Have you ever tried online dating or been in a long-distance relationship? Meet Rebecca and Stephen and find out more about their 21st century fairytale.
As internet dating continues to boom, more and more Australians are opening up to the idea that the love of their life may reside in a completely different country. International relationships are becoming less rare, but nonetheless are an amazing phenomena of the 21st century. A recent survey conducted by eHarmony of 120, 000 Aussie singles is a testament to this new trend. It revealed that more than a quarter of Australians are willing to move for Mr Right.
Meet Rebecca from Brisbane and Stephen from North Carolina, whose desire to find 'the one' and disregard for geographical distance, spawned a twist of events and resulted in a very happy ending.
Why did you both decide to join eHarmony?
Stephen – There wasn’t any one reason that I decided to join eHarmony. Part of it was my curiosity to see what it was all about. I had tried other dating sites, but the Guided Communication system was my favourite by far. For me personally, dating was about connecting with someone on very personal, intimate basis. I had a feeling eHarmony could help me find the sincere loving companionship I was seeking.
Rebecca - I decided to join eHarmony on Valentines Day 2010. I was the proverbial sad woman sitting in my room feeling sorry for myself because I didn’t have a ‘valentine’. Instead of feeling sorry for myself I thought I would join and see what happened and have a bit of fun. I had seen the free communication ads for that weekend and decided to join for a bit of a laugh.
Was it difficult getting to know each other over email & phone?
Stephen – There are small difficulties when you are on other sides of the world, like the time difference, but getting to know her over the phone and email was a joy. It really served to give us a foundation for our physical meeting
Rebecca- Email to phone was a natural progression. I will never forget when Stephen and I first spoke on the phone, we had been chatting online and exchanging emails for a couple of months when I decided to build up the courage and call him. That one phone call turned into one every day where we would take turns staying up to ungodly hours talking about everything.
Describe what it was like the first time you met each other in person.
Stephen- The first time I met Rebecca was utter bliss, however it did occur under unusual circumstances which looking back on it made it really special. By the time my plane had landed in Brisbane, with an unplanned stop over in Noumea for 10 hours, I had been travelling for 48 hours. Although I was exhausted, dirty and without my luggage (it had been lost in transit), when it came time to walk out of the terminal a surreal feeling came over me. I felt like crying because in Noumea I thought that I would never get to meet Rebecca. I was finally getting a tangible body to put with the words we had been exchanging. It was one of the most memorable moments of my life.
Rebecca- Meeting Stephen for the first time was a kind of an outer of body experience. Although it wasn’t without its hurdles, because it played out like a comedy of errors, I kind of lost my breath when I saw him because we had been talking everyday for months. Meeting was really a special moment.
What has the reaction been from your family and friends to your long-distance relationship and upcoming wedding?
Stephen – My friends and family were very excited about my relationship with Rebecca and our wedding. I think online dating is pretty well accepted now, and there is no reason for them to react in a negative way.
Rebecca - In the beginning a lot of them were quite hesitant about me entering a long distance relationship thinking ‘why couldn’t she find a nice Australian boy’. When they met him though, they all knew he was the guy for me.
What advice would you give someone who is feeling disillusioned and considering online dating?
Stephen – I would tell them that it is a great way to meet and date people. It is nothing to be scared of. Personally I think love should not have national boundaries, and online dating can help lift this.
Rebecca – My number one advice would be to just have fun with it! I had a lot of fun when I first joined eHarmony, especially looking at my match’s profiles. There really were plenty of fish in the sea and everyday I was served with new opportunities. The other advice I have is to be really honest and stay true to you, don’t settle for second best.
What are your top tips for surviving a long distance relationship?
Stephen – My biggest tip is to not let distance come between you. Obviously there is a physical distance that cannot be avoided, but never let your emotional connection become weak. There are enough hurdles in long distance relationships, so don’t make more for yourself by not extensively communicating. Take the time to write well thought out emails, including all the little things that happened during your day.
Rebecca – SKYPE! Skype has been our saviour. Communication really is key. We make a point to talk everyday even if it is a one minute call to see how the other is. Emails are also just as good, but don’t spare any details because your partner wants to share in your every day no matter how boring it may seem. Don’t forget the snail mail too! Nothing makes my day more than getting a surprise card or letter in my mailbox.
Have you ever been in a long-distance relationship? Would you move countries for Mr or Mrs Right? Share your experiences below!