About me - How I found love on line

I freely admit to having fallen in love, truly madly deeply, hook line and sinker, five or six times.

I think that makes me very lucky. Or is it luck?

Sure, I have travelled quite a bit and have the usual interests. I am also very picky and not much of a serial dater. Who has time?

So here's the scoop.

Half the times I’ve fallen in love it’s because I have met someone online. But it’s really only now I can tell my story.

In the beginning, way back when, it was easy. You know what I mean. University and college makes it impossible not to meet people.

Why internet dating works

Once my career kicked in my love life took a nose dive. Long hours in the office, stressy deadlines and long commutes are not conducive to finding love.

Sure there were parties and the usual scene. OK if you want to mix with people very similar to you. Not so great if you’re looking for that certain someone special.

However, I did manage to find love when I stepped out of my own life in some way. Usually on holiday. And I am not talking about cheesy holiday romances. These were men I met on holiday, hooked up with back home and had serious ‘you may be the one’ relationships.

Back in the late 1990s no one would admit to online dating.

I had already formed an opinion I needed to widen my search. Working sixty hours a week, sometimes also at weekends limited my social life. And when I did meet people, I certainly wasn’t looking for clones of myself.

If you were experimenting with internet dating there was no support. And it certainly felt like experimenting.

It all started with Italy

It all began with Italy.

Back in the late eighties it was probably more common to have an internet pen friend. And that’s certainly the way it started for me. He was an Italian actor. Yes really. He mainly worked as a presenter of childrens’ programmes. I had watched Room With A View, and hadn’t been to Italy. My perspective was somewhat coloured.

It was probably inevitable that we’d meet. We ended up having one of those long distance relationships. I think at the time I was probably more interested in Italy. Anyway, just as I was planning my first Christmas in Italy, he was also planning to dump me. Ouch!

The news that he was seeing someone else stung. I think it was the timing. One thing was certain: even although it was late November, he wasn’t going to ruin my Christmas.

The search was on.

I was determined to spend Christmas in Italy.

I found a site called FriendFinder and poured over hundreds and hundreds of online adverts.

Basically I was at a loose end. I was looking for someone who may be in the same position. For me it was all about attitude.

So here’s what I did.

I sent a two line email to six men. Yes, just two lines. It would score low for effort but the approach was interesting. I deliberately chose to contact men who were looking for friends/relationships/partners – in other words anything. This meant the bar wasn’t set to high.

The email read something like:

“I am at loose end over Christmas / New Year. What are you doing?” That’s all.

My brief approach made it easy for people to respond. But the brief email was designed to find people who would 'get it'. Sussing out someone's attitude to life is a big part of getting the chemistry right for friendship or love.

Understanding this is crucial to upping your success online.

I had three replies within forty eight-hours.

One of the men simply wrote back with another two lines. The email said. “I am going skiing. Would you like to go?”

For me, the tone was bang on. However the skiing didn’t really appeal. I’d been once and spent most of the week reading in bars!

I pushed my luck and wrote back explaining my feelings about skiing: the heights, the cold, the pain. Just not my bag. I asked if there was anything else he could suggest.

He suggested a trip to the mountains….and the rest, well, is history. My best history.

Before you through your hands up in horror I just didn’t GO.

We exchanged business cards by fax. I spoke to his colleague based near me in Birmingham. Having exchanged business cards he then asked for a picture. I obliged by sending him a picture of me when I was four….he got the joke.

We got on like a house on fire too. It was easy. There was no pressure.

This little adventure got serious quickly. I was sure he ‘was the one’. We met each others parents. We got engaged.

Of course work colleagues were curious. Why was I dashing off to Italy every weekend? I had to invent a story of how we met. These days you wouldn’t need to.

Sadly the relationship ended years later. We're still friends. If only…

My story (and others like it) illustrate it's perfectly possible to find people you'll care about deeply, on the internet.

Since then, there has been success and failure and Ben.

Fast forward four years. A similar approach finds me a Dutchman working in London.

I can’t tell you how many online personal ads I sifted through to find Ben. But I did.

This time we correspond for a long time before meeting. Would I have met him without the help of internet dating? No.

In telling you my story my point is this. If I can find love online, you can too.

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