One of the things our readers have told us is that they want to hear more personal stories of people who have met online. It can be a difficult process for some and there’s the thought that online dating doesn’t work, so hearing real life examples of people who’ve used it successfully gives them hope.
In January, when we shared the story of our friends Michael and Shelley, Aimee McNew reached out to us and let us know she, too, met her husband online. Aimee, a certified nutrition therapist and freelance writer, and Marvin, a worship leader and music instructor, have an encouraging story for everyone, but particularly for those of you who might be battling a chronic illness or those who believe online dating doesn’t work.
SR: Did you struggle with the idea of online dating?
Aimee: If there is a word for “vehemently opposed to the idea of ever pursuing a relationship online,” then that was me. But I lived in a super small town, worked a lot, had chronic health problems, and am very introverted. My close friends – and even my parents – helped to convince me that attempting something online was only logical. So I did, with great skepticism and my plans to write a book about the excruciatingly painful experience it was definitely going to be.
SR: On which site did you meet your spouse? How long were you on it before you found your spouse?
Aimee: I met my husband on eHarmony. In total, I spent one full year online. January 2011 started my foray into the online dating adventures. After several bad dates, I took a break in March. In May, I worked up the nerve to join again. After several more bad dates, I started seeing a guy for a few months, but that ended when it became apparent that all he wanted was a long-term casual girlfriend, which seemed like a lot of nonsense to me.
Biggest lesson learned: most of the people online who claim they’re looking for mature relationships, well, aren’t. I took another pause for a few months, completely fed up with the idiocy of men and convinced I’d be much happier single forever if these were my only options.
But, for reasons I still am not clear on, I found myself back on eHarmony New Year’s Eve 2011. It’s just that this time I was determined not to go on any dates. A few days after that, my now-husband contacted me, and it’s been a crazy wonderful journey ever since.
SR: Do you tell people you met your spouse online, or do you keep that under wraps? Why?
Aimee: We’re honest about how we met. I never felt embarrassed about telling anyone, because in this day and age, it’s so common. We make friends on Twitter and other social media, so I don’t get why it’s weird to look for relationships online. I tried a few different dating sites, including a widely advertised Christian one (which was the worst), but eHarmony was (by far!) the best.
SR: What was it about each of your profiles that caught the attention of the other? What made it stand out?
Aimee: His caught my eye because from every word on the page, he seemed genuine. That was so rare. He wasn’t claiming to be “the best” or “the hottest” or my “dream date.” Ha. He was just himself. It was apparent that he loved Jesus and music (he plays the saxophone). It was clear that he loved his family. He was a worship leader in his church. He was also just downright funny and witty. And, in all honesty, as cliché as it sounds: I loved his smile. He says that when he saw mine “she was stunning and smart, with just the right amount of snark.”
SR: From the time you started messaging back and forth, what was your initial dating process like? (How long did you communicate before you met in person? How many dates did you go on before you became exclusive, etc.?)
Aimee: He sent the initial contact request in the first few days of January 2012. We messaged through eHarmony for a few days, and then transitioned to emails. We sent more than a hundred emails back and forth over the next few weeks.
Somewhere in there we had a few phone calls, one of them lasting for more than six hours. It was obvious that we had no problem communicating. We went on our first date on February 3rd. By our second date, we separately knew that we were going to end up together permanently. He kissed me on our third date, and we said, “I love you” on the fourth. I was in my late twenties and he in his mid-thirties, and we just knew. We started talking about marriage in April, and he officially proposed in May. We got married in August. All along the way, we had full blessings from both of our families. It was obvious to everyone that we were perfect for each other.
SR: Online dating sites can get pricey. Do you think it was worth it?
Aimee: Well, considering I found a husband when I had convinced myself I would be single forever, I would say yes. I stubbornly refused online dating for years, but I’m happy to say I was so wrong about it. It’s not for the faint of heart, and you have to be able to laugh about the lousy dates that come along the way, but it all made me a better person. And then, bonus! I met an amazing man and still, after a year and a half of marriage, can’t believe how lucky I am to be his wife. God still writes the best love stories, and it doesn’t matter whether they’re digital or old-fashioned. Ours, really, was some of both because I found a man who literally drove two hours to pick me up for our first date. And he brought me flowers.
SR: Were you pleased with your experience overall? Would you recommend the site to other Christian singles?
Aimee: I would recommend the site for sure. My husband says that overall, yes, he would recommend it, too.
SR: What are some tips you’d offer other Christians who are online dating? Are there things you wish you’d done differently?
Aimee: I would caution that when you’re heading into online dating, you need to make sure that your profile accurately describes you.
The mistake I made during my first few attempts was not being completely clear about my chronic health problems up front. I didn’t lie about anything, but I also wasn’t blunt. I have a lifelong chronic illness that impacts my ability to function. Most people don’t want to hear that kind of thing. But it always somehow came up on the first dates, and the reactions I got from most guys made me think that if they’d known that, they never would have asked me out in the first place. The last time I went online, I clearly verbalized that I had chronic health issues. I figured it would scare all the men away and I could slam the door shut on online dating once and for all. But in reality, it didn’t scare my husband away because his mom also had a chronic illness.
Don’t be afraid to completely be YOURSELF, because it wasn’t until I really nailed my profile as a direct mirror of me that I found someone who liked me for who I really was. Ask your friends to describe your good qualities and learn to see yourself through someone else’s eyes. And keep your chin up when yahoos don’t like you, say stupid things to you, and stand you up for dates (yeah, that happened).
If you know someone who is considering online dating or who believes online dating doesn’t work, will you email this post to them?