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.




Catch of the Day

Last week we had the pleasure of hearing from guest blogger, Carol Lloyd, about her experiences meeting her husband online. As promised, here is Part 2…

Two weeks later the same guy writes.

“You’ve been on my mind a lot the last few days. Would you mind, if I give you a call?”

No, I guess not—but why? Had anything changed about his plans? 

As it turned out, I had already planned a trip to Washington for the following long weekend. So I proposed meeting for coffee. No expectations on my part, after all, I’d gotten a “Dear Jane” letter! Nevertheless, he drove the two hours to meet me in Seattle. We had coffee, talked, had dinner and talked. Our first meeting IRL (in real life) was four and a half hours. At the end, when saying goodbye, he asked if he could call me. He asked—big points!!

We called, visited and in the middle of the dating process I panicked! I think he’s very serious – now what?! Prior to this revelation, I had mapped out, for example, when he should travel to visit me, but I didn’t tell him. This was only an agenda I had in my head based on proper male attentiveness (according to Carol).

He actually arrived according to my mental agenda!

So I proceeded to make my signals of interest clear; after all, there was a agenda. Then, he became serious! Oh no! Do I really want to get married? Am I in love with this guy? What will his (grown) kids think of me? Am I too analytical and in my head? (Well, maybe sometimes.) Nonetheless, my questions and emotions needed sorting. I required answers!

Why am I panicking? He isn’t a jerk or a wimp.

I was afraid because I didn’t know what to expect; I needed time to process my feelings. Not only that, but I compared us to other couples! The first two reasons are not surprising. In a relationship it can be difficult to know what will happen, especially a long distance one. Or, on the flip side, did I have expectations that I was unaware of which necessitated definition and resolve? I found myself in both categories, so I had homework. Time, in part, was my answer. I had to deal with my expectations known and unknown, as well as process my feelings. Women should never short change the time required to process feelings, and it is best if some of that processing is done with a close friend or family member.

The third reason for my crisis involved sabotage. Yes, I was the culprit destroying my relationship! Anytime someone compares, corrosion ensues. Comparisons are rarely helpful, especially in regard to relationships, because another couple’s situation, their temperaments and life experiences are always going to be different than mine, or ours in this case. Our path was as valid as any other couple’s. Once I navigated the minefield of expectations and comparisons, I was home free to understand my feelings.

He proposed four months after our first coffee time.

I hemmed and hawed, considered the ramifications, logistics and potential outcomes. After all, I’m quite practical in nature, remember?(Actually, I did none of those things.) By the time he was done with the proposal, we were both teary eyed and I replied with a resounding YES! As mentioned, I did those mental gymnastics while I was panicking and even after the initial crisis subsided.

Don’t forget, fishing often takes time.

This kind of fishing is not like the “catch of the day” at a restaurant, thrown out when it’s spoiled. This lasts a lifetime so impatience does not serve us well. Honestly, I didn’t think there was a guy out there like Brian. We are very well suited. I’m always learning more about him, adjustments are perpetual, and life and marriage can bring struggles. Bottom line, I would do it all again and love having him to share a life together. Having known him for four and a half years, we now have a wonderful mixture of time-lines, where it doesn’t seem like it’s been that long but we’ve known each other forever! Although dating and marriage are not one transcendent experience after another, I am blissfully happy, married to a wonderful and imperfect man.

What expectations or comparisons have you brought to your dating situations? How do you process your emotions?

For more great blogs from Carol, find her at www.timeforcoffee.blogspot.com

Meeting Face to Face

Perhaps you’ve met someone interesting online, and you’d like to meet them. Let’s assume that you have invested time emailing with each other, first on the dating site and then through your personal email. If this has taken place all in one night, stop! Go back to the post titled Are You Kidding before proceeding!

Once you have confidently exchanged meaningful emails, and bravely entertained a few phone conversations, you may finally be ready to meet face to face.

So let’s talk about safety guidelines. Remember, crazy people exist out there who can adeptly charm with written words or maneuver conversations to create breathless wonder. Try to recognize and avoid rather than meet them. We want our internet dating experiences to remain sincerely pleasant if at all possible!

First, call upon a trusted friend to help you discern the character of your matches. I cannot highlight this enough! If it weren’t for my dear friends, I could have ended up stalked (nearly happened!) or flying off to another state to meet a naked man—thank goodness my friend confirmed my suspicions that men describing their state of undress while talking with me on the phone would not share my particular values even if they desired to share my bed!  So, if your friends concur that this person you hope to meet seems safe and worthy of your attention, you have passed level one.

Secondly, you MUST heed any waving red flags. You know those prodding little question marks that keep floating up during your conversations? Don’t swat them away. Look at them. Listen to them. What are they saying to you about this other person? Sometimes those alerts in our heart warn us about potential danger emotionally or spiritually, but they can also point to situations needing further examination. For example, a friend of mine met someone she really liked, but he had some chronic, long-term health issues. She wrestled with the impact that may have on her life and implications for the future.  After some careful consideration, prayer and discussion (with me of course), she decided that he would be worth it. They married and are thrilled they did, even with the challenges his health has presented!

Finally, take some common sense precautions: Meet in public for the first time preferably during the day. If possible, have the person meet you at a neutral place rather than your home, especially if you live alone. Believe it or not, I even went with a friend when she met her date! I hung out at a nearby coffee shop. It ended up that he was a great guy, and after their date, we all enjoyed a wonderful time of conversation together! And, I took my twenty-year-old daughter with me when I went to Australia to meet my internet boyfriend(now my husband) for the first time.  I knew she would instantly discern if something wasn’t as it should be!

At the very least, you should walk away from your meeting feeling safe and satisfied with a greater understanding of your online suitor. At best, you will know the moment you see him or her that they actually are the one you have waited for your whole life. At least, that’s how it happened for me.