Love, Internet Style
by Michelle Reynolds,
Yes, I’m one of those women who met her true love on the Internet. I’ve chatted with quite a few people about how they fell in love with someone they met online. Frankly, I thought they were crazy…until it happened to me.
HOW can you love someone, yet even be IN LOVE with someone that you never met? Don’t you need to see that person face to face? And touch—a hug or holding hands. And what about the ever-so-important kiss? Don’t you need that to see if you have a connection? How can you feel anything for a person that you never have spent time with, as in going to the movies or a restaurant?
I just thought it was impossible. Then…one day I was chatting away in a Christian singles chat room on AOL. There were a bunch of us in the room talking about how we just want to meet someone—someone who was Christian, who was nice, and of course, single. This man named Richard made a few comments that peaked my interest. Within a few minutes we were chatting via Instant Message.
We clicked right away. I’d say I like something, he’d say he did, too. Yes, I know that can easily be lied about, but there were tons of times he said he liked something, and I liked the same thing. Same went for things we hate. Our religious and belief system was the same. The types of movies and music we liked were just about a perfect match. The main differences were that he liked classic country and I liked classical. The part that I hated was that we were around 325 miles apart—him in northern Kentucky and me in north-central West Virginia.
Let me put a timeline on this…we estimate (neither of us are positive) that we met online 2-4 days after Thanksgiving in 2004. We chatted online for no more than a week before we talked on the phone. I had a cell phone with unlimited long distance. Believe me, I took full advantage of those “free” minutes. We talked and talked and talked. We talked until my cell phone died and the second it did I put it on charger. I about went out of my mind waiting for about an hour until there was some time on it. Then we talked and talked and talked until—you guessed it—the phone died again. It was a cycle that repeated many times a day—and night
It was now around December 10, and my then 4-year-old son and I were at my parents’ time share resort in western Maryland (about 80 miles from my home). My parents had their normal week of the time share starting on the 17th, but they were offered the week before for almost nothing since the people in the same condo weren’t going to be able to make it. My father was still teaching so he could only go to the resort on the 10th, 11th, and 12th, during that first week. My mother stayed at home when he didn’t go to the resort. They did that to give me and my son some time together before my parents would be there for the whole week that ran from the 17th to the 24th.
Yes, my son and I did spend some nice time together—mostly watching TV and swimming. But, I spent a lot of time on the phone with Richard. This time I got smart and kept the cell phone plugged in while we were talking, which meant it took longer for the battery to die. We mostly talked after my son went to bed, until around six in the morning. I didn’t get much sleep, as not too much past six, my son was awake and rearing to go. He still doesn’t know how to sleep in!
When Richard and I talked, I couldn’t understand what was happening. I had feelings for him, but were they real? Was it just my loneliness making me desperate for love? Was it wishful thinking? Apparently he was wondering the same things. One day I asked him if he was feeling something. He said yes, and then I said I did, too. I very nervously asked if it was love. A little pause, then he said yes, and then I said I felt the same way. I then commented that it doesn’t seem just like love, but as if I am IN love. He said it seemed that way for him, too. We went back and forth commenting on how we could feel that way without at least meeting each other. Neither of us had any explanation for it, but we now knew it was for real. After we said how we loved each other, we constantly kept saying “this is so weird.”
Now that we knew the other person felt the same, we knew we had to meet. I think it was on the day after my parents came up for that last week, that I asked my parents if there was any way that Richard could come to the resort so we can meet. I figured there was no way they would agree to this—especially to him staying at the resort for a couple nights. After some thought and talking to Richard, my parents said yes.
On Tuesday, December 21, we met in person. As planned, he called when he got to the BP gas station which was about 3 miles from the resort. I went there to meet him. Honestly (and he knows this!), when I saw him, I felt nothing. We hugged and still nothing. I was like you have to be kidding me! All of this and no click? We went to the resort where he met my parents and my son (who he talked with on the phone many times). After exchanging those ever-so-painstaking pleasantries, Richard and I went off on our first date.
We went to a nearby town and decided to stop at an old fashioned train station with a small museum. A train was coming right after we got out of the car, so we stood on the platform and watched it go by. He was a few feet from me when I looked over at him, and I about died. He was smoking, and I’m so against it: my grandfather had lung cancer and I can’t stand to breathe the smoke and it makes my allergies go nuts. I’m sure I had the “deer caught in the headlights” look when I said something like, “You didn’t tell me you smoked!” He assumed I heard him flick the lighter when he lit a cigarette when we talked on the phone. I guess from not being around smokers (my grandfather never smoked around me) I didn’t catch the sound. I thought he might as well go back to his car and head home. But instead--Pizza Hut here we come!
We sat at a booth—a must if you ask me. We decided on, if I recall right, a supreme pan pizza (pan is also a must if you ask me!) and some breadsticks. We were kind of quiet…me probably dwelling on the fact that he smoked and was ticked off that he didn’t tell me. For some reason I never thought to ask. Then, he did something that changed everything…he reached out and held my hand. I melted. I felt as though I was going to slide under the table. With that one touch, I fell in love so deeply. We ate and went back to the resort where we watched some TV and a DVD I rented with a whole comedy routine by Larry the Cable Guy. We cuddled on the couch, but no kiss. We hugged goodnight, with me wanting to kiss him so bad I was going to go insane.
The next day we went swimming and I discovered another “problem.” Richard had tattoos. I’ve never been fond of tattoos and never pictured myself with a man who had them. Oh, what the heck, opposites attract, right? We had a good time in the pool—getting some more touching than holding hands, as he would cradle hold me in the water or I would get behind him and put my arms around him—but not kiss. My father made dinner that evening, his killer lasagna, and we spent more time watching TV and a movie. We just did the goodnight hug…ugh.
Not even five minutes after he went downstairs to his bedroom I realized I had my pajamas in his room (I had to use that room’s closet for my clothes as the loft me and my son were sleeping in didn’t have one). I knocked on the room saying it was me and he said come on in. He was already in bed. I told him what I needed and got them. I was heading back to the door saying goodnight and I stopped, turned around, and said, “Are we too chicken sh** to kiss, or what?” He said no. I went over to the bed, kneeled on the floor, and he raised up and we kissed—finally! As Jesse from “Full House” would say, “Have Mercy!”
The next day we left the resort and went to my grandmother’s house where Richard could meet her. She, my mother’s mother, lived right around the corner from my parents. He ended up spending the night at her house with me. He left the next afternoon, Friday the 24th, to go back home so he could spend Christmas with his two daughters from a previous marriage.
Before we even met in person he said he’d like to come back to visit a month or so after the visit around Christmas. After we met, he said would come back in probably 3 weeks. As he was ready to leave, he said he’d be back in no more than 2 weeks. After he left, and we talked on the phone, he said he had to come back, like, now. Richard came back on Tuesday, the 28th, and brought one of his daughters with him. We stayed at my grandmother’s since there was room there and not at my parents.
I had the feeling he was going to ask me to marry him when he came back. I even had my reaction planned—I had to make it something different. Tuesday night—technically Wednesday the 29th now—while we were cuddling on the couch, he asked, “Will you marry me?” I said, “Well, I’ll have to think about it,” and turned my head to the right and instantly faced him again, and said, “YES!” He gave me a “you little stinker” look and kissed me.
We finally got married on October 8, 2005. We are still married and in a town in northeast Kentucky. We have our ups and downs, usually daily, but I’m still madly in love. As to our differences: Richard is in week two of quitting smoking, and no, I haven’t gotten a tattoo…yet.
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