It was early 2009 when Kate, a 47-year-old resident of Massachusetts, got onto CatholicMatch. It had been many years since her annulment and she decided to see if it was God’s will for her to enter the marriage covenant again. She found her match, a Massachusetts man in his late 40s, whose identity the couple prefers not be made public. And along the way she learned some valuable lessons about how to get the most out of the CatholicMatch experience.
With the world of online dating open to her, Kate had more options than she could have imagined since she last dated. But discretion was very important to her and while she chatted with many via the CM system, it was only a select few she offered her private e-mail address to, and even fewer who ultimately got her phone number.
If online dating is to work, a person has to find a way to take cautious risks, if one can use an oxymoron. Kate met with about five men and like many CatholicMatch members before her, she felt it best to meet in a public place and having her own transportation. Kate also notified a close friend about when she expected to be home and they had a plan for what to do if that didn’t materialize. “These guidelines may sound paranoid, but really just make good sense whenever meeting someone you have only known through the Internet and/ or phone calls. They offer protection for both of you ladies AND gents,” Kate said with conviction.
Those first five men she met didn’t pan out, but Kate did not give into disappointment. Again, meeting more people online also means meeting more people you *won’t* be a match for, and there’s no room for succumbing to discouragement. There wasn’t for Kate, who simply kept moving forward and finally made contact with the man about her age, who’d never been married before. Things began to click.
Her right match lived about 50 miles away and they met for an early morning Sunday Mass and breakfast. After a fun day together, they both were ready for a second date. “Eventually we ended up seeing each other about once a week or so until he moved closer to me,” she recalled. “Long distance dating was tough.” While practical considerations such as unlimited minutes on long distance certainly helped, the fact Kate and her special someone were both unconditionally committed to doing God’s will was the most help. “If you are not on this site to joyfully follow His will then I suggest you re-examine your motives”, she said firmly.
They spent much time in prayer and came to the conclusion that God was calling them into a sacramental marriage. The Holy Spirit, working through prayer, priests and trusted friends were what led them to believe they had truly found His will in each other. They will marry later this year.
For those out there on CatholicMatch searching, follow Kate’s lead and take risks tempered with caution. It only takes one small step, as she pointed out–“I think you can come up with at least one sentence to write to someone you’d like to correspond with, can’t you?… Please include us in your prayers, as we will do the same.”