Sheila Tom

From the series: Life on Dog Hill

Valentine’s day is just around the corner and I can’t help but think back twelve years to the first time I met my husband Tom face-to-face. We had become acquainted on three months earlier when we began a daily email regimen.

Tom contacted me on because I was his highest match. I hadn’t noticed him before because he didn’t post a photo and, being the  esthetic person that I am, I needed to see the man behind the profile. I read his profile, responded to his nice intro note and requested a photo. Thus began our three-month email correspondence.

What I liked most about Tom is that he always responded with thoughtful comments, addressing each of my points and asking relevant follow on questions. In other words, I found him to be a good conversationalist, even via email. Most importantly, Tom was always the perfect gentleman. When he finally asked me to meet him for lunch three months later, I was very happy. I already knew from our daily correspondence that he was a good man and a loving father. I also knew he had a good sense of humor, wasn’t afraid to laugh at himself and respected my independence.

Although Tom had asked me to meet for lunch on the day, I felt a little awkward meeting for the first time on a day designated for lovers. Not wanting him to feel rejected, I exaggerated my social calendar and told him I wasn’t available. Needless to say, after our first meeting my social calendar became amazingly flexible. Seven months later we were married.

For the longest time, Tom and I kept our meeting a secret. We claimed to have met in church (we did attend the same mass at the same church and I had seen him there before I knew who he was). We also claimed to have met at the sushi counter at the Harris Teeter we both frequented (that was our best story — fighting over the last sushi package and he, being a gentleman, letting me have it.)

Over time, we decided to come clean with the online thing. The truth is, we are both very practical people and our professional lives combined with being single parents kept us much too busy to go out looking for a mate. What we came to believe about online dating sites is when both parties are completely honest about who they are, what they enjoy and what they are looking for, these sites can be a great place for relationship matches that work. Online honesty practically guarantees no Manti Te’o catfish scenarios — or worse.

Now, all these years later, we are still in love. For us, Valentine’s Day is not nearly so important as the day after… the day we first met, thanks to I hope every February 15 feels just like the first one… be still my beating heart!

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