Sallie and Bill
Summer 2003 My friend Patty and I were relaxing under a beach umbrella at Panama City Beach. My boys were playing in the surf. Patty and I were discussing a friend who had met her boyfriend through a dating website. “You ought to do that,” Patty said to me. “No way,” was my reply. “First of all, I’d be mortified to have my picture out there for just anyone to see. Besides, no men that I’d be interested in would ever use a website like that.” Patty and I were both 47 and single. Patty had never been married, and I had been divorced for two years. Meeting nice single men our age wasn’t easy. I’d said I’d never do it, but the seed had been planted.
A few weeks later I heard an eHarmony advertisement on the radio. That alone intrigued me. Out of curiosity, I decided to look at the website. It impressed me that no one but my matches would see a description of me on the website, and even they would not see my pictures until I decided I was ready to reveal them. I was also impressed that the matching was based on values and compatibility. My ex-husband and I had taken personality tests and been told that we were very different, but that was during pre-marital counseling, when we were already committed to each other. I thought that it was probably a very good idea to find out much earlier in the process about potential deep-seated differences.
Since I wasn’t going to have to pay anything until and unless I wanted to communicate with someone, I figured, “What do I have to lose?” Over the next year and a half, I corresponded with several very nice men, and met a few in person. The whole experience was affirming. I gained confidence in relating to men again, and felt optimistic about the possibility of being able to meet someone with whom I might want to spend the rest of my life. Because I had young children and didn’t want to relocate, it took a while for me to meet someone who was compatible on those issues. But the process gave me hope, and made me realize that I didn’t have to settle for less than the character qualities I was looking for.
I still hadn’t met “the one” but the eHarmony experience had been so positive, that I decided to give Patty a membership for Christmas. Patty was even more reticent than I had been. She hadn’t dated in years, and was a bit overwhelmed by the thought of dating. The Christmas gift was just the nudge she needed, however, and she completed the personality questionnaire. On January 7, Patty asked me to read the answers she had written for the About Me page, just to be sure she’d accurately represented herself. After looking at her information, we logged onto my eHarmony account. I showed Patty how to change the personal preference settings. I changed my answer to one of the questions, and selected the Check for new matches function. Patty asked me if I’d ever gotten any new matches by doing that, and I said, “No.” But just then a couple of new matches showed up. One was Bill.
The next day, Bill requested communication from me. We went through the guided communication and open communication, and decided to meet on January 25, 2005. By the time we met, we knew a good deal about each other. Bill later told me that he knew immediately that he wanted to date me. Due to my cautious nature, it took me a little longer. I did realize immediately that he was a very nice man, and that I enjoyed his company. Within a month, I knew that I wanted to see him exclusively. More than once, when Bill introduced me to a group of his friends, we discovered that some of his friends were also friends of mine. We had mutual friends who had known both of us for 20 years, but it took eHarmony for us to meet.
I had also been matched and communicated with another nice man, Wayne. Wayne wrote to tell me that he had started dating someone, and found it difficult to communicate with more than one person at the same time, but that he would have liked to have gotten to know me. I thought it was very considerate of Wayne to write and let me know why he was stopping communication. I wrote him back and told him that I, too, was beginning an exclusive relationship, and thanked him for letting me know that he would no longer be writing.
Through the winter and spring, Patty met a couple of nice men. In the early summer, she was matched with Wayne. I said, “Patty, that’s the guy you want to date! He’s so considerate.” Not long after that, Patty and Wayne did begin dating. On December 24, 2005, Bill asked me to marry him. We were married on May 20, 2006. On February 14, 2006, Wayne asked Patty to marry him. They will be married on September 2, 2006, the day before Patty’s 50th birthday.
We are all amazed at this process. When Bill sees Dr. Neil Clark Warren on an eHarmony commercial, he says, “There’s our hero!”