“My life changed at the click of a button.” This, from two of the biggest online dating cynics- separated by 9300miles- recounting the details of their incredible love story. Steve (43) and single mother of two kids, Heather (39) sat down with me today to share their unbelievable journey – literally- of the past 6 months.
Steve: I lived a very active lifestyle in Denver (Colorado, USA). I never had a problem meeting women. I met many attractive girls but they were just not my type. I tried eHarmony (one of the largest international online dating websites in the US) for a while about 7 years ago but I didn’t like it; women never represented themselves accurately and I found the entire process to be rather tedious and non-spontaneous. I avoided it like the plague for years after that.
Heather: I was not a fan of the whole online dating thing. It just wasn’t a great avenue for me. The Tinder platform and even the Elite Singles site seemed to me to be a meat market, a place to ‘hook up’ for a booty call. They seem to have an unwritten rule i.e. when you signup up you are willing to date and willing to put out. I eventually found Meetup.com and registered for a group that shared similar interests which I really liked. It was different to the other sites. I decided to make it my intention to expand my network and just meet new people. It was at that Meetup group that someone told me about a site in SA called ‘Conscious Singles’ . The premise of this website seems to be that it is for people on a spiritual journey, one of Self reflection and Self discovery.
Steve: About 6 months ago someone told me about a site called ‘Spiritual Singles’ . I was curious about it. I was looking for a woman on a spiritual path, someone seeking deeper meaning in life and it just wasn’t happening. I was genuinely invested in meeting someone who wanted a long term relationship. I have 3 steps, dream it; talk about it until you are absolutely clear about what you want; move forward and act on it (do everything you can do personally). So, I figured I would signup online again, you know- make a statement to the universe about what you want and then pitch up.
I wasn’t interested anymore in casual or recreational dating. I wanted someone who wanted to evolve together, to move with, to walk with- the rest was just up to chemistry; someone who shared the same outlook in life. When I signed up I put a restriction on the geographic locator of a 50mile limit. Two days later I received my first alert from the site that there was someone showing interest in my profile. When I clicked on the profile there was no image of the person attached and I thought right away- something’s not right!
Heather: I was very clear about the person I wanted to meet. A dear friend and mentor of mine told me I need to write a list of all the qualities I wanted in a partner. THE LIST needed to contain in explicit detail all my deal makers and deal breakers. I spent forever writing THE LIST; refining and reassessing exactly what I wanted in a life partner. I actually laughed when I read it aloud because I thought to myself there might only be one person on the planet that fits this, now I have to find him. When I showed her the list she said to me, “Now, become everything on that list so that you and he are an energetic match and you can be drawn to each other”.
When I put my profile together I was very specific about the person I was looking to meet. It was either for a long term relationship or a travel companion. I had just dipped my toe into the online dating thing and I was particularly cautious and weary, especially as I have two children. I was not willing to just date anyone anymore unless I was really interested and we shared a similar outlook of clean living. I chose to share the fact that I am a recovering alcoholic and was only interested in someone who was living a life of sobriety. I didn’t want to put a picture on my profile. I wanted someone to choose me because they resonated with the life I wanted to live.
It seemed like a good idea not to limit the geographic location, given that there was probably only one guy in the world who would match my list. It was really soon after I registered, about two days later that I spotted a guy that I thought I knew. It was like “Hold on a minute, I’m sure I know you, your face is so familiar”. So I pushed the button to alert him that I was interested in him. I could see him but he couldn’t see me
Steve: I read the profile of this faceless woman and it instantly resonated. From her profile I could see that she was spiritually evolved. We were both recovering alcoholics and we had a compatibility factor of 90% according the matching algorithm of the website. When I realized she was in Cape Town, South Africa I googled it to see how far away it was. I was thinking “9300 miles is a long way to go for a coffee.” I responded to Heather on the site to tell her that and she responded with humor. She suggested we have a Skype call first before I booked my ticket to Cape Town.
Heather: Immediately we began bantering with each other. We emailed each other for a about a week, really long communication about our life stories and I was amazed how many similarities we shared- a passion for travel, food, the outdoors and both in recovery. It got really scary when we shared our Top 5 places we want to travel and we were like “Me too” “Me Too” “Me too”. After about a week of writing to each other we arranged to have a Skype call and meet face to face.
Steve: I was nervous and excited to see Heather. I felt so connected to her on the email and it could all go south if the image of her in my mind and reality were way off. The moment we face timed I knew. I know most people are skeptics of love at first sight but it happened to me. I am a realistic guy. Cautious. Not Naïve. Yet, I told Heather “I have a strong feeling I am going to meet you in person real soon.” It was a humbling experience. We have had a few of those GODSHOT moments.
Heather: Absolutely. On one of the early Skype conversations we discovered that we both had lists. Steve grabbed his dog eared, well used list out the draw and we read our LIST to one another. I was floored. They were identical!! It left me breathless and in awe. He was the masculine to my feminine. We balanced each other out. He was a perfect opposite and equal partner. We have had many of those tangible moments, something beyond my wildest dreams.
Steve: I was told about 25 years ago to do THE LIST. About a month before I met heather I had updated it again. When I wrote mine I was like “Yeah right”, “Sure”, giggle giggle. It was a fantasy wish-list. An alpha female who was also caring and gentle. A woman of strength and integrity as well as inner peace and calm. And a sense of humour! It was an outrageous moment.
After two weeks we had a conversation about me flying to Cape Town for that coffee date and pretty much seven weeks after our first click, I flew to meet Heather end of September. I decided to make it a holiday. I didn’t want to put pressure on us to make it work. At least that way in a worst case scenario I would still have a great time. I arrived in town and checked into my hotel. I only met Heather the next day. The last thing I wanted was for her to fetch me from the airport when I was jet-lagged and smelling bad. I wanted our pheromones working for us.
Heather: Yes, we had been talking to each other about 5 to 6 hours a day. It was a virtual existence sharing real life together. When you are forced to spend so much time talking without other distractions of the physical kind or even real life, it fast tracks your relationship. I felt like I knew Steve really well already but it was time to put the chemistry to test.
Steve: We both agreed we wanted the best versions of ourselves to show up. It needed to be effortless and for it to be like a traditional first date. We met for coffee at my hotel ‘The Grand Daddy’. It was another GODSHOT moment. She was absolutely gorgeous. The energy between us was palpable. I was more polite and went in for a hug but Heather went in for the kiss.
Heather: It was a magical moment. I swear the light changed in the room. The air moved. We actually needed to sit, I couldn’t hold myself up with my own legs. We sat for about an hour almost saying nothing. Just looking and touching. It was surreal. We went on a dinner date that night to ‘Fork’. We couldn’t keep our hands off each other. I have always been the first one getting annoyed with couples behaving like we were. I’m usually like “Get a room for goodness sake”. But it was overwhelming.
Steve: The next 8 days were incredible. Heather took me to visit some of the best places Cape Town has to offer.
Heather: I had booked myself off work. I was either going to take Steve around as a visiting friend or I was going to be sharing the experience as his lover and romantic partner. It was exhilarating. We were both gutted when we had to say good bye at the end of his trip.
Steve: The next 31 days were BRUTAL. We were apart for a month. We had decided that Heather would fly to Denver for 10 days to experience me in my surroundings and to meet everyone. We lived on Skype until October.
Heather: I was weary but I wanted to meet him in his environment. I have kids. I needed to see what he was like in his natural surroundings. I had the most amazing time. Steve works in construction but because he owns his own business I had met many of them online when he had been face timing me. Steve hosted and I attended two sweat lodges (a ceremony based on Native American spiritual teachings) while I was there. I had been invited to deliver a communication workshop to his staff- no pressure right- but it was the day after the sweat lodge. Can you imagine? I was feeling a bit green and detoxing but I REALLY needed to make a good impression. I had to draw on all my acting skills 😉
Steve: The guys had all heard about Heather and known I had flown to South Africa to meet her. They all thought I was crazy. After that workshop they we were like “Okay, we get it!”
We knew we wanted to be together.
Heather: Funny enough we never worried or fussed too much about logistics.
Steve: Neither of us was willing to have a long distance relationship. We both deserve better than that.
December 9 2015:
Steve: I was going to move to Cape Town. I was in a position where I could have a manager run the business. There was no way Heather could uproot her kids and bring them to the US. We had discussed me getting my own place but it would have been a waste of time and money because I would have been living at her place all the time. We decided to find a place to live together.
Heather: Even finding the right property was filled with crazy moments of synchronicity. There have been so many of those I have stopped counting. Steve had already developed an amazing relationship with the kids. He would spend an hour at a time talking to them on facetime. My little one would mostly use the time to check herself out and pull funny faces but they were completely comfortable to have him move in. I just feel so grateful and blessed.
Steve: My family has been very supportive. They know I am not naïve. Most people are looking for a feeling not a partner. Love is not a feeling. It’s a verb. It is about loving someone, not waiting to be loved. To have the opportunity to love someone, to be caring, to be considerate, to give of your Self, it is the actions you take that make up this thing called love. It’s ‘What can I give?’ Not ‘What can I get?’ It’s the product of BEING loving, it’s not the goal!
Steve and Heather are now living together and busy creating a new life for themselves that neither imagined possible just 6 months ago. As I write this they are on their way to the Cederburg for the Valentines weekend. The moral of this story: Love always finds a way.
p.s. Happy Valentine’s Day people