"You met online?!"

I met my fiancée on a scary place called the internet.

I kept my online dating a secret for quite some time. It felt awkward and embarrassing-like I shouldn't have to go online to find a man. I had a free trial membership, because I didn't actually believe that I would find someone worthy of the $24.95 monthly fee. I had been on the site for a few months before Mark joined. I almost gave up; in fact, it was pure coincidence that I was online the night he joined and he sent me that first instant message.

Fate found us that night, and two strangers found their soul mates.

One month after he first messaged me, Mark told me he loved me. On Skype. The first time he heard my voice. (I know, right?!)

Not two months later, I summoned all my bravery and flew to be with him for a whirlwind weekend in Ohio.

Six months (and many back and forth cross-country flights) later, Mark moved from Ohio to Washington to attend graduate school and start our lives together.

And two weeks ago, he proposed. The deal is sealed, all within one year of that first blinking, "New message from Mark."

I used to be bashful about the fact that we met online, but no longer. I am thankful. He lived in Ohio and I in Washington. We would not have met any other way. I am proud that we both had the initiative to seek each other out, and I am so happy that I have found my best friend (even when he hogs the bed).

I am the only person in my friend group to have found a partner online, so I am often asked questions about my experience. I think most people are curious about the idea of online dating and many have probably tried it out with various degrees of success.

I am here to say that you may indeed find the love of your life on the internet, but there is no magic formula. It happens in much the same way it does in face to face interactions. You meet, you talk, you find chemistry or a lack thereof, and you move forward from there.

With that in mind, I give you a list of my online dating tips.

  1. Be yourself. Putting up a photoshopped picture of making yourself sound different than you are may seem like an alluring idea, but then you are stuck in the awkwardness of having to confess that you don't actually look like that/work at that job/have that experience. Be yourself from the start. The right person will be attracted to that (and why would you want someone to fall for a fake you?).
  2. Be patient. Like face to face dating, you will kiss a lot of frogs before you find the right person. Don't be discouraged, but....
  3. Don't be afraid to change sites. Maybe you just aren't on the right one. I don't want to talk about how many I signed up for before Mark and I met.
  4. Take initiative. Say hello to people. Send a few friendly messages. Look for people with common interests and strike up a conversation.
  5. Be safe. Bad people do exist. When you meet someone from the internet, let at least one person know where you are going and promise to check in with them. Although I did not feel comfortable announcing to everyone that I was flying to see Mark for the first time, I told my best friend who was expecting a text or call within a certain time frame letting her know I was okay. Needless to say, I was more than okay (wink, wink).
  6. Most importantly, dating is not a fix all. I thought being in a relationship would make my life full of flowers and rainbows. And, although I do have a beautiful ring on my finger, our relationship has not been easy. It takes hard, hard work to be with someone. You have to dig deep into your own tough stuff in order to be good with someone else. Let yourself be okay with being by yourself, too. I love my guy, but I only love him this much because I learned to love myself just as much.

I never thought I would be that girl, but I can't say I have any regrets. I mean, look at this guy. He still melts my heart every time. I am pretty excited to marry him.

At 4 AM

I go months without blogging before returning where I left off. I don't think this cycle will ever change.

It is past four in the morning, I am in Omaha, Nebraska, and I am waiting for my best friend to go into labor (she is a few days past due).

I can't think of a much better time to blog.

However, since this is indeed four AM, I will blog via bullet points.

  • I am engaged to a man named Mark. Who would have thought? My intended is my best friend and the love of my life. I also think we are pretty darn adorable together. I am sure you will hear a great deal about our upcoming wedding (if I keep blogging, that is).
  • I am a cast member of the Vagina Memoirs, my school's version of the Vagina Monologues. Unlike the Monologues, the Memoirs are our stories, not fiction. The performance is in February, and I have an inkling that the road to the performance will be a transformative one.
  • I have one year left of my undergrad. I considered graduate school for this coming fall, but with the wedding next year and some health issues, I am going to take a small break between graduation and graduate school.
  • I didn't hear back. 
  • In November, I was diagnosed with PTSD. I am learning to heal.
  • In general, I am feeling quite optimistic about life. I have a great deal going on, but I actually want to be doing everything that I am doing.
  • Between this post and my last one in July, I watched the entire series of Breaking Bad. My fiancee wants to have a Breaking Bad groom's cake. I am quite excited about this idea.
  • I have recently started a couponing hobby. I get a bit of a high when I walk out of a store with armfuls of bags for mere pennies. I promise not to become a hoarder.
  • As mentioned before, I am currently with my best friend, waiting for the birth of her daughter. I cannot wait to be an Aunt, and I cannot wait for Kylie to be my maid of honor and her daughter to be my flower girl. That last sentence made me feel like a grown-up.
  • In the last few months, I have almost lost my own life. I would like to give that story the time and space it deserves, because I think it needs to be told. 
  • I have been reading Thich Nhat Nanh. 
“Because you are alive, everything is possible.”
My air mattress is calling me to sleep. I hope to be more present here. I do in fact have a lot to say.

Be well.