Dean had only been on CatholicMatch a few weeks, and he wasn't necessarily looking for a long-distance relationship. Therefore, when the 50-year-old from Arkansas got a message from Shelly, he noted that she lived in Hawaii and had no expectations. "I only responded to be polite," he said.
Shelly wasn't exactly bursting with expectations herself. After over a year on CatholicMatch, and several dates that didn't materialize, she was close to settling on a conclusion that online dating wasn't for her. When she saw Dean's profile, she was simply making sure that she left no stone unturned before giving up online dating.
The combination of one woman thinking she had nothing to lose, and one man figuring he should just be polite ended up with life-changing impact, and had Dean on a plane to Honolulu in a matter of six weeks.
"I never expected a relationship could grow over such a long distance," he said. "By the end of the week (of his Hawaii trip) we were discussing options to close the distance between us." Three months after that, Shelly, also 50-years-old, and having work-related flexibility, was moving into her own apartment in Little Rock so they could pursue the dating relationship further.
Today they are engaged, and Dean has a newfound appreciation for everything about online dating. "(It can be) a little frustrating, but...any dating is frustrating. Online introductions actually helped reduce much of the frustration by allowing you to eliminate some of the critical mismatch points very early on, before any emotional investment is made."
The CatholicMatch system of helping to understand a potential dating partner's religious faith was very important to him, and a reason he had decided to let subscriptions to secular dating sites lapse. As it turned out, he was able to let the CatholicMatch subscription lapse too, for the very best of reasons.
Nothing relieves frustration like seeing things work out for the best though, especially when it's the way you might have least expected. That's what happened for both Dean and Shelly, as the simplest of beginnings had the most positive of conclusions.
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