From "My House" to "Our Home"
Now engaged, Hollie and Greg can reflect on how they got here. Their path to happiness began with the decision to join our online personals site, obviously. But this was not Hollie’s first go-round. “I had done one other site before, a site I had seen on TV,” she recalls. “I noticed every time they matched me with someone, it was someone who was the same race as me! So that is what brought me to you.”
She wasn’t particularly exuberant about her prospects, at that point. “I knew I wanted to find love, but I hadn’t been successful,” Hollie concedes. “I knew not to give up!”
Greg, on the other hand, wasn’t bound and determined to find The One. “I wasn’t looking for love,” he admits. “I was too busy enjoying meeting new people and enjoying the ride. Finding love on your site caught me by surprise!”
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He had plenty of experience in these waters. “I was a dating site vet!” he laughs. “I had tried almost everything, and I was doing really well with it. In fact, online dating for me had become like a treasure trove of casual dates and flings. So when I met Hollie, I had to take a breath and realize I was onto something new here – I was actually falling in love.”
A few months into their memberships, Hollie spotted Greg’s profile (username: “Tatted_Teach”) and reached out. “Hollie emailed me,” relays Greg. “She was living in Phoenix at the time but she was considering moving to Philly and Atlanta, so she said on the site that she had those cities in mind.” (Greg was in Philly.)
We asked Hollie what was it about this guy that stood out to her. “Greg’s profile was very interesting! He had it listed that he was in a band, but he was also a teacher. I liked the juxtaposition of the two things. He seemed like someone more interesting than most people I was meeting.”
When Greg reviewed Hollie’s profile (username: MsHollieBaby), his reaction was favorable. “Hollie seemed full of personality in her pictures,” he notes. “Her profile seemed like someone with whom conversation could really flow.”
Sometimes singles are reticent to take the next step and meet in person, and these two took their time getting to know each other first. “We had been messaging for weeks, and then talking for a month on the phone,” Hollie explains. “So I had a chance to get to know Greg that way, and I wanted to see if all that matched up in person.”
Greg nods. “Our messages on IDC turned into phone conversations. I remember one night I had a date over and when she went to bed, I snuck downstairs to call Hollie. I knew then that this was something that was a lot bigger than what I had been used to in my dating life.”
The big day finally came. Date Number One! “I met Greg at the airport in Philadelphia,” Hollie begins. “We had a whole weekend together where we spent time at his place and also had a few outings in the city.”
Greg continues the story. “I picked up Hollie from the Philadelphia Airport, where she had flown in from Phoenix. I prayed, ‘I hope this goes well, because if it doesn’t, we’re stuck with each other for the weekend!’ But from the moment I saw her at baggage claim with her luggage, it felt right.”
And why was that? Greg chuckles. “I was relieved that our heights were relative to each other, and that one of us wasn’t grossly taller or shorter than the other!”
Hollie’s recollection of her first thought is, “His car is dirty!” But that didn’t detract from their dynamic in person. She was surprised “that we were so compatible. Our connection from online, to the phone, to Skype, was just as good in person.”
Greg is in full agreement. “There was no awkwardness. Just as we flowed in messaging on the site, and then just as we flowed in conversation on the phone, so too did we flow in a great way face to face.”
So that went well, but were they certain they should do this again? Hollie giggles. “I was pretty sure, because I flew back out two weeks later!”
Even then, Greg had a feeling his days of being “man-about-town” might be coming to an end. “I knew we would see each other again,” he says. “I called my mom after the airport to say that I had just had a really great weekend with Hollie.”
As things progressed and new facets of each other’s personality revealed themselves, this only strengthened their bond. “He is very considerate. That was something you can’t really determine online,” Hollie says.
Greg too was pleased to learn new things about Hollie. “I am appreciative that she is so open-minded. Different things about my life and interests weren’t a hard sell. I had found someone as multifaceted as I feel I am.”
Was Greg the kind of guy Hollie thought she would end up with? Heck no! As she puts it, “He is the extreme opposite of the type of people I thought was my type! For example, I usually dated men who were very corporate/business-minded people. Greg is very loose, creative. So even on a surface level, that is different. I never dated a musician, and never had thought I’d want to! (Especially the type of music Greg plays!) I found appreciation for the contrast there, in how different he was from men I had previously dated.”
Before meeting Hollie, Greg was more sure about what he wanted to avoid than he was about what he was looking for. “I wasn’t sure what my type was, other than the fact that I knew on a physical level what I was attracted to (which is what led me to your site). I knew what I didn’t want, and Hollie wasn’t any of those things. So through her, I discovered the things I hadn’t even realized I was looking for!”
But as well as this was going, there was still the issue of geographical incompatibility. Hollie says, “I was in Phoenix and he was in Philadelphia...that is a pretty big obstacle to overcome!”
Hollie would not be deterred by the distance, however, and Greg appreciates that she was the one to relocate for this relationship. “I believe everything happens for a reason, and I feel that I really grew and matured over the course of time it took from when we met to when Hollie made the move from Phoenix to Philadelphia.”
Though she’d been open to Philly from the start, what convinced Hollie that Greg was worth it was how she felt when they were together. “After the second or third visit, just being in each other’s presence and having a good time” told her this was special, she says. “All the laughter! And when I realized I could take off all the makeup and the hair extensions and just be myself, that Greg still looked at me the way he looked at me when I was all done up. Being able to be myself and be comfortable was huge.”
“There were a number of moments when I realized it was special,” Greg tells us. “One of them was the ability to just be who I was, to be goofy, and it wasn’t like having an audience, it was more like having someone join in the goofiness with me!”
At the beginning of this story, we told you that Hollie and Greg are engaged. Here’s how that came about… “I staged a visit to the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology, that, although it was a fun visit, was actually just a front to propose to her,” begins Greg. “As we were in the Egyptian section of the museum, I asked Hollie to pose for a picture, gazing up at Egyptian palace pillars with her back to the camera. When she turned around, I was on my knee with the ring in hand. We got to share our special moment as if we were transported back in time in an Egyptian palace, just her and I… Well, and the museum security guard!”
Hollie was happy to accept Greg’s proposal. She’s thrilled at how much better her life is with him in it. “I have a partner to grow old with,” she gushes. “When I make decisions, I don’t just think about myself, I have to think about Greg too, because we’re a team.”
Greg’s life has changed tremendously. “What was ‘my house’ is ‘our home,’ now,” he says. “For a long time I was afraid of giving up my space to share it with someone, but now, I have found that waking up and going to bed with someone is really amazing.”
Here’s what Hollie has to say to someone who is still looking for love online. “Continue to be true and authentic to yourself,” is her recommendation. “Don’t give up, there really is someone for everybody, and that someone might not be who you expected them to be. When it comes to all things love, you really have to trust the process.”
Greg chimes in as well. “Be true to yourself, but also allow yourself to be open to the unexpected,” he reminds us. “And have fun with it! Online dating should be enjoyable, it shouldn’t be a headache. At the end of the day, the good dates and the bad dates should provide you with life experiences that can help you forge ahead in your journey!”
For Greg and Hollie, life’s journey has taken a very happy turn.
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