This is one of those “Seriously?” subjects. “Internet Romance? Do those really lead to successful marriages?” Even though this is a somewhat leading question, it really is valid.
I married for the first time at the ripe old age of 48. Not before. I have no children. I have many ex-girlfriends, many of whom are friends still. “Ex-girlfriend” is not synonymous with “enemy” and on its own is such a nasty term to use. What else is there, “no longer lover?” “Someone I loved a lot?” “Used to be my main squeeze?” None of them work to make it pretty. Believe me, I know, although, some people never get over themselves. See my “Letter to Margie” entry. There is, however, one woman in my past that I wish I had never gone beyond friendship with. I WILL NOT write about her. No, no, nooooo.
It happens. It DOES happen.
Well….. in the last few months of 2000, I bought a used computer from my employer. Not a corporation, just a family owned business. Two bosses, nothing more. Very simple deal. His wife yanked all of their personal files from the hard-drive. Photos, docs, videos, whatever, then they sold it to me for nearly the amount they paid for it. Way too much but I didn’t know any better. Knowing what I know now, I could have done it in minutes. Just drag a master folder to an external hard drive and done. Maybe she was busy. Her and Clay had no children. Who knows. I think they just didn’t have the tech knowledge.
The OS was Windows 95. It was equipped with a 30g hard drive, 512g RAM. I don’t know any more of the specs. I knew zero about computers when I bought it. It was very slow and small. A desktop computer. Ugh. It was only five years old in 2000, so it wasn’t too bad, but Windows 95? Ugh. Better than 3.0. Slightly. At least it had “drag and drop.” I love “drag/drop.” I love “copy/paste” too.
So, I’m setup for internet romance. Who buys a computer and doesn’t ‘peruse’ the opposite sex?
My first try was “mountain biking.” I looked for everything I could think of related to this topic that would aid me in meeting mountain bikers. I love mountain biking. So, I did some chatting. People will say anything to get attention online. Lots of egos, no serious takers. I wasn’t looking for ‘romance,’ just someone to hit the trails with. Nothing more. Burgers, bikes, trails, beer, go home alone. Don’t get me wrong, I love women, but at the time, I wasn’t really wanting to “date.”
I didn’t really know what to do. Google wasn’t the monster it is today, so it was pretty hit and miss. I did set up and go on a date once with a woman through an AOL portal. It was horrible and made me pull back from the whole ‘search’ thing for a while. Sometimes we hope for the best, but end up with nothing even close. At the time this all was going on, I was an AOL customer, so I had access to AOL profiles and dating widgets. I forget what the app was called, but I set up a date through it. We met at a local restaurant in Everett, WA., the city where I was living. We ate burgers. She wanted a burger, so I bought and had one also. No biggy. There was a restaurant in Everett that had an upstairs dining and bar area that had a wall on which they showed movies. I suggested going there, she didn’t want to. It is called “The Flying Pig Restaurant/Bar/Micro Brewery.” Very popular in Everett. She wanted to go to a tavern and play some pool. Hmm…. I relented. I will not further go into detail from here, but I finally told her I had to get up early in the morning for work. She didn’t care for that. She left, disappointed, and I went home to watch a movie, not the one I had suggested. It was where she didn’t want to go. Yada, yada. The worst date I had ever been on. I didn’t do the online dating thing again. Well I never met anyone online again, whom I wanted to get acquainted with, until……..
A few months, maybe three, after I got my computer, I moved to a different apartment in a different part of town closer to work. I discovered Microsoft Messenger and Yahoo Messenger and fooled around with those for a while. I was amazed. This was a new way to communicate, and it was right there, free to dive in to, anytime. That night I had four chats going. I can’t remember from what states or countries, but it was very astounding. I was ‘on’ till four in the morning.
Well, when I moved closer to work, I chose to disregard having any television service forwarded. I was good with biking, phone (cell) and dial-up. It was slow, but it worked. I considered looking online for someone to mountain bike with in the local area who was also internet savvy. I dropped an ad at dating dot com. I waited six months. Got a few nibbles (“Your ad has been visited by 10 people today”) but no real hits. One day after work, I checked my E-mail, as always. There was a response to my dating dot com ad. Wow. Someone somewhere on this planet had read my ad and felt compelled to respond to my ad.
Well, I responded. Amazingly, to me at least, within a few hours, I got a reply. Hey, this was cool. It was a woman in Georgia, the state, and precisely from the town of Ringgold. 2,557 miles away. Again, I was amazed, 48 years old, single, living alone and amazed. Hmmm…..
This ‘computer thing’ was very nice. No long distance charges, I didn’t need gasoline or a car. Very nice. Nothing like holding hands, but still nice. I answered her E-Mail. She got back to me. Very pleasant woman. Articulate, intelligent, kind, nice manners, very appealing. ‘Lucy’ was just a screen name. It was the name of one of her cats.
So we established a dialog. Every day after work, me being three hours ‘ahead’ of her, so 5 pm for me was 8 pm for her, she would sit in front of her computer, do what ever she did, and wait for me to get online which was around 5:30 pm local. As soon as I could, I helped her download and install Yahoo Messenger so we could get off of the email routine. I literally wrote the instructions on a piece of paper, scanned it and emailed it to her. I waited a few minutes and suddenly, she asked me to be her friend through my messenger console. This was working out well. We could now chat in real-time and get to know each other, which we did do.
We chatted about hobbies, work, friends, spirituality, ‘religion,’ food, drinks, pets, Seattle, Tunnel Hill, as well as much more. We did this from January 2001 to August, 2001. In August, I took my paid week vacation from Erickson Furniture and flew out to Georgia to see ‘Lucy,’ who had now become Melissa Joy Richardson. I was actually going to meet someone I had met on the internet.
We set up our rendezvous, I got a flight, laid over in Dallas, flew to Atlanta. Took the shuttle north to Dalton, GA. She picked me up and we took off for Ringgold where she lived. We spent the week seeing the sights, shopping, walking and getting to know each other. We had great fun.
Rock City, The Tennessee Aquarium, Sticky Fingers Restaurant, her family, The Dalton Depot. I got to see Chattanooga for the first time. We stayed local in all of our running around that week, but it was great fun, as I stated. I was especially impressed with how many huge rocks I saw everywhere. I know that’s a bit weird, but it’s a part of me. Glacial sized rocks. As a kid, I loved geography, especially ancient terrain formation, so this rock thing was going on in my mind whenever we were out looking at the sights. Very curious. I was aware of the mechanism that put them there and how it worked, but I had never seen such things before. My native area of Washington state is a subduction zone and has no extreme glacial activity evidence. This new stuff was really cool.
Well, here I was, a stranger in a strange new land. There was air to breathe, water to drink, food and shelter from the weather. I would be ok. At least I figured ‘no biggy.’ So far, ten years and change later, it’s all good. Neither of us have children nor divorces in our pasts. We started out with no bitterness, no hate for institution.
We have now been married for 10 years and seven months. It’s been great, and just as good everyday. I have no doubt what-so-ever that we will be happy together for the rest of our lives. We laugh, we cry, we rejoice and grieve together.
So, yes, internet romance is real and can lead to everlasting love and happiness. I know, because it has and is happening to me.
The next time you think it is some sort of imaginary, fairy tale, scam deal, etc., think again. My wife and I are certainly not the only two who have found happiness this way. Without a doubt, many have experienced the same events and have found what they have always wanted and they remain happy. By the way, I am 59 years old and my lovely wife is 52. We wed on May 4, 2002.
Thanks for reading and I wish you the best in your search and endeavors.