Wednesday, January 14, 2009

True Beginnings

Have I mentioned that John and I met on the internet? Well, we sure did!

When my marriage broke up, I was a little bit insane. I was married for so long (23 years and we were together a total of 27 years) that I didn't know how to NOT be married. Some months after the break-up, when I was finally convinced that he wasn't going to "come to his senses and come home", I started joining online dating services (or the place where married men try to get laid by desperate women) hoping to meet someone I could spend the rest of my life with. I joined Yahoo Personals, (eharmony wouldn't take me... I wasn't legally divorced yet... or maybe I was overweight, who knows?) I met a few guys and I'm surprised I didn't join a convent! There was Dennis from Harrisburg who was all slobber and groping hands, Simon from Collegeville who I later discovered was married, Chris, who was separated from his wife but still sharing a house but not a bedroom ... he's now divorced. There is actually one guy who was very upfront.. he was married and looking for a girlfriend. Then there are the guys who have the webcams... enough said there! If you have a webcam, first thing they want is to show me more! uh, no. I actually threw mine out after a few months.

I was resigning myself to spending the rest of my life alone. Then one day, and I'm not even sure how I ended up on this site, I found this one called True Beginnings. Three days free, then they start charging you. So I figure what the hell and I joined. Now these sites have you fill in what you're looking for in a mate and you can be very specific. So I fill it out and a couple of times a week I'd get an email with my "matches", a dozen photos and profiles of men who fit my criteria. (on , my kids' English teacher was one of my matches! How awkward is that!). Now I'm not real big with my self-esteem and there's no way in hell I'm making any first moves. So, one day I get an email via true beginnings from this guy (I had gotten some emails before this one), saying "thanks for the wink!" and he told me some stuff about himself. So I look up his profile and it says something like "having just been burned in my last marriage, I'm not looking for any long-term relationship. I just want to have fun." Normally I'd delete an email like this but something stopped me. I look at his picture and he looks harmless in a grandfatherly kind of way. So I reply with "Well, I didn't send you a wink but... hi!" (we found out later that True sent winks to everyone in that email! I think they do it for people who are dragging their feet!)

John and I exchange info about ourselves over the course of the next couple of weeks and we learn that we have so much in common it's scary! He's 4th of 7 kids, raised Catholic in Philly, graduated from Cardinal Dougherty High School in 1971. I'm 4th of 8 kids, raised Catholic in the suburbs of Philly and graduated from Cardinal O'Hara High School in 1973. He's retired military, 3 of my 4 brothers, my sister's husband and my nephew are all military, 3 of whom made careers in the Army and Marines. I have 2 girls, 1 boy; he has 2 boys, 1 girl, neither of us has grandchildren yet. The similarities just kept coming and coming.

A few times we tried to get into a private online chat room on True but we just couldn't figure it out. So John says, "here's my number. Call me." And it's his HOUSE NUMBER! Not his office number or his cell phone number, but his house number! I got cold feet for a few days but I finally called him. We talked for 3+ hours that first night! The next 2 times we talked on the phone, it was for at least 1 hour, 30 minutes each time! Then he tells me he's been married FOUR TIMES!!! This is where someone would just say thanks but no thanks and hang up.. but something stopped me. Did I mention that I was crazy then? (John later told me he wanted to get all the bad stuff out of the way right away and save himself some grief if I balked)

We finally decided it was time to meet in person. So I tell him, this is where I work as a waitress. If you want, you can come there. If you don't like what you see, you can leave and I'll never know. So this one Saturday, the hostess comes up and says you have a request and there he is!! John sat in my section and ordered food and asked me to go dinner and a movie with him.

Did I mention that I broke all the rules with him? First, I tell him where I work. Then, I allowed him to follow me home so I can get changed. I gave him a Diet Coke and I went upstairs to take a shower!!! Did I mention that I was a little insane back then? Gentleman that he is, he never left the couch, never followed me upstairs. So we go to Red Lobster and then a movie afterwards (we saw The Night Talker with Robin Williams). Afterwards, we go back to my place (I drove to the restaurant and movies since I knew the area) and he comes in and we watch a movie (V For Vendetta). This is where I made my BIG mistake.... I should have known better than to introduce a teenager to a new "friend" when she doesn't know this is going to happen. And it didn't help that she caught us smooching.

If I had to do it all over again, I'd have kept John out of the house for a while before putting them together. Although I have a feeling it wouldn't have made a difference. Her father has been with his future ex-wife (the whore he cheated on me with) for 5 years and she and Dani just met in November. I think she'd hate whoever was in my life. My other 2 kids like John and the rest of my family like him too.

As much as we have in common, we also have many differences. He is a diehard Libertarian and I could care less about Politics. He thinks the Catholic Church should still be saying Mass in Latin, I don't agree. I was in a bowling league for years, I like to play cards, he plays Dungeons and Dragons and Chess and Go ( A Chinese game). He was also a re-enactor for a while. He has tried numerous times to convince me to go to his D & D games and learn it. I went a couple of times, said it looks like a big boring meeting and now he goes on Friday nights and I do dinner and movies with my girlfriends.

So there you have it! John and I have been together since August of 2006. We had some challenges, like when he was diagnosed with cancer less than a year after we met and I told him I wasn't going to bail on him. And dealing with my youngest kid hating him. I had a cervical cancer scare (I didn't have it, thank God!) before he had his cancer and he stood by me. And a few other minor stuff too.

I'm not sure if we'll ever get married, and it's me dragging my feet. I don't want to lose my spousal support (that's what they call alimony in PA) and I get it until Dec 2014 and I earned every single penny of that money! And I also discovered I'll be eligible for my ex's social security if I don't remarry before I turn 60 (which will be 9 months after my support ends), and my ex makes a LOT more money than either of us do! My not wanting to get married really surprised me! I was DESPERATE to be married, yet when the possibility arose, I said no way!
Go figure.


Amy said...

Sounds like you were crazy then and are crazy in love now. LOL about the English teacher!

Lilly's Life said...

Thats a wonderful story, truly. It worked out for you and given you have been through a bit it sounds like he is a keeper. Hang out and get what you deserve I say Joanie. Your daughter will come round. They always do.

Braja said...

Joanie, that's a lovely story; he sounds like someone you deserve :)

Liz said...

Love your love story!!

In honor of John and Joanie... you get the letter J.

Jim and Garret said...

That's cute! Maybe you posted part of this story previously? It sounded familiar. Perhaps you or I am senile?


Jim and Garret said...

OK, you posted it December 10th. But that's OK Joanie, we'll blame it on the stress. It will also give us all a chance to compare the 2 stories and see if you make shit up or not. ;-)

Smooches (Don't tell John)


Alix said...

Oh how romantic! I love your love story and am so happy for you and John. Now he has to hurry up and get well so you can get on with your lives without the stres of cancer lurking.

I also remember some similarities in this story to an earlier one (only Garret would scroll back for the exact date), but I do the same on my blog. Get stuck in a mind set or on a topic and can't stop talking about it... a la Tim Tebow perhaps?

And now for my big reveal...

Larry and I also met on the internet. It was Easter Sunday 1997 and I had received an AOL disk in the mail. I was about to toss it on top of the heap of 100 other AOL disks when I decided I had nothing better to do than load the software and see what all that AOL hype was about. Within an hour I had found Larry. Since we live in the same town, we met for drinks that afternoon and the rest is history. You just gave me a great idea for a new post... Our story is really quite extraordinary. Should I?

Mary Ellen said...

Thanks for the support. I appreciate it so much. Your love story is one for the ages - even if it did happen in cyberspace.

Charmaine said...

That is a great story.

When dating, I have SO MANY RULES.

But when the right guy shows up, everything goes out the window. It always has. It always will.

Rules rescue us from shmucks. But nice's like when they arrive you just KNOW.

Yep. No reason to marry if things are working well as they are.

Queen Bee said...

That was sweet. Personally, I would say wait the five years to get married. If you love each other as much as I think you do then a wedding wouldn't make a difference anyway.

Thanks for sharing with the world.

bernthis said...

Yes, you're crazy and lucky and I'm so happy for you. I might just try this new "true beginnings" thing.

Joanie said...

OOPS!! I had completely forgotten that I posted something earlier. Good memory Garret! As for me.... it's uh stress... yeah, that's it... stress.

a mouthy irish woman? ridiculous! said...

i'm seriously loving your post and you!

maybe i'll put my nail gun away. but i'm leaving the wood glue out dammit!

your a pip joanie!


Maureen said...

joanie, I thought I had your email address from your comments to penny's blog, but you should check this out when you have a chance :)