Love letters are romantic. Texting? Not so much. It’s shallow, impersonal, and to most women, a minefield when it comes to dating — yet somehow, 20,000 text messages later, I fell in love with a stranger I met through a dating site, living on the other side of the country, and we’ve been together ever since. Here’s how it happened:
- I believed in the power of words. Maybe it was due to my innate shyness, struggles with anxiety, or the fact that writing comes naturally to me, but for whatever reason, Internet communication was the medium I felt most comfortable using when building a budding relationship. Texting allowed me the freedom to express things I’d have trouble expressing in person. Plus, phone calls make me break out into a cold sweat.
- Talking was effortless. I was in the process of making big changes: new city, new career, new dreams. Texting allowed me to get to know someone on a deeper level without interfering with other parts of my hectic life. I could leisurely get to know someone at my own pace.
- He put me at ease. Too many people treat texting like a Q&A session or a job interview, but this was different. Whether we were spilling our guts or sending random poo emojis to each other, we were building the foundation of our relationship. When you have “text chemistry” with someone, the conversation feels natural.
- He made me feel safe, so I was less inhibited. There was the illusion that we both believed and didn’t believe, that if either of us wanted to end it, we could both continue on with our lives as if it had never happened. With one press of a button, our entire history could be deleted.
- I didn’t hold back. The walls I usually put up around new people didn’t exist with him, or maybe from a distance they weren’t tall enough that he couldn’t peer over them. I even told him things from my past that I was ashamed of, but shaped me into who I am today. If we had any chance of creating something meaningful and long-lasting, I knew we had to be completely honest with each other.
- I found someone who got me. I felt like none of my previous romantic partners had ever truly gotten me. The more we learned about one another, the more we realized what we had been missing—someone who understood. The relationship would have never beaten the odds if it wasn’t the right relationship for the both of us.
- I said, “Screw the dating rules.” I told him I loved him the first time through text. Most people wouldn’t think that I was in love — infatuation maybe, or even delusion. But love means different things to different people, and who has the right to say whether someone is experiencing love or not? I had been in deep, committed, in-person relationships that lasted for years — and none of those conventional relationships compared to the one I was in at that moment.
- We met in person as soon as we could. He flew out to meet me around a month after we started texting. All of my fears melted away the moment I saw him. “You’re real!” I yelled as I ran into his arms and kissed him for the first time. We spent the next four days together like we had known each other for years. Fast forward to this year, when I was sitting in our home thinking about what to have engraved on the inside of his wedding ring, and decided “You’re real!” was perfect.