"If I was going to do this, I was going all-in." That's how 25-year-old Ali described her mindset when she joined CatholicMatch. This determination shouldn't be mistaken for a fervent conviction that online dating was the path to finding her future spouse--she was skeptical, though not dismissive of the possibility. Rather, Ali made up her mind that if she joined CatholicMatch, she wasn't going to just put up a profile and leave it.
Anthony had joined the site a month prior. He worked in construction sales and did a lot of traveling. Anthony used that time on the road, staying in motels to read. "I read about what goes wrong in relationships," he recalled. "There's a strong correlation between divorce rates and no spiritual backing. It got me thinking about what I was looking for." He joined CatholicMatch in the hopes of finding it, but his early correspondence didn't result in the right connection.
Then Ali was online with her sister one day, as they browsed profiles. "I wasn't doing any particular search, like a geographic area or anything," she recalled. "I sort of randomly clicked on Anthony. I flipped through his pictures and there was basic physical attraction." She further liked what he said in his profile--from his smart-aleck sense of humor, to the deeper issues. "He was work-oriented, well-educated and his family was important to him," Ali recalled.
After some brief debate over whether it was appropriate to send an emotigram, Ali decided there was really nothing to lose. So she "smiled' at Anthony.
Anthony got the emotigram, browsed Ali's profile and was similarly impressed. He liked the way she looked, and he liked the deeper qualities about her that came across, "She answered yes to all seven questions," he said, referring to the "Faith" portion of the CatholicMatch profile. He saw a common bond in that they each came from a larger Catholic family, and he liked that the girl from Washington state was willing to relocate--Anthony was officially living in Kansas City at the time, although more realistically, he was living wherever his job took him.
There was one lingering question Anthony had. Was she for real. Or, as he put it "Is this some psycho ax-murderer or is she legitimate?" There was only way to find out and they opened online communication.
Texts and emails led to phone calls and Facetime. Anthony found that yes, Ali was legitimate and a whole lot more. The good traits they saw in each other grew as they added another dimension to their communications. "You match the words with the face and personality," Anthony said, recalling the benefits of using Facetime to talk.
Things were going well that to both, it almost seemed to good to be true, and a face-to-face get-together was necessary. "You can only go so long doing what we were doing," Ali said. The first meeting had to happen. We had to find out if this was real or if we were crazy." Ali got on a plane to fly to Kansas City.
A fun weekend in Kansas City was followed and later Anthony traveled to the small town in Washington where Ali and her family live. In the meantime, they continued to rely strongly on their shared faith to help them deal with being apart.
Long-distance relationships are hard," Ali acknowledged. "When you have a bad day at work, there's no one to see in person." She cited the faith foundation in the center of their relationship as the key to making it work. That, and they both saw something special in the other that made it worth working through all the difficulties.
But just as the relationship could only go so long electronically, so too is being in separate cities starting to run its course. Anthony and Ali know they have something special and this fall she is going to relocate to be in the same city with him.
"I always had future plans to relocate," Ali said. "I'm young and I wanted to live in a bigger city." Seattle and Portland might have been what she had in mind, and then events led her to Denver. A graduate of Franciscan University in Ohio, she has an adventurous spirit, having already gone across the country for school and is now ready to begin a new adventure. And, she added, her work as a dental assistant, makes it easier to find employment.
"This is an ideal situation," Anthony said, as they begin to discern the next steps in their relationship. "By no means was I expecting it. I was just looking for someone to date and maybe have coffee with." Instead he found someone whose values matched his and whose personality was a perfect complement.
"I've dated other people and always thought I would have to 'settle' if I wanted to get married and have a family," Ali said. "I thought I would have to lower my standards. But he is what my standards are, and I never thought I would find that."
Anthony and Ali have something special in each other, and they now prepare for the next exciting phase.