FORT WORTH, Texas, February 4, 2013 — Finding love online can either be a dream come true or a match made in Hell. The recent suit brought against Match.com by Mary Kay Beckham and other such dating nightmares are a testament to that.
Fortunately this is not always the case.
Patrick Hansen friended Carrie Dodd, finding her through mutual friends on Myspace back in 2007. She had Photoshopped a goofy pirate hat on a picture of herself and he thought she looked cute.
Outgoing Patrick had a picture of himself on his page. Carrie describes it: “[he was] standing in what looked like his backyard with his hat in his hand and his arms spread out with a clear view of his balding head as if to say, this is me…deal with it.”
Carrie was impressed with his self-confidence, sense of humor and that he was so personable.
At the time Patrick was in Washington State waiting to hear from Boeing about a job. Carrie was in California, starting a new life after 29 years of marriage. She wasn’t looking for another mate at this point.
After a month of back and forth communication, however, they were more than just online acquaintances. As Carrie puts it, “Within a month we were spending the entire day together online, into the wee hours just talking and laughing.”
After a month they started talking on the phone every day. Within six months they both knew they wanted to be together.
Now mind you, among all the happy and excited feelings and being online together, they didn’t go into this relationship blindly. Both Patrick and Carrie are very aware of the dangers of online relationships and kept that in mind.
It also helps that neither of them were looking for a relationship, which may have made it easier to see any red flags and listen to what their gut instincts were telling them.
Paul Falzone, author of the book, Find the Right One and CEO of “The Right One” and “Together,” two nationwide dating services advises, “Keep the relationship casual in the early stages and let it evolve at its own pace. It takes time to build a quality relationship and the job cannot be rushed.”
And that’s exactly what they did.
They had no doubts by this time, but both had responsibilities to take care of first and other hurdles along the way. Carrie also points out, “Being together in person is very different from being together online. Getting used to each other took time and patience.” She said they took it one day at a time and the support for each other was always there. After that they knew they could face anything together and make it.
The pair finally met in person, but not until 2009. Once face-to-face, they clicked just as they had when they first met on Myspace. At first their family and friends were not nearly as sure but semi-supported the pair. Now they see the dedication and love Carrie and Patrick have for each other and are delighted for them.
The happy couple is now planning to be married and live full-time in an RV near her family. It’s a dream Carrie has had for a long time and Patrick is right on board with it too.
When asked if they would recommend dating online vs. meeting in person their reply was, “Yes, but you have to take the time to get to know someone. See what they are posting and watch a while.”
Carrie goes on to say that she doesn’t recommend this for everyone. It took talking hours a day and a couple of years getting of getting to know each other before they even got together in person. And that is in spite of the way they felt about each other.
Head-over-heels in love, desperation for love or just plain loneliness are some of the reasons people choose to be blinded to the reality of a situation, uncomfortable or not. “Usually, our problem isn’t whether or not we see the red flags….It’s what we or our psyche decide to do with this information that matters most” says Dr. Susan Biali, M.D. in her article for Psychology Today.
Take a lesson from Patrick and Carrie. It seems like the best way to develop an online relationship is over time. Savor each stage as it happens.
Read more next week as we explore online dating that goes horribly wrong.
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