Stephanie and Todd had both been looking for fresh starts. Each had been through the pain of their first marriages failing and going through the annulment process, and each had been back into dating for four years. In retrospect, they seemed on a neat and clear path to meet each other.
Neither had ever tried online dating, and 48-year-old Stephanie was strongly encouraged to try it by her family. She had her nieces over for an old-fashioned pizza and slumber party and the subject of online dating came up. She’d heard about CatholicMatch through a friend in a divorce recovery group and mentioned it to the girls.
“Aunt Stephanie, you need to try this,” the nieces implored her. That very night action was taken, with Stephanie’s nieces helping to construct her original profile.
Getting messages wasn’t a problem, but Stephanie was still a free member and hesitant about joining. “Sixty to 70 messages was overwhelming,” she recalled. Even after she made the decision to become a full member, communication was kept to one or two people.
After being on the site a short time, Stephanie decided a change in strategy was in order. “I was too limited geographically,” she said, referencing her search parameters. “I’d dated men in other cities before, so it was something I was comfortable with.”
When she expanded her search, Todd popped up.
Todd was 52, and like Stephanie he was from Texas — he from Houston, she from Dallas. He’d found out about CatholicMatch through his parish.
Todd was also in communication with someone else on CatholicMatch, but nothing that had elevated to a serious level, so he and Stephanie opened an e-mail dialogue.
“We wrote each other through the CatholicMatch system for three weeks,” she said. “I was wondering ‘Is this guy ever gonna call?’”
There was a method to Todd’s caution though and it spoke to different approaches that he and Stephanie were bringing to their dating pursuits. He was on CatholicMatch with a very explicit goal of finding that special someone. She certainly wanted the same thing, but was content to see it as a byproduct of meeting people and letting things take their course. There’s nothing saying one approach is right and one is wrong, but the three-week wait for Stephanie underscored the difficulties that can come with allowing the approaches to mesh.
Once they do mesh, it becomes worth the wait though, and things really clicked once it was time for them to meet face to face.
“You know people say you just know?” Stephanie said. “Well, that first night at dinner I just knew.”
The feeling was mutual and Todd didn’t hesitate to move things forward. Though they’d made their first connection on New Year’s Day, when he got the chance to meet her mother and her 96-year-old grandmother, he asked their permission to marry Stephanie.
Todd and Stephanie’s relationship was moving at a rapid pace, and her grandmother recalled to Todd that on her first date with Stephanie’s grandfather he’d informed her that they would be married.
It was a week ago tonight that Todd took Stephanie to his church. They’d been there before, and there was a beautiful garden out back. He proposed to her and she accepted.
Whatever Todd and Stephanie’s unfamiliarity with online dating, they made it work for them. Stephanie liked the ability to narrow down specific characteristics. “I’m a tall Texas girl with big hair,” she joked. “I needed someone who was tall. Just be tall.”
Todd was tall. He was, in fact a whole lot more. “We just hit it out of the park when we met,” Stephanie recalled fondly. “My whole family is just thrilled.” On the surface it might seem like it happened fast, but when you consider what both went through to reach this point, they both knew what they wanted and didn’t flinch when they found it.