June 6, 2013

Ahead of the Curve

In 1998, my family got our first personal computer. I begged for one, a lot. I had a good point, though. As a college student, a home computer was just necessary and my brother and sister would need one too.

Mom and Dad bought the computer. An IBM. Mom refused to get an Internet account.  Borrowing a page from Big Daddy’s book, I got an account while Mom and Dad were on vacation. It didn’t take long before I had browsed my way to the Detroit Red Wings website and started chatting in their chat room.

And you’ll never guess who I met there.

Well, you can probably guess because I’ve written about it.

Big Daddy, of course. Lurking behind a slightly intimidating screen name. In a few months, Big Daddy and I were an on-line item. We met, IRL, in October of 1998 and in May of 1999, Big Daddy proposed. We were married in July and will be celebrating 14 happy years on the 9th.

In 1998, the beginning of our relationship was kind of a weird thing.  People seemed perfectly content with the idea that you met at a bar  after drinking two dozen shooters and exchanged phone numbers after grinding to Usher.  But on-line?  Well, that’s were the weirdos were.  Because, being drunk and grinding on some strange guy is totally on the up and up.

A few days ago, a news article caught the eye of Big Daddy and me.  1/3 of relationships and marriages now begin on-line.

The general population has finally figured out what Big Daddy and I knew all along.  Studies have also found that people who meet on-line and marry are happier and less likely to split up then their counterparts.  Of course, you’ve all heard the stories.  People finding weirdos or leaving their happy homes for an internet Prince Charming who is really some 45 year old guy playing WOW in his mom’s basement (where he lives). But, why does meeting on-line work so well?  The study suggested that people who use dating sites are serious about getting married, but I think it’s more than that.  It is for Big Daddy and me and we did NOT meet on a dating site.

The thing is, Big Daddy and I couldn’t hold hands to be close.  We couldn’t make out in the backseat of his Thunderbird.  We couldn’t grope at a movie.  All we had were our words.  Typed.  Im’ed.  ICQ’ed and, after a few weeks, breathed into the phone for hours.  Over those months of distance (Big Daddy and I didn’t live in the same state until June of 1999), after Big Daddy would head home after the weekend was over (and I’d drop off at Detroit Metro airport and cry all the way to the little town on the lake) we only had our words again.

By the time Big Daddy and I met face to face, we were already in love.  I loved his humor and his wit.  I loved his sweetness.  I loved his intelligence.  His mind, ladies. Ooooh, his mind.  I loved the deep rumble of his voice and his laugh.  I loved him.  What he looked like, the color of his hair and the shape of his face meant so very little.  How could I not love this man?  I loved how he cared for me and about me from a distance.  I loved that he cared about my day and my thoughts and my feelings.  I loved that he thought about me and needed to end his day with me, even though we were hundreds of miles and a handful of hours apart.

By the time we met face to face, Big Daddy and I knew.  We were it.  That he’s gorgeous was a bonus.

There were no taboo topics in the time Big Daddy and I were talking.  It was all we had.  There were no surprises.  To be close, we had to lay it all bare.  The children we wanted.  The life we hoped for.  The things we hoped to do and the places we hoped to go.  We talked about every little thing.  Problems?  Well, we had no choice but to talk them out.    Jealousy?  Couldn’t hide. Had to talk.

In the years that have followed, the communication that we leaned on in those early months, continue to serve us well and THAT, ladies and gents, is why I think relationships formed on-line are happier and last longer.  Big Daddy and I talk and couples like us probably talk it out more on average.  It’s how we learned about each other.  It’s how we began.

In 1998, I held a phone close to my ear.  I would press it as tight to my head as I could to try and flood myself with Big Daddy.  We had been skirting around it and I had been saying flip “love you!” (that I meant, but didn’t want to put too much weight on because it is so hard to make yourself that vulnerable).   That night, in the kitchen with the phone cord wrapped around me and my ear wet with sweat from how tightly the phone was pressed up against it, Big Daddy said it.  I called him to ease my worries.  To elevate my fears.  To vent.  To lay things on him and he accepted so readily as he always, always has.  Because his words could sooth me, like they still can.

He said he loved me and my knees went woozy.

In 1998, we were already ahead of the curve.  Fifteen years, three children, five addresses and three states later, I can say with total honesty that we’re the best couple I know and I really believe it’s in large part to us meeting on-line.


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