17 years ago, I said “I do.”
But let me back up just a bit.
It was early 2003. I had been living stateside for 2 years, still trying to figure out what to do with my life. (I came back from 2 years living in Istanbul, Turkey for the first 2 years after college. Ask if you’d like to hear all about that experience!)
I had tried online dating, which was disastrous. A phone call with an acknowledged racist…a creeper trying to get my phone number “so I can let the phone ring when I get home and you’ll know I made it safe.”
Yeah, not exactly the kind of people I wanted to get to know better.
So when my mom told me about yet another personals site, I rolled my eyes. But since her dear friend had just celebrated her first anniversary with the man she met on this site, she had higher hopes than I did.
To honor her, I went along with her wishes.
I spent over an hour working through the long questions, all about what makes me tick and what I wanted for my life. Several family members sat in the dining room with me, helping me figure out how to answer it in a way that reflected reality.
I breathed a sigh of relief as I finished, typed in the parameters of the type of guy I was looking for….
Well, not quite nothing. There were 4 guys in a 60-mile radius. Two lived in Canada. (nothing against Canadians, but I didn’t want to have to keep crossing the border for a relationship) The other two were very clear “no”.
What a waste of time.
I went to bed, frustrated at the lost hour of my life, knowing I was right and mom was wrong.
The next morning, I decided to try the search one more time. To make sure I wasn’t missing something in my parameters.
And this time there was a fifth result!
A guy who seemed rather obsessed with motorcycles, but otherwise a guy who made me laugh and nod with agreement from his long, well-thought-out answers.
I wrote him a message.
And heard nothing.
It was nearly 36 hours before I got a response back. (turns out, his parents’ fridge had died, so they spent the weekend getting a new one and doing everything that goes along with that, so he didn’t get on his computer).
I saw the message the next morning, and was relieved and quite intrigued.
Here was a man who made me laugh. Hard. He was sincere. His parents had graduated from the same college I had, and their pictures were in my parents’ yearbook because three of them graduated the same year. Suddenly the 60-mile distance felt a lot less.
So we started writing. A lot. And often. Many, many long emails back and forth the entire week.
By the end of the week, we were both hooked.
We had our first date scheduled for that Saturday (June 7, 2003). It was a marathon 13-hour date. Breakfast at Bob Evans, a picnic lunch at Letchworth State Park, a coffee at Leaf and Bean Coffee Shop, and home to meet my family and my crazy dog.
It was enough. We knew. Even though there were rocky parts of that date, it was obvious we wanted to get to know each other better.
By the end of the second week, we were planning our wedding. July 3rd, he proposed. September 5th, we walked down the aisle.
When it’s right, it’s right!
Next installment: what “Happily Ever After” looks like. Well, what it looks like in our lives. I don’t think this is exactly what everyone wants, but it’s pretty perfect for us!