Pete and Monica both had to overcome loss. Monica had been in a good Catholic marriage that ended when her husband passed away after a seven-year fight with cancer. Pete saw a 29-year marriage of his own end in divorce and faced the annulment process. Both had wounds, and both had painful memories. But they have found in each other someone who brings new joy into living.
“I was pretty depressed,” Pete said, regarding his going through the divorce process. “My Mom strongly suggested I get out there…she had been a CatholicMatch member after my dad died in 2007 and had a good experience with it.”
Though Pete had a positive outlook regarding online dating in general, he still felt cautious enough to only communicate with women who contacted him first.
Monica wasn’t sure what to expect from the whole online dating thing herself. Her sister-in-law had met her husband via the online route, so there was a positive track record.
“I really had no idea what to expect,” she said. “I was a bit apprehensive and nervous, but thought I would at least be able to chat…and maybe eventually meet someone.”
The initial online connection grew gradually, with contact every few days. Monica passed on Pete’s first request to exchange phone numbers.
“It just didn’t seem right or feel right,” she admitted. And Monica also wanted to see where things might go with another man who lived nearby her southern California home.
But Pete was a regular churchgoer, something Monica’s other prospective interest was not. “He is also a better speller,” she joked. “Spelling and faith count.” He lives about an hour’s drive from her in SoCal, and they met for dinner.
“We talked for a long time,” Monica recalled. “Mostly about our children, our faith, our marriages, our brokenness and about music.” In that first date the common bond of being able to freely share both their pain, as well as their passion for music was already evident—a mix of the joy and sorrow that make up life’s journey.
On their second date at Disneyland, they shared their first kiss outside Sleeping Beauty’s Castle, a moment they both agreed was “awkward.” Though Pete would later joke that they’ve had more practice since to try and get it right.
Pete’s commitment to his family was something Monica found attractive. “I loved how he loved his daughters and his Mom,” she said. “This tells you a lot about the type of person someone is.”
For his part, Pete loved Monica’s spirituality, and her own commitment to family and to the community around her. “She is a great mom, to her own children, and as a role model for my two girls,” he said.
“I am continually impressed by the number of people in her church, her work, her family and in the community that look to Monica for guidance, or maybe just a shoulder to lean on.”
The crosses Pete and Monica have carried are real, with 55 years of combined marriage between them prior to meeting. Yet so is the joy, and the mutual admiration they have for each other.
“Pete acknowledges and respects my feelings for my late husband and helps me through my moments of sadness,” Monica said. Pete added that he sees Monica as a heaven-sent reminder that he is truly blessed.
Pete and Monica are contemplating the future together, as they seek God’s will in their lives. “He is faithful, humble, honest, funny, hardworking, a good father and son, … and is a great speller,” Monica, said concisely encapsulating all of Pete’s virtues. “How can a girl resist?”