I know that Vittles and Bits is a place where most of you come to get recipes, but some of you come to get stories, too. And today I want to share with you a story very close to my heart. (And also a giveaway! So even if you hate stories-just read on, k?)
Now given the nature of my blog, I typically only consider food-related reviews, but when I was recently offered an opportunity to review the online dating site eHarmony, I jumped at the chance.
Maybe some of you have already tried online dating, but if not, you might have ideas about what it's like.
The people on there are probably freaks.
They might lie to you.
They might hurt you.
And you know what? I thought a lot of those things too, until a time in my life when I was approaching the age of 25 and things were not going nearly as great as I had planned.
I was living in a crappy little place, working at a crappy job, and had just gotten out of a crappy 2 year relationship. (In all fairness, only the last half of that relationship was crappy, but you get the point).
I knew, though, I was ready to be serious with someone.
I knew the characteristics I wanted in a man.
I knew what I could live with and what was a deal-breaker.
I knew I didn't want to start back at Square One with a guy only to have it turn out to be n-o-t-h-i-n-g.
What I didn't know, however, was where to find another person in this same frame of mind.
But I had seen eHarmony commercials and was intrigued. I had some friends who had tried other 'popular' sites with no luck, saying it's no different from meeting a stranger at a bar. What attracted me instantly to eHarmony was the fact that they matched you with people.
This is where the old adage, "You get what you pay for," comes into play. Since I was looking for a quality relationship, I went to a quality website.
No sifting through pages upon pages of profiles that fit some vague criteria you thought would 'narrow things down.' No trudging through countless dates with people you have nothing in common with. No canoodling with people who could care less about your values and life goals, let alone share them with you. (Plus, this process seemed to lessen the probability of running into the aforementioned Freaks, Liars, and People That Can Hurt You. Bonus!)
To be honest, at this time in my life my paycheck barely covered my bills, let alone extras. But I reasoned that what I'd spend over one or two nights out at some lame bar with a bunch of predatory losers could cover a whole month's subscription to eHarmony. And if, in that month, I found no one of interest, then I would chalk it up to experience and move on.
Either that, or it would be the best money I ever spent.
Luckily for me, the latter turned out to be true. In that one month, I went on dates with three people from the site-Mr. Vittles was the first one I started emailing but the last one I met in person. We connected instantly on our first date. The next day, I called the other two gentlemen and told them while I had enjoyed our dates, I would not be able to see them again.
Not because I had psychic abilities and foresaw Mr. Vittles and I enveloped in wedded bliss, but because I knew the way I felt with him was the way every first date should feel. Not casual. Electric. And I wasn't going to settle for anything less.
After a few months, I knew this was light years ahead of any other relationship I'd had in the past. I had been in love before but never like this. After four months of dating, we took our first vacation together. (Belize!) After only six months of dating, we got an apartment together. After a year and a half of dating, we got engaged. And we were married just days before the two-year anniversary of our first date.
Like any couple, we've had our ups and downs. We've been through good times and bad. But after more than 4 years together, I can honestly say I found not only a 'quality relationship' but a life partner.
Someone to share my hopes & dreams with. Someone who makes me laugh every single day. Someone I can wipe out in front of and not feel embarrassed. Someone whose shoulder I can cry on. Someone I can share my secrets with. Someone I can disagree with on silly issues, but is always on the same page with the things that truly matter. Someone who looks toward the future in the same direction as I do.
Someone who adores me as much as I adore him.
And even though we lived not more than 8 miles from each other, I probably would never have met my husband if it weren't for eHarmony. I owe my greatest happiness in life to this company.
And yet they paid me to write this post. How crazy is that??
Told ya it was the best money I ever spent!
Speaking of spending...eHarmony and BlogHer were cool enough to offer one of you lucky readers a $100 Visa gift card!
If you're like me and already have a great lady or fella in your life, you can take that lucky person out for a night on the town. Or if you're single, you can get yourself a new outfit to help you feel fabulous on your next date.
***PLEASE NOTE THAT THE GIVEAWAY PERIOD HAS ENDED, AS OF 3/15/12***
Either way, to enter for a chance to win just leave me a comment answering the question: "What is the most important character trait your partner must have, and why?"
No duplicate comments. You may receive (2) total entries by selecting from the following entry methods: a) Leave a comment in response to the question above b) Tweet about this promotion and leave the URL to that tweet in a comment on this post c) Blog about this promotion and leave the URL to that post in a comment on this post d) For those with no Twitter or blog, read the official rules to learn about an alternate form of entry. This giveaway is open to US Residents age 18 or older. Winners will be selected via random draw, and will be notified by e-mail. You have 72 hours to get back to me, otherwise a new winner will be selected. The Official Rules are available here. This sweepstakes runs from 2/14/2012 -3/15/2012.
Thanks to everyone for indulging me in this chance to share a story that's very special to me. Now get to entering!
Visit the BlogHer.com eHarmony page to check out more blogger success stories and for more chances to win!