on to explain how he went to France and decided to write a book about his love experiences. Right before he left, someone he had once had a couple of dates with contacted him and they reconnected when he returned from his trip. He used the profile idea from his online dating experience to create his own profile and sent it on ahead to the woman. A deeper connection was his goal. Within a short while they hit it off and eventually married.

Seemed like an interesting idea to me.

Reading his blog made me realize how many different love stories there are, and how unique each one is. I never would have imagined meeting my husband online, but God used that vehicle to create a wonderful love story for my husband and me. The man I’ve mentioned (still trying to find his site again) gave up internet dating and found the love of his life in another way. Some people meet at school, or in malls or at a bar. Others know someone who sets them up with someone they know, and still others find their true love at a party or wedding. Regardless of the setting, the bottom line is the miracle and greatness of finding that one person who fits with us perfectly and adds a depth and dimension to our life that wasn’t there before.

I’ve read horror stories of online daters, but I also known of miracle stories (like mine) that came through an internet dating site. I’ve known people who met in junior high school (like my parents and Clayton and Ellen Kershaw – LA Dodgers pitcher, authors), and others who found their spouse later in life (my two best friends). No matter what, when or how, the most important thing is the end result. People weren’t meant to be alone. We long for relationship. Even if we’re happily single, we count on our friends to be there for us and call on us. Meeting our true love can happen anywhere and through a variety of avenues.

Honestly, at first, I felt a little defensive toward someone who insisted online dating was a terrible thing; but in the end, his result was the same as mine–we met our soul mates. Isn’t that what matters most?

Care to share your story? How did you meet your soul mate? Are you still searching? Do you have an experience with online dating?

 

 

K-I-S-S-I-N-G


This week I’m delighted to offer another guest post from Brendan Bennet, an excerpt from The Miracle of Us: Confessions of Two Online Daters. Brendan gives us a glimpse into his initial experience with internet dating…

I began my internet dating experience on a secular website. 

Silly Me! My first clue should have been the computer generated initial ‘hi’ for this site was a kiss. A bit forward, don’t you think? I mean kissing on the first date would be pretty irregular especially before even being introduced.

I received my share of interest from people who I declined politely. Those were individuals twice my age (and I was 47 then), not resembling a female (who am I trying to kid, not even vaguely female), escaping war torn nations, believers in the god Pluto (the Disney one), and shall we say, business ladies.

Despite some hiccups, I did connect with a couple of ladies who I ended up meeting in person. One of the ladies decided she was too independent for a serious relationship and my having three children required someone serious about family! I went out with the other women four or five times for some laughs over drinks and dinner. We became friends and had some good times together, but we were not interested in each other romantically. No other situation presented itself. Still, it was refreshing and fun to meet these ladies and realise that being single might not be a permanent situation.

It soon became apparent, however, that secular dating sites might not be the best place for me to search for my life partner. In view of my Christian beliefs, it was desirable to meet a like-minded lady. It would be a disaster if we found out later that our philosophies and beliefs conflicted, and we couldn’t get along because our values were misaligned. Trouble was I didn’t even imagine there might be such a thing as a non-secular dating site.

Technology is not my strong suit. I only recently learned that search engines have, for a very long time, had the ability to tag linked accounts, such as email, with banners for businesses that might synch with the activity on the account. Given I was on a dating site as well as various Christian sites regularly, the search engine must have married those two activities and come up with the banner over my email advertising a dating site called Christian Café. I don’t believe in coincidence; I believe in Providence. I felt this began a long list of interventions that brought me and my family to the U.S. where God gave me Laura as His gift and blessing for healing, new life and wholeness. Mark down finding Christian Café through a banner advertisement as intervention number one.

Safe or Scary?


Is online dating the wave of the future?

I recently met a woman who politely, yet with scrutiny questioned my decision to employ internet dating sites to meet a husband. This was after I told her about my husband and I meeting online.

Her comments went something like, “Isn’t that a pretty daring thing to do? I mean, I’ve heard such horror stories about singles meeting really creepy people on those sites.”

“Well, it’s true there are some crazy people out there,” I acquiesced, “but both my best friend and I met our husbands–amazing, quality men–online. We also have other friends who met on the same site. So obviously, not all of it’s bad.”

“What site did you use?” she asked. I chuckled internally thinking it usually doesn’t take long before someone’s curiosity overrides their previous ‘sensibility’ about internet dating.

“We met on christiancafe.com, but I also tried eHarmony. Some of the guys were not okay, but my friend and I helped each other screen them. Really, it was fine,” I assured her.

Don’t be crazy!

It’s true I’ve come across numerous sites (like internetdatingstories.com) that depict the horrors of psycho encounters with online daters, but quite honestly, most of them surprise me with their foolish pursuance of predators. What do people think when they communicate with someone? Is society so quick to jump into a relationship (or bed) that people don’t take the time to find out more about each other before running ahead to the next step?

My friends and I never considered meeting a guy unless we had developed a substantial connection through multiple email messages, first through the site and then possibly through our private email, and after a few phone conversations.

Surprisingly, only a few stories I’ve read seemed to describe legitimate complaints of being taken in by seemingly honest individuals who somehow manage to live as Jekyll and Hyde.

All of that to say that with social networking drawing us closer together from farther away, online dating is here to stay and growing in popularity (see unitedfamiliesinternational.wordpress.com/?s=online+dating+statistics for some interesting statistics). So is is safe or scary?

Using wisdom, discretion and accountability will keep it safe. When in doubt about someone, let it go; the best person out there for you is one you feel good about from the start. I posted some safety tips in an earlier blog titled Meeting Face to Face.

Meeting online can lead to great relationships and even marriage. Read through my previous online dater posts for more of our story or check out testimonials on christiancafe.com for other encouraging tales of wedded bliss.

Be safe and online dating shouldn’t be scary.

 

INTERNET DATING FAQ


What Would You Like to Know?

People seemed stunned and curious when I tell them my husband, Brendan, and I met on christiancafe.com, an internet dating site. Usually questions fly as soon as I relate a few of the details like:

  1. He was widowed with three young children and I, divorced with four grown children;
  2. Brendan, who’s from Australia moved here to California, but first we traveled back and forth and dated via Skype
  3. We fell in love long before we ever met in person

 

 

One question leads to another and finally the interested folks I’m sharing with comment, “What a great story! You should write a book. I’d read that.

 

 

 

Questions range from “How did you know what site to try?” to “How did you manage to date from such a long distance?” And, of course, the standard “How did you know he was the one?”

This past week someone asked what we thought when we saw each other for the first time in person. I told her, “As soon as I saw him waiting for me in the airport, I threw my arms around him. (Almost hitting him in the head with my guitar!) We kissed for the first time right then, and my heart felt at home for the first time in my life.”

This week I thought it might be interesting to have readers ask questions. Questions about internet dating or dating in general, questions about our relationship, marriage, profiles, immigration, etc.  I’m open to answering those nagging questions that you wish you could pose to someone. I hope our experience benefits others. Or maybe, you know one or both of us and you’d like to know something specific…

Not only do we have an incredible story, but some of you may also. I’d love to hear from those who have experienced similar situations! What’s your story?

 

 

How Did You Know?


Recently I had the pleasure of meeting a couple of young women from Switzerland and as usually happens when we first meet someone, the topic came up of how I met my husband. If you’ve been following my blog, you’ve read how it usually goes…

Me:”We met online.”

New acquaintance: “No way! Really?”

Me: “Yep. I know…(smile knowingly here), crazy, huh?”

New acquaintance: “So how? What site were you on?”

Me: “Well, I started on eharmony.com, but I actually met him on christiancafe.com.”

New acquaintance: “Wow! That is so cool. So tell me about it…like did you email or talk? How long was it until you met in person?”

Me: “We emailed for a few weeks, then talked on the phone a couple of times, but then we Skyped.”

Both of us: “Thank goodness for Skype! I know, right?”

Me: “We met in person a little over three months after he first “winked” (like a poke on Facebook) at me. I went to Australia to meet him….”

And so continued the conversation until eventually the question surfaced “How did you know he was the one?” A very good question. Because it’s not like I hadn’t communicated with quite a number of men, asking myself over and over if this new guy was “the one.” So I’ve given that question a lot of thought, and I’ve interviewed a few people as well regarding that same question…how DID you know?

It may sound too simplistic, but the truth is that I just did. Suddenly something was different about Brendan, about the situation, about how it felt in my heart, and a certainty existed where only questions had plagued me before. For the first time, I didn’t ask if he WAS the one, I asked for confirmation that what I felt in the depths of my soul was real. And, as we continued to communicate, the conviction became stronger. It felt as if we had always known each other, even when we shared new things. Like I knew a deeper, broader place/part of Brendan that no one told me about, I just knew. A soul connection.

When I asked another person if it was the same for her, she agreed “Oh, yeah. We just knew.” She explained that on the night they met, her husband told a friend that he had just met the woman he was going to marry; even though she was dating someone else at the time. They married three weeks later and have been happily married for fourteen years.

One of my closest friends took longer to feel convinced that she and her husband were meant to be, but still she never questioned it. It grew on them a little more slowly, but the confidence grew stronger as time went by. I think she summed it up best stating, “If you don’t know, then you don’t know.” Clearly, if you don’t know, then you haven’t met him or her yet. But, don’t lose heart. It’s worth waiting for.

So, how did YOU know?