CatholicMatch has had its share of member stories where one party or the other was skeptical of online dating. To say that Megan was skeptical would be an understatement. "I thought dating sites were cheap, informal and outrageous," she said bluntly. "I found the idea of online dating to be embarrassing and a last resort."
Megan, a 22-year-old neurobiology student preparing to enter grad school in her native Oregon, found something else even more distasteful though, and it was settling for a spouse who did not share her faith. She came by this lesson the hard way, having seen a relationship with an atheist end when she refused to sleep with him.
"I realized I could not date, much less marry, a non-Catholic," she said. A friend of hers had a positive experience with online dating, and through the friend's encouragement, Megan relaxed her opposition to online dating and gave it a shot.
Megan began to receive messages almost right away, and she also found 28-year-old Anthony in her own list of matches. "I thought it would give it a shot," she said regarding the idea of contacting him. "With the idea that that if he didn't respond within a few days I would cancel my account and take a break from dating altogether."
Anthony responded, and it became quickly apparent the couple shared a sarcastic sense of humor. It led to a dinner date that began with Saturday evening Mass. "I don't ever remember being so nervous walking into Mass, except for maybe an exceptionally difficult confession," she admitted. "So I kneeled down and prayed. I prayed to stop shaking, but also to maintain complete honesty from the beginning."
The first date went very well, and Megan recalled already feeling herself falling for Anthony. After several more dates, including Mass attendance, she had no doubts that she had met "the one." They began to talk of a shared future together, and the problems Megan experienced in her previous relationship was a distant memory.
"I had never felt so loved, adored, cherished and supported in my faith," she said. Everything was going beautifully for three months, and then suddenly Megan began to sense Anthony pulling back. "I feared that I had scared him off," she recalled. "I prayed and mentally began to let him go."
When the couple got together for a Wednesday night date, Megan was prepared for the relationship to end. There was an uncomfortable silence through dinner. "I had planned my escape route and was already thinking about what ice cream I had in my freezer when I got home." Her efforts at small talk fell flat. When Anthony took her hand and she saw his eyes fill with tears, Megan was sure the breakup had begun.
"Just then he pulled out a piece of paper from his jacket pocket and began reading a Bible verse," she said. "He then got down on one knee and pulled out a ring form his pocket....I cried out of joy, disbelief and confusion. I was not going to lose the love of my life. He wanted to marry me."
Anthony told Megan if that if he had been distant, it was only for self-reflection for proposing. The couple is now in the marriage prep process through their parish. "I cannot even begin to express how happy, thankful and excited I am to have finally met the man who will walk with our children and me on our journey to heaven."