My fiancé and I met online. On RSVP. It’s not something that bothers me to admit to now, but it used to be. I’m still aware that some people find it odd, or quaint. It always elicits a reaction of some sort anyway, a slightly raised eyebrow, a passing note of judgement or surprise across a face.
For me, it was a difficult decision initially, to go online to look for a partner. But I had started to realise around that time that I was not going to find the right partner for me at bars (not that I went out much) or amongst men my own age, who were never going to understand my world, my needs, my priorities as a working Mum. I knew what I needed – that was the first step – but I just didn’t know where to find him. I wanted a kind man. A generous man. A loving man. A man who would find room for me and my daughter in his heart and not see her as baggage, but rather as a bonus. I knew he existed. I would sneak looks at nice looking men walking dogs around my neighbourhood, calm-looking men in their mid-thirties browsing the aisles at Coles. I just didn’t know how to connect with them without seeming desperate. Or stalker-ish.
It was my aunty who got me over the line. I told her my dilemma – knowing what I wanted but not knowing how to get it – and she snorted at me to get over myself and get online. She normalised it for me, and in her eyes I saw that it didn’t mean I was a failure, or a loser. All it meant was that I was prepared to take a risk and open up my options.
After about two weeks of giving it a go, I decided online dating was not for me. I had enjoyed some attention and I had seen its potential, but I’d had enough and thought perhaps I would revisit it in the future. But there was one guy who never really left my periphery, Jackiechan2000. Jackiechan2000 didn’t come across as desperate or sleazy. He wasn’t full of words or full of himself. And it was just… his eyes. His blue eyes in one of his photos, staring at me through what looked like an ice cave. I kept going back to that photo to look some more, and before long I had wound down all the other connections and suddenly I realised he was the only one I wanted to pursue offline.
On the advice of a friend, I suggested we talk on the phone rather than on the computer. So we spoke one day when I was walking around the supermarket, and I melted at his voice, at his lovely accent. And I matched the blue eyes and the voice in my head and I agreed to a date.
The night we met in person I had to take a friend with me, I was so nervous. But she performed her wingman role nobly, and as soon as Jackiechan2000/Bruce walked in she whispered “he’s cute” into my ear and promptly disappeared. Bruce was not a dud, not a creep, he was cute and a little bit shy and smelt good, and we got on really well. Later that night he asked me if he could kiss me. (So English!) We kept seeing each other and three and a half years later we are engaged, and my daughter and him are close and he has actually made me a better parent, which I never expected. For a while there I decided in my head that the way we met was no different to if I had simply met him in that bar that night. And I did tell that to some people at the start of our relationship when the “how did you guys meet?” question inevitably came up.
But in reality, meeting Bruce was actually deliciously engineered. I found him, chased his blue eyes from a photo he’d taken in New Zealand, plucked him from his apartment two suburbs away from where I lived, and allowed our paths to cross that night. They would not have otherwise. Bruce at that time, new to Melbourne, went to the gym, sometimes went out with his housemate and her friends, and worked. We would never have met if we had not met online.
And now? I am not bothered at all that I met my partner, my fiancé online. In fact I am proud. I feel lucky. (I know a huge amount of luck was involved.) If I had logged off as I was planning too, if I hadn’t checked out his blue eyes those last few times, if he had decided not to go on when he did – then we wouldn’t have met at all and I wouldn’t have the future with him that I now have.
Kate is an aspiring writer and mother who works full-time in the community sector in Melbourne. Visit her blog here.
Have you tried online dating? If not – would you try it?