Gary and Holly
Holly: “Following the painful breakup of a long term relationship I had with my daughter’s biological father I was more than ready to be single. In fact I would say at that point I could not see myself ever wanting to enter into a relationship with anyone ever again.
As ever, time began to heal the pain and I felt ready to think about dating again. At first I did not feel ready to date anyone seriously, but if someone approached me on a night out I might have engaged with them and perhaps taken their number, but at that time I was not looking for anything more serious. On one night out I was approached by a guy who seemed really nice. We really hit it off and he bought my drinks for me for the rest of the night, we had a great time and he asked to take me out to dinner the following weekend. I accepted and the restaurant was lovely, but the date was anything but. Conversation was very strained as I found we had absolutely nothing in common. There were long awkward silences and the times when we did talk, I found his personality very unattractive. He text me a number of times after the date but it eventually fizzled out.
I went on a few other dates but the people I dated would eventually tell me that they weren’t interested in long-term relationships. This is when I realised that I wasn’t looking to casually date anymore. After a couple more casual dates I felt as though I had pretty much run out of options for meeting someone. By this time I had begun to feel a little lonely too as most of my friends were in relationships and I was the only single one left. A relative recommended another dating site to me and I had a look at it at her house once and I decided it was not for me. In my opinion no one on there seemed to be looking for a relationship – just “fun”.
One day I saw an advert on TV for eHarmony and it seemed too good to be true. The fact that it talked about creating “meaningful relationships” and that they matched you with someone who was compatible with you sounded exactly what I needed. However, with my past experiences in mind, plus what I saw on the other dating site, I was not expecting much. Nonetheless, I thought it was worth a try and I signed up. I also liked the idea of getting to know someone a little before actually meeting them. Having my daughter meant that I was extra cautious when meeting new guys, I wanted to feel like I knew them before deciding if it was something I wanted to pursue. With that in mind eHarmony sounded ideal.
Obviously this was one of the best decisions I have ever made because this is where I met the love of my life, my future husband, my soul mate – Gaz. Prior to meeting him, I went on two dates through eHarmony. These dates were a complete contrast to the random dates I had been on in the past. They were lovely, real gentlemen, on my wave length and we had lots to talk about. Although both of these dates were very enjoyable and I really was treated like a princess there seemed to be a spark missing. However it was third time lucky for me. Gaz and I started talking and it was great, we got on brilliantly I found him, and still do find him, deeply attractive, both inside and out. Our first date was perfect – albeit by chance. He asked me out on a date but the date he suggested I should have been working a late shift so I apologised and had to turn him down. Luckily that shift was later cancelled and so I got back in touch to see if we could still meet up. He had already made plans to see his friends but he said he could easily change this and would love to take me out. The date was fantastic, he came to my home town which I thought was very gentlemanly and he looked gorgeous when we met. He was a perfect gentleman and we did not stop talking! I found him as interesting as I did good looking and I really did think to myself, ‘What’s the catch? No one can be this funny, kind, good looking and available,’ but there was no catch.
One of the many appealing aspects about eHarmony is that the members are all looking for the same thing. You can also communicate a lot before hand and can make a judgment on whether a date is a good idea or not, thus avoiding an awkward date when you realise you have nothing in common and actually dislike the person you’re about to spend the evening with! The fact that you can state your must haves and cant stands is also brilliant because you find someone who has the exact same values who is looking for the same thing you are. One of my must have’s was to have someone who could accept my daughter as their own. Gaz is amazing with Erin, they love each other dearly and Erin adores Gaz and calls him Dad (of her own choice). I am a bit of a clean and tidy freak as mess, poor hygiene and disorganisation is a real sore point for me. Gaz is so organised and clean and tidy it’s brilliant, he cooks delicious food and he likes things just the way I do and he makes me laugh more than anyone I have ever met.
We went on lots of amazing dates and I was gutted when he had to go to Bali for 6 weeks for his Army resettlement course. I wondered if things might fizzle out while he was gone or if he might meet someone else. To my surprise, he didn’t. Instead he bought a local sim card and got in contact via phone, text or email every single day he was away and he just kept telling me how he couldn’t wait to get back. When he did get back he asked to see me the same day he flew in and since then we’ve seen each other at least every week and every weekend. We are now engaged, looking forward to our wedding and honeymoon and our very happy future together.
Gaz is without doubt “The One” - my absolute soul mate. Even our friends say how well matched we are and how perfect we are for each other. In fact my best friend told me a long time ago that what I was looking for was unobtainable! When we were having a girly chat talking about our ideal men the list I rhymed off to her with everything I wanted in my ideal man and she told me that man does not exist! She has now eaten her words as she is looking forward to being our Chief Bridesmaid and still can’t quite believe how I found absolutely everything I wanted in one perfect person.
Coincidentally, I suggested eHarmony to my relative who recommended the dodgy dating site and she’s currently in a long-term relationship with a “match” courtesy of eHarmony.”
Gary: “The reasons for my presence on eHarmony are not that dissimilar to Holly’s. To use her words “I felt I was wasting my time on dates that never developed into anything.”
I joined the Army after University, which was an inevitable choice for me because the Armed Forces tradition was embedded throughout the majority of generations within my family. Throughout my career I was lucky enough to visit numerous amazing places and meet truly amazing people. I also gained confidence as my career progressed and had a number of relationships with serving female personnel, whether they were from my Regiment or not. After these equated to nothing, I soon realised that what I was looking for wasn’t within the ranks of the Forces.
Later, I had a number of relationships with ladies who were good looking, intelligent, kind, of good humour and who treated me really well. But I did not fall in love with any of them, there was no spark. I was not prepared to settle even though I started to realise that I was ‘getting on’.
I had tried a couple of other dating sites before eHarmony but I was particularly drawn to the tagline ‘not just a dating site’ and the fact that the matches were based upon pre-determined requirements. Another appealing factor was that eHarmony sent the user their matches so I wouldn’t have to spend hours searching for matches personally. If I am honest I thought that the concept of ‘guided communication’ was somewhat patronising, but after using the process a few times, I soon came to understand and appreciate the value of it.
I remember the first time I saw Holly’s profile picture. She was as beautiful in it as she is now and she seemed like my ideal lady. The more I read about her profile, her must haves and cant stands, the more I thought that eHarmony had got it spot-on here match-wise. It did not put me off that she had a daughter because of the language she used when talking about Erin, highlighting how she meant everything to Holly above all else. I could clearly see just by reading Holly’s profile that she was exactly why I had joined eHarmony. She seemed perfect.
I initiated conversation with Holly on eHarmony and from the start it seemed we had plenty in common. We soon went beyond guided communication and email messaging and found ourselves instant messaging night after night, often chatting for hours on end about everything, anything and nothing.
I was quite nervous the first time we met due to the fact that I really liked her and butterflies were fluttering in my stomach, which is odd as I rarely get nervous. The first time I laid eyes upon Holly I remember thinking, ‘She is stunning; do not screw this one up Gaz’. She looked luminous as she approached me in the subtly romantic setting of the Horwich train station car park and smelt amazing as I leant down to kiss her cheek. That evening flew by. We had so much to talk about and I felt that ever so illusive spark that had evaded me for so long.
As time passed and I got to know Holly I realised that she was the person I wanted to marry and spend the rest of my days with. My elaborate plans for the day of the engagement had been laid well in advance of the event itself. I even spent half a day with a fellow risk management expert (who is an usher at the wedding) going through the possible risks that could occur on the day of the proposal. Because it was in the Lakes we considered the weather, tourists, car breakdown, the ring falling into the lake and even Holly rejecting my proposal! However, what happened on the day we did not foresee…
My intention was to propose to Holly on a branch we had frequented so many times previously, overlooking Lake Windermere and our favourite Wray Castle. I had packed the ring along with pink champagne and glasses in my large camera bag. The weather was closing in but it wasn’t too inclement and although there were a few tourists in the vicinity I thought I would proceed. Just as I was building up to the proposal and attempting to create a romantic atmosphere a large crow perched itself on a branch directly above our heads and proceeded to use Lake Windermere as its very own commode…repeatedly.
Even after this unexpected event I thought the moment could be recovered and once again, built up a romantic atmosphere. I told Holly that we should probably get going and turned to climb down from the branch (the only way we had repeatedly done so in the past) and as I did, got down on bended knee whilst reaching for the ring only to look up and find that Holly had hopped down from the branch and gone a completely different way. I did not see that one coming…my chance had gone.
The next day was my last on which to propose. I opened the curtains in our hotel room only to find that the rain had set in. Not good. We drove to our favourite place in the Lakes and the weather broke. After a short walk up the waterfall and a hop onto a small island in between falls, whilst the sun was breaking through the clouds and penetrating the branches above us, I proposed to Holly on one knee. To my absolute delight she said yes.
It is an honour to make Holly my wife and I cannot wait for Holly, Erin and I to become a proper family. As each day passes I feel that I love Holly more. She never ceases to amaze me and makes me consistently proud. She is about to graduate with a degree as a qualified nurse, she has managed to bring up the most amazing daughter and she continues to make me the happiest I have ever been.”