I am well aware this attitude is egotistical and ridiculous. It’s also untrue. Meeting someone online doesn’t make a relationship any less legitimate, or any less real.
Of course, like most people my age, despite my scepticism, I’ve dabbled in online dating. That’s when Theo (for all intents and purposes, that’s what we’re calling him) arrived on the scene.
Theo wasn’t an unfamiliar face.
We had several quite good mutual friends and he’d gone to the private school down the road from mine. He’d recently finished a university degree, lived on the same side of town as me, and had a very likeable dog.
We went to the same gym, the same clubs, and the same local coffee shop. We spoke for all of one night on Tinder and first met in person kind of by accident. We were at the same nightclub with several mutual friends.
We were both drunk enough to start a conversation and spent most of the night making out on the dance floor. He seemed alright. He seemed like he could be more than alright.
We went on our first actual date the next week. We got Chinese food and almost crashed a wine tasting. We had a lot in common. Theo asked all the right questions, knew when to shut up, and had enough of an interest in cricket and AFL to impress my Dad. About a month in, we were exclusive, and a few weeks later, he was my bona fide boyfriend.
By the time we had sex, Theo was well and truly beginning to worm his way into my heart. He would look at me and tell me how beautiful he thought I was. How he liked my eyes and my spontaneity and the way I tried to eat as much as he did.
I told him things I hadn’t really told anyone. He started to open up to me, but I knew he was the type of person who didn’t find those sorts of conversations easy. I brushed it aside. We’d get past it.
My sister made a comment one day, about what he and I would do if I decided I wanted to move away for work. She knew that was something I wanted, and something Theo wasn’t interested in.
Whenever we spoke about the future, I rambled about travel and passion and adventure. Theo wanted to stay close to his family, settle in our hometown, bring up his kids and send them to the same school he’d gone to. I knew our future ideals didn’t match up but I told myself it was a problem for later. After all, he wasn’t unsupportive of what I wanted to do, and vice versa.