How I Met My Valentine

cc_heartSydney, Saturday

Valentine’s Day seems an appropriate time to reflect on how glad I am I met Clive, and how lucky I feel to have him in my life.

As I wrote in Living with a Brit, we met in September, 2005.  Most of our family and friends know how happy we are together, but (until now) not everyone knows we met via the Internet. 

Not Afraid of the Internet

When I put my toe into the waters of online dating, I was nervous about meeting men again after being widowed, but I wasn’t afraid of the Internet.

My first foray into the world of Internet message boards was several years earlier, when I found a site dedicated to U.S. college athletic recruiting.  I found another mother whose son was in the same situation as mine, and we corresponded regularly via e-mail.

On one of our family home leaves, we arranged to get together face to face.  I was at my mother’s house, preparing to drive to the meeting, when she asked, “How did you meet her?”  I said, “We met through baseball.“

My son, who overheard the conversation, piped up from the living room, “SHE MET HER ON THE INTERNET.”

“Oh, dear,” my mother said.  “You’d better give me her name, address, and phone number.”

rose_21Internet Support Groups

After my husband died, I found a grief support group on the web.  We formed a global community, and I’m still in touch with some of the friends I met there.

I‘m relatively new to blogging, but it seems to me there are many similarities with message boards and support groups:  communities of interest and understanding; sharing of common passions and concerns; and communication, support, and connection via comments to one another.

My Internet Dating Experience

Books have been written on this subject, and I read many of them before I put my profile on a dating site.

Because of my prior Internet experience, I was overall positively predisposed to ‘the type of people you meet online’.  I thought my instincts were good, and knew there were certain types of men I didn’t want to meet:  those who weren’t emotionally, physically, or financially stable, not to mention those who smoked or might lack kindness, intelligence, and integrity.

We All Have Our Stories

global_hugI’m aware many people, including some regular readers here, have met their partners online.  Clive and I have had fun sharing our respective experiences with each other, and reflecting on our individual paths that ultimately connected.

My preference was to wait to see who contacted me, although some of my female friends said, “But you can be in control, if you contact them first.“  It may sound old-fashioned, but I wanted to meet men who I knew had at least some interest in meeting me.

My Two Cents’ Worth

From my limited experience, I developed two basic guidelines for anyone contemplating Internet dating:

1.      Meet in person as soon as possible.  E-mail for as long as it takes to agree to meet, but don’t spend a lot of time on the phone if you can avoid it.  My very first Internet date was with a man with whom I talked on the phone for over an hour, yet within a few minutes of meeting face to face, I knew he wasn’t for me.

2.      Avoid any whiff of real estate issues.  I met one man unwilling to disclose his living situation, and another who lived with his ex, her new partner, and the 32 year-old child of him and his ex.  I was amazed at how frequently these types of issues occurred, which to me suggested broader financial concerns and/or a general lack of stability.

Hi!

rose1My two cents aside, I did find mostly nice guys out there, and realised everyone was looking for the same thing:  love, companionship, and someone with whom to share all or part of one’s life.

Like most online daters, I received my share of winks, smiles, and e-mails, and developed a response process with which I was comfortable.
I ignored winks and ‘form letter’ e-mails, and responded to those that contained something personal about my profile and the sender’s personality or interests.  I had several enjoyable dates with pleasant guys, but no sparks flew.

One night I almost deleted a message attached to a profile I hadn’t looked at because the photo was hidden.  The message included a link that opened the photo.  It said, “Hi.”

“Hi?”  You must be kidding, I thought.  If he couldn’t be bothered to write something more, I should delete it and not reply.  But I looked at the profile (and photo) and thought, hmmmm.   We liked many of the same things and he seemed articulate, intelligent, and amusing.

Hi There

heart_roseA few days later, I sent back, “Hi there.”

Shortly thereafter, I received a detailed e-mail that began, “Well, thus far we have both been very economical with our words.”  It went on from there, I responded, and our communication was underway.

We didn’t meet in person as soon as we might have because I had a business trip to Singapore.  Mr. Detective guessed I worked for Optus Telecommunications, which had been bought by SingTel, but this was incorrect.

On our first date, we met for late morning coffee at Manly Beach.  What we both thought would be a one-hour introduction turned into an afternoon spent walking and talking along the beachfront and on the pedestrian Corso.

Champagne and Ice Cream

Three months after our first meeting, we co-signed an agreement to buy an apartment together.  This required each of us to sell our existing homes, and do all the necessary tasks to merge our lives and households.

Various friends and family members asked us, some diplomatically, some less so, if we knew what we were doing.  Yes, we said.  We did.

We celebrated our purchase by opening a bottle of champagne outside our new building, sitting on a bench overlooking Sydney Harbour, and toasting ourselves and the future.  Then we walked down to Manly Beach and revisited the site of our first date by having ice cream on the Corso. 

c__c_sold

Happy Valentine’s Day, with all my love, to Clive. 

10 Responses

  1. Wow such a lovely story….Hope you have a great Valentines Day ..:-)

  2. Thanks for sharing your story…I love knowing more of the details of how you and Clive met.

    You already know of my success with online dating…I should call it my accidental success since I found John in spite of my efforts.

    I hope you and Clive have a romantic and fun day.

  3. Hi Carolyn,
    I hope that you had a beautiful Valentine’s day.

    I loved your story ! Thank you for sharing it. It is so beautiful when you read good stories.
    I’m not superstitious at all, but I sometimes think that things do happen for a puprose .

    You probably already know that Leesa also met her hubby via the net. For myself, I don’t remember if I blogged about this, but we were penpals…. or the snail mail equivalent to the then non existant Internet !

    Hugs to you & Clive.

  4. I tried Internet dating a couple of times but both of the guys turned out to be, well, strange. I finally met my husband on a blind date. I even joined a dating club for a while and met some nice guys but thought something was wrong with me-nothing seemed to work. Just hadn’t met the right guy as it turned out. It took me seven years after my divorce to fianlly find someone. I bet you had a great Valentine’s Day. I assume they celebrate that in Australia too?

  5. That is a wonderful story Caroline. I like to hear the happy internet dating stories. Mine was a disaster but its another story that is not worth repeating. I really enjoy your writing and I loved finding out more about you both on this post. I hope you had a great weekend. Oh its great to find another tall person!! LOL

  6. Thanks for sharing your story. Certainly very good advice and realistic. I agree most people you encounter via the internet are like most people you meet any where else – they are pretty nice. But, yes, you need to be a bit careful for lots of obvious reasons.

  7. I love your story and fantastic tips for those in the dating pool. I happily don’t need those tips as I am very happily married.
    p.s. You two are sooo cute!!:-)

  8. Thanks for your comments, Anne, Elizabeth, Barbara, Linda, Lilly, Russell, and Belette. I love hearing everyone’s stories too, including penpals (very cool, Barbara!) and Linda’s blind date 🙂

    I appreciate everyone’s thoughts and hope you all had a great day, no matter where or with whom it was spent.

    Cheers.

  9. That’s a great story! I love that you KNEW so soon — that is fantastic. I’m so sorry to hear of the loss of your husband, but it seems you have been graced by love again. All the best to you and Clive. I can imagine you had a very happy Valentines Day!

  10. Thank you Kim – your thoughts and comment much apreciated.

    Cheers.

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