When I was at Emerson getting my degree in Musical Theatre, everyone called me mom. I'm 100% the mom friend; I helped the other people in the MT program with studying, registering for classes, and just getting through life. This particular day, I was helping one of my guy friends determine which girls on his Tinder were "dating material" and he asked if I'd ever tried online dating. I hadn't. He said I should, but I resisted - I was three months away from graduating and moving back to California from Boston.
Hookups really aren't my style, I'd much prefer something serious. Three months isn't that much time, and I didn't like the idea of doing long distance after having a horrible experience with it a couple of years earlier. But my friend persisted - he kept saying I should just talk to some girls and see what happens. I said fine... but I'm just looking for queer lady friends. We all need more of those, right?
So I started an account on Her, explicitly saying I was just looking for friends. A couple of girls looked really nice - I sent out a couple of messages just saying hey. One of them had a picture with a super cute dog, and I thought it might be hers, so I asked. She said no, she just walked it, and that I was gorgeous! Of course I told myself she just meant it in a *friend way*... so I moved on with the conversation.
But immediately, something clicked. We both said that messaging each other was like messaging ourselves! We had so much in common, and even our senses of humor and messaging styles were similar. I knew we could be... really good friends.
Safety as a woman on the internet is of the utmost importance - you never really know who could be behind a profile picture. So we decided to FaceTime to make sure the other person wasn't a murderer/man/crazy person trying to catfish us. And it was her! She was so kind and funny and wonderful. We began texting a lot, and made plans to hang out and walk the dog I saw in her picture. I was about to go on spring break, and so we planned to hang out the Tuesday after I got back. We texted all of my break - I told her about the auditions I was doing back in California, and she was so supportive.
But when I flew back to Boston on Sunday morning, there was a blizzard warning starting just before Tuesday that would last most of the week. Ali's spring break began the next weekend. We were going to be snowed out! With less than three months left, I didn't want to miss out on any time with my new... friend.
I'm not a spontaneous person. At all. But I texted Ali from my apartment that Sunday evening, and asked her if she wanted to come over right that minute and hang out before the blizzard came in the following day. And she said yes! I frantically began tidying and making sure everything looked nice. And less than an hour later, I opened my door and there she was! We hugged for maybe a full minute. Then I gave her the apartment tour (of course) and we just sat on my bed talking.
Well, the ~tension~ between us could have been cut with a knife. And I was upset! I didn't have time for a relationship! I had to move back home! But I really just wanted to kiss her. And, true to our very analytical natures, we had a full conversation about it - weighing the pros and cons. Ali was all in, but wanted to make sure I was as well. I knew on paper it could be a very bad idea getting involved on a deeper level than friendship, but my heart was fighting so hard against all of that. Long story short, my heart won out. And after she went home that evening, I literally looked at myself in the mirror and thought, "I think I may have just met my future wife..."
But my head wouldn't shut up. I got anxious. And like I so often did growing up (as you can read in my coming out story), I started to back out. I told Ali that we needed to just be friends, even though I cared about her so much already - I didn't want to get hurt, and in protecting myself I hurt her. I felt horrible. But she agreed to be friends, which was so good of her. We tried out "being friends" the rest of the week, and into her spring break. But by the end of her break, I knew I couldn't let her go.
For once, I chose to take the risk, even if I could end up being heartbroken (spoiler: I didn't). I had to take a chance on the relationship, because it could possibly be one of the greatest things that's ever happened to me. So when she came back to Boston, we began officially dating. And it was difficult because we only had a few months to figure out what was going to come next. It was sort of a backwards relationship - it was pretty serious at first, and then once we established our intentions going forward it became so, so fun.
After those three wonderful months, we headed into what would end up being a year and three months of long distance. We FaceTimed every day, and met up for a week or so every couple of months - like in Disneyland, Seattle, and even in a small town in Illinois for my cousin's wedding where she met my extended family. Now I wake up next to her every day, have fun doing lame things with her like groceries and laundry, and get to build a life with her.
And I can definitely say that she is one of the greatest things that's happened to me.