I count myself to be one of the ‘lucky ones’ who bagged a long term partner thanks to online dating.
So we met via a well-known online dating service, I had been a member for just a month and he for….well lets say ‘some time’. As an active member of the armed forces, he is constantly being moved around the country and out to war zones, so the lure for him was having someone to talk to for a bit of banter and flirtation. The bonus being that when he was back in the UK there was the possibility of meeting up for some no-strings fun with the small talk already taken care of. The attraction of online dating for me was simple; I didn’t have the nerve to put myself back out there after ending an 8 year relationship rather suddenly. All the rules had changed and I would rather gain 10 lbs than approach a guy in a bar or get involved with someone I already knew. So I signed up for a months trial and was ‘winked’ at by a 29 year old, camouflage clad, prince harry look a like in the first week, not a bad start!
We exchanged hundreds of emails, texts and photos over five weeks before we finally agreed to meet in person. Bizarrely during the emailing phase he went quiet for a week or so, I assumed that with his job he’d been sent off somewhere on exercise or to Afghanistan or something. Only to find out a few months later that we had been just a few miles apart in Barcelona on holiday, me with my family and him with a gang of lads on a stag do!
Our initial meeting was surreal. After talking to someone for over a month, you already know so much about them so to meet then in person knocks the stuffing out of you. So with as much courage as I could muster, I walked up to him and threw my arms around him. It wasn’t until I was about to get into the car with him five minutes later that I marched around to the drivers side and planted a huge kiss on his lips followed by ‘Sorry, but I was dying to do that’. Luckily he reciprocated.
We spent the weekend in a nice city centre hotel, did some shopping, had drinks and met a friend of mine and her new beau (they also met through the same site, and at the time of writing are no longer together). It was all very relaxed and I am not ashamed to admit that I stayed with him that weekend at the hotel. It didn’t feel like I was ‘just a bit of fun’ while he was back in the UK and it didn’t feel like a one night stand as I already had feelings for him. We talked about it over that weekend and agreed we wanted to start a relationship in person as well as virtually!
Personally I think that online dating is a head start on making a relationship work. True, my partner’s job is very unpredictable and, therefore, being able to talk about anything and everything via email and MSN really helped us during his five month tour in Afghanistan last year. We were prepared.
Now, it’s 18 months later and we’re still going strong, we have a house together and he commutes to work during the week. He still has to work away sometimes but its OK; we’ve done the ground work. Maybe online dating worked for us because of our circumstances, his job, my family commitments, etc, etc. But I believe it all boils down to communication. We have experience of being apart and still maintaining a wonderful relationship, and online dating prepared us right from the very start.
Answer: Head Start!