Why it doesn’t matter if you met (or meet) online.


Lane and I met on a dating application.

The name of the application is called Hinge. My friend from New York City recommended it to me at the start of 2015.

“I’ve been on a couple of good dates,” she said. “They have jobs. Real jobs.”

It’s sad to think that a ‘real job’ is a thing you find yourself looking for in a partner these days.

 

I downloaded the application on the floor of her living room on January 1. We’d just come back from a diner where we mapped out our year and I was feeling lucky and ambitious. I set my search settings to Atlanta and I started to scroll.

Mind you, I was in the middle of thick depression when I downloaded that dating app. My feelings and emotions were a jumble of really high and rock-bottom low that winter. Me being on a dating application was probably not the healthiest choice and I soon realized that a couple of days later. I deleted the application.

It’s not that I didn’t want to meet someone. I just knew in my gut that the words I needed to repeat to myself were, “not now.” Not now. Get healthy. Get happy. Get sane. Get better. Get “anything” before you start believing a guy with a full set of teeth and a real job is going to fix you.

I ignored the idea of that dating application for another nine months.

 

My first year out of college, I wanted to be in love. I thought I would be one of those people who got married young. I’m happy God didn’t have the same plan for me because my husband would have starved to death in wrinkled clothing during our second month of marriage.

I don’t want to say I wasn’t in touch with reality back then but I really wasn’t. I saw everything through the eyes of a dreamer. I believed I would meet someone in a romantic clash of serendipity. I wrote this really whimsical blog post about how I didn’t support online dating because I believed I would meet someone in a more unexpected fashion. Somewhere like aisle seven of the grocery store where we would bump carts and then exchange awkward words before he asked me to dinner.

I remember getting a blog comment from a reader who was offended by my piece. She told me she and her husband had met through online dating and there was nothing less magical about their story than the idea of two people meeting in the oatmeal aisle.

 

I sat down to write this today because I know there is a stigma floating in the air about meeting online. I don’t know why the stigma exists but I think it’s because we don’t watch people in the movies meet online and fall in love. Rarely. We consume the unexpected crossings. We consume the scenes where two people end up in the same place at the same time and everything changes.

I wrote this because your love story is great and important, even if it hasn’t happened yet. You aren’t wrong to want to try out a dating application or make a profile on Match.com. That’s not crazy. You can do it. But I wouldn’t be a good friend to you if I didn’t ask you a more important question: is this what you need right now? Are you healthy and are you ready?

Relationships change things. Hearts are fragile. Humans are no different when you fall in love with them– no matter if we meet in a grocery store or in a chatroom. Make sure you are ready enough to bring your heart into the relationship before you swipe right.

 

Love stories happen everywhere. It’s important to note that. If we have a scale of what’s more magical and what’s more deserving of our applause then we are missing the point of love. The most beautiful thing that happens in a love story is two people choosing one another. I don’t think we should care how that happens, or where that happens, so much as we should be expectant and praying that it happens for the people we love. We should be more invested in people’s daily fights to keep one another, not the “how we met” story.

We become entitled. We get jealous and it’s hard to want good things for people when we haven’t yet seen them for ourselves. I think we miss the point we start to believe life is a story all about our expectations being met.

 

 

I remember one of the former contestants on the Bachelor telling a story about how she met her last boyfriend on a plane. It was such a serendipitous moment. For years, as they dated, she kept waiting to fully fall in love. She wanted things to click. She said she finally left.

“I was always waiting for my feelings to catch up to story of how we met,” she said.

Maybe it’s more dangerous that we ask the question so often, “How did you two meet?” Maybe it’s not important that you meet on a train or a bus or a coffee shop. Maybe the better question we could ask people is, “How do you stay in the fight for one another? How do you keep your love fresh? How do you sacrifice?”

 

Lane and I met on a dating application and I think the most important detail of the story is that my heart was ready to meet someone. My heart was ready to treat someone not like a crutch or a savior, but an equal. I knew what I wanted.

Fireworks never exploded in the sky to spell out LANE in big letters. He didn’t march up to my door with a bouquet of sharpened pencils. I made the first move. We talked for a week on the application before Lane asked for my number. I remember the messages were the best part of my day. In a week of traveling to three cities and watching my brother get married, this stranger on the other side of the screen was the best part of my day. He asked questions. He sent back paragraphs. We’d wait until 8 or 9 at night and then write back to one another until we fell asleep at night.

We found out, in piecing together our histories, there were a dozen or so places where we should have met already. We attended the same parties. We knew the same people. We lived 8 minutes apart. We were in the same places at the same time and I am still convinced I served that boy a corn dog and a coke at one of the parties. I just didn’t notice him.

“You wouldn’t have liked the girl you met if you met me any sooner,” I am confident enough to say to Lane. I needed to change before I was ready for a love story. I needed to become someone different and I am proud to say I did the hard work required of me.

 

It doesn’t matter where we meet. We are silly and insane if we get caught up in the “how we met” story that we forget the rest of the details. What will matter in 5 years from now is how we thought to build one another. How we thought to lay our hearts on the line. How we showed up. How we emboldened each other. How we met? That’s just the first part of the story. If you ask me, it hasn’t even gotten good yet.

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16 thoughts on “Why it doesn’t matter if you met (or meet) online.

  1. Thanks for writing this. Met my latest boyfriend on bumble, and it’s fantastic, and we were ready. We too, should’ve met a 1,000 times before seeing one another on an app. Thanks for being real, and encouraging girls like me.

  2. This is the first of all your posts i’m reading and have already shared it most of my friends. So good

  3. OMG I super agree with you, Hannah! We all watch too many fairy tales or romantic movies and ended up expecting such things to occur to us in real life. I dare to say the probability of such things happening is very low and since we are always waiting for the ‘fairytale’ moments to happen, we don’t even try to make it happen, for the least. Guess we need to take a break a bit from watching those unrealistic movies. Make things happen when you’re ready for it.

    🙂

  4. Yes. Especially to this –> “You wouldn’t have liked the girl you met if you met me any sooner,” I am confident enough to say to Lane. I needed to change before I was ready for a love story. I needed to become someone different and I am proud to say I did the hard work required of me.”

    That is exactly what my fiance and I always say to each other. We wouldn’t have worked if we’d met any sooner, and I’m grateful for that!

  5. Written so beautifully. I, too, love the statement, “you wouldn’t have like the girl if you met her earlier.” I was 28 when I married. We were literally match made. I was “drug” (not really) to another state to meet him. I went so the lady would stop bothering me about it. We were married 4 months later. 🙂
    The thing is. I wouldn’t have chosen him earlier. And he was not available earlier. (widowed).
    We must be prepared to meet that ONE. In order for a good marriage, one needs to learn that life is not all about you. Marriage takes a lot of work and compromise. Thanks for saying this so well.

  6. Hi,I met a very nice guy online I wasn’t ready for the dating world, but just wanted company cause all my friends are occupied with being married or dating! But I was too embarrass to say me met online so we had a big fight and broke up I know it’s for the best cause I need to learn and grow in my alone season that I’m in. Anyway​ I appreciate your post

  7. I love how this gives me the feeling these are the words of a survivor and someone who has figured out the true meaning of something important to them. I adored the way you put everything together, and I appreciate you sharing this wonderful story with us! 🙂

  8. Amen, HB! My husband and I did meet in a really romantic way but that truly means nothing in light of the hard, holy work of marriage. Have you heard this quote from Irving Stone? “The best romance is inside the marriage;
    the finest love stories come after the wedding, not before.” So much truth. xoxo

  9. This really struck a chord with me, Hannah. I’ve been thinking a lot lately about finding someone but I honestly am questioning whether or not I’m ready, and this reminded me that that’s totally ok, that rushing into something isn’t necessary because God will bring me to the right person when I know that I can give myself fully. Thanks as always for your openness and realness. 🙂

  10. I love this Hannah! I’ve been telling my friends forever to stop complaining about not going on dates, caring too much about silly stigma and jump online. Recently I met someone incredible online, and I will not let any ideas of what is cute and what isn’t spoil it for me. It’s so much more practical than meeting in a bar. It’s online shopping, but for boys and obviously with hearts and feelings thrown into the mix. Let’s be real- EVERYONE loves you’ve got mail, don’t they? Thank you for sharing. Great post.

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