Joe Rhea: “Our First Encounter — March 20th, 2004″
I was so nervous. But what was most exciting was that I knew that she was what I was looking for, at least on paper. I felt a confidence that I had never felt before when going on a first date. eHarmony provides you with the knowledge that the woman/man you are getting ready to meet is at the very least, compatible with you. You know this because of the in-depth process you go through before you actually get to meet. I already knew that Jenny was romantic, loving, outgoing, kind and sensitive. I knew that she wanted a man who also was those things. In my previous relationship, my girlfriend was stoic, unaffectionate and often times cold. So I needed a woman who was not afraid to express her feelings. (Warning, be careful what you ask for!)
When Jenny walked into the restaurant all I could think of was how stunning she was. She was much prettier than expected, I mean the photo she had sent did not do her justice. So when I saw her for the first time, this wave of comfort came over me, because my fears of how she looked were instantly put to rest. I was able to focus on her the rest of the evening, and what an evening it was.
Jenny and I have been together since that very first night. I remember sometime during our evening together, looking at her and asking her as a matter of fact, “If the right guy comes along, are you ready?” As soon as I said those words, a smile came over her face. She said yes, and I knew that I may have found the one that I had been looking for. I asked her that question because I was tired of dating someone — only for them to later say, they weren’t ready for a relationship, blah, blah, blah. I thought that by asking the question then, it would eliminate the possibility of that happening again.
Many years later, Jenny told me that when I asked the question, she knew that she was going to marry me. I often wonder if that is true, but since we are indeed married, I’ll just take her word for it. The first night, though, was really about us asking all of the questions we needed to ask. We were sparring and dancing together if you will, feeling each other out, all the while feeling the romantic tension growing between us. It was pure pleasure — that first date. The longer it went on, the more comfortable I felt being with her. Was it to good to be true? That was a question that kept popping in my mind, because she seemed so perfect.
As the date came to a close, with my heart pounding, we both made plans to see each other the next night, but only after the Kansas basketball game. A man has to stay true to himself always. I left that night feeling as though my life had finally taken a turn for the better.
Jenny’s version of the “First Encounter”
For four years following my divorce, I did the single scene. For the first few years, I really enjoyed it, but eventually I realized all of my going out was really just a mask and it was time for me to let my wall down. Now came meeting someone I thought would be worthy of my vulnerability. Meeting guys was never hard, but meeting a quality guy – now that was another story.
I used to joke with my parents that it would be easier if they could pick someone for me, because clearly I had not done a good job and I needed a change. That is when my mom suggested eHarmony. I had tried another online site at one time and had met a fun guy — but again not one of quality. I figured — why not? Clearly the way I had been doing things was not working.
Per my mom’s suggestion, I joined, but I was traveling a lot with my job (these were the days prior to crackberrys) I gave my mom my passcodes and asked that she check out people for me. I will never forget when I was traveling to Louisville when my mom called. “You have a match,” she said excitedly. “Well, tell me more!” She read his (Joe’s) profile. I was very intrigued. Since I was going to be back in town the next day I figured I would contact him then.
Once we started our contact — it was like a tennis match back and forth, and very exciting! That evening we talked on the phone. It was very effortless and we talked for hours! The next day, Joe wanted to meet for dinner, so I did break my rule.
Typically, meeting on that short of notice would not have been something I would agree too, but I was that excited, so I accepted. After all, I was ready for a change. Little did I know just how big this change would be.
Joe seemed like such a cool guy on the phone, so I was excited about our date. He was already at the restaurant when I arrived. I recall thinking how adorable he was (still is) and there was just “something” about him.
It was sweet because he seemed a little nervous. As we sat down to dinner, the conversation continued to just flow naturally. He then asked the question, ‘If you met the right person, would you be ready to settle down?” It is crazy, but at that moment those words went through me like a lighting bolt, and our “date” suddenly had a different feel, like this was the real deal.
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