If you’re like most people, just reading the title of this post already has you scratching your head. Especially since this is the first time I’ve spoken about this topic on my blog. So, let’s start from the beginning. It’s a long story, but I’ll try to give you the cliff notes for now & cover more topics in detail some other day.
In about 2007 I subscribed to a small gaming YouTube channel. Later, the creators of the channel also began streaming monthly podcasts on Twitch (a video game streaming web site). During their Twitch streams, many of their subscribers showed up & chatted with each other. Each month, I became familiar with many of the screen names, as they would come back every month.
About four years ago I made a Facebook group where the people from those Twitch chats could join up & stay in touch with each other. Many of us began chatting regularly, Skyping, & playing games together. One of those people was named Peter.
As Peter & I chatted more, we continued to find things we had in common. We both had music-related college degrees. We both played instruments. We both agreed on many personal & political topics. We were both a bit nerdy, a bit geeky, a bit awkward, & had a very specific kind of sense of humor.
The one & only problem we had was we lived seven hours away from each other. Not incredibly far away but not conveniently close, by any means. Western Pennsylvania to Connecticut. We had theoretical chats about how if we ever wanted to meet up, we could take a train instead of making a seven hour drive.
On September 10, 2015, things reached a boiling point. The theoretical planning to meet “someday” & the flirting with no end goal could only go on for so long. After one of our nightly 3-4 hour Skype calls, we decided to become a couple & plan to meet face-to-face.
Six months later, after making plans, saving money, & waiting for winter to break, Peter came to Pennsylvania by train. It was a strange hybrid of meeting a long-time friend (now 6-month boyfriend) & meeting a stranger. I took my best girl friend with me to the train station so that I wasn’t alone. Also, Peter & I agreed that he would stay in a hotel during this first visit. I had played things as safe & smart as a girl meeting someone from the Internet possibly could.
The first few hours we were together, my friend hung around to help break the ice. She had been chatting with him online for a while so they were already friendly. We went to a restaurant to eat & chat. I spent the whole time trying to shake the awkward feeling I had of, “I don’t really know this person.” I played it off the best way I knew how & made lots of jokes.
After my friend went home, I drove Peter back to his hotel, helped him carry in his things, & stayed to chat for a while. He gave me a rose & a picture frame (to frame our first photo together). At one point, as he was unpacking his clothes, he asked, “How are you, honey?” Something about that phrase, which I had heard on Skype a hundred times before, made all my awkward, uncomfortable feeling melt away. I felt my first sense of relief & recognition, the first connection between the man in front of me & the man I spoke to online for years.
The days following that were incredibly relaxed & comfortable. We drove around, saw movies together, went to various restaurants, went bowling, went shopping, & of course, I took him to meet my family & friends. By the last day of his stay, we were both in tears. We went from awkward strangers to inseparable soul mates who acted like they’d know each other for a lifetime.
Fast forward to a few months later, I took a train to Connecticut & got to spend time in his environment. Once again, we had a blast. We went to beaches, museums, & savored as much quality time together as possible.
Taking trains to & from each other’s states continued for the rest of the year. Each visit was wonderful. Each time we said goodbye was heartbreaking.
On September 10, 2016, I was in Connecticut to celebrate our one-year anniversary. After dinner, Peter presented me with a ring & asked me to marry him. My answer was, “of course.”
As far as the plans for our future go, I’ll be keeping it vague for the time being. We don’t have a wedding date set yet but we have a general timeline in mind. And yes, we’ll be living in the same place.
If you’d asked me five years ago if I thought I’d be in a long distance relationship or be marrying a man I met online, I’d have said, “Maybe.” I’ve never ruled anything out. I’m a strong believer of the motto that anything is possible. If there’s one thing you can take away from this, it’s to keep an open heart because sometimes you find love in unlikely ways.