The world of online dating always fascinates me. A normal question that usually comes to my mind when thinking about this sort of dates are – how can two people actually fall in love without meeting each other in the first instance? How can this develop into a binding relationship that could lead to marriage? However, as the years go by, I find out that more and more of my friends are finding their life partners through the internet.
When my high school friend, Sally started sharing on Facebook about how she found her husband online, my curiosity grew even more. I guess that for most of you who have never heard about what online dating is all about, you may be as curious as I am. Hence, for this blog post, I have asked Sally and her husband Rob to share their honest opinion on their online dating experiences.
Below are their answers:
How did you got to know each other? What channel etc?
Sally: Well, it started when I was chatting online with Rob’s friend, Mike. It was back in 1999 when there was an online chatting website called MiRC (I’m not sure if MiRC is still operating). I was chatting casually on that website and not looking for love obviously because I wasn’t on a dating website but yea, it happened 🙂
So at that time I was just 15 years old. There weren’t smartphones or apps like now. In the beginning, Mike and I were communicating over email once in awhile and also chatting through Yahoo Messenger.
Then after we assessed each other that we were real and weren’t weirdos online, we sent some letters and exchanged our pictures and small souvenirs. We were basically like pen-pals. We talked about hobbies, friends & family etc.
Sometimes Mike would call me from USA and he let me talk to his friends. From there I got to know some of his friends and that’s how I first heard about Rob. Then the internet came up with social media sites like MySpace, Friendster, and then Facebook. It was easier and we kept in touch through that. Later, I added some of Mike’s friends on there too including Rob.
When you got to know each other, was it love at first sight? Or were you friends first?
Sally & Rob: Basically we were online friends and then we clicked. From chatting we went to phone calls and then video calls. We slowly built up the relationship over time.
How did you interact with each other online?
Sally & Rob: We started to message each other on Facebook and then we downloaded WhatsApp and LINE which made it easier to communicate daily.
What did you think of each other at the first instance when you met online?
Sally: I think he’s nice, funny and a shy guy. That made me wanted to know him more.
Rob: I liked Sally’s personality; she was fun, we got along well, we could easily make each other laugh. I was eager to get to know her better.
Did you exchange photos? When?
Sally & Rob: The first time we exchanged photos was when we first downloaded WhatsApp in 2012. But we knew what each other looked like way before that since we were friends online through MySpace, Friendster, and Facebook.
When did you decide to meet each other? After how long?
Sally: It happened that Rob’s friend, Andrew was going to Indonesia in 2014 because he was marrying his fiancé, Melissa (now his wife). So, we were invited to Andrew’s wedding in Indonesia. We thought it was a good opportunity to meet up after about a year talking and chatting daily on WhatsApp. We felt we already kind of knew each other after many years of talking before this.
Sally & Rob: Our first time meeting up was amazing. We were excited and nervous at the same time. When the first time we saw each other at the airport there were these magical sparks and chemistry between us right away. Both of us had huge smiles on our faces. It felt natural, like we had known each other forever!
Sally: I noticed that he couldn’t take his eyes away from me. I was so happy that he flew all the way to see me. We traveled together with Andrew & his wife in Singapore and Indonesia and I also brought him back to Malaysia to my hometown to introduce him to my family.
My parents knew about me having friends in USA that I know through online since I was 15. Ever since that fateful trip we knew we always wanted to be together and we feel blessed that we are happily married now.
How did the relationship manage to develop being so far apart?
Sally & Rob: Communication is always the key in any relationship especially in a long distance relationship. Technology helped a lot. We always spoke daily and had video calls.
Time difference was another challenge we faced having a long distance relationship. For us it was a 12 hour difference. We had to be consistent, stay positive, and have the same goals towards the relationship that we built. We would wake up earlier before going to work just to make sure that we could talk to each other daily.
We always would update each other what’s going on in our lives and we showed that we’re always there for each other. For example, we showed each other pictures of what we were doing during the day, like the foods that we had for our meal or sending a photo of the movie we watched with our friends.
We sent cards or small gifts once in a while to surprise each other which helped maintain our relationship and make it feel more alive.
Most importantly our relationship came with honesty and openness. We talked about anything, even our weaknesses and beliefs. We came to accept each other the way we are. We are, and always will be, each others best friend.
What’s it like to date online?
Sally & Rob: To be honest, it was never been easy as your love isn’t physically there for you. You have to be committed. As long as you have the same goals in relationship or the same feelings towards each other, it will work out the same as the normal relationship.
How did you manage trust in online dating?
Sally & Rob: We spoke everyday and were completely honest with each other from the start. There was never a reason to doubt each other. We always updated each other on what we were doing or where we are at. We also respected each other’s space.
Did part of you wished you could date each in person? Did you miss each other and how did you overcome it?
Sally & Rob: Absolutely! It would have made things easier to date in person. We missed each other very much and we spoke everyday on the phone or video called and also texted daily. We would plan out on the next trip to meet up with each other again. The longest waiting time that we had to go through until we saw each other again was 6 months. We would plan to meet up with each other as often as we could no matter where, in KL or in the U.S.
Did part of you doubted that the relationship would work out in the end during your courtship?
Sally & Rob: There was a little bit of doubt during the relationship due to many challenges we faced such as coming from different countries, different cultures, different time zones & etc. But every relationship has challenges and it depends on how you handle them that makes it work.
What would your advice be to people wishing to pursue online dating?
Sally & Rob: First of all, always make sure that the person you’re chatting with is real. Not only get to know them, but it’s better to know their family & friends too. Have a lot of patience and communicate daily to get to know each other well enough before meeting up. Sometimes it takes time, but it’s worth it.
I’d like to thank Sally & Rob for sharing their success in online dating and some dating advice to those who are wishing to pursue online dating. Although this sort of dating can be challenging, but it does work for some couples. To Sally & Rob, I’d also like to wish you both a happy marriage ahead!