I broke up with my ex at the beginning of January 2016 and it was a tough one.

There were a lot of tears and sadness and mood swings. I decided I wasn’t going to date seriously again and that I was just going to live my best life and date as many people as possible and have fun. 

Then Shane happened. 

Now I’m in a brand new relationship after nearly about a year and a bit of online dating on several different apps. I found someone on OKCupid who is sweet, kind and honest and didn’t send me unsolicited dick pics the first time we started chatting. 

We started chatting and exchanged numbers about a week later. From that day we were talking non-stop.

All day, every day. I was really interested in this person but I was also still juggling all the other guys I was engaging with and seeing at the same time.

In the space of a month, I saw 5 different guys and none of them turned into anything but Shane was there through all of it. 

READ MORE: I tried 3 different dating apps – here’s what I've learnt

I told him one day that I really liked him (he said he liked me too) but I wasn’t about “catching feelings”.

Which, to be fair, I thought I wasn’t. Then I went through a period of self-doubt about dating various men and started to feel shitty about it and ended up having a fight with my best friend who said that maybe I actually wanted a relationship but still I was in denial. 

Until about a week later when I had an important experience and realised that the only people I wanted to tell about it were my best friend and Shane. 

I called him that night and we spoke for over an hour and I eventually confessed to him that I thought I had feelings for him and that I was keen to stop dating other people if he was keen to meet up and see if this thing could work. 

We met a few days later and it was amazing. I had butterflies in my tummy for the first time in a really long time and I was excited and nervous. Hugging him when we said hello felt like home. It just worked. 

About two weeks later he asked me to be his girlfriend and now we’re happy and been together nearly a month. 

So after dealing with the horrors of online dating, I finally found someone who makes me very happy. This made me want to find out if there were more people who found love online and I went in search of some stories. 

This is what I found:

Jon, 26

"My boyfriend and I met on Instagram. We didn’t interact much when we started following each other - I was in a relationship at the time and aside from us liking one or two of each other’s photos, we didn’t talk at all. 

“Cut to about 6 months later at Zakifo Music Festival in Durban. I went with some friends, freshly single from what ended up being a totally destructive relationship. A few hours in, I locked eyes with a beautiful bearded boy across the crowd while someone was singing. I grabbed my friend’s arm and shout-whispered in her ear: “Dude. That guy is from Instagram, we follow each other. He’s so beautiful. And he’s looking at me. And then - he disappeared. 

“I was disappointed. Not that I’d been looking to hook up with anyone but I would have liked to have at least introduced myself. 

“Later that night, when I got home, I checked my phone to find a notification on Instagram. There were 3 messages - from him. 'Hey. Saw you looking at me. Cute.'

“All on separate lines. I replied with something witty about being easy to talk to, made typos and was generally super awkward but after meeting up about a month later, we started dating. 

“We’ve been together for over a year now, with plans to move to England, work together and be together. I love him and it started because of a simple follow back."

Quinton, 30 

“My boyfriend and I 'met' on Twitter back in 2015 but we'd been mutual followers since 2010. He was like a Twitter crush I felt was out of my league. 

“I remember I just got Snapchat (which wasn't big in SA at the time) and he tweeted about also having it so I DMed him for his username. We kept chatting in the DMs and I told him I was sure I saw him at gym once and he said he was also sure it was me that he saw and we had a laugh about it. 

“Eventually we started talking about food (because with me it's always food) and found out we had a shared passion for pizza, ice cream and wine. We decided we would meet up at the local pizzeria (not like a date - I just wanted to eat pizza and drink!) and we had such an awesome time, we ended up sitting until the place closed, then we went to McDonald's for McFlurries (because, obviously) and their terrible coffee. 

“We ended up going home at 2am. We didn't hook up or anything, which is super common in the gay community (not that there's anything wrong with that). We just really vibed and had a great time. 

“It was more chatting online and in person for about a month or so (he came over to visit and watch series at my place a lot) until we finally kissed, and decided to see where things go. And we're heading on three years already, moving into our own place next month.”

Meg, 37

“I have dated from internet dating sites against my better judgement for years. As a single mom it is difficult to expand my circle and meet people in real life though so online I went. Match.com in years past then Plenty Of Fish (POF). 

“Amos was very, very sweet when I first talked to him in November 2016. So sweet in fact I thought it may be an act. At the same time I started dating a different guy from POF who had contacted me first. That ended by February 2017 and as usual it took me months to readjust from the short and intense relationship which ended at a point where he had become threatening and controlling. 

“So after months of being single (and not visiting the site which I had deleted in December 2016) I started to wonder how that sweet guy was doing, how his schooling and life was. I swear when I texted him to check on him it was just because I wanted to know how he was doing and needed some uncomplicated adult contact. 

“We caught up by text on family, school and work and he learned I was single again. Before you know it we were talking about meeting. Now 6 1/2 months into our relationship (with twice-weekly meets with lovely overnights where it is so cute to be next to each other all night) he has met all my family, my daughter loves him and I love him very much.”

READ MORE: 5 couples who actually married their childhood sweethearts

Richard, 37

“Bonita and I met in a Facebook group. She posted something about larger ladies being sexy. I commented that that's my preference as they have more love to give. We carried on chatting to one another via Messenger and that Saturday she told me that I wouldn't have the guts to come around to her. 

“Now I'm always game for a dare and we liked each other in any case so no harm if I went. I said I would visit and she told me that I didn't even know where she lived but I had seen her address on her profile since it was open. When I said to her that I already knew where she lived she hesitated a bit but asked me to come in any case. 

“I picked her up and went to the beach nearby where we spent roughly 3 hours just talking. We found that we have so much in common, felt a massive connection and spent the rest of the following week chatting every day, all day on Facebook and Whatsapp.

“The following Friday we started dating. The people in the group picked up on the ‘feelings’ and joked that we should be dating each other already. We played it cool and told no one until 2 weeks later. The rest is history as we're now happily married.”

Wendy, 35 

“Well, I was on a dating site called Zoosk in 2011. I got a 'wink' from someone on the site. Of course, I went to take a look. He looked half decent. Haha. The site needed you to pay for messages back then so he bought tokens and messaged me.

"I sent him some contact details: email and BBM pin as it was back then.
 
“For the first few weeks it was Whatsapps and emails. Then, one night he called me. That was the end of it for me. I knew I was done for. Two weeks later, he took me on our first date, Stock Cars on Kraaifontein. That was 14 May 2011.
 
“On 7 April 2014, he took me to Hermanus, which is where we spent our first weekend away together. He proposed to me at the cannon by the old harbour. I would have been a fool to say no.
 
“And now we are 30 days away from getting married and spending the rest of our lives together.
 
“Of all the places l though I would meet someone, the internet was NEVER one of them.”

Zubeida, 31 

“After breaking up with my ex after 5 years, I went through a dry patch. I met some guys off Tinder but nothing serious because the guys were never serious. Then a friend suggested I try Badoo, which I did with no expectations as I already given up on the idea of ever finding anyone on a dating app.
 
“I chatted to some guys privately on Badoo but they all seemed like clueless baboons with nothing but air instead of brains. I logged on one more time to deactivate my account and this guy started chatting to me. I took his number to take the chats private and we just hit it off completely.
 
“I met him three weeks after that and then it just went from strength to strength. Seven months after we started chatting on Badoo we got engaged. We got married in October last year and I could not be any happier. Our parents are very sceptical of anything regarding social media and we had to lie about how we met. It's kind of fun having our own little secret.”

Juanita, 38

“I first met Amber on Facebook around 2012. At that time, I was out as a transgender woman to a small group of people. My first ever message to Amber was to ask her if I could be a part of her Facebook page. It became a habit to ask permission since I learned early on that the world wasn’t very open and accepting to transgender women. 

“For the first two years we only chatted through her Facebook page but in 2012 I got a friendship invite from Amber. We started Skyping and chatting with each other via Whatsapp. Amber became a rock for me during my transition battles at Steve Biko Academic Hospital. I knew I had a special friend because despite the time difference, she was there to motivate and support me on the days I was drowning in my tears.

“I was only approved for my treatments in July 2014 and Amber was the first person I ever told. She was overjoyed as I broke the news to her. A month later, Amber told me she needed to speak to me urgently. I was worried and I didn't know if something was wrong. Amber asked me to be her girlfriend. 

“Up to that point, the only relationships I knew were those with conditions. People ‘loved’ me but I could never be open about being transgender. For the first time I met someone who not only wanted to be with me, but she was proud of me. For the first time in my entire life I found unconditional love. 

“It took two years since Amber asked me to be her girlfriend to finally be in her arms. On Tuesday morning, 18 October we were cuddling after breakfast when Amber sat up, took my hand in her hand and looked me straight in my eyes. ‘Will you marry me?’ There was a slight pause. I was sitting there asking myself if this was really happening? Was this moment real? ‘Yes, I will marry you. I love you with all that I am.’ I could see relief in Amber’s face but I could also see her eyes smiling. 

“Amber and I have now been together for 3 years. I found the love of my life on Facebook and I can't wait to finally marry the woman of my dreams.”

READ MORE: From You’ve Got Mail to You’ve Got a Match

Linda, 27

“We ended up commenting on a few of the same threads around middle of last year and after I eventually followed him, he followed back. From there it was a very short ride until we direct messaged each other, then eventually WhatsApp. 

“At the time I thought I'd made a new friend but my best friend informed me that I was being obtuse. I didn't believe her at first, but I've since learnt to trust her intuition. We've been chatting and video calling every day for the past 6 or so months (I'm terrible with dates) and he'll be coming over from America for our first official meeting at the end of March.”

Tabea, 21

“I had OkCupid for a few months while I was in an open relationship with my now ex-boyfriend. My overall experience wasn't horrible but also not great. I met four people I got to know on there. Three of the guys all seemed cool at first, but all of them ended up not working out. 

“I finally gave in and met number four who had been begging me to meet him for a little over two months. We went for coffee and as soon as I saw him I couldn't take my eyes off of him. I almost immediately fell in love with the way he talked and the things he said, when he looked at me it felt like my heart would skip a beat. 

“From that day on we saw each other quite often and after only a week I ended my open relationship, which wasn't dramatic because my ex and I knew we had basically just been friends for a while now (we still are). Still it was a big step for me but I haven't regretted it. 

“I wasn't looking for a monogamous relationship at all but since the very beginning my new boyfriend was very forward with his feelings towards me and it didn't need much to win me over. It's been four months now and he already met my mom and we'll soon go on our second holiday together.”


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