New Yorkers, Olexa and James, only lived 15 minutes away from another, but it took a CatholicMatch membership to bring them together.
In February of 2015, Olexa, 29, joined CatholicMatch despite some reservation. “Over the years, I had unsuccessfully tried a handful of secular websites, and I honestly was tired of online dating,” she remembers. “Yet, a voice deep inside of me kept telling me to join.”
Olexa, who is a single mom, believes that God only brings the right person into your life when you’re ready. To prepare herself for her future husband, she had previously made a commitment to be celibate. She also spent time praying for a spouse. “While I didn’t have much luck in meeting someone, in the beginning, I prayed consistently to God and St. Raphael—the patron saint of Catholic singles and happy meetings—asking that if God wanted me to marry a Catholic man, to please send me one from the website.”
She Thought He Was Too Good Looking
More than once, she saw James’ profile pop up, and even though she was attracted to him, she was hesitant to message James. “I thought he was a stereotypical ‘pretty Long Island boy’ who was rich, spoiled, and just concerned about his good looks!”
However, James’ profile showed that there was more to him than the superficial. Reading his profile, Olexa could see that he had good values. She also noticed that he preferred attending the traditional Latin Mass, which intrigued her, so in her first message to James, she asked him a question about the Extraordinary Form of the Mass.
Maybe This Isn't What God Wants
In 2012, James joined CatholicMatch because he believed faith in God should be the cornerstone of every relationship. “I knew that trying to meet someone who shared my values at a bar or nightclub would be like trying to draw water from a rock. I felt that joining CatholicMatch would give me the opportunity to meet such a woman who would also have those values,” says James, who is 30 years old.
Sadly, he had been on the CatholicMatch for a year-and-a-half without success. “While I did get a chance to talk to good fellow Catholics, I did not have any success in meeting someone I felt I wanted to get serious with and date.”
In the spring of 2015, James rejoined the site, and after six-months, there still weren’t any prospects. “I thought perhaps it was not God's will for me to meet someone romantically at this time in my life…It made me question if there were any good Catholic girls left, which is why I started to doubt if I even wanted to get serious with someone.”
A Thoughtful Message Leads to a First Date
On August 8th, 2015, he received a message from Olexa that impressed him. “What stood out to me in her message was that she took the time out to write me about things in my profile, asking genuine questions about me—not to mention she was quite beautiful.”
Olexa’s subscription was ending, so after a few e-mails back and forth, she gave James her number. A few weeks later, he called and asked her out. On September 25, 2015, they met for their first date at a local coffee house that has a Halloween theme all year round.
Seeing Olexa in person, he found her even more beautiful than her profile pictures. James recalls that he felt very nervous at first and that he had trouble reading Olexa. “She was very quiet, and she would let the conversation slip into uncomfortable silence. I started talking a mile a minute to try to fill the silence. When she did speak, she asked challenging questions that I was surprised someone was willing to ask on a first date.” he says.
Her Side of the Story
Olexa found James to be intelligent and passionate in his views when he spoke, and she was amazed to learn he shared the same values as her.“Normally, I wouldn’t ask such hard-hitting questions on a first date, but I felt comfortable in doing so because we met on CatholicMatch. We agreed on things like not living together before marriage and that faith is the foundation for a good marriage.”
However, she thought he spoke too much, as she could hardly get a word in edgewise. “Even though I could tell James was a good man, I have to say that when he spoke, he spoke quickly and for long periods of time. I felt like he was lecturing me! I could only quip in one sentence at a time before he went right back to a lecture. After about three hours of talking, I excused myself to go to the restroom. I had to give myself a pep talk because while I felt very frustrated, I was amazed that our values were perfectly aligned.”
At this point, Olexa was debating if I should even give him a second date. She decided to try to salvage the evening by suggesting that they play billiards after the coffeehouse. It was a good idea because it broke up the tension, and they began to be able to converse more easily.
The Third Date Almost Never Happened
Their first date had ended well enough, so Olexa suggested that they go to a Renaissance fair in Manhattan for their next date. Even though James seemed interested in going, he was vague about making a firm date. He told her that on Sundays he usually watches the Giant's game, but that he would let her know.
“On the day of the fair, I was waiting for him to let me know either way if he could go but he never called,” Olexa explains.
They ended going out for dinner and drinks on another day, and Olexa, unable to disguise her hurt feelings, mentioned to James that she was upset about his standing her up. She told him that he should have let her known that he couldn’t make it to the fair.
I am a huge sports fan, and when Olexa and I started dating, the New York Mets, my favorite team, went on a playoff run. So on a night when we were to go out, I did not think it was an issue to cancel the last minute to watch the game with my friends, even though we may have already made plans prior.
I am very close with my friends, so spending time with them had always been my top priority. I didn't take into account that Olexa was giving me her free time to see me, which was very precious to her.”
During the date, there was a strange tension between them, and James assumed that that they would not see each other again. The following weeks they talked a little, but made no other dates and then they stopped talking all together.
She Called Him Out
During the time that they were no longer communicating, Olexa debated whether to call James. “One night, I finally decided to “woman up” and take a chance and call. When I called, it went to his voicemail. Then I sent a text where I simply stated that I had not heard from him, and I would like to know either way if he wanted to continue to see me or not.”
The next evening, they had a phone conversation about the misunderstanding that had taken place over the Renaissance fair.
“We spoke for a few hours and even though at times it felt very frustrating that we had different viewpoints, we did reach common ground and agreed that we would work on communicating better in the future. I also learned that Jimmy had not had a girlfriend in six years and was therefore not used to having to be accountable to someone, and I, in turn, told him that I would ease up and be more understanding,” remembers Olexa.
James adds, “I felt we were communicating in a way we hadn't before and that she finally opened up to me."
However, James was still battling doubts about committing to someone. "While we talked everyday, I would still put off seeing her to do other things. I find it so weird because, at the same time when we did see each other, we had such a magical connection.”
Olexa agrees, “It took work getting him to let go of his bachelor ways and commit to me! I had to stretch my patience and grow as a woman. Whereas with other guys that ran away from me, I probably would have yelled at or forgotten about, with Jimmy, I strove to handle conflicts maturely, and we talked things out with respect.”
James responds, “To her credit, she showed patience with me, at times when I probably did not deserve it. I’m glad Olexa refused to let me walk away from the greatest thing that has ever happened to me—her.”
Olexa felt like James was worth fighting for because he is a beautiful person inside and out. "He is a very generous person with his love, time, and money... Our personalities mesh very well together, and we share similar outlooks on life and a sense of humor. I feel like I can talk to him about anything... He accepts me for who I am, even when I'm at my worst, and he is committed to sticking by me through all our ups and downs."
Pre-Cana First, Ring Second
On January 9, 2016, James and Olexa expressed their love for one another and agreed to sign up for pre-Cana classes before an official engagement. "The most important thing to us is taking these classes and having that spiritual connection with each other rather than having an engagement ring first," she says.
They are making plans to be married in Saint Catherine of Sienna Church in Franklin Square, NY sometime in 2017.