Falling in Love…Online?

Image of couple online dating

“Have you ever “met” someone online and felt an instant connection? Why yes and now he’s my Mr.”

Molly Wizenburg writes in her NYT bestselling memoir A Homemade Life.  She fell in love with her husband over the internet. Upon finding her cooking blog, he emailed her expressing his love for cooking and enjoyment of her blog. They emailed, she called, he visited, and she baked her famous chocolate cake for their wedding. Beautiful story!

Michael and I have a similar story. A mutual friend tried to set us up while we were both home on furlough from Germany and China. I didn’t get his message until it was already too late to meet. I flippantly called him back thinking, “he’s probably just another one of those uber-Christians & I’ll make sure to be nice, but keep it short”. {I was a little disillusioned with Christians at the time.} We talked. He called again. He flew back to Germany, and I boarded a plane for China. We emailed. Skype chatting commenced. Then more phone calls-late ones, because China is 7 hours ahead of Germany.

I still remember crouching on top of dresser in a dirty hotel room in China {because I thought I saw a roach} and Michael very smoothly calling me “little darlin”. I would have launched off that dresser in excitement if it wasn’t for the mysterious creature. On October 12, 2009 I knew I loved him. We still hadn’t met, but had spent countless hours on the phone over the last  3 months. Of course, I didn’t tell him…but I just knew.

On December 6th, I had a really rough “China day” & he played and sang one of my favorite songs over the phone: In Christ Alone. I wrote in my journal that night, “I just know I will marry Michael Dean!” We still had never even shared a cup of coffee.

On December 18, after 4 months of late-night phone conversations & dreaming about what it would be like to actually meet-we met at my parent’s front door. I felt like there was a ghost standing before me & didn’t stop talking because that’s what I do when I’m nervous. We dated from Germany to China and then Atlanta to Germany and then Charlotte to Nashville. Michael and I did not live in the same city until last January-6 months away from our June 4 wedding date! And we didn’t live together until after our wedding. Are we crazy?

“Meeting” and falling in love online and over the phone was never how I pictured Mr. Right coming into my life. Although the distance was hard & I spent those two years counting down the days until we could be together again-it was a beautiful way to know my future husband. My wedding gift to him was an elegantly bound copy of every email and Skype conversation we’d had over the past two years.

I love the way our relationship started. We were both completely “ourselves”, as we didn’t have high hopes it would turn into anything. We had fun, laughed a lot, & shared our dreams and passions without worrying too much about what the other thought. We discovered our mutual love for overseas missions, kids, and the great outdoors. We were really able to get to know each better on many levels because most of our time was spent communicating. Not making out or watching movies. It’s easy to base relationships on chemistry, when chemistry will always fade down the road. But we didn’t have that option.  The important stuff like planning for the future, kids, jobs, religion, and money didn’t get swept under the rug and we were able to be upfront about these very important topics.

Online dating or emailing is a GREAT way to get to know people & protect yourself. Before you start going on blind dates or building your online profile, I would suggest having a list of “deal breakers”-that you absolutely will not settle on. Don’t put a hair or eye color on your ‘deal-breaker’ list, but you should put things about kids, jobs, education level, & religion. I suggest the list before you start meeting people online because when chemistry gets thrown into the mix oftentimes it’s too late to step away.

There are downsides to online dating. PLEASE BE CAREFUL and always meet someone in  a public place. Also, be aware that people can be deceptive online, i.e. “I’m a 23-year-old  swimsuit model…and I look hot in fuchsia!” :)

Image of fat lady in swimsuit

Would you be embarrassed to admit you are dating online? Why or why not? Do you think it’s a good way to get to know someone? What are some of your ‘deal breakers’? 

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20 Responses to “Falling in Love…Online?”
  1. I can so relate to your post! I met someone a few years ago and we started of as acquaintances online. Seeing things in common between us drew us closer. The whole idea of getting to knw eachother bit by bit through skype and so on makes it even more interesting. Its good to knw that these kind of r/ships really do work :)

    • Ruthie D. says:

      Yes! They can work but seeing and interacting with each other in person is vital to a relationship working out. Especially if you both can do things with both his and your friends and see how the other reacts. Your friends usually know best!

  2. Michael says:

    I love our story sweetheart! Thanks for choosing me! What a blessed man I am. One of my deal breakers was chaco’s. Not a fan…haha!

  3. Edward says:

    How funny! My pastor just gave a sermon yesterday on how easy it is to let technology separate rather than connect us. Online meeting places are GREAT for initial contacts but I still feel, if possible, a relationship should be built through some level of physical presence in each other’s lives. There is so much in communication that goes beyond mere words! Little details like sarcasm, tone, facial expressions, and body language are all important nuances of communication that are muted in online (or even telephone) conversations. Then there is the social aspects of knowing a person whereby one HAS to observe a person in community to see if he/she really IS “great with kids” or “loves to serve in church.” To quote a friend, “it’s dangerous for couples to disregard community and row off by themselves” – this is something that is all too easy to do in a purely virtual relationship.. Yours is an AMAZING story; but then, as I keep hearing, you and Michael are both rather amazing people. Also, black list of deal breakers before dating. Great advice!

    • Ruthie D. says:

      HI Edward! I most certainly agree with your pastor! Online relationships should never be a substitute for being in community together and face to face time. It’s a difficult dichotomy because on one hand, most couples base their marriage choice on chemistry & romance (and base the relationship off the physical side) and on the other hand-community and living life together is critical. Do you have any suggestions for how someone might find a balance?

      • Edward says:

        I think relationship success depends primarily on both individual’s commitment to covenant keeping. So while I wouldn’t downplay the importance of either community or chemistry (or even safe physical affection, for that matter); I hold these things as secondary to clear communication of, and active effort to meet, each other’s expectations. I’m totally inexperienced, but work under the assumption that the difficult task of balancing the two extremes (paradoxical need for distance and closeness) becomes clearer when commitment on both sides is continuously established and reaffirmed.

  4. Michael Dean…your hate for Chacos HAD to come from your days at Lurecrest! LOVE this love story…now tell me about how you printed and bound the messages??????

  5. Mona G. says:

    A great story, but not for me…..too much meaness going on, I would be so scared…..but i had a friend who lived in Canada and she met her husband online….and she was so happy, but she passed away due to cancer, but they had a great relationship the length of time they were together which was about 3 yrs….I still think of her and glad he made her happy to the end…..

  6. Mona G. says:

    Hi Ruthie ,
    Have a question for you, where can I email you at ? It’s pertaining to this site…..Thanks

  7. J says:

    I just came across this post and am in a similar situation. Thanks for writing about this. I find your blog so encouraging. How did you go about establishing trust during those months apart while getting to know each other?

    • Ruthie Dean says:

      Hi J! As far as trust goes, we didn’t share too intimately before we met. We talked as friends would and didn’t have any requirements for the other person besides honesty. So if Michael wanted to take another girl on a date, he would let me know (although he never did:).Thanks for reading my blog and for your encouragement. Please spread the word!

  8. John Floden says:

    Great article. Thought you might enjoy the video of how my wife and I met and fell in love through Facebook. We do get a lot of strange looks from people when we tell them how we met.

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  1. […] A Homemade Life by Molly Wizenberg. A cooking memoir that is beautifully written. Molly writes an internationally read cooking blog & she recounts life through recipes. She met her husband online. […]

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