When most of us envision our love stories unfolding, we don’t envision the meet-cute (to borrow a term from The Holiday) as taking place online. A lot of us don’t want to say, “We met online and got married.” In the produce section at the supermarket, maybe, but not on the internet.
But the fact of the matter is, it’s the world we live in. More and more people are meeting online and finding love there. Alisia and Brian are friends of ours in real life. They’re both in their early 30s and work in the healthcare profession. If you’re someone who really does not like the idea of telling people you met your significant other online, their story and how they came to terms with that will be helpful to you.
SR: Did you struggle with the idea of online dating? Why or why not?
Alisia: Yes! Every time that I heard the music from the eharmony commercial, my skin would crawl and I would roll my eyes at the overly in-love couples! I first viewed online dating as being too aggressive because I thought that I wasn’t trusting God to bring me a husband. My family and several friends had previously suggested online dating, but I acted like I was too good for such a thing! I had a spiritual mentor at the time who really encouraged me to try it out. I soon softened to the idea that God could bring a man into my life through such a non-traditional path like eharmony.
Brian: Yes. I always thought that online dating was sad and lame, reserved for those incapable of meeting women in real life. My mindset was that since there are women all over the place (like half the population) I should have no problem meeting someone. Turns out that meeting someone was a bit more of a daunting task. Somewhere along the line I had established permanent residence in Friend Zone with most of the women that I had met, went to church with, worked with, or interacted with on a regular basis. I decided that eharmony may be a good way to simply meet people. It’s not like I was stalking women in creepy chat rooms, right?
SR: How long were you on eharmony before you found your spouse?
Alisia: I was on eharmony for about a year before I met Brian. During that year I took several month long breaks and would often threaten to quit eharmony forever! The disheartening moments during my online dating career were typically due to getting weird matches or not getting contacted by any of my matches for a long period of time. I always waited for the guy to initiate the first communication.
Brian: I was off and on (mostly off) eharmony for about 5 years. It was late one evening and I saw the commercial for a free personality, compatibility test. I was bored and decided to see what kind of woman that eharmony would say is my match. I did not know at the time that once you complete the test that eharmony would send you matches whether you paid for a subscription or not. I would use eharmony during their free communication weekend promotions because I had rationalized that if I’m not paying for the service then I’m not really online dating. I only paid for the service for about a year or so.
SR: Do you tell people you met your spouse online, or do you keep that under wraps? Why?
Alisia: At first I was really embarrassed and insecure to tell people that we met online and got married, but then I remembered that it is a wonderful part of our story that shouldn’t be brushed under the rug! We recently had to tell our dating/engagement story to our newlywed Sunday School class, and I really enjoyed talking about the journey we had.
Brian: It’s not something that I generally publicize. I don’t walk up to someone and say “Hi, my name is Brian and this is my wife. We met online and got married.” I have gotten much more secure about the way I met Alisia as time goes by. It doesn’t embarrass me as much as it used to. I know that lots of people use online dating sites. I know that other people have met their spouses through online dating services. I know that I would have never met Alisia any other way except through eharmony. I am grateful for eharmony but we won’t be doing any commercials in the foreseeable future.
SR: What was it about each of your profiles that caught the attention of the other? What made it stand out?
Alisia: Brian’s profile had a great combination of genuineness and comedy. I could tell that he was serious about his relationship with the Lord and that he liked to laugh at himself. The true hook line in his profile included information about being baptized by Billy Graham. I had to find out more about this! It turns out that there is more than one preacher named Billy Graham.
Brian: Most of my friends were women at that stage in my life. These friendships were very precious to me and they helped me get through some very lonely times in my life. One night, I had an epiphany moment: What if I dated one of these women that I was friends with before entering the Friend Zone? Talk about a major “Ah Ha Moment!” Alisia looked like someone that I would be very good friends with. She looked like a genuinely good person. She looked like someone that I wanted to know. I was right!
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.?)
Alisia: Brian first communicated with me at the end of May 2011. We sent emails back and forth for about a month. He asked for my phone number around the beginning of July 2011, and then he really picked up the phone to call me (no text!). I previously had several matches send me their phone number and tell me to call them or text them. I was always of the belief that the guy should call me first! Our first date was in the middle of July 2011, and then we would meet a few times a week for the next two months. I would say that we were exclusive after about 2 months. We dated for about a year before getting engaged due to my rule of seeing someone during every season. I really wanted to know how he celebrated Groundhog Day!
Brian: Alisia described the general time line. It took me a few weeks to initiate communication with her because I had become discouraged with the whole process. I remember the day that I sent her questions because it was going to be my last week on eharmony. She responded to my questions and I could tell that she was sending me genuine, thoughtful answers. Nothing irritated me more than asking a woman “Looking back on your life, what are you most proud of?” and getting a one-word reply. Alisia’s emails were light, engaging, and fun to read.
SR: eharmony is one of the higher-priced online dating sites. Do you think it was worth it?
Alisia: I think that it is worth paying more for an online dating site because you generally get matched with people who are serious about looking for their future mate. And there are always free communication weekends and coupons out there! I never used another dating site, so I don’t really have a price comparison though.
Brian: I’ve only used eharmony. There are coupons, promotions, and free communication events. It was worth it because it brought me Alisia, but I know other people that have had success using Match.com.
SR: Were you pleased with your eharmony experience overall? Would you recommend it to other Christian singles?
Alisia: Overall I had a fun journey on eharmony. I had to laugh at the times that I was matched with guys from my singles group and a former professor. I really had to laugh at the time that my date forgot his wallet and I had to pay for our dinner and let him borrow money for gas to get home. He did insist on paying me back though! I think that online dating offers a venue to meet people that you would probably never cross paths with. eharmony matched me with a wide variety of personalities that allowed me to see what really meshed with my personality.
Brian: My overall experience on eharmony was positive although there were times that I enjoyed more than others. It is just like everything else in life. You have got to take the good with the not so good. You’ll inevitably have good dates and you’ll inevitably have bad dates. The bad dates always make funny stories later!
SR: What are some tips you’d offer other Christians who are online dating? Are there things you wish you’d done differently?
Alisia: -Be completely honest with your profile! Don’t pick photos from several years ago just because you are skinny and tan.
-Be patient with the process. It took me awhile to realize that if I didn’t have any good current matches, some good matches would soon come my way.
-When someone sends you questions, be courteous and send back a reply in an acceptable amount of time or close them. If your life is crazy at the time, just drop them a quick note stating this and get back to them as soon as you can.
-Guys, call the girl to ask her out. No texting allowed!
-I think it is best to first meet at a public place for safety reasons. Always tell a friend or family member when and where you are meeting your date.
Brian: -Don’t take it so seriously when filling out your profile. You aren’t submitting a job resume. Keep it light and fun.
-Don’t send messages with tons of misspellings and grammatical mistakes. You want to give the impression that you thought out all responses and re-read at least once before pressing send.
– Don’t take it personally if she closes you out without talking to you.
– Ladies, avoid using the term “wife prospect” in the first few messages with any guy.
If you know someone who’s struggling with the idea of online dating or with one day having to tell people, “We met online and got married,” would you email them this post?
Photo credit: Pam Lau