INK BLAST | A MODERN VALENTINE’S DAY FOR COUPLES THAT MET ONLINE
By Juleyka Lantigua
This Valentine's Day, millions will celebrate romance with a loved one they met online. My husband and I are among them. We met three years ago on Match.com, one of the largest dating sites. We'd both been single for a while. I did it as a dare from my younger and hipper sister, who said I was not cool enough to give it a try. My husband joined after friends convinced him that the dating prospects in his small town were limited. By the time we met, we'd both gone on a couple of blind dates. After connecting via the site and emailing for a couple of weeks, we spoke on the phone and arranged to meet for dinner.
After dinner effortlessly turned into a late-night movie, followed by a moonlit walk around Times Square, we got together the next day for brunch.
For us, there were many advantages to going online. We both work in very demanding fields, which left little time for the traditional social scene. He lived in a small town in Connecticut while I lived in New York City. Under normal circumstances, our paths would have never crossed. But even before we met each other, our ability to get to know different people, whether just online or by going on dates, allowed us to confirm exactly what type of person we were looking for. Luckily, we also clicked in a nuanced romantic way, and decided within a few weeks to date exclusively.
Though we met in a very modern way, all the beauty of traditional courtship followed our first date — flowers, chocolates, kind gestures, dinners with the family, trips together and more. This year, we will celebrate our third Valentine together and we could not be happier. We're no longer a novelty. Our story is repeated daily, as more and more singles go online to find that special someone.
Another prominent site, eHarmony, estimates that an average of 236 couples get married everyday after meeting on their site. They surveyed over 10,000 people who married between 2006-2007 and found that 19 percent had met their spouse online (not just on eHarmony). That's almost one in five.
These days, my husband and I regularly socialize with people who met their loved one online. The very first wedding we attended together was for a friend of his who had met his wife that way. Early on, we were shy about telling the story of how we met, but today online dating is so common that people often share their own stories with us.
So look around at the couples at nearby tables if you're out for dinner on Valentine's Day. Chances are some of them met online. There's no shame in that. Just love.
Juleyka Lantigua is a writer whose work has appeared in books, magazines and newspapers around the country.