800 Miles: Evelyn Ignored Tim’s Only-Driving Criterion


Evelyn had just come through a difficult time after a relationship break-up.

Well, not entirely a relationship. One could call it an atypically close friendship with a member of the opposite sex, “the type that seems so close, but never quite crosses the line,” as she put it to CatholicMatch.

In many ways this is just as difficult, because the break-up comes after a period of being on an emotional yo-yo.

But the Richmond girl got onto CatholicMatch and started browsing profiles. It was a man in Chicago who caught her attention. There was one caveat: He had a stated preference for relationships within driving distance.

While Evelyn did know that one could drive the 800 miles between their two cities, it probably wasn’t what he had in mind. She still ignored his criteria and sent him an emotigram because their interests were so similar.

She didn’t expect a reply, but got a short message in reply. They became pen pals and shared their mutual interests in books, architecture, travel and history. It only took three weeks of this for a mutual interest in going further than friendship to develop. Tim came to visit and they had enough fun that he decided to visit again.

And, as Evelyn told CatholicMatch, cellphones with free long-distance don’t hurt either.

After five months of discernment, Evelyn and Tim are engaged.

There are important lessons to be drawn from their experience. Evelyn wasn’t scared off by a stated limitation in Tim’s profile. He was willing to step beyond it, showing an understanding of the difference between a preference and a non-negotiable condition. They started on the basis of friendship first and let things develop from there. And they took negatives, such as the distance between them, and turned them into positives. Had they not done the latter, it might have become another “almost, but not quite” relationship.

As it is, they are preparing for a lifetime together.



  1. Dewi-703064 April 5, 2011 Reply

    That’s so sweet..

  2. Kathleen-637493 March 28, 2011 Reply

    Congratulations on persevering, trusting your instincts – and God – to take that leap!! Clearly, the Holy Spirit was ready and waiting to lead you from there. Inspiring. Peace to you.

  3. Matthew-130952 March 27, 2011 Reply

    how many times were they able to see each other before engagement?

    these are starting to sound like commercials for CM, rather than helpful info.

    • Peter-44842 March 29, 2011 Reply

      Congrats to the happy couple, and kudos for taking the chance.

      But I agree, the proliferation of distance stories feels more and more like self-advert

  4. Joann-503088 March 25, 2011 Reply

    I’m in a similar relationship, although I’m much older it still hurts, many older men just want a once a year relationship…..

  5. John-49562 March 24, 2011 Reply

    Congratulations, Evelyn and Tim I agree with Dawn and everyone else! God Bless you on your engagement, AND, like the article said, “(they showed) an understanding of the difference between a preference and a non-negotiable condition. If two people live 800 miles (or more) away, but God has chosen them to be together, the distance won’t matter. It will be an area of compromise, but things will work out!

  6. Joan-684265 March 20, 2011 Reply

    Best Wishes to you both!!
    ((I discern that geography should not interfere with the will of the Lord.))
    Joan in Houston

  7. Cecilia-268283 March 18, 2011 Reply

    Does this mean I shall start ignoring. 😛

  8. Jude-76391 March 18, 2011 Reply

    I am very impressed!

  9. Barb-505508 March 14, 2011 Reply

    Excellent story!!! I am dating a man who lives 3 hours away from me. This was something I would have never dreamed of in a million years, but somehow it works. I am quite weak from the flu as I sit here typing this and yet this sweet man has called and emailed me with information to make me feel better. We’re planning our zillionth date for as soon as I feel well. He’s a treasure and he’s all mine!

  10. Eve-112836 March 14, 2011 Reply

    Same thing happened to me. My preferences were within driving distance as were my now fiancé’s. Somehow we made the georgia/ california thing work. When you meet your match you do what you have to inorder to make it work 🙂

  11. Dawn-58330 March 14, 2011 Reply

    Congratulations Evelyn and Tim! God bless you both during your engagement.

    It just goes to show that you can’t believe everything you read. 😉 We think we know what we want, but what we put in our profiles are guidelines. Little of it is a hard and fast rule. With the right person many of our preferences fall by the wayside. We all need to take a few positive risks outside of our comfort zones.

    • Nancy-591885 March 16, 2011 Reply

      Dawn, I have been saying the same thing to all my friends. If one doesn’t take a chance and step out of their comfort zone, you will never know what you are missing. And what you are missing, just might be the right one. 🙂

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