I was socially shy for a while, so dating was a bit of a struggle for me. Hell, the shyness was my Achilles Heel for the longest time ever and I conceded to it. I used online dating sites as a crutch and feeler before meeting up in person. I had initially tried Plenty of Fish and that was a struggle in futility for me from women just stone-walling me. I then ended up just focusing on Ok Cupid cause I remembered I had an outdated profile and I figured updating it may be the catalyst I need to just try to make a concentrated effort on online dating. Combined with the casual feel of “We’re not a formal site, just be who you want to be” that Ok Cupid preached… I figured, what the hell.
I went out on a few dates with some folks on Ok Cupid and the main gist of things was the following for a majority of dates…
1) I’d suggest somewhere nice to meet up (i.e. Cheesecake Factory, local pub/tavern with nice ambiance). Their mind thinks “He’s probably got cash to spend!”
2) I’d arrive looking nice (slacks, dress shirt, dinner jacket, polished shoes) and even offer to catch dinner and drinks. So the thoughts of affluence runs their mind because the physical impression links up with the choice of location.
3) The career discussion happens and when I said “pharmacy tech“… The telltale dollar signs in the eyes look just locked in.
4) Once I added in “I am also going to school for pharmacy and living with my family to save cash…“, the rest of the date just crashed and burned like the ruined dreams of a race driver who miscalculated that chicane and went airborne.
I hate being dishonest, but at the same time… My naive honesty completely threw the opportunity out the window.
So naturally, I was frustrated with just losing the dating game consistently and I was ready to throw in the towel to concede. Except after one failed date… I wanted to go for broke and attempt to
I just decided I’d log on to my account for one last time and then just never log in for awhile. The site has a “recently what people in your area are doing” feature in the event stream and there was this forum post that a woman (we’ll call her Willa) made a hilariously clever comment. I clicked on the forum post and I had to just comment on how I agreed on this woman’s opinion in addition to how hilarious she was. I logged off and just left things as “Looks like I am done with online dating, unless something happens.” This is where things actually went in my favor.
I got a notification while sitting at a local tea house saying someone looked at my Ok Cupid profile and I would need to log in to see who. I just figured “Let’s just humor myself and see who was looking at me” and oddly enough it’s Willa! I then had thought “She must have been interested, I’ll check her profile out and even send a message to her.” I would send a message to her once I got home from the tea house and a few minutes later… another message from Ok Cupid saying I had a response. Seems luck was on my side!
We’d end up trading instant messenger ID’s and phone numbers to talk with each other almost constantly for several days. I’d finally found the courage to ask her if we could meet up, but I had let her know that because my job was cutting my hours and I was a college student… My income was limited so a first date would have to be something that wouldn’t break my wallet. She had just told me “Just come over with a pack of Asian beer to my home! We’ll talk and play video games while drinking or watch a sci-fi movie at my home.” So I took her up on the idea and we just hit off at first sight. We ended up just talking over a variety of topics while drinking.
By the end of the night, I just decided to ask her if I could date her. Willa thought for a bit and the anxiety went through me. Those minutes felt like pure agony to me, especially considering I had been on many failed dates before. My mind raced with “I thought the date went well, I hope she says yes…” She then said “I’d be totally fine with dating you!”
From that, she supported me while I was going to college at a town about an hour away from her. We both made an effort to keep communicating to each other via phone call, text, IM’s, and e-mails. While we were away from each other physically, we’d be on Steam playing games together. We looked forward to the weekends we spent together. When my family (read: Asian) decided to fight with me about my academics and all, she supported me emotionally through those struggles. (We have reconciled since as a family and it’s brought us together.) When it came down to me nearly being kicked out of my family’s home without any refuge, she took me into her apartment and we began our life together without the distance separating us. She had done a lot of the support financially as her job was making more than I was and she didn’t have any issues with it. For me, it was a surreal experience having a girlfriend who actually cared about me and didn’t care about what was in my wallet. Willa made me feel like I was worth a million even if I was pretty poor in material wealth.
Then around Christmas of 2010, Willa’s job fired her ’cause a supervisor didn’t like her and used corporate paperwork to get her gone. My job wasn’t making a ton of money and unemployment for her wasn’t giving much cash. I would finally find a better job around August of 2011 with a temp agency in a desperate search for better pay to help catch us up on bills. The irony was when we both moved to a cheaper apartment, things got worse financially for us. About 1-2 weeks after our move, the company I was working from the temp agency’s connections cut me off before my 90 days without a reason. The day this happened… My heart sunk and I beat myself up in my mind going “I know Willa’s been with me through some hard times. I think Willa’s probably going to leave me for sure… I’ve got no job and she was relying on me to boot.” I ended up talking to her seriously about it and surprisingly she stuck with me. We had to get some help from friends and family while we both collected unemployment and tried to look for jobs.
February of this year, I finally land a job that looks like it will bring us out of the doom and gloom. Willa was trying still to find a job while collecting unemployment. When she ran out of tiers of unemployment benefits in June, she went into a sad panic of her own going “Zero’s going to leave me, cause without the support of the unemployment… We’re going to be behind on the bills on a catastrophic level.” We had a serious talk about it. I reassured her that I felt strong with her and that I am not one to let material reasons be a breaking point in a relationship.
A while ago, we celebrated our 3rd year anniversary and we’ve talked seriously about marriage once our finances are a little more stabilized. We both started new jobs early August. Mine being a job that pays much better than the job I had since February. Her’s is a data entry job that she took to begin damage control on the bills. I sadly lost my job soon after due to a precarious situation so I am once again on the market for a job. It’s a downer, but for her… I am willing to stand tall to the challenges and do what I can for her. She is definitely with me on the idea for marriage and I am really glad for it. Willa is the greatest woman in my life and I am glad that through all of our struggles… We never let go of our strength in each other.
TL;DR - After many bad dates on Ok Cupid, I found the one woman who was willing to give me a chance. Even through some major financial struggles, we never gave up on each other. We realize how much we love each other and are hoping to get married once we can stabilize our finances. To you, Willa, I love you dearly.