Location: Mt. Prospect, IL
Married: September 5th, 2008
I was only 25 years old when my life took a sharp curve off path when my new husband was killed in a car accident. Picking up the pieces of what my life was and could've been seemed an impossible task, but after a year of being lonely and wishing I had a brighter future, I figured I'd give eHarmony a try. After all, I didn't know what the "dating" world held for widows--all my other searches led me to articles for elderly widows. I knew nobody in my same situation, I was doubtful that with what I'd been through someone would want me, but I knew if I even had a chance at finding someone to love again, I had to start somewhere.
Natasha Bedingfield wrote "The rest is still unwritten..." and those words spoke to me. I could actively help write my future, and so eHarmony started as a challenge to myself. It was a way to get back in the dating world without shocking my family and friends by asking them to set me up (they were still handling me as though I was made of glass). I went on a few first dates, just enough to boost my confidences, when I started communicating with Jim.
Jim and I shared a few communications back and forth before my eHarmony subscription was about to run out. I decided to go ahead and give him my email address and move our chatting to our personal emails. After several promising email exchanges, we decided to take the plunge and set up that first date.
Now, I don't know how most people go about this internet dating business, but I was in the habit of setting up very brief first dates...a drink, coffee, ice cream...something I could leave without investing too much time if I found myself in an uncomfortable situation. The night of our first date, I told Jim I had other plans with friends in the evening, but we could meet for a drink around 4:00 or 5:00 and we agreed on a place.
One drink and lots of conversation led to appetizers, and before I knew it, it was time for me to meet up with my friends for movie night. I didn't want this date to end. I surprised myself with my next move...I asked Jim if he wanted to join me to go watch a movie on a big screen in my friend's backyard. I knew he was new to the area, and maybe going home at 8:00 on a Saturday night wasn't first on his list of ways to spend the evening. I guess he was feeling it too, because he came with me.
Talk about trial by fire, our first official 'date' and here I was dragging this new guy to meet my friends...what was I thinking? Well, he passed. He met a handful of people, and I learned that he knew how to handle himself in a crowd (incidentally, one of the FIRST questions I asked in my initial eHarmony communication!) All in all, the date lasted almost 8 hours--a record for both of us!
In the last year, we have taken the steps you see in most healthy relationships, and together we have grown a love that once seemed impossible to me. Jim taught me that not only could I love again, but it can be just as good and I can be just as happy. Just two weeks ago, we were on an amazing trip to Alaska, our first vacation together. On the last night, set in a private lodge on a mountain in Girdwood, Alaska, Jim took me off from our crowd of friends and got down on one knee to propose! He had carried the ring around for a week, and finally found the most idyllic spot to ask me to be his wife...and it worked!
Today, we are in the midst of planning the most unconventional wedding you can imagine. We are hosting a housewarming party. When we started with the details of the party, we decided that we were going to have all our family and friends together anyways...why not surprise them with a wedding? We are both giddy with excitement and trying hard to keep the secret that is sure to shock our party guests and leave them with huge smiles on their faces when we exchange vows in front of them.
I've learned that life can go in unexpected paths, but luckily some of them are wonderful! eHarmony definitely paved the foundation for Jim and I to create a strong relationship, and we both feel unbelievably blessed.
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