autism Autistic dating long distance relationship marriage Neurodivergent Relationships Uncategorized

We Met In An AOL chatroom in 2003

I’m gifting y’all with 2 blogs to read since the holidays are here and everyone has some free time to read. I’m going to tell you all about how I met my husband and how our relationship beat the ridiculous amount of odds stacked against us at the time. We met in an aol chatroom…

You read that right. I met my husband in early 2002 in an AOL chatroom. It was with a few online friends at the time and their online friends so there was a chunk of us there. I remember someone saying “ohhh you’re cute!” To my now husband. “No I’m not” and my curiosity spiked. I asked if he’d send me a pic and lemme judge, so he sent me a private PM and email. He was the most attractive human being I’d ever laid eyes on. He had brown curly hair just past his eyes, a flannel, and a Nirvana shirt. He had hazel eyes that lit up beautifully in the sun in the pic and his smile was so attractive. how could this person think they were unattractive in anyway?? At the time, web cams weren’t a huge thing and most people didn’t have digital cameras due to expense, so I had no pictures. We hit it off instantly talking about music and other interests at the time and talked extensively about our home lives which lead us to talk every day. My good friend Megan heard about some of our exchanges over the last few days and used her dad’s digital camera to take some pics of me to send. Apparently his feelings towards me were mutual despite my own self esteem issues. We both were in a relationship at the time so we just talked and continued to be friends. Scott’s girlfriend broke up with him after a few months claiming she could do better and I got dumped before a dance for no other reason other than “it’s not you, it’s me”.. my first heartbreak. It sucked and at the time had no idea how Scott fully and truly felt. After hopping on AOL to chat with him after school as I always did, I told him what had happened. He was shocked and couldn’t understand how and why someone would be so cruel. He waited until I was done mourning and opened up about he really felt. What struck me the most was that he never ever stated how he felt, even in my weakest moment freshly single. He respected me enough to give me time to process and grieve before “throwing how he felt” at me and even at 14, I knew this was special.

We lived about 700 miles apart and neither of us were old enough to drive yet we felt about each other as if we saw each other every day. I knew him and he knew me more than some of our closest friends and family. It was almost like we were living 2 separate lives at times. After a couple years we upgraded to being able to call each other (when long distance came with more home phone line plans rather than charging per minute). I remember being SO nervous when I first called him because I had whooping cough for 5 months at that point and had reached to where the coughing fits would last over 2 minutes until I coughed or vomited up blood. To a teenager trying to impress someone they love was hard enough, having something so embarrassing was not a help. However, when the coughing jag started, he patiently waited and when I was done not only asked if I was okay but then started asking me to grab stuff in the kitchen and helped me make something to soothe my throat. I remember being shocked he wasnt disgusted and horrified by the whole thing and thinking “damn, he must really like me to not even bat an eye at that nastiness”. This turned into chatting online and talking every day on the phone.

Our relationship had progressed so much that by the time I was a junior in high school I had to maintain a grade of a C or above in all classes and I’d have my own phone line. Doing this allowed us to talk later at night and before school as well. Our friends knew of each other but some doubted the others legitimacy and existence at points too. I’d 3 way phone call some of my close friends with him to prove he was legit even so that I had backup if anybody doubted. I remember my cousin being a major doubter and showing her his pic and saying “I don’t care. I’m going to marry this man some day”. I even wrote about him in my senior section of the yearbook my senior year.

While our relationship was beyond abnormal, I’d be lying if I said it was perfect. Like every other relationship, we had ups and downs. Due to the distance and rarity of our relationship, we still had doubts we’d ever see each other or it’d truly go anywhere even as it continued to grow and progress. I think there were points where we just assumed life would happen and we’d drift apart because it was “just” an online relationship. This lead to unfaithfulness on both ends at various points earlier in our relationship and it was something we still had to tackle and work through just like anybody else.

As soon as I got my license, I came to visit him. My family had moved and we were only 300 miles away now so the journey was much more possible. I remember feeling like it was a dream come true and reflecting back and remembering all the times I thought I’d never get the chance to ever see him face to face. I visited for a week around Christmas time and it was as if we were old friends seeing each other again after many years. We knew each other on such a personal level that the shyness of getting to know each other physically was a when other experience neither of us were expecting.

During a time of separation, I’d gotten pregnant shortly after my family had moved states. We lost contact during my move and phones/internet getting setup and his number changing due to a move as well and I was already pregnant before we’d found each other and he invited me to live with him. It was a devasting blow and pressure from family left me feeling like I had to try and work things work with the father. They didn’t work out and once again I was left heartbroken and alone with a baby but Scott was there when I needed someone and even called to check on me and my son when I had him in the hospital. By then he had been in the process of moving on and was interested in another girl who didn’t want to give him the time of day but I also waited until he was ready to give up pursuing her before I talked to him about moving our relationship up another level. We’d spent 7 years at that point talking online and on the phone that moving together was an easy option. He spent his tax return coming to see me and my son and meeting my family. A sudden turn of events landed me homeless before we could fully discuss moving in but with 0 hesitation my husband opened the offer up so I didn’t have to go back to my home state.

We’ve lived together since. We spent another 4 years of living together and working on our relationship and ourselves before getting engaged and married and even put our wedding off a year to make sure our relationship kinks were worked out. I’ve lived with him for over 10 years now and it’s weird being away from him when visiting family and stuff. We had to be honest with each other and be willing to put how we felt on the table, no matter what. My husband didn’t want to even mention putting the wedding off a year, he was afraid he’d come off as if he didn’t want to marry me at all but he was brave and honest enough to state his concerns and we mutually came to that decision. I fall more in love with him every single day and every day I can’t imagine how it’s possible to love him any more than I already do.

I really feel like everyone who told us we weren’t going to work out wasn’t wrong. People who lived near each other couldn’t seem to work through a relationship, how could anybody especially teenagers navigate a relationship with limited technology and resources? Realistically we should not be where we are today but our love for each other has lead us both to grow and we’ve grown together. We aren’t even the same people we were when we moved in together but the love is stronger. There’s been a lot of forgiveness, patience, and understanding. We’ve both even kept in mind how different our upbringings were and how those experiences formed us to who we are.

We’re now in our 30’s. Technology has changed so much especially since we met. These days it’s fishy if someone can’t video chat with you but in the early/mid 2000s we were just 2 crazy kids with digital cameras head over heels in love. Any problem we’ve faced we have faced and solved together and isn’t that what any relationship, no matter how it starts, is supposed to be? I don’t know what the future holds but I do know we will get through it together and come out of the other side stronger than before.

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